I’m about to admit something that may make look like a dope but it’s the truth!

I did NOT know you could go up the St. Louis Arch!

Did you?

No, seriously, I thought it was just a statue, like a memorial or symbol representing the “Gateway to the West.” Little did I know it was a tower (or similar to a tower.)

As soon as I got a glimpse of the observation windows, I HAD to go up.

Windows in the Arch

Just HAD to, it’s “my thing.”

I was a bit perplexed as to how we would actually get up there. I mean, I’m all about the stairs but as usual they were closed to the public. Instead, they have what they call “trams,” which I will lovingly refer to as “escape pods” from this point forth because they reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time, “Space Balls.” (NOT Star Wars to The Husband’s dismay.)

Escape Pod from the movie Space Balls.
Escape Pod from the movie Space Balls.

I actually laughed aloud when the doors opened up.


If you get claustrophobic this is NOT the attraction for you. It’s a 4-minute ride to the top and you are trapped in that “pod”  with 4 other individuals. When you travel alone as I did on this trip, that means 4 strangers. Thankfully I met a group of nice women who were in town for a conference.

Anyway, I’m just over 5’8” and I had to crouch while sitting. Oh! And the door to get in is only 4 feet. It’s like they made this specifically for children. Even the staircases were narrow!


The system was for those going up to observation to wait on one end of the stairs while those coming down would funnel out of the pods and up the stairs to the exit. I don’t think it ran as smoothly as they hoped it would.

When I emerged from the pod I wasn’t sure what I expected but my first thought was meh.

Maybe I’m just callous as I go to the top of a lot of observation decks, but this one was initially disappointing. There are so many people there you can barely move and there’s no view until you are directly in front of a window.

crowded arch

And  let me tell you, those windows are SMALL!

Once I wiggled my way in front of one, I smiled. The view from the top is always worth the trip.

View 1

We were at the perfect distance (630 feet), which made everything look like a set model. Especially with the Courthouse and its nice green lawn.

My favorite view wasn’t the city though. It was the shadow of The Arch on the river.


I don’t know why, but it made me smile.

Overall I’m glad I went up even though it wasn’t my favorite observation deck. The Arch is an impressive structure that you simply can’t take your eyes off when near it. I loved just sitting in the surrounding park and people watching, especially because people were taking fun photos.


Being alone I also had to get a little creative.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 12.49.52 PM

The Gateway Arch is definitely a must-see when in St. Louis. For more information check out GatewayArch.com. There is a great little museum and they even have movies in the base.

Published by Roni

A 40ish - wait, what?! - Mom who loves to try new things, share her adventures, and inspire people to reach their goals.