top of page
Gateway Arch 2.jpeg
IMG_2064.jpeg

Gateway Arch

July 4, 2021

NP 26/63

Written By: Colin

Untitled Design.png

Road Trip

Copy of Your Story  Untitled Design.JPEG
Gateway Arch 2.jpeg

I first visited Gateway Arch back in 2018, less than 2 weeks after its’ redesignation to a National Park. I had no idea about any of this at the time, as our National Park journey and knowledge didn’t begin until later that year. They were in the process of renovating the visitor center and there was a ton of construction going on. This visit however, was very enjoyable. It was just a quick ride to the top with my Dad, as we traveled across the country. I was moving to Phoenix and we were taking Route 66 as far as we could. This was one of our first stops on that journey.

IMG_3748.jpeg

Gateway Arch!

IMG_0135.JPG
IMG_3742.jpeg

We made it to The Top!

IMG_3741.jpeg

The Arch reflecting over the Mississippi

Fast forward 3 years later, including a move from Phoenix back to Michigan, and we’re on the road again, for yet another cross-country move. Insert Gateway Arch National Park part 2!

IMG_2067.jpeg

National Park #26!

Kayla and I’s visit to St. Louis occurred while driving out to Denver to scope out some apartments before our move. It was a busy couple weeks, as we drove out to Colorado for this trip, drove back to Michigan and then made our way back to the Mile High City for the move. We stopped at both Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park and Gateway on our return trip to the mitten. It was a bit of a stressful time and we ended up staying in Denver an extra day than planned. Because of this, we had to eliminate some other stops on the way back, as we had to be at Gateway for our scheduled activities.

GPTempDownload.jpg

Soon-to-be Home!

IMG_2003.jpeg

Now designated as a National Historical Park

We stayed at a hotel that was actually across the Mississippi and in Illinois. We had a beautiful view of the Arch and of the fireworks that would happen the following evening, as we were in town for the Fourth of July. We spent our first night taking the train  across the river, grabbing dinner and enjoying the lights of a St. Louis night.

IMG_2013.jpeg

View from hotel parking lot

IMG_2015.jpeg

Sunset over the Mississippi

IMG_2024.jpeg

The Arch and the Old Courthouse

IMG_2033.jpeg

St. Louis nights

We would start our July 4th with a walk across the Ead’s Bridge and enter the park on foot. We explored the grounds for a while, before our noon showing of Monument to the Dream, the park’s film, which requires a ticket. This was one of the more in-depth films and was a very enjoyable watch. Along with the film, we also grabbed tickets for the Tram and a Riverfront Cruise. For 2 adults, with the America The Beautiful Pass discount, it was $74 for the 3 activities. It’s a little different having this added expense while visiting a park, but it is also a very unique park. Everything was amazing and we would definitely recommend going for the See Everything combo.

IMG_2039.jpeg

Crossing the Mississippi!

IMG_2040.jpeg

Missouri / Illinois state line

IMG_2043.jpeg

We made it to the park!

IMG_2046.jpeg

Under the Arch!

Although we enjoyed these activities, we were bummed to have to miss out on the Old Courthouse, which was closed for renovations. So after the 30-minute film, we wandered through the newly-renovated museum and visitor center, as we waited for our cruise. It’s a pretty impressive setup and took us some time to walk through the entire thing. It was a great way to space out our day, with everything having to be scheduled.

IMG_2049.jpeg

Old Courthouse

IMG_2068.jpeg

The Arch along the river

IMG_2093.JPG

We got lucky with a few moments of no crowds!

Before boarding for our 3:00 Riverfront Cruise, we made our way over to the dock and grabbed a cold and refreshing beverage on this hot summer day. There’s a bar and live music on the dock, making it the perfect waiting place before hopping on your cruise. Once aboard, the tour is about an hour long, as you ride up and down the Mississippi River. There is also a bar with drinks and snacks on board, and a tour guide that spends the 60 minutes informing you of all the fun facts of the area.  Not only were the views of the Arch beautiful, but it was so nice just being on the water and taking it all in from a different angle. We really enjoyed this experience and would consider doing it again, especially the sunset dinner cruise!

IMG_2076.jpeg

Not a bad Untappd check-in photo!

IMG_2080.jpeg

Sights along the Mississippi

64712384927__9F31BE11-66A7-448B-9261-536344B0304A.jpeg

The Arch slays from all angles

IMG_2087.jpeg

We LOVED this cruise!

After our journey on the water, we had about an hour before it was time for the main event. Having a 5:00 Tram Ride ticket, it gave us plenty of time to hop back over to the visitor center and grab a bite to eat at the Arch Cafe. The cafe actually has a decent menu and although I don’t remember much from prior to the renovations, the visitor center here is extremely nice and I assume it’s a great upgrade from the days before National Park designation.

IMG_2111.jpeg

To The Top!

IMG_2112_edited.jpg

We rode up in Elevator 6

Before we knew it, it was time to head over to the elevators and make our way “To the Top”! Once you line up for your designated time, there is a small wait and they have video walls with some trivia to kill the time. You eventually make your way to your specific elevator and cram in to the tiny tram. With COVID precautions still in place, you rode only with your party, which was very nice! Those that are claustrophobic may want to think this over twice, as it is a pretty tight space.

IMG_2131.jpeg

The trams are tiny!

IMG_2119.jpeg

Old Courthouse from above

IMG_2121.jpeg

Downtown St. Louis

The final chapter of this visit was experiencing the Fourth of July fireworks from our hotel’s parking lot. Before we left for the day, I moved the car to give us a good spot for viewing. It’s hard to top these views without having to fight for a spot in a crowd of people. It was a wonderful way to cap off our trip!

IMG_2155.jpeg

A great end to the trip!

Again, this is a very different National Park than you may be used to experiencing. I may not fully agree with the designation, but I will say, after each visit, I have left very satisfied and surprised with what the park encompasses. We will definitely have to return and explore the Old Courthouse, as I feel it is an important part of why this is a park. Until then!

IMG_2106.JPG

Fire Up!

bottom of page