This post is part of a series on the Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, a 10-month, 15,000 mile tour of the top pet friendly attraction in each of the lower 48 states.
Choosing the #1 pet friendly destination in each state was the hard part – now we’re visiting each location, and sharing our experiences with you. The purpose of this grand adventure is to celebrate the bonds that grow and the beautiful moments we collect when we travel with our pets. We hope you’ll hop aboard and join us vicariously here on the blog and on social media by following the #pawsomememories hashtag. Waggin’ trails!
The Gateway Arch towers over the Mississippi Riverfront in downtown St. Louis – a symbol of the vital role this city played in the 1800’s as our country expanded westward. And in the shadow of the Arch stands the Old Courthouse, where in 1846, Dred and Harriet Scott sued to be freed from slavery and hastened the start of the Civil War. These two iconic structures are forever connected in this 91-acre park that celebrates Thomas Jefferson’s opening of the West, the pioneers who heeded the call and shaped our history, and the Scott family’s courage in helping to abolish slavery.
The Arch, clad in stainless steel, has a graceful simplicity that contrasts beautifully with the intricate details of the Old Courthouse – allowing for a deeper appreciation of both. Approaching from the west, through the spectacular Citygarden, provides stolen glimpses and builds your anticipation until … finally … the sky is filled with a sight that’s all you hoped it would be.
During our visit, there was a significant construction project going on between the Old Courthouse and the Arch. While it’s making things a little inconvenient at the moment, the result will be a fantastic green space connecting the riverfront, Arch, Old Courthouse, Citygarden, and all of downtown St. Louis. We can’t wait to see it completed – and in the meantime we were able to find plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy some unique views of the Arch.
Pets on leash are welcome to explore the extensive grounds at Gateway Arch Park, on the Riverfront Trail, and on the one-hour scenic riverboat cruises. Pets are not allowed inside the Arch, Old Courthouse, Museum of Western Expansion, or other buildings.
Pet Rules at Gateway Arch Park
- Pets must be leashed
- Pet waste must be picked up and disposed of properly
- Pets are invited to join you on the one-hour scenic riverboat cruises, as long as they are leashed and remain on the first floor of the boat
- Pets are not allowed inside the Arch, Old Courthouse, Museum of Western Expansion, or other buildings
From Citygarden, past the Old Courthouse, through the Gateway Arch grounds, and down to the riverfront, we found plenty to do with Ty and Buster during our visit! While pets aren’t allowed inside the Arch, it’s not something that appeals to every person, either. Fortunately, there are lovely places to wait in the shade if some of your party wants to take the tram to the top, and others prefer to remain firmly on the ground. Be sure to visit the sculpture of pet travel pioneers, Lewis and Clark, with their Newfoundland, Seaman, and then find a bench and watch the barge and riverboat traffic go by. If hunger strikes, there’s a nice selection of pet friendly restaurants around downtown and at Laclede’s Landing, a short walk from the Arch.
For a completely different view of the Arch, head across the river to Malcolm Martin Memorial Park. Eero Saarinen, the architect of the Gateway Arch, originally envisioned a component of the park on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. But when the Arch was completed in 1965, that element was scrapped. Malcolm Martin made it his mission to complete Saarinen’s vision, and used his own money to purchase over thirty acres of land for the Illinois extension. His perseverance paid off – on June 18th, 2005, the park was officially dedicated in his honor.
While you’re on the Illinois side of the river, head north to Chouteau Island and walk across Chain of Rocks Bridge, which takes its name from a rocky ledge in the Mississippi called, you guessed it, the Chain of Rocks. Originally opened to traffic in 1929, the bridge was a significant landmark for travelers driving the famous Route 66. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006, the bridge is now a pedestrian and bikeway, connecting more than 300 miles of trails on both sides of the river.
The approaches to the old bridge were beautifully landscaped – 400 elm trees lined the roadway on the Illinois side of the river, and it still feels like you’re traipsing through the treetops when you cross the bridge now. But times change, and in 1975 the bridge was nearly demolished for scrap. Though it looks a little rough, it’s quite an experience to walk across this engineering marvel, admire the unique water intake towers that overlook the rapids, and enjoy the views of St. Louis in the distance.
The weather couldn’t have been better for the meet-up and adoption event with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Stray Rescue St. Louis on the shady, pet friendly patio at Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill in Soulard! Our good friends from Tales and Tails surprised us when they stopped in, and we got to meet Dug the Adventure Dog! Everyone had a terrific time, and Stray Rescue got several applications for the dogs that were available for adoption – fingers crossed for those pups!
Visiting these attractions with Ty and Buster is a dream come true. We’ll be blogging about each one as we go along, so fasten your seatbelt and stay tuned!
The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip wouldn’t be possible without the support of our wonderful sponsors: Winnebago, 2 Hounds Design, Alcott, goDog®, PetGuide.com, Red Roof Inns, Sleepypod, The Bark, PetHub, RVPetSafety.com, and The Honest Kitchen. Please be sure to visit their websites and social media pages and thank them for their participation!