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Exploring Accessibility in Phoenix

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Low angel view of downtown Phoenix Getty Images

Phoenix, Arizona, known for its amazing desert landscapes, proximity to many tourist attractions, and hot weather, is a city that continues to do more for people with disabilities.  I’ve been traveling to Phoenix for many years, mostly on business trips, and I’ve seen the city sprawl as more people move there. 

accessibility is part of the planning here

With that  growth comes a focus on being more inclusive to everyone, so accessibility is part of the planning here.  But, the biggest gap includes accessible taxi resources, other than Yellow Cab. When you travel to Phoenix and you want accessible transportation, unless you’re taking public transit, it will be difficult to find transportation.  One that I found is Phoenix Super Shuttle.

When it comes to accessible accommodations, you will find many options.  I’ve stayed at a number of hotels and resorts in the Phoenix area and one of my absolute favorites is the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa!  It’s a luxurious resort at the base of Camelback Mountain and the property consists of groups of “casita-like” rooms which give you a real southwestern feel.  And, there are many accessible things to do in Phoenix and the surrounding area.  Just be careful of the weather as it can get extremely hot during the summer months with temperatures over 100 degrees F.  I love Phoenix and want to get back soon.  In the meantime, here are some recommendations for you to have a fun and accessible trip to this amazing city.

Desert Botanical Garden

In the heart of Phoenix you’ll find the Desert Botanical Garden – a true oasis of natural beauty. This world-renowned garden has amazing cacti and desert plant displays which gives everyone the opportunity to really understand the Sonoran Desert’s unique ecosystem. The garden offers accessible pathways, paved trails, and wheelchair rentals. The garden also hosts seasonal events and festivities.

Heard Museum

If you love rich Native American culture, the Heard Museum should be on your list when visiting Phoenix. This institution showcases an extensive collection of art, artefacts, and exhibits that highlight the heritage and history of Native American tribes. The museum is accessible and provides wheelchair accessibility, captioning, and assistive listening devices, as well as accessible restrooms and accessible parking..

Phoenix Art Museum

For art lovers, the Phoenix Art Museum is a must and also a great way to get out of the heat. The museum is home to an impressive collection of contemporary and classical art, ranging from European to American works. Here you’ll find accessible entrances, elevators, wheelchair rentals, audio descriptions, and braille materials for visually impaired visitors.

Papago Park

Escape into nature at Papago Park, a beautiful urban oasis which has rugged desert landscapes, iconic red rock formations, and picturesque hiking trails. Travelers with disabilities can enjoy accessible paths and trails that wind through the park, and even a covered fishing dock. 

Phoenix Zoo

For animal lovers, the Phoenix Zoo is a popular attraction which has taken great strides to be accessible for people with disabilities.  In addition to accessible pathways and restrooms, the zoo has also partnered with KultureCity to provide things like quiet zones, sensory bags and weighted lap bags, as well as staff training.

Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)

The Musical Instrument Museum offers the most unique journey through the history and diversity of musical instruments from around the world. The museum occupies a space of over 200,000 square feet and has instruments and objects from every country in the world.  The museum features ramps, elevators, and assistive listening devices and plenty of accessible parking. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, listen to music from various cultures, and even play some of the instruments on display!.

Downtown Phoenix Art Walk

One of the coolest ways to enjoy art in downtown Phoenix is by attending the First Friday Art Walk. This monthly event takes place on city streets that have been closed for the event and become an open-air gallery, showcasing local artists’ works, live performances, and food vendors. People with disabilities can enjoy accessible sidewalks and ramps, wide streets, and accessible restaurants and restrooms.

Taliesin West

As a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most unique and memorable places I visited was Taliesin West. This iconic desert retreat served as Wright’s winter home and school of architecture. The site recently had ADA upgrades and offers accessible pathways, custom ramps and handrails, as well as accessible restrooms.  Taliesin offers accessible tours so be sure to book a tour during your time in Phoenix.

Phoenix is within driving distance to Sedona, about a 2 hour drive, and a little more than 3 hours to the Grand Canyon.  The summers get extremely hot so you may prefer indoor activities and attractions to compliment all of the beautiful scenery outdoors.  You’ll find many accessible things to do in Phoenix, just be sure to book accessible transportation in advance.  So, what are you waiting for?  

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