Why Santa Monica is One of the Most Accessible Destinations Around
Looking for a handicap accessible vacation?
There is so much to see and do in Santa Monica, and we like to think it’s one of the most accessible cities in the U.S. Many locations are wheelchair friendly, and there are many public accommodations around town for locals and visitors so all can enjoy our sunny city by the ocean. Here are some reasons why Santa Monica is such an accessible destination.
Santa Monica will always welcome guests with open arms, and we recognize that COVID-19 and remaining safe will shape all of your travel experiences. We encourage you to visit our Travel Responsibly page for the latest updates on businesses reopening and to learn about the appropriate precautions as you explore Santa Monica and beyond.
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Stay at one of Santa Monica several wheelchair accessible hotels
Several Santa Monica hotels are designed to meet ADA requirements and accommodate the needs of all travelers. For instance, Viceroy Santa Monica offers Braille and tactile signage in rooms and public spaces. Santa Monica Proper Hotel has guest rooms with wheelchair access and allows service animals onsite.
Wheelchair rentals in Santa Monica
Santa Monica State Beach
The pride of the city is its beaches, so reveling by the ocean is a given. Many of the famous attractions at Santa Monica State Beach are accessible to visitors of different abilities and there are ramps and pathways on the sand for increased navigability. Beach/all-terrain wheelchairs are available to rent free of charge from three Perry’s Cafe locations on Ocean Front Walk – one located north of the pier near Arizona Avenue and the other two located south of the pier near Ocean Park Boulevard. Visit the Accessible Santa Monica Beach map to view accessible pathways to the water, universally accessible playgrounds and all Santa Monica beach wheelchair rental locations.
Heal the Bay Aquarium
Heal the Bay Aquarium believes that beaches are one of the great treasures in Los Angeles, and they should be accessible to everyone. Complimentary manual beach wheelchairs are available to rent for free at Heal the Bay Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier for two hours. A valid photo ID is required and wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis during operating hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Annenberg Community Beach House
Located right on Santa Monica State Beach, attractions like the splash pad and café at this oceanfront property with a historic past are free to access by all members of the public. Annenberg Community Beach House also has complimentary beach wheelchairs available from guest services.
Businesses with wheelchair access & other accommodations
From small businesses to public attractions, there are all sorts of places in Santa Monica that offer accommodations and services to those who need it.
Playgrounds at Santa Monica Beach
There are lots of fun attractions along the more than three-mile stretch of Santa Monica Beach, including two universally accessible playgrounds. South Beach Park Playground was the first to open and has equipment and areas that can be used by children of all level of abilities, including swings and structures. There is also increased maneuvering space and ramps to play components. Located towards the other end of the beach, past the famed Santa Monica Pier, is North Beach Playground, the city’s newest. With a design inspired by the sea, this playground also has a “sensory garden” where children can learn through touch and use their imaginations to play freely.
Head to Pacific Park (the west coast’s only amusement park located on a pier) for fun rides, souvenir shopping and delicious eateries. The venue is wheelchair accessible and there is a convenient auxiliary entrance for those with mobility impairments. Service animals are also welcome and even allowed on certain rides. Click here for more information.
The Santa Monica Pier Carousel
A visit to the pier is not complete without a ride on the Santa Monica Pier Carousel. For wheelchair users, the carousel has an ADA accessible chariot served by a portable ADA ramp that allows ease of use in boarding and riding.
Set along Ocean Avenue, Palisades Park is public greenspace that includes several attractions such as the Camera Obscura Art Lab, historic sculptures and the Visitor’s Center Kiosk. The mostly flat surface is ADA accessible and there is accessible parking, restrooms, and picnic areas too.
Third Street Promenade
Third Street Promenade has seemingly unlimited shopping, dining, and both outdoor and indoor entertainment options. The busy city attraction also has ramps and access ways for easy exploring (and indulging). The promenade also has low curbs and audible crosswalk controls are available.
Santa Monica Place
The luxury open-air mall has attracted locals and visitors since it first opened its movie theater, shopping and dining venues in 1980. Santa Monica Place has wheelchairs available for loan from the concierge and the mall is ADA accessible on all floors, including the parking garage.
Known for its copious shopping and dining spots, Main Street is also where you can head to the Farmers Market plus and all of the famous street murals. All streets are easily accessible as are the majority of businesses located along this stretch.
Santa Monica Public Library
Libraries should be open and accessible to all, and the Santa Monica Public Library provides a variety of assistive devices to ensure universal access to its collections and services. This includes listening aids, large print keyboards, joysticks as an adaptable mouse substitute and magnifying sheets.
Though not located in Santa Monica proper, The Getty Villa is a favorite for many given its lush gardens and ancient Roman architecture. The venue is ADA accessible, allows service animals such as guide dogs for the blind, and offers special services for people who are blind/partially sighted, deaf/hard of hearing or using mobility aids.
Accessible Public Transportation
One of the best things about Santa Monica is that you don’t need a car to cruise around town. There are several fully accessible public transportation options around town that allow for wheelchair travel without difficulty or expense.
Metro Expo Line
Serving popular destinations such as Exposition Park, Culver City and Santa Monica Pier, the Metro Expo Line can get you around most popular spots in the city. The stations are accessible to individuals in wheelchairs with either a walkway/ramp or elevator from the street to the platform. Please visit the Metro’s Accessibility page for more information.
Big Blue Bus
With a fleet of around 200 clean air vehicles available, Big Blue Bus offers transport across a 58-square-mile area so you can comfortably and conveniently travel around the city. Opt for the Mobility On Demand Every Day (MODE) Program to reserve rides in lift-equipped wheelchair vans, driven by specially trained and licensed drivers. Please visit the Big Blue Bus website for more information.
Click here to download the Santa Monica Disabilities Commission brochure – a resource for people with disabilities in Santa Monica.