According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one in five Americans has some kind of disability, and 1 in 10 has a severe disability. With an aging population of baby boomers and the likelihood of having a disability increasing with age, the growth in the number of people with disabilities can be expected to accelerate in the coming decades.
For those with disabilities who like to go out, finding venues with adequate accessibility in Minneapolis is easier than you might think. That’s because Minneapolis is a leader in accessible public space, instituting a pedestrian ramp program for its streets decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect.
MINNEAPOLIS ACCESSIBILITY RESOURCES
According to Minneapolis.org, which publishes a comprehensive Accessibility Guide:
All of the city’s downtown parks are accessible.
Miles of waterfront, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and regional parks (including Minnehaha Falls) are accessible.
More than seven miles of the skyway are accessible.
Sites like Abilitytrip.com can help you locate activities like those listed below in any city nationwide that provide access for those with wheelchairs or mobility issues.
Minneapolis Wheelchair-Friendly Activities:
Cathedral of St. Paul: The Cathedral is an impressive structure, built in the early 1900s and featuring a large dome. Wheelchair users can access the church through the doors on the left side of the building, where there is a ramp.
Guthrie Theater: The beautiful contemporary metal and glass building, settled on the bank of the river downtown is the Guthrie Theater. The theater has multiple stages to enjoy a play or concert, and all of the theaters offer accessible seating. There are also bars and restaurants located inside the Guthrie building that can be accessed by elevator. There is a steep ramp leading up the 53-meter cantilever, but it is not recommended to use this ramp if you’re in a manual wheelchair or have mobility problems. The evening views of the city from the cantilever are spectacular, and are made wheelchair accessible from the top platform.
Lyndale Market: “The Lyndale Market is an extensive farmers market featuring local produce, prepared foods and many different arts/crafts. It is a great weekend morning spot that is worth a trip. The market is accessible – largely on the ground with ramps to upper stalls – but given the crowds it can be more challenging to navigate in a wheel chair.”
Mall of America: The Mall of America has over 500 stores, and even features an indoor amusement park in the center of the mall. The mall is accessible, and rents strollers, electric carts, and wheelchairs.
Minnesota State Capitol: Located in St. Paul, the state capitol building offers free tours year round, 7 days a week (closed holidays). According to the website, tours are “handicapped accessible.”
Summit Avenue and James J. Hill House: Summit Avenue is famous for its beautiful historical homes and other structures. The James J. Hill House, a wonderfully preserved gilded age mansion, offers tours to the general public. According to the website, tours are “handicapped accessible.”
Wineries: Just an hour from St. Paul, there are some fantastic wineries to do a little tasting. The Cannon River Valley Winery, located in Cannon Falls, MN, has a great atmosphere and is wheelchair accessible. Another great winery for tastings is the Falconer Winery located in Red Wing, MN. Note that there is a small step to get into the entrance, but there is also outdoor seating. There are also great antique shops in the area, such as Pottery Place Antiques, which is also located in Red Wing, near Falconer Winery.
One of the best sites for Minnesotans with disabilities is AccessMinnesota.org, which features listings for accessible lodging, restaurants, attractions, historic sites, nightclubs and bars, amusement parks, dialysis centers, arts / theatres, resorts, convention centers, transportation, and parks and campgrounds all over Minnesota.
Accessibility information courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, Minneapolis.org, Abilitytrip.com, and AccessMinnesota.org.