The Gateway Arch, St. Louis MO

The Gateway Arch, St. Louis MO

The Gateway Arch is one of those iconic “must see” things. If you go to St. Louis, you must see the Gateway Arch. So when Hubs and I were in St. Louis, it was our number one stop. Thankfully, unlike the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, this was actually worth seeing.

The Gateway Arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in the US National Park System. And in case you’re wondering, the name refers to the westward expansion of our nation, which began in St. Louis. In fact, there is a Museum of Westward Expansion located in the underground facility beneath the Arch.

When Hubs and I visited the Arch, we purchased the “Journey to the Top” admission tickets, which not only allowed us to ride up to the top of the Arch, it also provided us with admission to a documentary film called Monument to the Dream.

Normally, I would frown upon the idea of watching a documentary about something when I am about to see it in person. However, I learned that the film was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary short when it was debuted  1967, and I could certainly see why. It gives the story of the Arch from its initial design to completion, and all of the challenges met along the way. I found the documentary to be extremely interesting and I was really glad that we saw it. It certainly made me appreciate my visit to the top a lot more than if I had gone without knowing the background.

As for the ride to the top, you enter one of these little tram-pods:

Gateway Arch 4

They are tiny and they hold up to five people.  I don’t recommend it for people with severe claustrophobia. Thankfully, the ride does not take a long time. When you get up to the top of the Arch, you can look out the windows for an amazing birds-eye view.

Gateway Arch 2

Off to the right in the above photo is Busch Stadium, home of the St Louis cardinals. Here’s a better view:

Gateway Arch 3.jpg

The tower in the foreground of the stadium picture is the Millennium Hotel, which unfortunately, closed in 2014. The top level of the tower was a restaurant that revolved and offered great views of the Arch and other city landmarks.

I really enjoyed our visit to the Gateway Arch.  Here are some of the interesting things that I learned:

  • The Arch is as tall as it is wide – 630 feet.
  • It is composed of 142 steel sections.
  • The Arch weighs over 43,000 pounds.
  • There are 16 windows on each side of the observation deck, and they measure 7 inches high by 27 inches wide.
  • The official name for the shape of the Arch is a catenary curve.
  • It is the tallest monument in the United States.
  • You are permitted to stay at the top as long as you would like (but there are no restrooms or other facilities there – just windows).
  • The viewing area at the top can hold up to 160 people.

I highly recommend visiting the gateway Arch if you find yourself in St Louis – it was an excellent experience for us!

Gateway Arch 1

The Gateway Arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and is located at 100 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102. Telephone 877-982-1410.  It is open daily, but hours vary by season. Check the web site or call when planning your visit. 

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