Where to Stay and What to Do When Visiting Downtown’s Newly Renovated Arch Grounds
It’s time to get out and explore the transformed Gateway Arch National Park grounds. Nearly every aspect of the visitor experience has changed over the past three years—from the underground museum to the walkways that link the park to the Old Courthouse and a redesigned Kiener Plaza.
The $380-million renovation-and-construction project also better connects the Arch to the Mississippi River on its east side and new outdoor amphitheater on the north end of the 91-acre park. The Gateway Arch museum’s square footage grew by 50 percent, giving it more space for exhibits related to this region—from artifacts used during the Lewis and Clark expedition to an entire French colonial cabin inspired by St. Louis architecture of the 1700s.
But some nostalgic aspects of the experience remain almost unchanged from when the Arch was completed in 1965. The biggest—or, rather, smallest—example is the tram “pods” that carry visitors 630 feet into the air to admire the view from the top of the giant stainless-steel structure.
When planning your Gateway Arch getaway, let us be your guide. Begin your journey below with a list of hot spots to add to your agenda. Then, scroll through our guide and choose a place to stay from the following group of hotels we’ve curated specifically for a Downtown St. Louis staycation.
FIVE PLACES TO VISIT DOWNTOWN
1. Citygarden: 801 Market St.
2. Kiener Plaza: 500 Chestnut St.
3. Three Sixty: 1 South Broadway
4. Ballpark Village: 601 Clark Ave.
5. Broadway Oyster Bar: 736 South Broadway
The Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis
The Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch is located exactly 114 steps from the entrance to the iconic Gateway Arch, bringing together art, nature, history and adventure. The hotel’s Gateway Arch Experience VIP Package includes a $26 credit toward Gateway Arch activities (like the tram ride to the top), free hot breakfast, soda and snacks in the lobby, and much more. The package also includes access to 5:30 Kickback, where guests can join the Drury for a rotating menu of free food, beer, wine and mixed drinks, every evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Hilton at the Ballpark
Located steps away from the Midwest’s tallest monument is one of the finest hotels in Downtown St. Louis. Hilton at the Ballpark offers travelers many amenities with its popular, award-winning 360 Rooftop Bar. Offering amazing cocktails, small plates, indoor/outdoor seating and views beyond compare, it’s no surprise that this place is ranked within the top 10 rooftop bars in the world. At the top, check out views of Busch Stadium, and, of course, the big and beautiful Gateway to the West.
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch
The closest hotel to the Gateway Arch grounds offers the perfect staycation destination, within walking distance to iconic attractions from the Old Courthouse and the Mississippi riverfront, to Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village. Enjoy St. Louis-style barbecue and more than 70 local craft beers at Brewhouse Sports Bar or dine on steaks, seafood and more in their Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurant at an Arch-view table. For a truly St. Louis experience, book the Cardinals baseball package complete with game tickets, a $25 dining credit and a customized Louisville Slugger bat.
St. Louis Union Station
The ocean, a train station, Renaissance paintings and stained glass—what do they all have in common? They can be seen during the Grand Hall Light Show inside the majestic Union Station. Running on the hour from 5-10 p.m., jaw-dropping visuals are projected 65 feet above, on the ornate vaulted ceiling. Make your way outside as flames, lights and water dance along the lake to rock and pop music during the Fire and Light Show, daily at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.
This story originally appeared in GUIDED St. Louis: Midtown. Photos courtesy of aforementioned businesses.