Although the Gateway Arch is the most iconic attraction in St. Louis, Missouri, it’s not the only thing to see in the area. St. Louis sits on the bank of the Mississippi River and serves as the economic and cultural center of the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area. There are a number of things to see and do, many of which are located near the Gateway Arch.
Known in St. Louis as the Old Cathedral, the Basilica of Saint Louis, King is a beautiful and historic structure. It sits right behind the arch and dates back to 1831 when construction began. The city’s founders dedicated a parcel of land, referred to as the church block, to the residents for religious purposes. This cathedral was the fourth church to be built on that portion of land and is the oldest building in the city. Additionally, this structure has remained in the hands of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, its original owner. People of all faiths are welcome here.
The cathedral is open to the public on Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., on Saturday from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mass takes place Monday through Saturday at 7 a.m., as well as on weekdays at 12:10 p.m. and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. Sunday mass takes place at 8 and 10:30 a.m. as well as at noon and 5 p.m.
Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is another popular attraction. It was previously called the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, although its name changed in 2018. This park includes the grounds where the Gateway Arch sits, serving as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson and his role in opening the Western part of the United States, as well as to Dred Scott, who took legal action to earn his freedom in St. Louis’ Old Courthouse.
This park is part of the U.S. National Park Service and sits on more than 90 acres along the Mississippi River. In addition to the open green space, you’ll find the Old Courthouse, the museum at the Gateway Arch, and monuments that commemorate the westward movement of American pioneers and explorers.
Located within the Gateway Arch National Park, the Old Courthouse was the location of the first two trials in the Dred Scott legal case against slavery in the mid-1800s. Additionally, this courthouse served as the site of an important case concerning the right of women to vote. Visitors can take a tour of the historic courthouse and walk through the courtrooms that have been restored to what they would have looked like during these pivotal court cases. In the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the Old Courthouse is included.
After you see the iconic arch, plan to visit these other appealing attractions. You can learn more about the city of St. Louis and understand the cultural influences that have helped shape it into the city it is today.