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Gateway Arch National Park

Gateway Arch Trail, St. Louis, MO 63102, USA
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Gateway Arch National Park  Missouri United States

Gateway Arch National Park

The unofficial symbol of St. Louis, the Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made monument in the United States, rising 630 feet into the air. It sits at the center of Gateway Arch National Park, which was established in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a transcontinental America. In 2018, the park emerged from a five-year, $380 million renovation, which added a grassy pedestrian walkway over the interstate as well as a revamped museum with new exhibits about the construction of the arch and how the expansion of the United States affected Native American communities. Tour the new sites, then take the four-minute, vertigo-inducing tram to the top of the arch, where you can see up to 30 miles east and west on a clear day.

More Recommendations

AFAR Local Expert
over 5 years ago

The audacity of form—the Arch in St. Louis

As iconic as the Gateway Arch is, you just can't appreciate the scale and audacity of it until you stand under it in person. On a family road-trip when I was kid, we passed through St. Louis but didn't have time to stop...so when I found out I would be attending a work-conference here, and that my hotel would be across the street from this landmark, I couldn't wait. Early-morning and late-afternoon runs took me under and around this 630-ft.(192m) tall structure, (taller than the Space Needle), and some colleagues and I took the 5-person-'pod' elevator (not for the claustrophobic) to the top of what is technically a 'catenary curve.' The metal soars, effortlessly, above a vast lawn overlooking the Mississippi River. From the top, you can see 30 miles in any direction... From a frontier French settlement to a bustling city that hosted the 1904 World's Fair and Olympics, St. Louis might no longer be the center of American migration, but history has left grand public spaces, and the downtown is reviving... Plan to visit at sunrise or sunset, when the stainless steel surfaces gleam warmly, almost blindingly... Observation deck hours: summer--8am-10pm; winter--9am-6pm
AFAR Local Expert
over 5 years ago

An Underground Museum of the West

Beneath the St. Louis Arch is a wonderful underground museum, a key part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial run by the National Park Service. It is not well known even to people in St. Louis. Totally below ground beneath the Arch itself, it is as large as a football field. The Museum of Westward Expansion preserves some of the rarest artifacts from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which started from St. Louis over two centuries ago and began a century of western expansion. Yes, it is also the way to enter the vertical tram ride up the Arch, but I recommend you skip that ride and spend the time touring the museum. The museum has some fantastic exhibits and the lines for the Arch ride are long. Remember, if you go up in the Arch, you will be disappointed that you cannot any longer see the beautiful Arch (because you are in it)!
AFAR Local Expert
over 5 years ago

steel out of the sky

I'd passed through St. Louis on a couple of family road-trips when I was a kid, but we never had time to stop. This past spring, I was there for a work conference; fortunately there was time for morning runs along the Mississippi River...running with my iPhone in hand... The Gateway Arch is such an iconic landmark, but despite the visual familiarity, it is truly awe-inspiring to stand under its audacity: sheer mathematical simplicity on such a large scale--it's taller than the Space Needle. The arc of steel seems to fall out of the sky, a frozen ray of reflective solidity.