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Gateway Arch Tips: Visiting the St. Louis Arch

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If you’re headed to St. Louis, Missouri, you’ll definitely want to know all the Gateway Arch tips to make your trip a success. There is much more to do at the St Louis arch than just ride to the top, so read on for all the details!

The Gateway Arch is a must-see attraction for all ages. Many think it’s just a ride to the top of a beautifully built arch to view St. Louis, Missouri, but there is so much more. 

You can easily spend half a day running through the green space, walking through the interactive museum, and riding on a riverboat cruise – in addition to riding to the top of the St Louis arch.

I am all about being prepared before you travel with kids. Tips and tricks are my best friend. Here are the details and useful Gateway Arch tips you’ll need to know. 

History of the St. Louis Arch

The idea for The Gateway Arch began in 1935 when Thomas Jefferson had a vision of a transcontinental United States. After many years of carefully planning, construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1965. 

The story behind The Gateway Arch is just as fascinating as the beautiful structure. The Gateway Arch was built to represent and celebrate those who shaped this area of America.

Gateway Arch Tram Ride

Excited girl.

The tram ride to the top of the St Louis Arch is the main attraction. The views are breathtaking and the experience riding to the top is a once in a lifetime adventure. My kids did not know what to expect and still talk about the suspense riding to the very top.

When it’s time to get your St Louis Arch tickets, be sure to purchase them ahead of time! The tram ride sells out early and often. 

Prices differ depending on packages. You can purchase packages that include the riverboat cruise, tram ride and more. Take a look at all the options and plan your day at The Gateway Arch.

Make sure you have your cameras with you. The views of St. Louis are breathtaking!

Aerial view of St. Louis at night.

The Park and Green Space

One of my best Gateway Arch tips is to bring a lunch and blanket and enjoy the view of the Mississippi River and the arch from below. The Gateway Arch sits right on the Mississippi River and provides beautiful scenery and views from the bottom as much as it does from the very top.

People are drawn to the beautiful green space and park that surround The Gateway Arch. We saw many families enjoying picnics, playing catch, and running around. 

Brother and sister in front of Gateway Arch.

The Gateway Arch Museum

When you visit The Gateway Arch, be sure to visit the museum which is located underground on your way toward the tram ride to the top. The museum traces the story of everyone who made America possible, from Native Americans to pioneers and rebels. The interactive museum is filled with history and grabs the attention of all ages.

You do not need to purchase a tram ride ticket to walk through the museum, but you will need to go through security.

Girl looking through microscope at a museum.

National Park Service

Did you know The Gateway Arch is part of the National Park Service? If you are a family who loves to check off lists and track where you have traveled, make sure you grab a National Park Passport Book. The Gateway Arch gift shop sells them in their store for $9.95. Get it stamped and make it official! This is a great way to track all your wonderful experiences across America.

Brother and sister showing National Park Passport books.

Gateway Arch Tips: Know Before You Go

  • Purchase your tram tickets before you arrive. Rides to the top sell out quickly. If you know which day you are visiting, purchase your ticket beforehand. They also offer several packages which may include the St. Louis Riverfront Cruise and the Documentary Movie.
  • Give yourself plenty of time before your tram ride. To get to your tram ride you need to go through security and you’ll walk through the museum. Make sure you have plenty of time to take in all the history before riding to the top. It adds to the experience!
  • Go to the bathroom before you get in line. Once you give your ticket and are through there are no bathrooms. Depending on how busy it is, you can be in line for 30 to 45 minutes. Plan ahead.
  • The Gateway Arch is a National Park and you will go through security and metal detectors before going through. Make sure you do not have anything on you that may be taken away.

If you are planning a trip to St. Louis, Missouri make sure you have added a visit to The Gateway Arch to your itinerary!

Young boy by Gateway Arch St Louis sign.
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Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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