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

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

1. Concerts, concerts, concerts

click to enlarge STEVE TRUESDELL
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

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

This kid knows what's up. - WOODENMASK ON FLICKR
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!

gregthebusker on flickr

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

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 [email protected].

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