Since I am claustrophobic, I really wish someone had warned me about the ride to the top of the Gateway Arch. I looked at the website, but got as far as the statement "trams leave every 10 minutes". I have in my head what a tram looks/feels like. It was nothing like what I had in my head. The "tram" is, in fact, a 5-person pod - very close quarters. I tried to maintain my composure so as to not frighten the child who was in the same pod. I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing. The four minutes it took to get to the top seemed to take forever, and I banged my head on the lowered door as I rushed to escape the pod.
I remember very little about being at the top. I must have looked out of the windows, because I have photos on my camera. My racing heart, flushed and sweating face, and the beginnings of a pounding headache all combined to keep me there less time than it took to get there. I'm including a photo of me taken at the top - it kinda looks like I am smiling, but you can see the watery eyes, the sheen of sweat, and the flushed skin on my face. This is not the look of someone having a good time. And worse, you have to go down the same way...
I made it there and back. It took me a good 30 minutes to calm down afterward. I won't do it again.
Much like the Eiffel tower is to Paris, or the Statue of Liberty is to New York, the Gateway Arch is the icon of St. Louis - as such, you will probably find yourself taking MANY photos of it. Interestingly enough, the Arch changes with time of day, and proximity, and vantage point. A marvel of engineering, modern, graceful - and it is still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact you can travel inside it!
In our family album is a photo of the Gateway Arch from a trip we took when I was 5 or so. I vaguely remember seeing it (through the faraway veil of that child's mind), but since I was a little girl I knew I'd have to see it again someday and ride the elevator to the top (which I still need to do).
When I found out Radiohead would be in concert not too far away, I knew this was my excuse, er, ticket to return. The Megabus travels to that city from Cincinnati and can be done at a great price. I paid only $46 roundtrip which meant I had no choice but to look for the symbol of St. Louis when I came into town.
And there she was in all her glory! It was like seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris!!
These photos were taken from the bus on the way in; I've posted the best ones.
Photos: May 15, 2008
We didn't go up in the Arch, and we didn't pay a dime to park on the street, cross the street, then run around the park, touch the arch, and stare up at it in amazement. It really is impressive to see and the kids thought it was very cool. Definitely worth our 30 minute stop.
Stainless steel and 630 feet above the ground. This structure can sways 1/2" - 1" in 20 mph wind. Wow.
Summer hours - 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Arch trams will run daily starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 9:10 p.m.
Winter hours - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Arch trams will run daily starting at 9:20 am and ending at 5:10 pm.
Trams leave at least every 10 minutes, and it's a tight fit in the tram.
Tram tickets: $10 adults (17 & older), $7 youth (13 - 16), $3 children (3 - 12)
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This is a magnificent work of architecture. The view from the top is awesome (just don't go up there if you're afraid of heights!). A tram takes you up and back. At 630 feet, it's our nation's tallest monument. It's now the best-known symbol of St Louis.
There is no fee to view the Museum of Westward Expansion. It's a good thing to see and do if you have to wait for your tram ride to the top of the arch. The displays offer a peek into the area of the West that awaited Louis & Clark during their exploration. There is a very good movie about the ships that the explorers used on their voyage.
This beautiful arch is the landmark of St. Louis.
It can be seen everywhere in the city.
Went up in the tram ride which was kind of claustrophic.
At the top, at 630 feet, it was an amazing view of the St. Louis, the Missisippi River and the surroundings on both sides of the arch.
Worth the wait. Not to be missed when you are visiting St. Louis.
(Labor Day to Memorial Day)
9:20 a.m. - 5:10 p.m.
(Memorial Day to Labor Day)
8:20 a.m. - 9:10 p.m.
Trams leave every ten minutes.
Average round-trip visit = 60 minutes
Nothing says St. Louis like the Arch! It is an amazing structure. The fact that it was built is enough, but it is simple and beautiful. People don't think too much about it, but when they see it up close...Wow. I was a kid and remember it being built, in fact, my dad would regularly take us all down to the riverfront to see its latest stages as it was going up. Many said it was impossible to build and would never work! Sadly, Eero Saarinen, the visionary architect who designed the arch , never lived to see the dream it accomplished. It is a 630 ft high stainless steel equilateral triangle and the shape is elegant, the catenary curve or the shape a chain takes when hanging upside down. Standing under the arch and looking straight up, it is astonishing to wonder how it was possible. The two legs of the arch were built separately and when they were finally close enough near the top, a scaffold was erected to anchor them together. When the final keystone piece was ready to be installed, it was a blazing hot day and the piece was several feet to big to fit into the opening. The two legs were hosed down with water and the piece was inserted. What drama!
Thanks to the steel workers who risked their lives making this structure. Dangerous as it was, not one life was lost during the construction of the arch. I could go on and on with the magnificence, but you will have to come see for yourself.
My favorite thing that I did while in St. Louis was going up to the top of the arch. I enjoyed walking around the arch and looking at its structure as well. The view was spectacular!! We got there around 9AM and did not have to wait in any lines, but as the day went on I saw that it became more crowded so I would recommend getting there early. The arch does not seem very handicap accessible but I could be wrong. The trip to the top was a bit cramped as you have to fit through a small 4 ft door and sit with 4 other people in the lil bubble type elevator. I did not mind this though, except it was a bit hot inside. There is also a very nice museum at the arch as well as a souvenir shop. I think that going to the top and checking out the museum is a must for a first time trip to St. Louis.
A must thing to do is take a trip to the top of the Gateway Arch .It may not be the tallest structure you will ever go to the top of,but the ride up is kind of unique.You ride up in small cars ,somewhat like those on a ferris wheel but enclosed and as the Arch is curved the cars level themselves out in a similar fashion.It may not be too comfortable for anyone with claustrophobia or of a nervous disposition as they are quite small and creak and wobble their way to the top .When you exit the cars you complete the last few feet up on foot and then almost at the apex of the arch widows look out on ither side offering great views.
It's a fun thing to do, especially on a very windy day or when there are thunderstorms. The arch is 633 feet tall (almost 200 meters). In high winds, it sways--I don't know how much, but it's certainly enough to notice! And before you go up in the arch, there's the western expansion museum to go through underground. The museum is one of the best I've seen on the western movement and the peopling of the U.S.
If you visit St. Louis, that is the must see attraction, but I am not sure I would recommend going up to the top for everyone. I personally did not like being up there, and I am not usually at all afraid of heights. It made me uncomfortable to sit in the little elevator, and to be up there with not much room. We did get some cool photos from the top.
In the bottom of the arch is a nice museum about the early pioneers that went west and lived in the area.
Be prepared to wait a long time to get in the arch, if you plan on doing so.
Like most cities, St Louis has the a building that you can go to the top of to get a great view of the city. However, unlike most cities, St Louis has a unique design -- the arch. You get shuttled to the top in pods (be careful if you are claustrophobic). When you get to the top, you can see out of the two sides of the arch, giving a wonderful view of the city. Views include the court house, Busch Stadium and most of the suburbs. Make sure to get there early, as you get tickets for a specific time. On busy days you must wait a while before going up. There is a museum on the bottom that you can stroll through while waiting. A must see in St Louis!
I have spent time in downtown St Louis just once and the focus of my trip was the Gateway Arch. This 630-foot arch was completed in just 1965, and it hosts 6,500 visitors at the top each day. The trip costs $10 per person and occurs in an 8-car, 40-person tram.
The Gateway Arch is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Also included in this park are The Museum of Westward Expansion, and the Old Courthouse. Though the arch was just built in 1965, the park has existed at this location since 1935.