If you’ve ever been to St. Louis, most likely you’ve been to the beautiful Gateway Arch and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It was definitely on our to-do list the first time we were in Missouri. We took the 630-foot ride to the top of this world-famous stainless steel monument and saw the most amazing views of the city.
The Gateway Arch is the world’s tallest arch, the tallest monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. Sitting on the west bank of the Mississippi River, it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and has become an internationally famous symbol of St. Louis.
I will tell you a little more about our visit in a minute, but I want to share a little history of the Gateway Arch first. The vision originated in late 1933 when civic leader Luther Ely Smith, saw the St. Louis riverfront area and envisioned that building a memorial there would both revive the riverfront and stimulate the economy.
After many years of opposition, early railroad negotiations, and design competitions, construction on the arch finally began on February 12, 1963. The arch was dedicated by Vice President Hubert Humphrey on May 25, 1968. He declared that the arch was “a soaring curve in the sky that links the rich heritage of yesterday with the richer future of tomorrow and brings a new purpose and a new sense of urgency to wipe out every slum.”
The first time I saw the Gateway Arch I was in awe. It is so tall and looked so amazing. Gene and I were there with his brother during the week of Christmas and it was freezing. We were still Californians at the time, so we weren’t accustomed to the low temperatures. The wind coming off the Mississippi River didn’t help, lol. We bought tickets to take the tram and got in line. It didn’t take too long as it was a slow week for them.
It was finally our turn and when I saw the vehicle we would be using to get to the top, I couldn’t help but start cracking up. The two women behind us apparently were a little claustrophobic and didn’t think it was too funny. I just couldn’t stop thinking that it reminded me of the egg that Mork came to Earth in on Mork and Mindy, lol Yes, I know I’m dating myself, but I enjoyed that show, and that was exactly what it reminded me of when I saw it.
The ride actually only takes about 4 minutes to get to the enclosed Observation Deck, but we felt like we were in a different world. It was so amazing looking through the little windows and seeing the city of St. Louis. Apparently, on a clear day, you can actually see up to 30 miles in each direction. If you look west you will be able to see the Old Courthouse, Busch Stadium & Ballpark Village (both really cool), and the Edward Jones Dome.
If you look east you can view the Mississippi River and Illinois, as well as five unique bridges and a historical train trestle connecting Illinois to Missouri. We had a great time looking around and trying to see what we could recognize from up there. It is absolutely beautiful. People say you can feel it swaying and that did make me a little nervous before we went up, especially since it was so windy down below. However, I didn’t feel it too much while we were up there.
This is what it looked like on our first visit but have been back several times, as I have family all over the St. Louis area. I have yet to go up the Gateway Arch again during the spring or summer but would like to go back up when it wasn’t white and cold, lol. If you have been up there at different times of the year, please comment and share your experiences. Make sure to check out some of our other posts with incredible views such as the Space Needle, Empire State Building, and Sears (Willis) Tower. They are also amazing.
In the meantime, here is a link to their website with more information if you are planning your own trip. Happy travels.
Gateway Arch Visitor Information
11 North 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102
Daily 9 am – 6 pm
Adult (16+) $7
Child (3-16) $3
Tram Ride to the Top
Adult (16+) $12
Child (3-16) $8
Tram and Movie Combo
Adult (16+) $16
Child (3-16) $11
Tram and Cruise Combo (March-Nov)
Adult (16+) $29
Child (3-16) $15
See Everything Combo – Movie, Tram & Cruise
Adult (16+) $33
Child (3-16) $18
FROM Missouri Interstates 55, 44, 64/40 and 70
- I-44 East/55 North | Take Exit 292 for Lumiere Place Blvd/Washington Avenue/Eads Bridge, then take the U-turn from the left lane to access Pine Street and downtown.
- I-64 East | Take Exit 40 for the Last Missouri Exit. Turn left onto Gratiot Street, then left onto 4th Street. Continue north on 4th Street to access downtown.
- I-70 East | Take Exit 249B for Tucker Boulevard. Continue south on Tucker Boulevard, then turn left onto Market Street to access downtown.
From Illinois Interstates 55, 64 and 70 via Poplar Street Bridge, Martin Luther King Bridge, Eads Bridge and Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge
- Poplar Street Bridge (55 South/64 West) | After crossing the bridge, take exit 40D for Memorial Drive. Keep right on the exit and follow signs for Memorial Drive. Continue on Memorial Drive then take a forced left onto Walnut Street to access downtown.
- Martin Luther King Bridge | After crossing the bridge, follow the road to the right, then turn left under the interstate onto Carr Street followed by an immediate left onto Broadway Street to access downtown.
- Eads Bridge | After crossing the bridge, continue straight on Washington Avenue then turn left on Broadway to access downtown.
- Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge | After crossing the bridge, take the left exit for North Tucker Boulevard. Continue south on Tucker Boulevard, then turn left on Market Street to access downtown.
By train, bus, or trolley, the Gateway Arch is easily accessible from throughout the St. Louis metro area. To find the MetroLink train station nearest you, visit the Metro Transit system map. Exit at the 8th and Pine station. Exit at the Laclede’s Landing station and walk south through the park to the Gateway Arch entrance. If you have not already purchased your tickets online at gatewayarch.com, tickets are available once inside to the left at the ticket center.
MetroBus serves the greater St. Louis and Metro East Illinois region. Refer to the Metro Transit map to determine the best route to the Gateway Arch from your location.
Call (314) 231-2345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about MetroLink or MetroBus.
Parking in Downtown St. Louis: For a list of preferred parking locations in downtown St. Louis, visit explorestlouis.com.
Accessible Parking: While there is no on-site parking available, visitors can find a list of preferred parking locations at explorestlouis.com. Each garage and surface lot has handicap accessible spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. Two passenger drop-off/pick-up spaces are available on 4th Street across from the Old Courthouse, between Market & Chestnut. Metered accessible spaces near the Arch entrance are also available on a first-come, first-served basis along Memorial Drive between Walnut & Market Streets and between Chestnut and Pine Streets.
The Tram Ride to the Top of the Gateway Arch is not fully accessible for guests with mobility impairments, as no wheelchairs, scooters or strollers are permitted on the Observation Deck. To reach the top and return, you must be able to manage at least 96 steps, divided into six flights, and you may need to stand for 30–60 minutes. No seating or restrooms are located at the top of the Arch.
Hearing-impaired visitors may request assisted listening and captioning devices for the documentary movie from the Information Desk inside the Gateway Arch.
Sight-impaired visitors may request audio description devices for the documentary movie from the Information Desk inside the Gateway Arch.
Service animals (as defined by the US Department of Justice) are permitted at the Gateway Arch and the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch.
Strollers are permitted everywhere except in the Arch trams and the Observation Deck at the top of the Gateway Arch. You may park strollers at the tram ride loading zones located below the Gateway Arch before taking your Tram Ride to the Top. Many families park strollers there, so you may want to label yours with your name and address.
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