Feb 7, 2023 - Things to Do

Mobility-friendly Seattle spots for residents and visitors

A view of a coffee counter with registers and hanging lamps.
Victrola Coffee Roasters at 3rd and Pine, which has double doors that open easily. Photo courtesy of Susan Talton

Amid Seattle's historic cobblestone streets and seemingly eternal construction, it can be difficult to find places that are easily accessible for people with ambulatory disabilities.

Why it matters: The estimated percentage of people with disabilities in Washington, King County and Seattle ranges from about 8% to as much as 22%, according to Kimberly Meck of Seattle's Disability Empowerment Center.

Many of Seattle's most iconic sites can be tough for people with disabilities, Ballard resident Hugh Boyd told Axios. Boyd, who uses a prosthetic leg, is part of the decades-old Harborview Amputee Support Group.

  • Pike Place Market, for example, is challenging despite an elevator to all levels from Western Avenue because finding ADA parking is hard and many of the floors have tiles that get very slick when wet, said Boyd.

But, but, but: There are still plenty of places that are easy to access and enjoy, said Boyd. Here are a few that are at the top of the list:

  • The Space Needle is accessible, especially if you can get dropped off near it and don't have to deal with parking.
  • The Monorail. At Westlake Center, you can access the platform from the elevator located on 5th Ave, between Olive and Pine.
  • The Climate Pledge Arena offers limited mobility drop off and wheelchair assistance.
  • The architects of MoPOP, the Museum of Pop Culture, worked with representatives from Seattle's disabled community to ensure easy access throughout the museum, according to the museum website. The museum is also accessible from the Monorail.
  • From Westlake Station, it's a short, flat distance to Pacific Place and other shopping.
A view of wet cobblestones and cars along the street.
Seattle's historic cobblestones are not always friendly to people with disabilities. Photo courtesy of Hugh Boyd

Boyd said that while most newer buildings are required to be accessible, a few stick out in his mind as being easier to get into than others, including Seattle's oldest saloon — The Central in Pioneer Square — and Elysian Fields Brewery near the domes on First Avenue.

  • For coffee, you can try the first corporate Starbucks at 1st and Pike which is accessible but crowded, or Victrola Coffee Roasters at 3rd and Pine which is generally less busy and has double doors that open easily.

For more ideas, check out Wheelchair Travel's guide to Seattle attractions and Wheelchair Jimmy's accessibility reviews.


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