8 New Developments We Love about the Renovated Gateway Arch Grounds in St. Louis
If you’ve driven on Interstate 70 in Downtown St. Louis and clapped your palm to your head in frustration at the expanse of traffic, that will soon be coming to a close—well, due to construction anyway. After having undergone several delays, the $380-million CityArchRiver project renovation to the Arch grounds and national park is set to be complete this summer, with a number of exciting developments we’re thrilled to discuss. Keep reading to learn what excites us most about the new Arch grounds.
You will be able to walk across Interstate 70 to the Arch from Downtown
This was a major selling point for why the large renovation needed to happen, as beforehand the Arch grounds were largely isolated from the rest of the city, separated by Interstate 70. Now, the city is much better connected to its iconic national landmark, which visitors can access by way of a stunning green space.
The Museum at the Gateway Arch has undergone a complete rehab
I could be wrong about this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the same film I saw during a fifth-grade field trip to the Arch had still been playing before this renovation—granted, it was awesome. I remember begging my parents to take me back and see it again.
But, undoubtedly, it was time for a change, and the refurbishment is bringing about some great ones: a new glass entrance to the visitor center, brand-new interactive galleries and inclusive narratives about St. Louis’ story of national expansion. The renovated museum is set to open July of this year.
Gateway Arch National Park
The Gateway Arch National Park, previously the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, has been updated with the philosophy that the river is not just an economic engine but a heartfelt vein of ecological and emotional discovery. You can actually walk along the river’s edge through the new Riverview Pathways, reach out and touch the water. The park also includes new trails, plantings and pond paths, providing gorgeous views of the Arch and a number of spots to rest or picnic.
New current and upcoming trails
An existing bike trail along the riverfront currently exists along the north side of the riverfront (the Mississippi Greenway), but the Great Rivers Greenway project also has ambitious plans to create a green trail from Forest Park all the way to the Arch. Called the Chouteau Greenway, residents can actually weigh in on construction plans and provide feedback about each of the four design concepts.
Renovations to Luther Ely Smith Square
The remodeled Luther Ely Smith Square was remodeled and reopened in 2015 as part of the City Arch River project, which includes gorgeous new landscaping, picnic areas and over 300 feet of new benches. You can also see the Arch and Old Courthouse on either side, for perfectly Instagrammable photo opportunities.
The North Gateway
This revamped Downtown green space is the optimal spot to see gorgeous views of the stunning Eads Bridge, built by the influential James Eads in 1874. At seven-and-a-half acres in size, the space is also perfect for concerts, events and more year-round.
Construction Walking Tours
You can actually get a sense of the construction and how everything is shaping up through a series of free, 90-minute walking tours of the renovation, starting at the Old Courthouse and meandering through the various areas of the Arch grounds undergoing restoration. Participants are invited to ask questions, take photographs and fully engage with the process.
This is the year of grand openings and events
June 19 marks the opening of the new West Entryway; July 3 will be the Grand Opening Celebration, and the annual Fair St. Louis will return on July 4.
Images courtesy of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation.