Why Don't We Hang at the Arch More? 5 Amazing Ideas to Get St. Louis to the Gateway

Categories: History

Here are five ideas for events at the Gateway Arch that still tie back to the park's mission.

1. Concerts, concerts, concerts

pokey.jpg
Steve Truesdell
KDHX 88.1 FM plays more Americana and bluegrass music than (frankly) anyone really wants to hear, but that makes them a perfect partner for hosting outdoor concerts under the Arch. Choose a couple of local bands (May we suggest hometown heros Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three), and ask them to rehearse one song that harkens back to the days of westward expansion. It would fit in perfectly with their repertoire, and finding a partner in a local, independent radio station could mean unlimited free advertising. The best part? Alcohol is totally allowed in the park, as long as it's not in a glass bottle and is consumed in the grass, not in the visitor center or on the sidewalk.

2. Food Truck Movie Night

Cha_cha_chow.jpg
Jennifer Silverberg
Invite the food trucks, set up a screen and kick back as families around St. Louis cozy together to watch a movie. The Saint Louis Art Museum does it. The Missouri History Museum does it. So can the Arch. Inviting food trucks means an instant social media boost since followers have to use Twitter and Facebook to find out where their eateries-on-wheels are in this crazy city. Plus, it's easy to get around the requirement to stay close to the mission. Just choose a short, educational video about the Arch, westward expansion, the Dred Scott court case -- whatever -- and show it before the feature film. The park could even host a film competition with local students and screen the winning films at a big celebration in the park.

3. Family campout

camping.jpg
woodenmask on flickr
This kid knows what's up.
Let families pitch a tent under the Arch for a night. We're not sure if fires are allowed on grounds, but roasting marshmallows by a bonfire beneath those giant legs of steel sounds like an unforgettable experience. Partner with the St. Louis Astronomical Society again to bring out telescopes for stargazing. Sell glow sticks and other fun-in-the-dark toys. And keep the mission of the park alive by inviting living history docents to wander the campground telling stories about "their" good ol' days. We're imagining a scary (but still family-friendly) story time around a campfire (or flashlight circle, if fire's not allowed) told by people like David Riordan, the keeper of St. Louis' haunted history.

4. Let's go fly a kite!

kite.jpg
gregthebusker on flickr
KITES!
Visitors already take their kites to the Arch grounds on nice days, so why not make it official? Create a kite festival, and invite families around the region to spend the day flying. If the parks service needs to tie the festival to their mission, bring historians to describe how families built kites centuries ago and have old-timey kite-making supplies (paper, sticks, twine) on-hand at an arts and crafts table. There could be contests for steadiest kite, smallest kite, largest kite, most unusual kite, highest angle kite, and most authentic kite. Plus, those images would go viral; we can already see our Instagram feeds filling with photos of kites under the Arch.

5. Midday dance parties

dance.jpg
Nicholas Zaragoza
OK, so this one's not from Reddit. This is our idea, and Daily RFT stole it from the Handlebar, which hosts Lunch Beat, a noontime dance party on Wednesdays. Invite suits from downtown, hipsters from south city, families from west county -- anyone! -- to dance under the Arch for an hour in the middle of the day. It's just as good a workout as yoga, and it just sounds like an amazing time. Plus, it fits with the park's mission to help families stay healthy.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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35 comments
Susan Wolters
Susan Wolters

I park at Shrewsbury and take the Metrolink downtown, when I go.

Axl Joel Fitz
Axl Joel Fitz

I'll tell you exactly why I no longer go the the Arch: Parking tickets and break-ins. I used to drive down in the summertime at 6ish after work with a buddy. We'd throw a Frisbee or football or baseball, etc for an hour, only to find a $30 parking ticket waiting for us on the riverfront road. Screw that. I can play for free a block from my house. Get a clue St. Louis...sheesh. Revenue hungry a$$ holes. Also, I know of several friends and out of towners who have parked on the riverfront, only to have their windows smashed and cars cleaned out. Screw that too. If you want people to go downtown then you have to protect against criminals and thugs and make people feel it's safe. Joel Fitz

joelfitz80
joelfitz80

I'll tell you exactly why I no longer go the the Arch: Parking tickets. I used to drive down in the summer at 6 after work with a buddy. We'd throw a Frisbee or football or baseball, etc for an hour, only to find a $30 parking ticket waiting for us on the riverfront road. Screw that. I can play for free a block from my house. Get a clue St. Louis...sheesh. Revenue hungry a$$ holes.

Joel Fitz

lastressie
lastressie

It's great to have yet another place in STL to be a part of the crowd, but the fabulous opportunity to walk in the grass under the trees away from the concrete of downtown is also good for the soul. Standing on the overlooks watching the river traffic is mesmerizing even if it is but a short respite from the traffic, noise and the over shadowing of high rises of the city.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Give local bands a venue to play open air concerts. Not blasting all of downtown with their music, but small local areas where they come to jam and sing.

Next have events for kids to run and play. That brings families.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

If you want to bring people back to the Arch grounds, how about bringing back the waterfront?  There used to be so much down there to have fun at, and its all gone.  Back in September when I was up, I took a quick trip over there and its just depressing.  The casino is the only thing there and THAT monstrosity took over every good thing that was in Lacledes Landing.  St Louis was built because of the river and there is nothing there to show it other than a bunch of cobblestones and a couple of helicopters.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

I don't live in the Suburbs. But I also don't go Downtown. And based on the view from The Peabody Window on Ch 4 neither does anyone else - absent a sporting event. It doesn't matter what you build down there - Ballpark Village, new Arch grounds - people won't go down there until the crime problem is solved. You have 2 blocks that are good then 3 that are sketchy & dangerous. As long as that is true - you can have Downtown STL.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

What's the view like in the suburbs? Your neighbors backyard with dog shitting/barking in the morning?

Kelly Fischer Hutchison
Kelly Fischer Hutchison

These are amazing ideas. To address Steve M. No murder on the grounds. Their very own police force prevents that. Thew, we have had a ton of concerts at the park, right under the Arch but can't wait to check out forecastle...

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

I love people who pretend Downtown STL doesn't have a crime problem. I bet they believe ol Bankrupt McGee is the salvation of the North Side too. And people get shot in the head leaving Mansion House Apartments parking garage - in broad daylight. I think I will have to pass on that offer :-)

Ken Hood
Ken Hood

The view across river really Offers nothing. Course looking over your shoulder You see nothing but a worn Out old city fighting to stay Alive. A shit hole...

mike_h63144
mike_h63144

Lindsay, please spend 30 seconds on Google in the future. It is not "National PARKS Service" it's "National Park Service".

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

Ohhh! An Internet tough guy. Don't see too many of them anymore.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

I'm afraid of idiot trolls...like yourself.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

I said blow hard liberals...like yourself.

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

Because the view across the river blows.

Bushey Tina
Bushey Tina

As a member of the Gateway Kite Club, I have heard from several people that kite flying on arch grounds has been a way to get park rangers to threaten your arrest for a number of years now. Generally, they cite some vague security risk on federal property. It has been pointed out that flying is allowed on the national mall, but STL rangers will not allow it.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

You are afraid of Liberals? That's pretty weak sauce

Shane Coats
Shane Coats

The cruisers in the summer are a huge problem, because a certain segment of society don't know how to act!!!!!!

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

mostly afraid of liberal blowhards like yourself.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

How many murders happen at the Arch during Fair StL Steve? Or Live On The Levee when it was going on? It's a National Park, Obama signed a law that allows conceal carry in National Parks, Forests and Historic places... what are you really afraid of?

Shane Coats
Shane Coats

Open up the cobblestone parking and re-vamp the landing!

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

I've never had a problem parking on the street close enough to walk.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

B/c there are no concerts there, and no infrastructure to do so down the line either. Check out THE FORECASTLE FESTIVAL to see how a riverfront can become alive.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

the car break-ins and murder tends to keep people away.

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