If you’re looking for a great American city break, then Chicago well and truly has it all. It’s got a rich and fascinating history (think Al Capone and the Prohibition era), plus world-class museums and galleries.
Foodies love it too – it’s famous for its many farmers markets and the quality of its restaurants (23 of them have Michelin stars!). But there are also a few surprises too: who knew that it also has 15 beaches where you can swim?
That last one is strictly for the summer however – in the winter Chicago gets bitterly cold, and we’d recommend visiting in the warmer months from May to late September.
It’s also very accessible too. As with every US city, every public building is obliged by law to be fully accessible – but we always recommend you call ahead to double-check they’re ready for your visit. With that in mind, here is Quingo Scooters’ guide to accessible Chicago.
Get a unique perspective from the SkyDeck
There was a time when the Sears Tower in Chicago was the tallest building in the world. It no longer holds that title but trust us, it still feels tall enough when you’re up on the SkyDeck. The views are absolutely breathtaking and this is a great way to get a lie of the land when you first arrive in the city.
If you’re feeling brave, then The Ledge is an experience that you’ll never forget. A glass floor, and 1,300 feet of clear air between you and the street below certainly gets the blood pumping. Best of all, the SkyDeck is fully accessible, with ramps and elevators throughout.
See world-class art at the Institute
A gallery as good as the Art Institute Chicago can sometimes present you with a problem. What on earth do you go and see first? Fortunately, the team there have pulled together an excellent guide to what to see in an hour – and while we’re not saying you should rush your visit, it’s a good place to start. There are certainly plenty of highlights – our favourite is American Gothic by Grant Wood, one of the most famous contemporary American paintings.
One problem you won’t have however is getting around. There is accessible parking at Millennium Park Garage on Columbus Drive, and ramped access via both the Michigan Avenue Entrance and the Modern Wing Entrance. Scooters can access the entire museum using the elevators. Find out more on their dedicated accessibility page here.
Explore the Navy Pier
There’s more than enough to keep you entertained on the Navy Pier. It’s over 3,000 feet long, extends out into Lake Michigan and is packed full of shops and restaurants.
Today it’s a great place to indulge in a bit of retail therapy, take in the views of Lake Michigan and just generally enjoy the atmosphere of this vibrant city. The structure itself is fascinating, but there is also an ever-changing programme of events, exhibitions and attractions to enjoy.
The best part of it is that it is also incredibly accessible. If you’ve got any questions about your visit just let the Guest Services team know. You’ll find them just in front of the Pier, between the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co and Giordano’s!
Enjoy the open spaces of Millennium Park
One of the highlights of Chicago’s main city park is the remarkable Cloud Gate sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Known by many as ‘The Bean’, this giant, highly-polished creation is a must-see. But there’s more to Millennium Park than just the Cloud Gate.
This is the place in Chicago where people come to hang out and relax – a multi-purpose space that gives you a real sense of what life is like here. There are plenty of cafes, so it’s great for people watching.
And it is also packed full of art – from the Cloud Gate itself to the incredible multi-media Crown Fountain and of course, the open-air Boeing Galleries. This wonderful outdoor space is fully accessible to all.
Did you know?
The Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backwards. Lake Michigan is the source of the city’s drinking water, and the flow of the river was reversed in the 1900s to preserve its quality and solve a major waste problem!
Getting to Chicago
You can fly regularly to Chicago, non-stop, from London airports. There are also non-direct flights from Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Birmingham.
As a public building, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is accessible for those of us who use mobility scooters. There are elevators throughout, and if you have any questions about getting through security then they recommend you call the team there on (855) 787-2227. There is more information about getting around the airport on their dedicated accessibility page here.
Getting into Chicago itself is also straightforward. We recommend that you use the accessible Go Airport Express shuttle. To book an accessible van, call them on 888-284-3826 at least the day before. Alternatively, the Open Taxis service is also excellent.
Within the city, you’ll find that public transport is also almost completely accessible, in line with US law. To find out more about getting around the city, check out the city’s transport site here.
Travelling with scooters
The great news for those of you travelling abroad is that Quingo Scooters are all approved for air travel by IATA so you won’t have any problems taking them on the plane. That said, it is always well worth getting in touch directly with any train, bus and airlines you want to use just to double check their rules on scooters before you go. For more handy tips on travelling with your scooter by air, take a look at our page here.
Share your accessible getaways abroad with us
Do you have any accessible getaway abroad recommendations? In Europe or perhaps further afield? If you do, we’d love to hear from you, so drop us a line and we’ll feature them.
About Quingo Scooters
The Quingo Scooter range features six models to suit your needs and budget. New models are now available from just £22/week on our new contract hire scheme which includes all servicing and maintenance, Insurance, Roadside Recovery, Call Outs and Consumables including Batteries and Tyres. For more information on this or the latest Quingo Scooter range, please visit our website. Alternatively, if you have any Service questions you can always contact us or call customer services on 01582 430 900.
Keep up to date with the latest mobility scooter advice, tips and interesting places to visit on the Quingo Scooter Users Blog. Connect with Quingo and keep up to date with all our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.
All Quingo Personal Mobility Vehicles are provided by Forever Active, the UK’s exclusive distributor. Forever Active is a trading name of Advantage Marketing Corporation Limited (AMC). AMC Limited is an appointed representative of First Senior Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. First Senior Insurance Services FSA Register number is 30847