Gateway Arch, a gleaming stainless steel structure on the St Louis side of the Mississippi River, commemorates America’s 19th century westward expansion. It rises 210 meters (630 feet) and dominates the river’s edge and the St Louis skyline as westbound travelers cross the Mississippi. A memorial to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark is also found on the site, as well as several theaters in the Visitor Center.
Take the tram, a small cocoon-like pod which transports visitors to the top of the arch, where sixteen small windows offer views of the Mississippi River and the city of St Louis.
While in the St Louis area, travel across the Mississippi River bridge into nearby Illinois to visit the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville which preserves the site of an ancient Native American city that flourished here from approximately 900 – 1500 A.D. The mounds are thought to be the remains of earthen pyramids, erected throughout the city for various purposes. Excavations below the mounds have confirmed at least their ceremonial purposes. This society, named the Mississippians, relied heavily on trade. Evidence on the site indicates the people traveled as far north as Canada and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. The Cahokia Mounds have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While in St Louis, take a beautiful photo from west from the Arch, framing the Old Courthouse under its curvature.