St Louis Gateway Arch

There are several iconic landmarks in the United States that every American needs to visit and experience at least once. The St. Louis Gateway Arch is one of those landmarks. The Gateway to the West is the nation’s tallest man-made monument and stands at 630 feet tall. I’ve been to the top of the arch several times but last week I got to see my kids experience it for the first time.

St Louis Gateway Arch

The journey to the top involves a 4 1/2 minute ride to the top inside a small elevator called a capsule. I know there are some people who have never experienced this ride to the top so here is a step by step plan so you will know what to expect.

Gateway Arch
  • All visitors enter the arch through one of two ramps.  You must pass through a metal detector when you enter.
  • Once you enter the base of the arch, you can purchase your ticket for the Journey to the Top.  There is also a movie you can pay to watch as well.
  • Once you purchase your ticket for the trip to the top of the arch, you will be directed to one side where you will board.  They will give you a tram number so you know which elevator you will be riding.  They do this to keep you from having to stand in line.  There are exhibits on the side to keep you entertained while you wait.
  • Each capsule elevator carries 5 people.  They are small so you need to watch your feet and heads as you enter and exit.
The Capsule to the top of the Arch
The Capsule to the top of the Arch
  • There is fresh air circulating in the capsule, but it is tight so be prepared.
  • Once the glass door closes, you will see the main outside door close as well.  But once you begin the ascent, you are able to see through the glass doors.  The kids (and us, too!)  were fascinated watching out the door.  We could see the emergency steps, worker’s areas as we climbed.  (Because I’m not overly fond of tight elevators, I actually timed the ride on my phone.  That way I could see when we reached the halfway point.)
  • You are allowed to stay at the top as long as you like.  The capsules return to the base of the arch every 10 minutes.  When you are ready to go back down, you just get back in line for the capsules.
  • The top of the arch has small windows on both sides.  You actually get the best view if you lean way over and look through the windows.  The view is amazing.  You can see up to 30 miles on clear days.
View from the top of the Arch
View from the top of the Arch
  • The ride down takes about 3 minutes.

Once you finish your journey to the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch, you can take a free tour through the Museum of Western Expansion.  There are many life size exhibits of animals, a stagecoach, tee-pee and more. The  Museum of Western Expansion is free to tour.

Western Expansion Museum
Western Expansion Museum

Things to Know

  • Although the museum, main area under the arch and general areas are fine for strollers, the journey to the top is not.  
  • There is a parking garage designated for the Arch Visitors.  I think it was $6.00 for up to 9 hours.

Hours of Operation:

Summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day): daily, 8am – 10pm
Winter (Labor Day to Memorial Day): daily, 9am – 6pm

Adults (ages 16 and up): $10
Children (ages 3 to 15): $5
National Park Pass: $7

When is the last time you visited the St. Louis Gateway Arch? Got a favorite memory to share? I’d love to hear!

I was not compensated or given any discount for the purpose of this review. We simply visited this US landmark and I wanted to share my experience with you.

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  1. Somehow I just thought it was an arch and nothing more. Who knew. Great pictures!

  2. This post is so timely for me! I went to the Arch on my senior trip and remembered the lift up being tight, but was looking just last night to see if strollers were possible. Think I’m taking the ride up off the itinerary for this trip so I don’t have to carry both babies in my arms. But we’ll definitely still go to see it!

    1. Michelle, I would definitely not want to take all 4 kiddos up to the top without a stroller. But the museum would be free you could easily use the stroller there!

  3. Tight elevator rides and heights…not sure this is for me, lol, but I sure wouldn’t like to see it from a safe distance outside. I am a wimp. 😀

  4. That looks like a lot of fun. I do not know if I could handle the 4 and a half minute ride to the top.

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