St. Louis’ CityArchRiver Project Makes Pioneers Out of Attendees

Sunrise-yoga-in-Kiener-PlazaBeneath the steel-clad curve of St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch monument, built to reflect the city’s role in the westward expansion of the US, is a new space that is expanding the possibilities for meetings and events.

As the last phase of the $380 million CityArchRiver project that has transformed and connected the Arch grounds and riverfront, the revised Museum at the Gateway Arch will feature rare local artifacts and six exhibit areas, including a walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, who completed their journey just footsteps away along the Mississippi River. Groups of up to 1,500 reception-style will be able to meet here once the museum and visitor center are completed this summer—just in time for Fair St. Louis to the Arch, one of the nation’s largest Fourth of July celebrations. A night at the museum buyout can also be arranged after-hours.

“The new museum and visitor center will be connected more directly to downtown St. Louis than it ever was in the past,” explains Matt Brinkmann, special events and programming manager for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. “We also have a beautiful new 7-acre outdoor event space at the north end of the grounds that includes a natural amphitheater with the historic Eads Bridge (now bike friendly) as backdrop, as well as easy access to the Laclede’s Landing entertainment district.”

“The new museum and visitor center will be connected more directly to downtown St. Louis than it ever was in the past.”

As the tallest man-made monument in the US at 630 ft, the Gateway Arch is the focal point of the 90-acre Jefferson National Expansion Memorial with views of the Mississippi River, Busch Stadium and acres of new tree-lined walking and biking trails available at its peak. Brinkmann advises that you add a “tram ride to the top of the Arch to the top of the to-do list,” and the National Park Service can arrange customized programs that explore the rest of the grounds through living history demonstrations and trial reenactments. The redevelopment of the Kiener Plaza, now a hot spot for yoga and other events, has connected the Gateway Mall and Arch grounds with the downtown core. In the middle of all of this sits the Old Courthouse, where one of the most important cases in America’s history, Dred Scott v. Sanford, contributed to the end of slavery. The courthouse is also available for events and historians can be booked for keynote sessions. Groups can take it all in during a sightseeing or dinner cruise aboard replicas of nineteenth-century paddlewheel riverboats, the Becky Thatcher and the Tom Sawyer, or during a guided helicopter tour.

Moving beyond CityArchRiver, “the City Museum is also a very unique downtown attraction like no other in the world,” Brinkmann says. “Housed in a former shoe factory, the ‘museum’ is actually an eclectic and very creative funhouse incorporating all sorts of found objects, and it’s always changing.”

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