Top Things to do at Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri! All of the great things you can do while visiting the 60th US National park Site.
Things to do at Gateway Arch National Park
- Things to do at Gateway Arch National Park
- Tram ride to the top
- Gateway Arch Museum
- Monument to the Dream Film
- Mississippi River Boat Cruise
- Visit the Old Court House
- Become a Junior Ranger
- How tall is the Gateway Arch?
- Where is the Gateway Arch?
- When was the Gateway Arch Built?
- Gateway Arch Facts
- Travel Tips
- Gateway Arch NP Travel Info
- National Park Sites near Gateway Arch NP
Prior to February 2018, the Gateway Arch and grounds were known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
The designation made Gateway Arch the 60th National Park Site in the United States. Check out a full list of US National Parks.
The designation of Gateway Arch as a National Park has upset a lot of people who love National Parks. The designation doesn't really fit the normal expectations of a National Park designation.
One thing we can say is the park offers the opportunity to learn more about Thomas Jefferson and the westward expansion of the United States.
Tram ride to the top
One of the most popular things to do at Gateway Arch NP is the tram ride to the top. The tram ride transports you 630 feet to the top of the tallest man-made structure in the United States.
You will want to plan for the tram ride to take at least an hour not counting waiting in line.
Guests wanting to take the tram ride have to be able to manage at least 96 steps, divided into six flights, and you may need to stand for 30–60 minutes.
The trams include 8 capsules on each side with each capsule seating 5 people. One thing to know is the capsules are only 5 feet in diameter so there is not a ton of space.
Accessibility - The tram ride to the top is not accessible. No wheelchairs, scooters, or strollers are permitted on the Observation Deck. To reach the top and return, you must be able to manage at least 96 steps, divided into six flights, and you may need to stand for 30–60 minutes. No seating or restrooms are located at the top of the Arch.
Tickets - Make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time so you know you have a ticket.
How long does the tram ride take?
The tram takes four minutes to get to the top and three minutes to travel from the top to the bottom, plus an additional three minutes to load; so a tram just leaving the top will return in approximately 10 minutes.
How big is the viewing area at the top of the Arch?
The viewing area at the top of the arch can fit 160 people.
There are 16 windows on each side of the viewing area. Each window is 7 x 27 inches.
Are there restrooms at the top of the Arch?
There are no facilities at the top of the Arch so you will want to make sure everyone in your party is prepared.
Does the Arch move?
It takes a 50-mile an hour wind to move the top 1 1/2 inches on each side of the center. The Arch was designed to move as much as 18 inches and can withstand an earthquake.
On a normal good weather day, you should not feel the Arch moving.
How far can you see from the top of the Arch?
On a clear day, you can see up to 30 miles in each direction. It is worth noting that St. Louis is a hazy city so you will want to be prepared for a minimal view.
Dense fog can surround the Arch creating zero visibility at the top.
Gateway Arch Museum
The Gateway Arch Museum was re-opened in 2018 with brand new displays. The interactive museum is dedicated to telling the story of America's pioneering spirit and the westward expansion of the United States.
Exhibits span from 1764 to 1965 and include Colonial St. Louis, Jefferson’s Vision, Manifest Destiny, The Riverfront Era, New Frontiers, and Building the Gateway Arch.
Monument to the Dream Film
The Monument to the Dream Film is played at the Tucker Theater. The 28-minute film details the building of the Gateway Arch.
The Tucker Theater is located in the Gateway Arch Visitor Center.
Mississippi River Boat Cruise
The Riverboats at the Gateway Arch are a part of the oldest Mississippi excursion boat company that has called St. Louis its home port since 1917.
The Riverboats at the Gateway Arch—replica 19th-century paddle-wheel riverboats Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer—transport riders back in time to when steamboats ruled the mighty Mississippi and fueled the nation’s westward expansion, making St. Louis truly the Gateway to the West.
The riverboats are located on the St. Louis Riverfront below the south leg of the Gateway Arch at 50 S. Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63102.
Visit the Old Court House
The Old Courthouse was the location of the Dred Scott Case along with hundreds of other civil rights suits.
The Old Courthouse features restored courtrooms and free exhibit galleries telling the story of Lewis & Clark, Native Americans, and colonial St. Louis.
You can shop for memorabilia and gifts at the Old Courthouse Shop.
Entrance to the Old Courthouse is free.
Become a Junior Ranger
Junior Ranger programs can be picked up at either the Arch or the Court House.
The Junior ranger program can only be completed onsite due to it being specific to the park and the grounds.
Check out these great Junior Ranger Programs you can complete at home!
How tall is the Gateway Arch?
The Arch is 630 feet (192 meters) tall; 630 feet is also the distance from leg to leg at ground level.
The Gateway Arch is 63 stories tall.
Where is the Gateway Arch?
Gateway Arch is located in St. Louis, Missouri along the banks of the Mississippi River.
When was the Gateway Arch Built?
Construction of the Gateway Arch began February 12, 1963, and was completed on October 28, 1965.
The north tram was opened to the public on July 24, 1967. The south tram was completed in 1968.
Gateway Arch Facts
Outer Width - Outside North Leg to Outer South Leg
Shape of Arch Section
Dimension of Arch at Base
54 ft. (16.46m)
Dimension of Arch at Top
17 ft. (5.18m)
Size of Windows
Approx. 7" x 27" (180 mm x 690 mm)
Construction of Windows
3/4 in. (19mm) Plate Glass; Hinged and Locked
Size of Observation Room
7' 2" x 65' x 6' 9" high (2.18m x 19.8m x 2.06m)
Capacity of Observation Platform
100 - 140 persons
Deflection of Arch
18" in 150 MPH wind (0.46 m in 240 km/h wind)
Method of Determining Deflection of Arch
Calculations and Wind Tunnel Tests (240 km/h)
Number of Sections in Arch
Thickness of Plates for Outer Skin
Type of Material Used in Arch Exterior
Stainless Steel; #3 Finish Type 304
Structural Capacity of Observation Area
100 lb/sq. ft (488 kg/m)
One thing to know about visiting Gateway Arch NP is finding parking can be an adventure. You will want to be prepared with cash to pay for parking lots near the park.
It can be a bit of a walk to reach the park and museum area so be prepared. This includes making sure you do not have things sitting out in your car since you will be parking in the city.
Gateway Arch NP Travel Info
Location - St. Louis, Missouri
Address - 11. North 4th Street, St. Louis, MO 63102
Entrance Fees/price - The entrance fee is $3.00 per person.
Entry is free for children under 16 and America the Beautiful pass holders.
The tram ride is an additional fee for adults and children.
Hours - Gateway Arch is open year-round, closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Parking - A list of several downtown St. Louis parking locations within walking distance of the
Gateway Arch is available here.
Accessibility - Except for the Tram Ride to the Top, all facilities at the Gateway Arch are wheelchair accessible. Assisted listening, captioning, and audio description devices are available for the documentary movie.
National Park Sites near Gateway Arch NP
Lincoln Home National Historic Site - Illinois
Check out all of the National Parks in Missouri and neighboring Iowa National Parks, Kentucky National Parks, Illinois National Parks, Tennessee National Parks, Arkansas National Parks, Oklahoma National Parks, Nebraska National Parks, and Kansas National Parks.
For an entire list of US National Parks head over to our list of US National Parks in Alphabetical Order. We also have a printable checklist of all National Park properties in the United States available.
Don't miss the City Museum in St. Louis. It is a great museum to explore with the entire family.