Top Things to Do in Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park, located in St. Louis, Missouri, is a renowned landmark that attracts millions of visitors each year. Standing at an impressive height of 630 feet, the Gateway Arch offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and the city skyline. Apart from its iconic stature, there are plenty of activities to enjoy within the park. Whether you are a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply searching for a memorable experience, Gateway Arch National Park promises to deliver. Here are the top things to do in the park:
1. Ride to the Top of the Arch
The most popular attraction within Gateway Arch National Park is undoubtedly the opportunity to ride to the top of the arch itself. A unique tram system transports visitors to an observation deck where they can experience stunning panoramic views of St. Louis. The journey in the cramped tram pods is thrilling, making it an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. Make sure to book your tickets in advance, as this activity tends to be highly sought after.
2. Explore the Museum of Westward Expansion
At the base of the arch, you will find the Museum of Westward Expansion, which offers an immersive journey into the history of westward expansion in the United States. The museum showcases exhibits, artifacts, and displays that explore the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Native American cultures, and the impact of westward expansion on the nation. It is an excellent opportunity to delve into the history of the region and gain a deeper understanding of the pioneers who shaped America.
3. Take a Riverboat Cruise
Experience the charm of the mighty Mississippi River by embarking on a riverboat cruise. Several operators offer scenic cruises that allow you to admire the majestic river while learning about its cultural and historical importance. From narrated tours to dinner cruises, there are various options to suit your preferences. Enjoy the beauty of the river and soak in the rich heritage surrounding it during this relaxing and informative excursion.
4. Stroll Through the Luther Ely Smith Square
Adjacent to the Gateway Arch, Luther Ely Smith Square is a beautifully landscaped park that provides a calm retreat within the bustling city. Take a leisurely stroll through the square, enjoy a picnic on the green lawns, or simply sit and admire the arch from a different perspective. With its peaceful atmosphere and stunning views, the square offers a perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate amidst the hustle and bustle of the park.
5. Visit the Old Courthouse
A short walk from the Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse is a historically significant building that served as the site for the famous Dred Scott trials. Explore the courthouse’s rich architecture and learn about its role in shaping American history through various exhibits and guided tours. The building provides valuable insights into the legal battles fought during the Civil Rights Movement and is a must-visit for any history enthusiast.
6. Enjoy Outdoor Activities
Gateway Arch National Park offers numerous outdoor activities for visitors to indulge in. From biking and walking along the picturesque trails that wind through the park to picnicking in designated areas, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The park also hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and family-friendly activities, making it a vibrant destination for everyone.
7. Attend a Ranger-Led Program
For an in-depth understanding of the park’s history and natural resources, consider attending one of the ranger-led programs offered within Gateway Arch National Park. These programs range from guided hikes to informative presentations and interactive workshops. Engage with knowledgeable park rangers who are passionate about sharing their expertise, and gain a deeper appreciation for the park’s significance.
8. Explore City Museums and Attractions
While visiting Gateway Arch National Park, take the opportunity to explore the vibrant city of St. Louis. Experience the world-class St. Louis Zoo, admire art at the St. Louis Art Museum, or learn about science at the City Museum. From exploring the historic neighborhoods to trying local cuisines, St. Louis offers a plethora of attractions and activities that will enrich your visit to the Gateway Arch National Park.
9. Attend a Gateway Arch Event
Throughout the year, Gateway Arch National Park hosts various events that provide unique experiences for visitors of all ages. From concerts and cultural festivals to art exhibitions and special programs, there is always something happening within the park. Check the park’s official website for a calendar of events and plan your visit accordingly to make the most of these exciting happenings.
10. Capture Memorable Photos
Last but not least, don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking views and moments during your visit to Gateway Arch National Park. From the stunning arch against the backdrop of the blue sky to candid shots of your loved ones enjoying the park, there are countless opportunities for memorable photographs. Cherish these memories and share them with friends and family to showcase the beauty and grandeur of this remarkable national park.
In conclusion, Gateway Arch National Park offers a multitude of activities that cater to a diverse range of interests. From the iconic ride to the top of the arch to exploring the museum, cruising the Mississippi River, engaging in outdoor activities, and immersing oneself in the history of the region, there is something for everyone in this majestic park. Plan your visit, pack your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable experience in Gateway Arch National Park!