New York City is one of the country's most walkable cities. It's easy to get to many attractions by foot, which is good news for a person who enjoys traveling this way and doesn't mind the exercise. But for people who have difficulty walking a lot, this fact about NYC can be rather overwhelming. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to do for travelers who want to see the city but need to do it at a slower pace.
Relax in the Park
Parks in New York City such as Central Park, Bryant Park, Washington Square Park and the High Line are excellent places for people who are unable to walk a lot. There's always something happening at each one of these parks, but most importantly, there are places to sit down, read a book, relax and people watch.
The best time to visit a park in New York City is during the fall, from September to October, and the spring, from March to May. In the summertime, the parks host many events such as live music and food festivals, but it can be uncomfortably hot and humid at this time, and comfortable seating is harder to come by during crowded festivals.
Ride a Sightseeing Bus Tour
If you're unable to do a lot of walking but still interested in seeing New York City's sights, opt for a Big Bus hop-on, hop-off tour. Take one of two routes, the Uptown Loop or the Downtown Loop, depending on what you want to see.
The Uptown Loop is the museum route, taking you through Midtown and the Upper East Side, making stops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. The Downtown Loop takes you through the Flatiron District, Union Square, Greenwich Village and Chinatown. Some popular stops are Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall and Battery Park, with connections to the Statue of Liberty.
This is an excellent option for all visitors to New York, but it's a wonderful idea for people who are unable to walk a lot. You can stay on the bus for the duration of the loop without getting off or choose one or two sights where you feel comfortable walking a little bit. The basic hop-on, hop-off tickets cost $54 for adults and $45 for children, though other packages are available. Each loop is 2.5 hours long.
Sail the New York Harbor
Perhaps instead of seeing New York by bus you'd rather see it by boat. Many companies offer sightseeing boat tours of New York City, such as Gray Line and Circle Line, but all of them take travelers on a ride around the New York Harbor.
After boarding passengers at either Pier 78 or the World Financial Center, some boat tours take a journey that might be longer than that of other companies, but no matter which boat you choose, you'll have extraordinary views of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and the entire New York City skyline. Tickets range in price, but a 90-minute ride sells for about $30. Best of all, there's no requirement to walk a lot to enjoy the ride.
Cheer at a Sporting Event
New York City has many of its own sports teams, including the Mets, the Yankees, the Knicks, the Rangers and the Brooklyn Nets. Watch the Knicks play basketball at Madison Square Garden or the Yankees swing bats at Yankee Stadium. No matter what time of year you visit New York, it's very likely that a sporting event will be taking place at some point during your trip.
Sports are a nice way to experience the local culture and have some fun without having to be concerned about walking too much. Find tickets on various websites, such as NYC.com, Ticketmaster and StubHub. After getting to your seat, sit down and enjoy the game. And if you get hungry, don't worry about getting up, as people selling hot dogs, popcorn, beer and cotton candy will pass by your seat.
Watch a Broadway Show
A Broadway show is something that everyone should see at least once while on a trip to New York, but it's also the perfect activity for someone who can't walk a lot. There are Broadway shows playing every day and night in New York City, though some shows have "dark nights" on Sundays and/or Mondays so that the crew gets time off.
The most popular shows on Broadway are "Hamilton," "The Lion King" and "Wicked" – shows that have been on Broadway for quite some time. To see which shows are playing and to buy tickets, visit Broadway.com or head to the box office directly. Tickets can cost as low as $40, but the more popular shows at busy times can be well over $100.
There are many options in NYC available for people who can't walk much. The subway system makes it easy to get from one place to another. There are elevators inside subway stations for those who can't walk up and down stairs easily. Public transportation doesn't end at the subway, either, as there are taxis, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, and buses.
The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that most businesses and facilities be handicapped-accessible. So whether you're in a wheelchair, on crutches or not able to walk very well, establishments such as restaurants, museums, churches and shopping malls must be accessible for everyone. You'll notice that many places in New York have ramps, elevators or even wheelchairs available to rent so that everyone has access to the same activities.