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St Louis, Missouri

The Gateway Arch was built to reflect on the role of city of St Louis in the US expansion onto the West. St Louis sits strategically at the convergence of three rivers making it the second largest port in the country in the mid 1800's until the railroad was built around 1850s at which point river traffic started decreasing.

After some thinking, I've decided to adopt it to represent my own move to the west. Very fitting!

Subway commuters enjoy a nice view

As we were getting ready for our visit, I was ferociously searching for my National Park annual pass just to find out the entrance to the park is free, even entrance to the museum, which is a must see, is free as well.

The entrance to the arch itself, which is the most prominent feature in the park, does have a fee and requires advance reservation.

Parking was somewhat tricky for me, with my 10ft high van. There are parking lots right next to the park however, although they were "open", the entrance gate had a height limit. And there is also the subway bridge, it made me duck!

St Louis view from top of the arch

While still on the ground, my son was trying to guess how the elevator would work. The museum has an exhibit that explains the mechanism in detail, we enjoyed reading about it while waiting for our reservation time. The concept is similar to that of the ferris wheel but a bit more "high-tech".

Good thing we are not claustrophobic, the ride up is in a small, closed space and takes about two minutes up and another two minutes down.

The view from the top is very impressive to both sides of the arch. We got about 15 min and that was plenty to enjoy the view.

View from across the Mississippi River

At any time of the day, there was constant river traffic in both directions. Also across the river is the rail road. While taking the sunset photo displayed on top, the train was running, I had to stop and wait for it as the vibrations were shaking the camera during my long exposure. I was afraid the sunset colors would be gone before the train was gone, it was that looooooong!

St Louis has an interesting story of ups and downs, we learned some of it by going around and about, We found a beautiful, very french, park with gardens and fountains. Plenty of space and activities at Forrest Park, including museum and zoo.

Mostly I visit nature/scenic sites for my photography but the arch was such a fun subject to photograph under all conditions, Trying to fit all 360 ft of it (or just part of it) made it for a fun challenge.

Which National Park is next in your bucket list?

Gateway Arch National Park

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