The Reimagined Gateway Arch
Experience The New Features At The Iconic Monument
By Mary McHugh
Stand at the center of its newly renovated base and gaze skyward—each steel leg rises 630 feet, exactly 63 stories tall, before meeting at the top to form a graceful arch that is the Gateway Arch. Gaze upward at the 16 viewing windows at its arched peak and imagine looking out at the St. Louis region for nearly 30 miles in either direction of the Mighty Mississippi River. Truly a Gateway to the West, the expansive iconic monument’s recent $380 million renovation puts you at the epicenter of exploration.
Unveiling a new park, museum and visitor experience
The renovated urban landscape of the 91 acres that is the Gateway Arch National Park includes the 150,000-square-foot underground Arch Visitor Center with a large glass atrium foyer and a grassy berm roof that faces the city, 11 acres of stunning new park space, more than five miles of new pathways, a reflecting pool, a natural grass amphitheater and event space, and a 250-foot grassy land bridge that seamlessly connects the riverfront, the Arch and the Old Courthouse, site of the historic Dred Scott case.
Exploring the reimagined urban landscape
Visit the Explorer’s Garden in the North Gateway area of the park to see the plants that Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey west and to walk along the gracefully curving elevated steel walkway. Romp with the kids on the stone pathways throughout the grounds or stroll the sloping accessible pathways that lead directly to the riverfront. A stone plaza, complete with a circular reflecting pool, is located directly in front of the Arch Visitor Center and serves as a great photo backdrop.
The museum’s new glass west entrance, located at the base of the Arch and facing Fourth Street and the Old Courthouse, is flooded with bright natural light. Inside, six themed exhibit areas and interactive multimedia displays highlight the city’s diverse history through inclusive narratives: “Jefferson’s Vision,” “Colonial St. Louis,” “Riverfront Era,” “Manifest Destiny,” “Building the Arch,” and “New Frontiers.”
View a scale model of the 1852 Mississippi Riverfront levee and replicas of a traditional French Colonial log cabin and the infamous Old Rock House. On the mezzanine level of the museum, visitors can study explorers’ trails on a room-size floor map made of terrazzo, one of the largest maps of its kind in the United States.
Riding to the top
A five-person tram will whisk you to the top of the Arch for that jaw-dropping view. As part of the new tram experience, riders now journey through the decade in which the Arch was constructed, complete with 1960s highlight reels and interactive trivia. Then get out your phones for some Instagrammable moments at the top.
Accessing the adventure
Tickets for the Tram Ride to the Top sell out quickly so buying online in advance is recommended. For tickets, visit gatewayarch.com or call 877-982-1410, or purchase in person at the Ticket Center inside the new Arch Visitor Center. Entrance to the museum and visitor center is free.
Check out one visitor’s experience in A Day at the Arch, an online digital exclusive.