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Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park

This central park houses the Gateway Arch, Museum of Westward Expansion and Old Courthouse, and is a popular starting point for exploring the Mississippi River.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park lies in the heart of St. Louis, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Its most obvious landmark is the Gateway Arch, a striking monument to Thomas Jefferson and the United States’ expansion westward. The arch is both 630-feet (192-meters) high and across between the two ends of the arch. Climb to the top for awe-inspiring 360-degree views of the city. 

Inside, the Museum of Westward Expansion is a good introduction to the history of St. Louis and the early pioneers. The Old Courthouse lies within the Memorial Park’s 91-acre (37-hectare) borders and has also been turned into a museum. 

Locals and tourists alike flock to this bustling green space to spend summer afternoons by the river. The park was designed as a tribute to early pioneers and their exploration of the west after the Louisiana Purchase, when the U.S. government bought a large expanse of territory (which now extends into Canada) from the French. 
St. Louis was the starting point of the first expedition by Lewis and Clark into Louisiana. Learn about their journey at the Museum of Westward Expansion, inside the Gateway Arch. Photographs, murals and artifacts, including a teepee and covered wagon, help to illustrate their story.

The 150-year-old Old Courthouse at the center of the park is defined by a domed cupola and rotunda painted with murals. Wander through the courtrooms, which are restored to their original condition. A small museum tells the story of St. Louis, as well as the infamous 1857 Dred Scott case, when a slave tried to sue for his freedom. Although he lost the case, it sparked a debate over slavery that contributed to its eventual abolishment. 

After your fill of history, get a bike from Discovery Bike Rentals, located under the Grand Staircase of the Gateway Arch, and explore the riverfront. For some old-style transport, board a replica 19th-century paddle-wheel boat and cruise the river. Purchase a ticket online in advance or try for a spot on one of the boats on the day of your visit. Cruises leave from under the Gateway Arch’s south leg.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park is an easy walk from many of the city’s main attractions downtown, including Washington Avenue. All of the exhibits are open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Winter is the least busy time to visit. Book tickets and rentals in advance if you plan to come between spring and autumn.


Guide to Exploring around Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park


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Lodging Near Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park

See all 141 Hotels near Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park
$79
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

315 Chestnut St, St. Louis
4.3
of 5, from 4,991 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This 18-story Hyatt Regency hotel is 4 blocks from Busch Stadium and within a mile of Edward Jones Dome, Scottrade Center, Laclede's Landing, and the America's Center.

$101
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

1 S Broadway, St. Louis
4.0
of 5, from 1,805 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

This downtown St. Louis hotel is within a half-mile of baseball at Busch Stadium, football at Edward Jones Dome, the America's Center Convention Complex, the Gateway Arch, and entertainment at Laclede's Landing.

$120
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch

Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch

2 South 4th Street, St. Louis
4.6
of 5, from 3,052 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Old Courthouse and Busch Stadium. Gateway Arch and Dome at America’s Center are also within 15 minutes.

$115
Marriott St. Louis Grand

Marriott St. Louis Grand

800 Washington Ave, St. Louis
4.2
of 5, from 256 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This downtown St. Louis hotel is within 10 blocks of Busch Stadium, the Gateway Arch, and The Dome at America's Center.

$79
City Place St. Louis - Downtown Hotel

City Place St. Louis - Downtown Hotel

200 North 4th Street, St. Louis
3.3
of 5, from 3,685 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This 29-story St. Louis hotel is 4 blocks from Busch Stadium, 6 blocks from the Edward Jones Dome and the Lumiere Place Casino, and less than 1 mile from Scottrade Center, Laclede's Landing, and America's Center.

$98
The Hotel Majestic St. Louis

The Hotel Majestic St. Louis

1019 Pine St, St. Louis
3.8
of 5, from 1,114 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Citygarden and Busch Stadium. Dome at America’s Center and City Museum are also within 15 minutes.

$124
Embassy Suites St. Louis - Downtown

Embassy Suites St. Louis - Downtown

610 N 7th St, St. Louis
4.6
of 5, from 834 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown St. Louis, this hotel is steps from America's Center Convention Complex and Dome at America’s Center. Busch Stadium and City Museum are also within 15 minutes.

$129
Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch

Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch

400 Olive St, St. Louis
4.3
of 5, from 1,238 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located downtown St. Louis, this 8-story hotel is 4 blocks from the Gateway Arch, 6 blocks from Busch Stadium and America's Convention Center, and less than 1 mile from Laclede's Landing and the Scottrade Center.