6 Things to Know When Visiting the Gateway Arch
There are so many things that go into planning a visit anywhere, sometimes it’s difficult to make sure you’ve checked all the boxes! We’re going to make this easy for you. Here’s what you need to know when planning a visit to the Gateway Arch.
- Planning ahead is key
What’s worse than hearing, “We’re sold out”? While the Museum at the Gateway Arch is always free, tickets are required for the Tram Ride to the Top of the Arch and the Documentary Movie “Monument to the Dream.” The tram ride sells out early and often, particularly during spring break, summer and the holiday season, so purchase your tickets in advance via our webstore or by calling 877-982-1010.
- Determine your parking… now!
While there are numerous parking garages and surface lots located near the Arch, we are excited to announce that through a partnership between Gateway Arch Park Foundation and Interpark along with Bi-State Development, preferred parking at a discounted rate ($9 for first five hours) is available at the Stadium East Garage, located at 200 S. Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102.
You can pre-purchase parking with no validation required online. If parking is not pre-purchased, validation is required by scanning/stamping your parking ticket at one of two validators inside the Visitor Center at the Gateway Arch. (Validators are located in the West Entrance lobby just outside the restrooms and on Level 1 next to the Explore St. Louis Information Desk.)
With each preferred parking purchase at the Stadium East Garage, $1 will go to support ongoing conservation and preservation efforts, educational opportunities and community programs at Gateway Arch National Park through Gateway Arch Park Foundation.
- Know where you should enter the Arch
For more than 50 years, visitors entered the Arch at the monument’s legs. But all that changed in 2018 with the renovations to the Arch Visitor Center and Museum. Now the only entrance to the Arch is the monument’s west entrance plaza, which faces the Old Courthouse and Fourth Street. (For visitors needing to be dropped off, use the ADA-accessible sidewalks along Luther Ely Smith Square at Market Street & Memorial Drive, or at Chestnut Street & Memorial Drive to reach the west entrance plaza.)
If you’re taking the Tram Ride to the Top, arrive at the Arch at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled tram time.
- There is so much to see, so take your time
Where should you begin your Arch visit? It’s all up to you! Here’s our suggestion, though: Book a Tram & Movie Combo, which includes the tram ride and the documentary movie “Monument to the Dream,” about the construction of the Arch. See the movie first, then take the tram after – you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the construction workers who built the Arch without wearing harnesses!
Before or after the tram and movie, tour the free Museum at the Gateway Arch, which explores more than 200 years of St. Louis history, from colonial times to the Arch’s construction. (Allow at least one or two hours to explore the museum, but more time may be desired.) The six exhibit galleries feature an array of artifacts and interactives, including a full-sized, vertical log house for visitors to experience life as a St. Louisan in the 1700s, a 5-block scale riverfront levee model of what downtown St. Louis Riverfront looked like in 1852, and a replica of the historic Old Rock House featuring stones from the original building that were saved during demolition.
During or after these adventures, grab a bite to eat at the Arch Café or shop for limited-edition souvenirs and gifts at The Arch Store. Both the café and store are located in the tram lobby.
- Don’t forget the park grounds
With a jaunt around the 91-acre Gateway Arch National Park grounds via the park’s five miles of pedestrian pathways, you’ll have access to the Arch and riverfront from all sides, as well as the grounds’ iconic reflecting ponds. You’ll also see a diverse mix of more than 4,000 trees, including many species native to Missouri.
The 7.5-acre North Gateway of Gateway Arch National Park includes the Lewis & Clark Explorers’ Garden for children with a raised walkway featuring views of the Eads Bridge and the Mississippi River. Plus, you’ll get unencumbered access to Laclede’s Landing to explore other parts of the city.
While the Old Courthouse is currently closed for renovations, walk around the perimeter of the historic building to take in its incredible architecture and reflect on the many civil cases heard there throughout history, including Dred and Harriet Scott and Virginia Minor.
- Share your experience, and come back again soon
We want to see where your Arch journey takes you! Share your experience with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tag @gatewayarchstl in your photos and use the location “Gateway Arch National Park” or “Gateway Arch.”. Also, leave us a review on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook or Google, as we take your thoughts seriously in making the Arch experience the best it can be for future visitors. And please, come back and visit again very soon!