Driving Through Missouri with a Stop at Gateway Arch National Park

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June 13th 2023
Published: June 14th 2023
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Louisiana, MissouriLouisiana, MissouriLouisiana, Missouri

Oliver is standing on the lot where his great-grandma Glo lived as a child.
We left Jellystone at 7:30am and set out for the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. We had plenty of time before our tram ride up the arch, so we decided to swing by Louisiana, Missouri, on our way to St. Louis. Andrew's paternal grandmother grew up in Louisiana, Missouri, right on the Mississippi River. In fact, their home overlooked the river! Today, there's an empty lot where the home stood, but it was still nice getting to see where she grew up. The town is cute and very small. It was the front of their house that overlooked the river, but they could also walk a couple blocks away from the river into town. It was probably a great place to grow up!

After our stop in Louisiana, we continued our drive to St. Louis. As we drove south, we drove through bigger hills, more rock, and thicker forests.

We arrived in St. Louis with no issues, and we spent about three hours there. At home, I had pre-purchased a timed ticket to take a tram up the Gateway Arch. Our time was 11:40. There's a Cardinals game today, so we also pre-purchased our parking spot in
Gateway Arch TramGateway Arch TramGateway Arch Tram

The tram is a small space, and it's not handicap accessible. You need to be able to walk up and down a couple flights of stairs for the tram. Also, if you're tall, be prepared to slouch the entire way up and down! I didn't have that problem.
the parking garage near the Gateway Arch. It let me select a pretty long parking time from 10:30am to 2:30pm. I suspect I could have picked an even longer window of time. In total, the tickets cost $63 for our family of four, and parking at iParkit cost $9. We arrived at the parking lot at 10:40, got to the national park and through security by 11am, and then spent about 40 minutes enjoying the museum. The museum covers three topics: St. Louis when it was first settled, westward expansion in the United States, and the plan and development of the Gateway Arch monument. It was nice to walk through as we waited for our time.

At 11:40, they scanned our tickets, and we joined a line. Every 10 minutes, they boarded a new group. The line was moving right as we joined it. We waited about 10 minutes in line, and then it moved again. We entered a big room as it moved. We were asked to stand on our number 5. We watched a short film, and we waited our turn to be called for a picture. It was about 10 minutes total in this room. Then,
From the Top of the Gateway ArchFrom the Top of the Gateway ArchFrom the Top of the Gateway Arch

The arch is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide.
we headed into the boarding area and stood on our number again. There, we waited another 10 minutes or so to board. The trams arrived, the last group got off, and then we got on. The trams are tiny! They're like pods. Eight of them operate at a time. In each pod, there are 3-4 people. The doors closed, and we started to go up. It really was like a mix between an elevator and a Ferris wheel. It took about 3-4 minutes to go up. When we arrived, the previous group was waiting there to board to go back down. We exited and walked up some steps to the top of the arch. Groups have about 10 minutes on top. You have the 3-4 minutes it takes for the other group to go back down, empty, reload, and the 3-4 minutes for the next group to come up. Honestly, it was plenty of time! It's a small space. The floor is at an incline with the arch, and you can feel the arch sway a bit in the wind. Walking on it, at times, was like walking on a boat! By the end of our 10 minutes, I felt
I'm on top of the Gateway Arch!I'm on top of the Gateway Arch!I'm on top of the Gateway Arch!

You can feel it sway in the wind...
a bit relieved to go back down.

We got back down around 12:20. So, in total, it's about 40 minutes with no access to bathrooms. As we exited, I looked at the kiosk where they were selling tram tickets. They were selling tram tickets for 2pm. So, people who bought their tickets at the national park had to wait about an hour and a half for their tram time. By purchasing in advance, our wait was about half of that.

We left the nation's smallest national park and drove to nearby Hi-Pointe Drive-In. Surprisingly and happily, there was street parking available just outside the restaurant. We used the last of our change for the parking meter, and then a charismatic homeless man came by and asked if we had any money to spare. I told him we didn't, but we could buy him a burger if he was hungry. He was really happy about that! So, we bought him a turkey burger, he gave Andrew a fist bump, and then he left. We sat down for our meal. I got an Impossible Burger, and it was really good! I think they added some of their own spices. Their fries were good, too. As we ate, we enjoyed a nice view of downtown. We didn't see any bathrooms in the restaurant (the upstairs was roped off), so we decided to start our drive to our next destination and stop to fill up on gas and use bathrooms on our way out of St. Louis.

So, our stop in St. Louis was short, but we liked the city. The downtown and buildings are beautiful!

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