Gateway Arch National Park
Previously known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the famous white arch in St. Louis, Missouri has officially achieved national park status as of February 2018. It towers 630 feet over the Mississippi River, marking the starting point of the early 19th century Lewis and Clark expedition. The park encompasses a total of 91 riverside acres, and includes not only the arch but also historic city buildings and modern-day museums. The iconic arch itself is a classic road trip stop, serving as a reminder of our pioneer history and an unofficial entryway between the eastern and western United States.
St. Louis is prone to stereotypically midwestern weather, including hot, humid summers and damp, gray winters. Fortunately, most of the exhibits and activities at Gateway Arch National Park are indoors, so the climate doesn’t matter so much. That said, the summer is, of course, the busiest travel season, bringing long lines and crowded arch-top views that can be frustrating. For best results in the summer, visit early or late in the day -- or consider making your journey in the wintertime, when there’s little visitor traffic.
Gateway Arch National Park is situated in the heart of bustling St. Louis, Missouri, a major city with a population of over 300,000. The town is home to endless restaurants, museums, and cultural attractions, all of which are worth taking time to explore while you’re in town to visit the iconic landmark.
Visitors flock to Gateway Arch National Park to enjoy the stunning view from 630 feet in the air, as well as to learn more about the important history of this part of our country -- the beating heart between the east coast and the west. The park is also home to the Old St. Louis Courthouse, which was the site of the pivotal Dred Scott case in the mid-1800s. Guided tours of the courthouse as well as trolley rides to the top of the arch are available, though some of these activities come at an additional fee. The National Park Service also orchestrates a variety of riverboat cruises, whose availability and frequency depend on the season. Click here to learn more about the different tours available at Gateway National Park, as well as the fees involved, and click here to see the upcoming special events held on the park property. In all cases, we recommend booking any guided tours well ahead of time, especially during busy travel seasons.
Where To Stay
Thanks to Gateway Arch National Park’s municipal location, there’s no camping on-site. There are, however, a variety of RV camping options in the greater St. Louis area, whether you prefer to stay in the heart of town or further afield.
Gateway Arch National Park Public Campgrounds
RV Rentals Near Gateway Arch National Park
Nearby RV Rentals
Hit the Trails
What to Do
As an urban national park, Gateway Arch doesn’t offer much in the way of outdoorsy adventure. But there’s still plenty to see, learn, and do during your visit!
Even though you won’t be climbing the serpentine stairs to the top of the arch, a day’s worth of adventuring and education can really work up an appetite. Here are some local favorites for when it’s time to take a snack break.
The American midwest may be miles and miles from Thailand -- but you won’t be able to tell once you step foot in this elegantly-casual joint. From fresh soups and curries to chicken sateh and crispy spring rolls, you’ll find every authentic Thai treat you’re looking for at Fork & Stix.
Looking for a date night spot? This upscale-yet-approachable, Israeli-inspired Mediterranean restaurant is sure to please -- especially given its wide range of delicious craft cocktails and ample wine list.
St. Louis ain’t Memphis… but you can still get Memphis-style barbecue at this beloved local haunt. Open Monday through Saturday from 11-8ish and sunday from 11-4ish. (What’s with the “ish,” you ask? Well, they often have to close the doors early when they inevitably sell out.)
Sometimes, you just need a little shopping spree… or maybe just to stock up on essentials. Either way, it’s not hard to find what you’re looking for in a big city.
For memorabilia, park information, and -- of course -- that all-important national parks passport stamp, don’t forget to visit the Gateway Arch National Park Bookstore before or after your tour!
You won’t be doing much outdoor adventuring at this national park, it’s true. But if St. Louis is just the start of your own westward journey, REI is a solid bet for both gear and guidance.
Need a new outfit or a killer pair of shoes to tromp around St. Louis in? Visit this high-end mall for all of your luxury retail needs.
There’s plenty to learn at Gateway Arch National Park, it’s true. But we hope you brought your thinking cap -- because the park’s just the start when it comes to fun educational adventures in St. Louis.
It’s a dark spot in our nation’s history, to be sure… which is exactly why it’s so important to educate ourselves on how and why the Civil War happened. This museum in particular has been called “the most impartial and balanced” exhibit on the subject by Michael Weeks, a preeminent Civil War historian
St. Louis has long been a musical city, and this museum both explores and celebrates its soulfullest genre.
From historic railway cars to prototypical automobiles, if you or your family’s got movement on the mind, this museum will help you learn more about it.
Its acronym isn’t SLAM for nothing! The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the most popular cultural exhibits in town -- not least because admission is totally free, every single day it’s open.
From outer space to more terrestrial delights, the St. Louis Science Center invites visitors to “connect with curiosity” -- and offers every opportunity for you to do so in a fun and interactive environment.
Looking for a few more stops to add to your St. Louis itinerary? Here are things to think about.
If you’re in St. Louis, you can’t really miss the Mississippi River -- in fact, viewing it from the arch’s epic height is one of the main reasons people visit the town in the first place. But from steamboat tours to informative interpretive centers, there are plenty of other ways to engage with this mighty waterway.
Enjoy thrills, spills, and chills at Missouri’s favorite family theme park, which includes both wild roller coasters and tamer, kid-friendly rides. There’s even a water park -- the perfect opportunity to cool off if you’re visiting during one of the state’s famously humid summers!
The self-described “grandest station in the nation,” this St. Louis site is an all-in-one attraction. Enjoy the unique entertainment of the fire and light show or grab a great meal at one of its various restaurants. Come during the holiday season to give the kids a whirl on the Polar Express!
How to Get There
Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, it’s not hard to find yourself at Gateway Arch National Park. Several major Missouri interstates, including Routes 44, 55, 64, and 70, converge at the city, and it’s also home to a steadily-serviced major airfield.
If you’re already in St. Louis, there are a variety of public transportation options available, including the St. Louis' MetroLink Lightrail. If you’re traveling in your own vehicle, however, parking may be a challenge; click here for full details about how to approach the property and find the best parking in the area.
Whether you’re heading to St. Louis alone for some urban fun or making a stop on the way to other, outdoorsier ventures, an RV is a great way to tour our country (and our national parks in particular). You’ll have all the flexibility of a traditional road trip with the added comfort and convenience of bringing your lodgings along with you. And you’ll definitely know when the sheets were last changed!
If you don’t already have a travel trailer or motorhome of your own, an RV rental is a great way to experience this unique travel style without making a purchase commitment. No matter where you’re going or where you’re started from, there’s an RVshare vehicle waiting to help you create an unforgettable getaway.
Entering the Park
Fees to experience Gateway Arch National Park are structured a little differently than those at many other NPS-managed federal recreation sites. Your costs will vary depending on which park activities you’d like to experience, whether that be the simple $13 tram ride to the top or the $30 combination ticket including a St. Louis Riverfront Cruise tour. For full and up-to-date details on fees and passes at Gateway Arch National Park, click here.
Finally, while you’re enjoying your stay at the gateway to the west, remember -- we’re waiting to hear more about your adventure! Tag us in your social media posts or send pictures and details to us directly at [email protected]. We may just feature your story in one of our blog posts or on our social media channels!