As an American traveler, there are so many amazing places to visit within my own country. There are the more obvious choices like New York, Los Angeles and Disney World, but one destination that is often overlooked is actually the capital of the United States; Washington, DC. I’m not quite sure why exactly it’s overlooked so much because it is one of my favorite cities in the entire world. There’s history, plenty of attractions, and almost every aspect of the city is wheelchair accessible; from the metro to all attractions and landmarks. After all, what would you expect from the city where the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law? After my first visit to the nation’s capital at the age of 9, I immediately fell in love with DC. So much so that I actually moved there and lived for a year after graduating high school. During that year I experienced everything that the city offers and here are my top five favorite wheelchair accessible attractions in no particular order:
THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL & REFLECTION POOL
Abraham Lincoln is perhaps the most popular American President ever and his memorial is a perfect tribute. The walls inside the Lincoln Memorial are filled with his quotes and they allow you to see exactly why he is remembered as an icon. Right in front of the memorial is the reflection pool. It’s quite literally a very large pool that is approximately 640 metres long. In the Summer, you’ll see people jumping into it, but it’s also just a terrific place to relax and take in the magnificent views on each end of the pool of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
It’s easy to spend several hours at Arlington Cemetery. It’s a very large cemetery with over 300,000 people buried there. This means that there is a lot of ground to cover so if you don’t have an electric wheelchair to easily get around, there is also a wheelchair accessible trolley that will take you to all the notable sights. Some of these include the burial sights of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This special tomb is meant to honor the fallen soldiers of World Wars I & II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. There is also the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which should not be missed if you’re in DC, every half hour during the Summer and every hour in the Winter.
THE SMITHSONIAN MUSEUMS & ZOO
The Smithsonian Institution is comprised of 19 museums and one zoo, all in DC. The other great thing is that they are all free. With this many museums, you could spend a week in DC and still not visit them all. There are so many great options. Some of my favorites include the National Zoo (I’m a HUGE animal lover), the Air and Space Museum, and the Natural History Museum, where you can learn about early human origins and ancient animals such as dinosaurs.
The Washington Monument is one of the city’s most notable landmarks and stands at 169 metres tall. It’s hard to miss from almost anywhere in DC. Originally built as a monument to honor the first President of the United States, it is now an extremely popular tourist attraction. It is free to ride the elevator to the top and take in spectacular views of the city, but it does require a ticket. Tourists start lining up very early to get a ticket and they are given out at 8:30 in the morning. If you want to take in the best views in DC, be sure to set your alarm!
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
This is probably the saddest attraction in DC, but it’s such an important history lesson. I’ve been to this museum a few times and I always end up shedding a few tears at some point. There are many videos and exhibits throughout the museum, including one area that shows how disabled people were treated during the Holocaust. This part is especially personal to me and it makes me realize how lucky I am to have been born in this day and age. Admission to this museum is free, but you do need a ticket during the Summer months, which you can pre-book online.
A big thank you to Cory for doing a guest blog. If you would like to read more about Cory and his travels head to his website or his facebook page. Cory says “I’m a 24 year old travel addict, hoping to inspire you to start rolling around the world” So people, what are you waiting for? Head on over and find some inspiration.