travel with kids · Uncategorized

Going Inside the Gateway Arch

For as long as I can remember, even since I was a kid, going to the top of The Arch in St. Louis has been on my bucket list. This summer, our family had a chance to experience it. If you ever have the opportunity, you just have to do this.

Inside the arch museum.


What can you expect? And what tips could we give?

  • Go early. If you go early it is way less crowded. We arrived as close to opening as we were able. It wasn’t crowded at all. As we left, I noticed lines were much longer.
  • Get tickets online in advance. I read several blogs before we went where visitors shared that tickets were sold out when they arrived. To avoid this, just go to the Gateway Arch website.
Take screenshots of your online tickets! You won’t have internet access underground.
  • The Arch is a national park now and the newest one at that! It was just declared a national park one year ago.
  • You will need to venture underground to get to access the arch.
  • You will pass through an airport-type security before you can enter the arch or museum.
  • The park has been completely renovated. The museum that you have to pass through to go up into the arch is state-of-the-art, brand new and beautiful. There is a cafe, gift shop and clean restrooms.
  • The Gateway Arch is the tallest structure in Missouri standing at 630 feet. Even after venturing to the top myself, it is a little surreal that we actually went to the top!
  • You will be in very close quarters with people. Traveling up you will ride in a tram, and each pod holds five passengers. They are small. My husband had to duck his head.


  • While in your pod riding up to the top, the door has a window so you can see the gears and inner workings of the arch, much like you might imagine in an elevator. My ten-year-old got motion sickness from it and we instructed her to close her eyes or look away.
  • When you get to the top, it is surprisingly crowded. There were probably forty or more people up there, which I was not expecting.
  • When you’re at the top you can feel the arch swaying a little if you stand still. I had read about it in advance, that it was normal, so it didn’t scare my crew.
  • There are windows at the top so you can peer out and see the city on one side, and the Mississippi River on the other.

The windows at the top
View of the city from the top

Our favorites? I loved the adrenaline of going to and being at the top. My husband had been when he was a kid, but it had been a long time so he was glad to get to go again. Madeline, my five-year-old said she loved going up and down the arch. Anna Claire, my oldest, loved the cafe and gift shop and said the whole thing was a neat opportunity.

I hope you will make a point to venture to The Arch! It’s an experience of a lifetime.

Here are some more pics. Enjoy!

Me standing outside the arch.
Just inside the main entrance. The entire building is beautiful.
The girls holding their tickets. Your ticket number indicates what elevator/pod you will be in.
The inside of a pod.
The numbered doorways to the pods
My big girl just got over her fear of escalators weeks before this trip.


My people in front of the arch.


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