ST. LOUIS – Visitation to Gateway Arch National Park jumped by 41% from 2021 to 2022 according to National Park Service visitation figures released this week. The increase is attributed to a continued rebound toward pre-pandemic levels.
Visitation at the Arch grew by nearly 475,000 from about 1.15 million to approximately 1.62 million.
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And attendance in 2023 is off to a strong start. Park staff reported the highest January tram ridership in 17 years.
“2022 was a great year for Gateway Arch National Park,” said Jeremy Sweat, superintendent of Gateway Arch National Park. “There is so much to see and do at the park, especially for visitors who haven’t been back to the Arch visitor center and museum since the completion of the CityArchRiver renovations in 2018.”
While attendance continues to rise, local officials expect visitation to increase more as conferences and business travel rebound from pandemic effects.
“It is exciting to see the continued trend toward pre-pandemic tourism numbers as guests return to the top of the country’s tallest monument,” said Mary Lamie, executive vice president of multi-modal enterprises for Bi-State Development, which operates the Gateway Arch tram and riverboat rides. “We have many projects in the works, from a regional advertising campaign marketing the Museum experience to improved visibility for parking, and we’re looking forward to the spring break and summer seasons ahead.”
In 2021, the park was the second-most visited attraction in the region after the Saint Louis Zoo and the most-visited place that is mostly indoors, according to St. Louis Business Journal's “List of the St. Louis region’s Largest Museums and Tourist Attractions.” Its report for 2022 is forthcoming.
Further, the park's philanthropic partner and conservancy, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, which hosts events at and around the park throughout the year, saw increased visitation numbers as well, including record attendance for its largest events. Blues at the Arch Festival returned after two years of being virtual to almost 9,000 attendees over one weekend in August, and Winterfest, the 22-day event in Kiener Plaza anchored by a pop-up ice rink, saw about 38,500 guests, a 46% increase compared to 2021’s approximate 26,000. The Foundation’s Sunrise Yoga/Bootcamp series had a visitation total of 1,010 for 19 classes, and its two fundraisers Picnic in Your Park and An Iconic Evening saw attendance increases of 7.9% and 5.2%, respectively.
Ryan McClure, executive director of Gateway Arch Park Foundation, credits the recent updates to the park for the growth in attendance and for local interest in Foundation events: “The improvements made through the CityArchRiver renovations — a connected park, improved landscape and world-class museum — have transformed the visitor experience at the Arch. Further, in 2022, the City of St. Louis benefited from amazing development projects, from the now-completed Armory and new soccer stadium to the upcoming residential projects on Laclede’s Landing and AT&T Building. We are hopeful that all of these exciting projects, combined with small business momentum in the city, will drive attendance numbers even higher this year.”
The Arch Alliance is a public/private partnership that includes Gateway Arch National Park, Bi-State Development, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Great Rivers Greenway, Jefferson National Parks Association, and the City of St. Louis. All partners share a determination to bring increased vitality to the Gateway Arch, the riverfront, St. Louis, and the region.
Gateway Arch National Park Visitation
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About Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is a unit of the National Park Service that commemorates Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a unified continental nation and St. Louis’ role as the gateway to the American West during the 19th century and preserves the Old Courthouse as the site of the Dred Scott case. The park includes the Gateway Arch, the Arch grounds and the Old Courthouse, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. Admission to the Museum at the Gateway Arch is free, and most programs are free of charge and open to the public. Many programs and events at the park benefit from the generous support of park partners Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Jefferson National Parks Association, and Bi-State Development. The Gateway Arch is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Old Courthouse is currently closed. The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit NPS.gov/jeff.
About Gateway Arch Park Foundation
Gateway Arch Park Foundation is the official philanthropic partner and conservancy for Gateway Arch National Park. Its mission is to ensure the Gateway Arch, its grounds, neighboring public spaces, and attractions are a vital, welcoming, well-supported resource to the community and nation for generations to come. It seeks to fulfill its mission by providing for ongoing conservation, preservation and education at the park, in addition to hosting, facilitating and promoting community programs that bring the park and its surrounding areas in Downtown St. Louis to life. The Foundation is part of an alliance that helps meet this mission, which includes the National Park Service, Bi-State Development, Great Rivers Greenway, Jefferson National Parks Association, and the City of St. Louis. For more information, visit ArchPark.org.
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