Visiting the Museum at the Gateway Arch


Gateway ArchAre you interested in visiting the Gateway Arch? So many Louisville families head west on I-64 to St. Louis during school breaks. I have seen many friends post photos online, especially of the City Museum. Did you know there is something really exciting happening in St. Louis this summer? In July 2018, they are opening a brand new free museum under the Gateway Arch. I went on a media preview tour and want to tell you about it!


Just about four hours west of Louisville, you will literally drive right into St. Louis and see the Gateway Arch. This destination makes for a cost-effective long weekend trip since you can avoid airfare, hotels are plentiful and reasonably priced, and many attractions offer free admission. When should you go? I advise waiting until after July 3 because that’s when the new Museum at the Gateway Arch will be open.

Here are some tips and things to know before you go:

  • As you may know, our Louisville area has rich history with the Lewis and Clark expedition, as does St. Louis. I think taking a visit to Falls of the Ohio State Park Interpretive Center and Clark Home Site before you go would be a great idea.


  • The Gateway Arch is much more than a singular attraction, the park is actually a national park. Be sure to go to one of the information desks (at the Arch or the Old Courthouse) to get the junior ranger activities. The kids (ages 5-18) can have fun learning along the way and when complete, return them for a badge. And, remember that if you want to ride to the top of the Arch, purchase your tram ride in advance. In my opinion, the experience was not scary. If you have a fear of enclosed spaces, that might lead to some anxiety as the tram car is tiny and the room at the top is tight if full. However, I found it so interesting that I didn’t have time to think about being scared!


  • The new museum will be free and what’s cool is that if you take me up on my first suggestion, you’ll connect the Lewis and Clark expedition from Kentuckiana to St. Louis. The Museum at the Gateway Arch will take you on a 200 year history of the westward expansion and of St. Louis, which includes Lewis and Clark and more. The museum is open, fully accessible to people with disabilities or learning differences, and takes a look at history from a variety of perspectives. It is an impressive undertaking and an incredible opportunity for families. Your visit to the Arch takes you on a ride high above St. Louis but down below, the museum will be full of fascinating information. If you want to learn even more about Lewis and Clark, there’s another museum in the St. Louis area dedicated to that part of our history. 


  • The grounds at the park have been improved and expanded so they connect the Arch area to the Old Courthouse. You will want to go to the Old Courthouse. Did you know it is where the Dred Scott case started? Also, the architecture inside is beautiful. Explore old court rooms and go up the stairs to look at the dome. Visit the gift shop. Additionally, behind the courthouse, there is an updated park with a playground and sprayground that is perfect for playtime – Kiener Plaza.


  • The museum and the Arch are so close to many hotels and restaurants. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis which has the most fantastic views from the rooms. See the video above. It was so simple to get on and off of the highway to and from Louisville. You can feasibly park your car and explore the area surrounding the Arch by foot. Nearby, there’s also the Cardinal’s stadium and all of the development around that area. We asked the concierge for food suggestions and they gave ample recommendations so I recommend doing the same.

There’s truly so much more to do in St. Louis but I specifically wanted to highlight the new museum and touring the area in the direct vicinity. To view other attractions and see sample itineraries, visit their tourism website and get planning.


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