Gateway Arch National Park is unique among the U.S. National Parks because it’s located in the city of St. Louis and because it’s the smallest national park at only 193 aces.
The Arch is the main attraction, but there are trails and other historical sites in the park. Gateway Arch National Park commemorates St. Louis’s role in the country’s westward expansion in the 19th century. The park is also a monument to Dred Scott, an enslaved man who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse that sits under the Arch.
So here’s everything you need to know to plan an incredible trip to Gateway Arch National Park!
When To Go
Summer is the most popular time to visit Gateway Arch National Park. The weather is warm, and tourist numbers, accommodation prices, and visitors peak from June – August. So you’ll need to book your accommodation and tickets in advance.
Pro Tip: check if there’s a home baseball game when you plan to visit because, if so, prices and tourist numbers will be even higher.
Fall is a beautiful time to visit the Arch and the city. The foliage will be changing, and the temperatures will be pleasantly cool. September is when the Taste of St. Louis food festival happens every year, and October hosts the Best of Missouri Market, so work these into your national park trip if you can.
November – March is cold and windy with high snow chances. If you’re okay with the cold, then you’ll practically have Gateway Arch National Park to yourself. St. Louis is also home to the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans if you want to coordinate this with your national park visit.
April and May have wonderful temperatures in the 60s and 70s, and the gardens in and around the park are beautiful this time of year. Prices and crowds will be on the rise, especially around Spring Break weeks.
What To Do
Take the Tram Ride to the top of the Arch for stunning views from the observation deck.
Explore the New Museum under the Gateway Arch.
See a screening of the film “Monument to the Dream” which details the construction of the Arch.
Tour the Old Courthouse to learn about how Dred and Harriet Scott fought for their freedom.
Get a birds’ eye view of the Arch on a helicopter ride.
Take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River.
Know Before You Go
This park is in the middle of downtown St. Louis, so your only parking options are public lots and garages. Here’s a map showing the closest parking areas to the national park.
If you’re driving a motorhome, I recommend parking at your RV site and take your car, public transportation, or rideshare to the national park. If you’re in an RV and are just visiting the national park for the day, try to arrive early to secure a spot in one of the uncovered parking lots.
There’s no entry fee for Gateway Arch National Park, the visitor center, or the museum, but a national park pass does give you a discount on tickets for the tram, riverboat cruise, and the “Monument to the Dream” film.
The Tram Ride to the top of the Arch sells out early and often during spring break, holidays, and the summer months. So you’ll need to reserve your tickets in advance on the national park’s reservations page.
The Arch Café is located in the visitor center, but it is usually packed. I recommend packing out your lunch or getting food from one of the surrounding restaurants.
The only restrooms in the park are in the visitor center.
Where To Stay
IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE CITY LIKE A LOCAL, THEN CHECK OUT THESE INCREDIBLE AIRBNBS IN ST. LOUIS!
St. Louis also has a hotel for every preference and budget. The Union Station Hotel (pictured above) is historic and picture-perfect. The Four Seasons and Drury Plaza offer you views of the Arch from your room. And if you want a quirky and unique hotel, check out The Cheshire, where all the rooms are literary-themed around a British author or book.
If you’re bringing your RV or motorhome, I recommend Casino Queen RV Park because of its great location.
Shop My National Park Essentials
Is there anything you’d add to this guide for Gateway Arch National Park? If so, let us know in the comments!
For Planning The Rest Of Your Midwest U.S. Trip
Gateway Arch National Park Guide
YOUR TRAVEL CHECKLIST
PIN THIS GUIDE!
This post is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article about Gateway Arch National Park are entirely my own. Some of these links are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.