Whether you’re visiting from out of town or a local planning a fun day off, you can visit many different St. Louis attractions. The most famous of these is the Gateway Arch, also called the St. Louis Arch. Many families visit the Arch each year, both for day trips and as part of longer vacations. How can you plan and enjoy a fun family trip to the Arch? Consider the following factors as you make your plans.
If you’re visiting from out of town and staying in a downtown hotel, you can walk to the Arch Grounds if you’re close enough. If that seems like too long of a walk, you can take the MetroLink from your nearest station to the Laclede’s Landing station, which is located within the Eads Bridge. The Arch Grounds are on one side of that station, while Laclede’s Landing is on the other. You can purchase a round-trip ticket to get you to the Arch and back. You can also drive through downtown St. Louis to a couple of St. Louis Arch Grounds parking lots and parking garages. You’ll have to pay for parking, but it’s worth it if you want to keep your vehicle nearby or plan to visit other St. Louis attractions after you’re done at the Arch. There are two outdoor parking lots next to the Laclede’s Landing MetroLink station. These lots are on the opposite side of the Eads Bridge from the Arch, so you have a short walk from the lot to the grounds.
Locals and visitors staying farther out in the St. Louis metropolitan area can use these methods to reach the Arch Grounds. However, they can also take advantage of the local highways. Highways 44 and 55 merge in the downtown area and offer two exits near the Arch Grounds at Walnut Street and Washington Avenue. Other highways, such as Highway 40, lead into the downtown area, but you’ll have to travel through downtown to reach the Arch Grounds from the exits. If you’re driving to the Arch, you can find directions to the St. Louis Arch on most travel apps, such as Waze and Google Maps.
When you reach the Arch Grounds, officially called Gateway Arch National Park, there are many different things you can do. The most obvious activity is to visit the museum beneath the grounds and go up in the Arch. Read about the Arch’s COVID-19 restrictions before you visit so you’re prepared to follow the rules. However, you can do many other things on the Arch Grounds. You can walk around the grounds on any of the available paths. All the paths are curved to reflect the fact that the Gateway Arch is a large inverted catenary curve. The paths outline great swaths of green grass, which are perfect for family picnics. The large lawn directly beneath the Arch is a popular picnic spot. You can also view two riverboats at the Gateway Arch. These riverboats are named the Tom Sawyer and the Becky Thatcher, after two of Mark Twain’s popular literary characters. You can take river tours on these boats and view the Arch and the St. Louis skyline from the water if you want a different view of the city.