Seeing the Arch and the Brewery

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Originally published August 26, 2008

Revised 2015


I have included both the Arch and the Brewery in one article. You can do both in one day. The drive from the Arch to the Brewery is less than 15 minutes. Feel free to only do one or the other.

Many St. Louisans have not been up in the Arch. That is a shame. It is a great thing to do. So, if you have family visiting, take them downtown and go up in the Arch. The Arch is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The memorial includes the Arch, the Old Court House and the Museum of Westward Expansion, under the Arch. The Dredd Scott case (Scott v. Sanford, 1857) was heard by the US Supreme Court in the Old Court House. It still has the 1857 air conditioning (none). But it is a neat building and has nice exhibits. In July, the Old Court House is used for Naturalization Ceremonies. You may be able to see a group of new citizens get sworn in as American citizens. Although the guide may not say it, slaves were auctioned off on the Court House steps once upon a time.

Until August, 2008, St. Louis and beer were one and the same. The Anheuser Busch World Headquarters and Brewery are still a great site to see and tour to take.

Gateway Arch

First, check the website for the hours and fees. Also check the special exhibits at the Old Court House. If the exhibits at the Old Court House interest you, adjust accordingly. Once you are downtown, everything is a one block walk from each other.

Plan to arrive at or near the time the first tram to the top of the Arch leaves. If you are planning to do both the Arch and the Brewery, driving is your only choice. Park in the Arch parking garage and walk to the museum at the base of the Arch.

As soon as you get to the Arch, get tram tickets and tickets to “Monument to a Dream”, the movie about the construction of the Arch. In the morning, you will have a short wait before you can go up in the Arch. In the afternoon this wait could be two hours or more. After you have your tickets, check out the museum. It is an excellent museum on the Louisiana Purchase and the US expansion west.

Go up in the Arch. On a clear day you can see University City City Hall from the Arch. The trams that go up to the top of the are small and they tilt as they go up and down the legs of the Arch. If this is a problem for you, you may want to pass on it. The view way cool from the top. The windows are small and you will have to lean over to look out of them. There is a park ranger at the top to help you out. And yes the Arch does sway in the wind if the wind is strong enough. You can feel the Arch sway sometimes. There is a Ranger at the top. They spend at least half of their time calming people down when the Arch moves. The Arch is designed to withstand 150 mph winds. You will be fine. Watch people as the walk up to the Arch. Almost everyone has the urge to touch it. Go ahead, give it a feel. Also try one of my favorites. The Arch has a triangular section. Walk up to the  Arch while looking ahead, not up. Walk to the point that is facing the doors to the museum. It does not matter witch leg. Stand so the edge of the Arch leg is running up your back and you are facing the doors to the museum. Now look up.

Watch the movie on the Arch construction. I have a copy and love watching it. If you want an example of “does math matter” take a look at the Arch. Bobby was due the week the Arch was completed. There were bets on whether or not the two legs would line up. It does, although the day they finished the Arch, it was unseasonably warm. The Arch started to expand in the heat. They needed to hose it down with fire hoses so the last piece would fit.

Harold Ramis based the movie “National Lampoon’s Animal House” on his frat days at Washington University. One of the Frat’s stunts that did not make it into the movie was climbing the unfinished legs of the Arch.

Gotchas: From late April through May 20 is field trip season in St. Louis. A weekday trip to the Arch during field trip season means sharing the museum with several thousand screaming schoolchildren. Not all of them are properly supervised. It could be everything sharing a museum with 5,000 sixth grades could be. The Arch is closed during Fair St. Louis (July 4th-ish). Since the air shows have been dropped, I have not had a desire to go to Fair St. Louis.

After the Arch, and if the time is right, walk over to Laclede’s Landing for lunch. Molly loves the Old Spaghetti Factory. “The Landing” is mostly bars and most of those bars are closed during the day. Just a note: Show-Me’s is a Hooters knock off. Enough said. There are also several fast food options on the road to the brewery and some restaurants near the Brewery.


Anheuser Busch Brewery

Note: The offical name of the company is now ABInbev. No one in St. Louis says that except as a curse. A company known for being exstreamly cheap bought a company that had a desire to be the best no matter what the cost. You can see the difference. Touring the Brewery is still fun and educational.

2015 update: There are now two tours. The free tour and the $10.00 tour. On the free tour you see the Brewhouse, the Clydesdales, and the chill tanks. You see the movie of how Budweiser is brewed while sipping a 6 oz. Bud or Bud Light. You get a sample of one of the other beers at the end. You do not see the bottling plant at all. Check for the other options starting at $10.00 per person.

After leaving the Arch, take Broadway south to the Anheuser Busch Brewery. Broadway will meet with 7th street. Stay on 7th. You can’t miss the brewery; look for the big Budweiser
budsignsm sign. Follow the signs to the tour center. Parking is free. The tour is free. Two beers (for those over 21) are free. How can you go wrong. Even if some of your party are too young to drink, the brewery tour is great.

"Welcome to the Anheuser-Busch World Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri! Your tour will guide you through a blend of rich brewing heritage, state-of-the-art technology and extraordinary architecture.

Visit the historic Budweiser Clydesdale Stable, Beechwood Lager Cellars, historic Brew House and Bevo Packaging Facility." -From Budweiser Tours, 2008

There is a lot of walking. You learn a little about the science of beer making, you can sometimes see a few Clydesdales, and you can see one of the cleanest, prettiest factories in the world. Also, you have the opportunity to purchase all things AB. Need a Michelob golf shirt? How about a Budweiser swim suit? That and so much more, just look and be amazed.

Special Note: In December the Brewery is decorated with Christmas lights. Take a drive some evening.

You are going to be walking and taking industrial stairs. The tour guide will tell you all about it. Tour information is as of August 2008. The InBev-Anheuser Busch merger may change tour operations.

Soulard Market north of the brewery is a good side trip. Even with crowds (There are no field trips to the brewery) you can get both done between 9 and 4 or 5. It makes a day. You still have time to relax and plan a nice dinner.


Arch parking


Tram/Movie ticket combo

14.00 per person

Brewery Parking


Brewery Tour


Food and Souvenirs