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For many St. Louis-area natives, the Arch is a presence one sees on a regular basis.  Almost all of the bridges across the Mississippi River are in plain view of this one-of-a-kind national monument.  It is the tallest national monument in the United States (it basically dwarfs all the others!), and a must-see for anyone who is traveling through St. Louis. About 4 million people visit the park each year. 

Seeing the Gateway Arch while on the road

To see the arch heading west, the best views of the arch can be had on the Eads Bridge, the MLK Bridge, and the Poplar St Bridge, with the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge being fairly close as well.  These bridges are best reached by taking I-70, I-55, or I-64 West into St. Louis proper (each of these bridges will also take you into the heart of downtown STL.  

To see the arch heading east, the best views of the arch can be found by taking 44/55 North/East from south STL, or by taking 70/44 South/East from north STL, or by taking 64 East from west STL.  44 runs directly by the arch, but the other interstates/routes also take you into view of the arch.

Keep in mind that I-270 (the Chain of Rocks bridge) and US 67 (the Clark bridge) go too far north to see the Gateway Arch.

Attractions at the Gateway Arch

From the Museum of the Westward Expansion under the Arch to riding the elevators to the top of the United State's tallest monument, to cruises on a riverboat on the Mighty Mississippi, the Gateway Arch has attractions for all kinds.  (More details can be found on their website)

What is the Gateway Arch?

The arch is one of the most influential and unique monuments in all of the U.S. The Arch stands apart from every other building that stands in downtown Saint Louis. Just across the way from the city’s City Hall, stands the 630-foot-high monument that you cannot miss. It's the world's tallest arch. The Gateway Arch was created to represent a “Gateway to the West” which is a strong indication of where the name derives from. In other words, the strong and sturdy created Arch acted as a door to the western regions of the country. The Gateway to the West derives from the westward expansion of the U.S back in the 19th century. The Arch is a part of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson's role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse. In 1987, the Gateway Arch was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Below is a photo of the Gateway arch and its grounds. 

 History of the Creation

The Arch was designed by a Finnish born American architect named Eero Saarinen in 1948 and was then developed into a reality between the years of 1963 and 1965 being completed in 1965. The Arch stretches to 630 feet tall and 630 feet from one leg to another. It's as tall as it is wide. The Arch is labeled as the tallest man-made monument in all of the U.S. located right off the river bank of the Mississippi River and can be seen from miles and miles away. Building this Arch was far from a cheap deal. The Arch was built for 13 million dollars plus another 2 million to install the indoor tram ride to the top. Gaze at over 43,000 tons of concrete and steel making an iconic, elegant arc, completely covered in stainless steel. Each leg of the arch was built individually, then they were put together in the end to for the arch. Each leg had to match one another perfectly to come together. Its foundation is sunken 60 feet down into the ground. It's built to withstand high winds and even earthquakes. When the arch was being built, workers had to destroy forty acres of St. Louis land to make room for the arch and its park. The monument has taken millions of visitors on the trip to the top to enjoy stunning views stretching up to 30 miles to the east and west. 

Below is a photo comparing the height of the arch to the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. 

Below is a a photo of when the arch was being built. 

 What to Do?

Inside are two trams, each of which consists of eight cars that each carry up to five seated people at a time. Visitors can take a four-minute tram ride to the viewing platform at the top of the arch. Sixteen windows face east, and the same number face west for views of the city, river, and surrounding land. The platform can hold up to 160 people at once. At the base of the arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion features displays showing what life was like in the 1800s, as well as exhibits on the construction of the arch. The Arch is also available for private events for you and your family or friends. These events include Family reunions, Church gatherings, Birthday parties, Weddings, Anniversaries, Fundraisers, Corporate meetings. There are also amazing firework shows that go on behind the Arch as the fireworks are going off in the backdrop and above the Arch during the 4th of July. The city also provides riverboat tours which give you a great vantage point of the Arch and all it has to offer.


Above is a photo of the cars riders sit in when being brought to the top of the arch. 

Below is a photo of the observation deck. 

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Be sure to check out more at the The Gateway Arch website and other links