38 years ago, when we moved from Michigan to Texas, I first encountered the Gateway Arch as we drove though St. Louis and recall with a young mind of 12 how awe-inspiring this structure was. Ten years later I found my self at the top of the arch for the first time and was again captivated by its architecture and innovative engineering.
This trip I again marveled at this structure with a new perspective and 30 years of engineering under my belt.
They are renovating the entire riverfront around the Arch which made buying tickets and getting to the Arch a little complicated. Having purchased our tickets we made our way through a maze of streets and construction barriers to the Visitors Center located underground beneath the 630-foot, stainless steel monument.
We were ushered into 5 seat pods that are part of a 8 car tram that would take us to the top. These claustrophobia inducing pods then make a 4 minute journey to the top along the interior of the Arch and shifting every few moments to stay horizontal. The pods basically swing like Ferris-wheel cars as they ascend and descend the arch. Luckily, they have small windows so you can see the structure and the 1,076-step emergency stairs which included many landings and sets of spiral stairs.
At the top there is a narrow room with a floor that curves and 16 small windows on each side. The windows are such that not only can you look straight down, you can also see to the other-side.
The views are incredible from the top and the good news is the ride down is only 3 minutes….