The husband and I recently took our summer vacation to the Mile High City, Denver, Colorado. We were there for a wedding and stayed a few extra days to enjoy the city. As we planned our travels, we were originally going to drive, but since we are both wheelchair users we wanted our travel to be as hassel-free as possible so opted to fly from our home in Minnesota so we did not have to worry about hauling our car, finding parking, and loading our chairs in and out several times during the drive there and back.
Our flight experience
We flew United and travel was overall great. The flight attendants were more than willing to help load and unload our wheelchairs, carryon bags, and help us to our seats, even moving us close to the front of the cabin upon request. The staff at the Denver airport were more than happy to point us in the right direction and lend a hand. We requested “pushers” who got us to and from our gate and baggage claim with plenty of time to spare.
Let’s talk Taxis
We considered calling ahead for a taxi but were informed by one of the taxi companies that they always have a fleet waiting at the airport, even handicapped accessible vans to accommodate both of our chairs. We were pleasantly surprised to find an accessible van ready to take us straight away to our hotel – the driver even willingly loaded both of our chairs and suitcase into the back end of the vehicle.
Finding an accessible taxi to get around town was not quite as smooth. Make sure you give yourself plenty of lead time and call ahead. Be sure to be clear with them about the type of vehicle (car, van, etc.) that you will need if you are traveling with mobility equipment. We had one experience when the company sent a car after we requested a van and had to wait almost 45 more minutes for them to send a bigger vehicle to accommodate both of us with our chairs. Carry extra cash to tip the driver well if he is required to load and unload your equipment for you.
Denver also offers bus lines, trollies, and car rentals so there are lots of options for you to choose from to get around.
Sights and Sounds
We spent our entire stay at a hotel downtown so we were able to get nearly everywhere in the down town district by walking (aka “wheeling”). The street accessibility around the Denver area is fabulous – curb cuts on every corner, flat sidewalks and every place we visited, whether it was a store, restaurant, museum, attraction, had a flat entrance, push button door, and elevator to access all the floors. We visited the downtown Denver Art Museum, 16th Street Mall, Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens, and several shops and restaurants. One of our favorite restaurants was Sam’s No. 3 downtown – great food and very affordable, close to lots of hotels. If you do not want to worry about the hassel of getting to and from, consider staying at a hotel downtown – you won’t run out of things to see and do!
Overall, Denver is a GREAT option if you are looking for a vacation spot right here in the USA. With its mild weather most of the year and variety of things to see and visit along with multiple options for getting around whether you are able-bodied or part of the disabled community, you are sure to have a great time.
To learn more about getting around Denver and accessibility based on different impairments, visit http://www.denvergov.org/Default.aspx?alias=www.denvergov.org/accessibledenver
For information about airlines and navigating the Denver airport, visit http://flydenver.com/accessibility
Have you ever traveled to Denver? What’s your take on disabled access in the Mile High City?