Chicago wheelchair access travel

The City of Chicago, is the third most populous city in the United States. It has a population of 3 Million, which makes it the most populous city in both the state of Illinois and the Midwestern United States. The Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as “Chicagoland” has a population of 10 million people. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. Chicago is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis (Sears) Tower, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago wheelchair access is what you expect from a modern American city. In a wheelchair you can experience the city’s culture includes the arts. This includes legends in the visual arts, literature, film, theater, comedy, food, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, gospel, and electronic dance music including house music.

Attractions and Opportunities

Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago History Museum

Garfield Park Conservatory 

Lincoln Park

Magnificent Mile

Millenium Park

Museum of Science and Industry

Navy Pier

Old Water Tower 

The Field Museum

The Loop


Skydeck Chicago

Willis Tower Skydeck 


The “L” Train

These elevated trains are accessible from station platforms for both powered and manual wheelchairs. Blue line trains sit higher than the platform at many stations, but ramps are available like the one pictured above.

Many stations are not equipped with an elevator. Users of wheelchairs and those who cannot ascend long flights of stairs should not attempt to utilize these inaccessible stations, many of which are in the downtown “Loop.” Detailed access info on this is available from WheelchairTravel

City Bus Service

The Chicago Transit Authority ‘city bus’ system operates throughout the greater Chicago area and serves over 12,000 stops across 140 routes. Buses are equipped with numerous accessibility features which make them entirely accessible to the disabled and wheelchair users.

The accessibility adaptations on Chicago city buses include:

  • All buses kneel or lower and are equipped with lowered floor ramps or lifts.
  • Two wheelchair securement areas with tie-downs are located on every bus.
  • Audio stop and intersection announcements are made on every bus.
  • Lowered yellow accessible stop/alert buttons are positioned at each wheelchair securing area.

The CTA bus fleet is being continuously updated and improved. Buses entered the fleet no earlier than the year 2000 and those currently older than 10 years are being replaced. More than 300 of the 1,800 buses operate using hybrid or fully electric technology.

Other (Fares, route maps and schedules)

More info on fares, route maps and schedules is available from WheelchairTravel.


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