The Gateway Arch (St. Louis)

Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

The Gateway Arch is the iconic symbol of St. Louis, and you’ll see it right as you drive into the city. We saw it driving on the highway and then went to visit it while checking out the Museum of Western Expansion which is located underground below the arch.

Apparently, you can take an elevator ride up the arch to a tiny viewing portal up at the top (not for the faint of heart). I don’t know about you, but you couldn’t pay me to get into a tiny space for a 4-minute ride up, and then a 3-minute ride down, just to get vertigo at the top. No sir, not happening. A friend of mine who did ride to the top told me the the arch even sways a little just to up the fear factor.  The kids and I were  happy just to look up, but there was a pretty long line full of daring folks ready to ride to the top. If you are the thrill seeking type, my hats off to you, you brave soul. You can catch the “elevator” under the arch in the museum complex below ground.

While we were wandering around down there we also discovered a wonderful gift shop .  We bought a really cool jigsaw puzzle of the city skyline and a few other trinkets that we had shipped home. The benefits of doing that are you won't pay any sales tax and you won"t have to shlep all your goodies with you along the rest of the trip. You will however have to pay the shipping which is worth the convenience if it's an item you just can't live without.  Besides museums and shopping there are also some restaurants if you and the crew are hungry.  After the museum complex you can explore near the water's edge even seeing the historic site where  Louis and Clark embarked on their fantastic voyage.  If you've got the time (and sadly we didn't) take a cruise on an old paddle wheeler, they dock really close by.