Oregon Accessibility: Get Out and See the Sights

Oregon is famous for its rain, but don't worry! Residents "smile while it's raining." When visiting, you can enjoy a variety of landscapes, from rugged mountains and lush greenery to magnificent waterfalls and lava beds, and these top attractions of Oregon are handicap accessible! 

Multnomah Falls, Portland

The 611-foot-tall waterfall is a famous landmark in Oregon. Before arriving, you'll be able to see the falls from the highway. Once you park, it will take you about five minutes to arrive at the base of the falls. Multnomah Falls was originally built to win over the heart of a princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. The structure is made of every kind of rock found in the Columbia Gorge.

There is a paved trail that's wheelchair accessible, where you can view the falls. There's also an accessible restaurant where visitors can dine with a magnificent view of the waterfall, as well as a souvenir shop where you can find plenty of gifts to bring back home.

Japanese Garden, Portland

If you're looking for a garden to gaze upon, this might be the best pick. Recognized as the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden is 5.5-acres of landscaped beauty located in the scenic hills of west Portland. It has around 2,000 to 3,000 plants featured in five different gardens--Flat, Strolling, Natural, Stone, and Tea. The koi pond is as lovely as the scenery.

The gardens are not fully accessible due to the hilly nature of the landscape. Many people in wheelchairs do visit, but you should consider having an assistant around for safety.

The Japanese Garden and the Oregon Zoo (up next!) are both located in historic Washington Park. The park also includes the Portland Children's Museum, International Rose Test Garden, World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, and the Hoyt Arboretum.

Oregon Zoo, Portland

The wildest place in Oregon! The zoo has more than 2,000 animals residing in natural habitats, with exhibits ranging from the Pacific Northwest to the Serengeti plains. The zoo also has an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and a Zoo railroad. If you visit during the winter, you can enjoy their ZooLights festival.

The 64-acre Oregon Zoo is located along a wooded, south-facing hillside of about a 150 ft. elevation. But fear not--the zoo is wheelchair accessible, with plenty of handicap parking for wheelchair vans! Both the train and shuttle bus accommodate wheelchairs and service animals, as well as the pathways, exhibits, restaurants, restrooms, and drinking fountains found throughout the park.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland

The Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is one of the nation's true artistic gems. Home to the largest resident acting company in America in charming downtown Ashland, OSF annually presents 11 plays on three unique stages from February through October. OSF is a great cultural experience for the whole family.

Each theater is equipped with an accessible entrance. All theaters provide wheelchair seating, wheelchair transfer seating, wheelchair and companion seating, and stair-free seating. And for those who are deaf, there are nine plays that are sign-interpreted performances.

Crater Lake, Douglas County

Visit the deepest lake in the United States. It formed from the mouth of a collapsed volcano more than 6,500 years ago and is known for its crystal-blue water. The Crater Lake National Park consists of over 180,000 acres, with only 11,500 of the acres are taken up by the lake. The Crater is surrounded by mountains that are almost 2,000 feet high. Many travelers come to stay in cabins or the Mazama Village located within the park and near the crater, where they can enjoy a beautiful and peaceful stay.

The visitors' centers and Crater Lake Lodge are accessible. When the 33-mile Rim Drive is open during the summer, there are more than 20 scenic Crater Lake overlooks that are all accessible.

Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport

The aquarium offers exhibits you can touch and hear, along with those you can see and explore. Immerse yourself in the Passage of the Deep, (an underwater walkway), or snap a photo of the largest sea otter population in the state of Oregon. The Oregon Coast Aquarium showcases more than 1,500 marine animals that are natives to the Oregon Coast. Whatever your age and interests are, the Oregon Coast Aquarium offers a fun and enjoyable learning experience.

The Aquarium won the title of "Best Tourist Attraction" and "Best Summer Camp for Kids" in 2011 and 2012, voted on by citizens of Lincoln County, Oregon. And as if that weren't enough, Parents Magazine, Forbes Traveler, USA Today, 10Best.com, and Coastal Living named the aquarium amongst the top ten in the nation. The Portland Business Journal listed the Oregon Coast Aquarium as one of the top five education-based nonprofits in the state, and Spirit Magazine called Passages of the Deep "the coolest 50 yards on the Oregon Coast!"

The aquarium is wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available for rental in the main lobby.

Powell's City of Books Portland, Oregon

If you go to Portland, this should be one of your first stops. For any book lover, Powell's City of Books would be a dream come true with more than 68,000 square feet (about 1.6 acres) of books. You're sure to find something of interest to either browse or purchase. Powell's City of Books has been called "perhaps the best bookstore in the world" by the Washington Post. The store sells more than 3,000 books a day and entertains about 3,000 visitors a day. There are over 122 subject areas and more than 3,500 subsections within the bookstore.

While browsing, visitors can also grab a house-roasted coffee or an organic tea at World Cup, conveniently located inside Powell's City of Books. The café also has a variety of food options and provides free wi-fi.

The bookstore has four floors and is wheelchair accessible with elevators.

Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook

This museum has one of the best World War II aircraft collections in the United States and is also one of the top five privately owned aircraft collections in the nation. The museum offers a large collection of warbird airplanes, and there are more than 30 restored vintage aircraft. The birds are kept in a former military blimp hangar.All the antiques are housed in a rare World War II blimp hangar--the largest wooden structure in the world!

Tillamook Air Museum also has a '40s/'50s Café, which serves burgers and shakes, in keeping with the vintage-style warbirds. Afterwards, enjoy shopping at their aviation gift shop, where you can bring home custom items featuring the warbird collection.

The Tillamook Air Museum is handicap accessible and provides a limited number of complimentary wheelchair and strollers if needed.

Portland Center Stage, Portland

Portland Center Stage is the city's leading professional theater and is among the top 25 largest regional theater companies in the US. Many people with disabilities, especially those who use a wheelchair, receive a discounted price for their performance ticket, along with one companion, too. The stage brings to life unexpected stories and entertainment for the community. Not only do they put on a great show, but they also offer a variety of education and outreach programs which include classes and workshops.

All Portland Center Stage performances and facilities are accessible. PCS is accessible for wheelchairs and walkers, and also provides professional audio description and sign interpretation.

The Portland Art Museum, Portland

The museum's first acquisition was obtained in 1895, and since then has received donations such as Vincent van Gogh's The Ox-Cart. The museum now consists of thousands of works, many of which were gifts from museum founders and generous members of the community. The museum is more than 112,000 square feet, all which is used to feature the gallery and reflect the history of art from ancient to present times.

There is also a coffee shop called Museum Grounds, where local bakers make art-inspired treats. The museum's shop is full of art books and interesting gifts. There is no museum admission required to visit the shop.

The Portland Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. The accessible ramp entrance is located on the north side of the museum. Wheelchairs are also available for use, free of charge. The museum has elevators to access each floor, and restrooms are also wheelchair accessible.

Oregon, The Beaver State, has some of the freshest air you'll ever breathe and some of the most exciting accessible sights you'll ever see!