For our weekend in St. Louis, Missouri we knew we absolutely had to visit the St. Louis Arch! Along with the Arch, there’s the historic courthouse directly in front of it that you can see in the same trip. You can purchase tickets to visit the arch online or at the courthouse but even if you buy your tickets online like we did, the courthouse is definitely worth a visit!
We started at the courthouse itself which has plenty to explore and discover. This historic courthouse is where the slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom in 1857. Ten years later, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Dred Scott could not sue for his freedom since he was not a citizen of the United States, essentially ruling that African Americans were not and could not become citizens of the United States. Thankfully, in 1868 the Fourteenth Amendment overturned this ruling granting citizenship to all people born in the United States regardless of their skin color. While exploring the floors of the courthouse you’ll see a brief history of the Dred Scott case, courtroom setups and a clear 3D printed model of the courthouse!
Going out the back of the courthouse you get a beautiful view of the St. Louis Arch with only a park between it and you. The Arch can be seen many places throughout the city even through the buildings so many places provided great photo ops! Going into the Arch was a bit of a struggle. With all of the construction going on there was only one entrance to the Arch with a single file line going through security. This caused quite a delay that they must not have fully anticipated – our ticket time was for 1:10 but we didn’t actually make it to the top until around 2:45!
Before heading up, our tour guide fill us in on some fun facts about the Arch. It is 630 feet (192 meters) tall and also 630 feet wide. She also warned us that its possible to feel like you are swaying when you are at the top – that’s because the Arch is designed to sway up to 18 inches, this feature would enable the arch to withstand even an earthquake. A 50 mile per hour wind only would make the arch sway 1.5 inches! Next we filed in front of eight 4 ft tall doors to wait for the tram. The “tram” is actually 8 tiny pods that can seat 5 people each. Leg space is limited on the approximately 4 minute journey to the top!
The view from the top was spectacular! There are 16 little windows (much smaller than I expected!) on each side of the Arch. Even through the small windows, on a clear day you can see up to 30 miles in either direction! Space up there is slightly crowded but the views made it all worth it!
Although not everything turned out as planned with the delays due to constuction, I couldn’t imagine taking a trip to St. Louis without going up into the Arch. The views from the top were magnificent and its an experience completely unique to this city!