Your Guide to Visiting Gateway Arch National Park
If you’re thinking about a spring break or summer visit to St. Louis (or are you a local and planning a staycation?), be sure to include Gateway Arch National Park in your plans!
We’ve outlined important things to know when planning your visit, as well as a sample itinerary of what you can see and do when you’re at the Arch.
Before your visit, make your parking and travel plans. Find your best route to the Arch with the help of our online Getting Here Guide. The Gateway Arch does not have dedicated on-site parking, but you can visit getaroundstl.com for a list of preferred parking locations near in downtown St. Louis.
Planning to take the Tram Ride to the Top? The tram ride sells out early and often, so get your tickets in advance at gatewayarch.com or by calling 877-982-1410.
Day of Visit
Start your Gateway Arch National Park visit at the Old Courthouse. While the building is closed to visitors due to the pandemic, take in its historical architecture and stop by the Dred and Harriet Scott statue (located at Fourth and Market streets) to reflect on the Scott’s historic fight for their freedom, which began at the Old Courthouse.
Next, cross Fourth Street to make your way into Luther Ely Smith Square. Born in 1873, Smith was a St. Louis lawyer and civic booster who first proposed a riverfront memorial for President Thomas Jefferson. Smith’s efforts led to the creation of the Gateway Arch. The square offers great vantage points for photos of the Arch.
Now enter the Arch facility via the monument’s glass west entrance. (The Arch legs are exits only.) If you’re taking a tram ride, arrive at the Arch at least 30 minutes before your scheduled tram time.
Once you’re inside the Arch Visitor Center and past the security checkpoint, explore the re-imagined Museum at the Gateway Arch – it’s free! Six exhibit galleries cover more than 200 years of St. Louis history – from the city’s start as a colonial town, to its role in the westward expansion of the U.S. One of the galleries highlights the construction of the Arch.
Before your scheduled tram ride, watch the award-winning 1967 documentary movie Monument to the Dream, which chronicles the construction of the Arch, in the Tucker Theater. Movie tickets can be purchased online or by phone. (Pro tip: Save money with the tram + movie ticket combo!)
Next, your Tram Ride to the Top awaits, where you’ll travel 630 feet to the top of the Arch in the unique tram cars. You’ll see scenes to the east and west – downtown St. Louis and the sprawling skyline and the flowing Mississippi River.
Post-tram ride, get a bite to eat at the Arch Café or shop for souvenirs and gifts at The Arch Store. Then, exit out of the Arch via the north or south leg, and see the Arch up close. If time permits, explore the Arch grounds and see native plants in bloom, or see St. Louis from the Mighty Mississippi with a cruise aboard the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch.