Things You Should Not Miss
1. Take the tram ride. It will not necessarily evoke a trip across the western plains in a covered wagon. More like a spaceship ride in a small capsule. But once you reach the top and take a gander west outside its windows, you see the expanse (thirty miles on a clear day), yes, modern today, but you can imagine putting all your hopes and dreams into a land so rich, but so wild, and doing it in a wagon with canvas sides.
There are a limited amount of tickets for the tram rides each day. Come early or buy in advance if you are visiting on a high attendance day. The observation deck holds only 100-140 people at a time and the trams have a capacity of 80 at a time. They ride at only 3.9 MPH. Geez, about the speed of a wagon train. The entire experience takes about 45 minutes. Remember to get there early enough if you have a timed ticket to make it through the security measures. They can take up to 30 minutes.
2. Take in one of the films, the "Gateway to the West" or "Monument to a Dream."
Pilgrims on the plains. A lithograph by Theo R. Davis from 1869, showing a wagon train on their way west.
What is There NowThe Gateway Arch and Tram Ride to the Top
The Museum of Western Expansion - Holds a collection of exhibits on 19th century pioneers, the American Indian, plus the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The Old Courthouse - Built over 150 years ago on donated land, the courthouse has exhibits of the two Dred Scott cases in 1847 and 1850.
What is Coming SoonWell, not too soon, but scheduled for 2015, the 50th anniversary of the site. It's gonna be an exciting time at the old Gateway Arch in St. Louis over the next five years as an expansion of the park, plus new landscape and museum design features are put in place to make the visitor experience there augment that wonderful ride to the top of the arch. It's gonna include a cable car ride across the Mississippi River to the new parkland in Illinois, too. Sounds like a wonderful addition to the story of western expansion told through the arch and its museums.
St. Louis is a large metropolitan city with a variety of motels and hotels. For more information, visit Expedia or one of the other motel travel sites, or the visitor bureau for St. Louis and Missouri. There are a number of hotels and restaurants within walking distance of the arch.
St. Louis LinksJefferson National Expansion Memorial
St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau
Nearby AttractionsMissouri Division of Tourism
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Oregon National Historic Trail
Pony Express National Historic Trail
Santa Fe National Historic Trail
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail