How to Spend the Holiday Season at the Arch & Riverboats
Do you hear what we hear? Sleigh bells are ringing in the distance, the new bird is singing their song as we go along, and the kiddies are having lots of fun with Mister Snowman. It’s official: The holiday season is here! Experience Downtown St. Louis during this sparkling season.
As we gather with friends and family, you may be thinking, “What can I do with my family this weekend?” Consider spending a day downtown at the Gateway Arch and Riverboats at the Gateway Arch. With the Museum at the Gateway Arch, Tram Ride to the Top, Documentary Movie, The Arch Store, Arch Café and 91 acres of park grounds to explore, there is something for everyone to do and see on the riverfront! And… you are welcome to stay as long as you’d like.
Planning your visit to the Gateway Arch in advance will ensure a worry-free experience! Here are our top tips to ensure your visit is smooth sailing.
Don’t wait until the day of your visit to purchase tickets for the Tram Ride to the Top of Arch! The tram ride sells out early and often, especially during the holiday season, so getting your tickets to the top in advance is strongly encouraged. You can do so by calling 877-982-1410 or visiting our online ticket center.
Arch parking is available at Stadium East Garage, located at 200 S. Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102. Just visit iparkit.com/TheArch to pre-purchase parking with no validation required. If parking is not pre-purchased, validation is required by scanning/stamping parking tickets at one of two validators located inside the Arch Visitor Center. Validators are located in the West Entrance lobby just outside the restrooms and on the lower level of the Arch facility, next to the Explore St. Louis Information Desk.
With each 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.
For more information about the Gateway Arch’s Preferred Parking program, head to our online parking informational page.
Arriving at the Arch
Arrive at the Arch at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled tram time. Also, enter the monument at the Arch west entrance plaza, as the Arch legs are exits only. Entrance to the Arch Visitor Center and the Museum at the Gateway Arch is free!
Extended Hours & Holiday Closures
The Gateway Arch and Riverboats at the Gateway Arch are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Although the Arch facility is closed on these days, we invite you to visit the park grounds to walk off those extra holiday calories.
While the Arch is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter, the monument is operating in special holiday hours on the following dates:
- Friday, November 26: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, November 27: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Friday, December 24: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Friday, December 31: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Riverboats at the Gateway Arch Holiday Cruises
Celebrate the merriest days of the year aboard a festive cruise at the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch – from PJs & Pancakes with Santa to a New Year’s Eve party on the river!
On the kid-friendly PJs and Pancakes with Santa Cruise, set sail on the Mighty Mississippi with the Jolly Man in Red! Looking for some jingle bell rock? Then the Holiday Blues Cruise is right up your alley! The Jingle & Mingle Holiday Dinner Cruise is great for an outing with family and friends, and there is not one, but TWO New Year’s Eve cruise options this year: the NYE Dinner Cruise and the NYE Party Cruise.
Gateway Arch National Park partner Gateway Arch Park Foundation hosts its annual Winterfest holiday celebration in Kiener Plaza, featuring ice skating in the shadow of the Arch!
This year’s Winterfest features all the holiday fun from previous years such as ice skating, holiday lights and music, festive beverages and food, cozy igloos, sweet s’mores, winter markets, visits with popular princesses and superheroes, and a New Year’s Eve celebration with a spectacular fireworks show.
Winterfest Hours of Operation: November 20, 2021 – January 2, 2022:
- Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.
- Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 8 p.m.
- December 25 (Christmas Day): 2 to 8 p.m.
Extended Hours: December 27 – 31, 2021:
- Open daily from 12 to 8 p.m.
Learn more about Winterfest’s Igloo Village, S’mores Stations, Festive Fridays, One Nation Day, Winterfest Night Markets, Princess & Superhero Character Skates, and the New Year’s Eve celebration online.
Take the Tram Ride to the Top and rent Winterfest ice skates with the Tram & Ice Skate Rental Combo!