I have never visited St Louis, Missouri just to visit St Louis.  It has always been a stop on our way somewhere else. It is known as the gateway to the west, after all. Coming from Michigan, it seems to be the gateway to Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, etc.  We’ve driven thru 5 times over the last 10 years or so.  The city has a lot to offer, and just passing thru, you barely even scratch the surface.  Three years ago, there was a pathtag event and my hubby was a vendor. (What’s a pathtag?  Click here to find out.)  We were going to be in St Louis for an entire day!  How exciting! Hubby couldn’t leave his booth, but my daughter and I had no such limitations.  We spent most of the day inside the City Museum.  That, my friends, deserves its very own post.  I will tell you all about it some other time.  So much fun!  Definitely check it out!

DSC_0021After tiring ourselves out at the museum, we decided to do the iconic touristy must-do activity in St Louis: visit the Arch! Over four million people visit the arch every year!!  Sitting right on the shore of the Mississippi River, this monument was completed in 1965 and was built as a memorial to trappers, hunters, pioneers and explorers like Lewis and Clark, who contributed to the western expansion of our country.  There’s a lovely greenspace park around the arch, and an underground museum beneath it.  My favorite part though, is the view from the top.  Make sure to get your tickets early, as they can sell out quickly.  And, if you take away anything from this post, let it be this little tidbit: the tram ride starts beneath the arch, where there is NO cell service.  If you buy tickets online, and have them on your phone, take a screen shot of them.  You will NOT be able to pull them up once you’re down there.  Wifi would be wonderful addition.  The whole area was under renovations at the time, perhaps wifi was part of the updates.  Also, don’t do it the way I did it.  I didn’t do a screen shot.  I simply had them pre-loaded on my screen prior to losing service.  I was literally the next person in line with the ticket checker when, much to my dismay (“dismay” seems like such an understatement here), my phone decided that was the moment to refresh itself and, having no service, our tickets disappeared from my screen.  My heart dropped to the floor.  I stammered and sputtered as I tried to explain to the ticket checker lady what just happened. The look of distress on my face must have been something she had seen many times before.  Perhaps she had glimpsed the tickets on my screen during my wait time.  I’m not sure.  She very kindly let us through anyway.

tramThis was actually our second time going up the arch.  The first time my daughter was only around 2 years old, so she doesn’t remember it.  I, however, knew exactly what we were in for.  It’s a four-minute tram ride to the top.  Each tram car has an interior 5-foot diameter and fits 5 people, shoulder to shoulder, knees to knees.  If you’re claustrophobic or don’t like other people all up in your personal space, this may not be the ride for you.  I don’t want to discourage you, because the view, once you get to the top, is amazing.  I just want to be as real as possible here.  It’s tight.  I don’t experience claustrophobia, but I’m not a fan of touching people I don’t know.  It was an awkward and uncomfortable four minutes for me.  However, it was only four minutes, no one else was super comfortable either and like I said, I knew the view was worth the momentary discomfort.

DSC_0036Once at the top, we wriggled our way through the crowd to an observation window.  And that is when we discovered that my daughter has a teeny tiny fear of heights.  Being 630ft up off the ground was a bit much for her.  She took one look out the window, jumped back like it had burned her, and begged that we immediately get on the next tram back to the safety of the ground.  She didn’t quite hit full panic-attack mode, but it was the closest I’ve ever seen her get.  By not looking out the window, she was able to stay calm enough for me to stay few more minutes to get some photos, until she overheard some random guy mention the swaying.  Ah yes, the swaying. It was something she hadn’t noticed until Random Guy mentioned it. Thanks, Random Guy. The archway is actually designed to sway up to 18 inches in either direction when it’s windy.  Better to bend than break.  But if you’re already uneasy being up that high, the swaying can be unnerving.  Cue 12-year-old panic and exit stage right.  We were back on solid ground 5 minutes later.

On our way back to pick up hubby, we had an accidental adventure.  Not being a city girl myself, I’m not great at finding my way around when there’s heavy traffic.  I ended up getting stuck in the wrong lane, and found myself on the bridge, pictured at the top of this page, heading across the Mississippi River.  Oops!  Accidental detour into Illinois, and that part of Illinois didn’t look like the kind of place you wanted to accidentally find yourself (insert nervous laughter).

One of these trips, I hope to stay a little longer, and explore St Louis a little more.  I’d like to check out the Saint Louis Zoo, the Cathedral Basilica, the Science Center, and more!  In the comments, tell me what else I should do next time we’re in St Louis!  Don’t forget to like, comment, share, and follow me – here and on social media – all the links are up at the top!

 

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Find the facts I mentioned, and more info about the St Louis Arch, at Wikipedia and the National Park Service.  All photos are my own, except where noted.  Please visit here to purchase prints of your favorites!