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Tips for Visiting the Gateway Arch

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

During our travels to Missouri and Illinois this summer, we finally took E. to see the Gateway Arch. It’s crazy to think of all the times we’ve visited St. Louis, but haven’t made time to act like tourists!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your visit to the top of the monument:

Ticket Times: Don’t get too excited. When you see that it’s a busy day at the Arch, you might be surprised to find that your assigned tram time is only minutes away. However, keep in mind that you’ll do some additional waiting even after you report to the north or south tram line. First, you’ll need to wait to get your boarding pass, then you’ll wait again for your tram group to be called, and then you’ll watch a short film while waiting to board. In other words, bring something along to keep the kids entertained!

Restrooms and the “Point of No Return”: As I’m sure you can imagine, there aren’t restrooms at the top of the Arch. There aren’t any near the tram loading area either, so use the ones near the ticket counter when you have the chance. Also, be prepared for your child to announce, “I have to pee,” as soon as you step onto the tram and can’t go back. (Yes, this happened to us.)

Duck! The trams/elevators are very compact, even though they hold up to five people. You’ll need to watch your head getting on and off the tram. If compact spaces make you uncomfortable, remember that the ride up to the top only takes about five minutes.

View from the Top: Once you’re at the top of the Arch, you can look out the windows and see St. Louis on one side and the Mississippi River and Illinois on the other. Some highlights to spot before you go back down: the beautiful courthouse building (to the west), Busch Stadium (west), and the Arch’s shadow.

View from the top of the Gateway Arch

Most of all, enjoy your visit!

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