When you think of St. Louis, one of the visions that immediately pops into your head is most likely the Gateway Arch. St. Louis is filled with easily-recognizable structures, but this is probably the most prominent.
The Arch is located on the well-developed Gateway Arch Riverfront and is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Millions of people visit this steel structure each year, gazing at its 630 ft. stature. But, after you’ve taken a few pictures, what else is there to do? Plenty!
Underneath the arch is an air-conditioned plaza that houses the Museum of Westward Expansion, including a Lewis & Clark exhibit that features talking mannequins. There are a couple of shops in which you can buy St. Louis and Arch souvenirs. There is also a vending area where you can get drinks.
There is still a tram that runs to the top and you can buy your tickets here, as well. I am claustrophobic, so there was no way I was taking that tiny elevator up to the top, but the lines were long of more adventurous tourists who couldn’t wait to reach new heights. Tip: You can order your tickets online at GatewayArch.com and bypass the ticket line when you get to the Arch.
When you’re done visiting the Arch itself, head on down to the riverfront and hop aboard a riverboat cruise (gatewayarchriverboats.com). Or, grab some fast food at the Arch View Café.
There are plenty of trees in the park, so it's easy to find a shady spot during the humid summer months. Also, if you walk to the right (as you're looking at the arch) you'll see a tree-lined path with benches...a perfect spot for relaxing before your next activity.
If you’re driving to the Arch, the Arch parking garage on Washington Street charges $6 for the first 9 hours and .75 each additional hour. Or, you can take the MetroLink. Get off the train at Laclede’s landing and walk a short distance to the Arch. For specific instructions on driving to the Arch, check out www.gatewayarch.com.
Weekends are busy, so expect crowds.