The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri (with Map & Photos)

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is the tallest National Historic Landmark in the United States. It is often referred to as "the gateway to the West." The hollow arch stands 630 feet (192 m) tall, spans 630 feet (192 m) at ground level, and is a popular tourist attraction. It opened to the public in 1967, and more than a million people a year make the trek to the top of the legendary monument.

Gateway Arch
Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch is a part of the Jefferson National Memorial Extension. The arch itself reflects the westward expansion of the US during the 1800s. In addition to the Gateway Arch, the park contains the Westward Expansion Museum and the Old Courthouse, which was the site of the Original Dred Scott trial and the Virginia Minor case for women's voting rights in 1870.

The arch was built from February 1963 to October 1965 using 900 tons of stainless steel. The legs are 54 feet (16.5 m) thick at the base of the arch, which is 17 feet (5.2 m) thick at the top, and the structure weighs more than 17,000 tons. In high winds, the bow can sway up to 18 inches (7 cm) in any direction.

Tourists who want to visit the top of the gateway arch can ride one of the two trams that start at the north and south columns of the arch. After boarding the tram, guests will be greeted by a guide who will explain the history of the arch during the four-minute tram ride. Trams run approximately every 10 minutes, with each visit typically lasting around an hour.

Tours of the Gateway Arch can be taken throughout the year. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, tours run from 8:20 a.m. to 9:20 p.m. During the winter, tours can be taken between 9:20 a.m. and 5:10 p.m. The last trolley leaves 45 minutes before closing for allow all guests the opportunity to see the city from the top of the arch during the day, as well as for security reasons. Visitors who wish to avoid large crowds should plan to visit before 10 a.m.

Visitors can purchase tickets online or in the park on the day of their visit. Tickets for admission to the Gateway Arch also include a small admission fee to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. Guests should wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. It's also helpful to know that there are no bathroom facilities at the top of the arch.

The north and south columns of the arch feature unique pieces that guests can see while waiting for a tram to take them to the top. The north leg of the arch contains the history of the arch along with photographs taken during its construction. The south leg of the arch shows what life was like in St. Louis during the 1800s during the US westward expansion.

The gateway arch welcomes visitors to St. Louis, Missouri.

The Gateway Arch Map