Watch "Monument to the Dream" at Tucker Theater

Learn about the inspiration behind architect Eero Saarinen’s timeless design and the determination of the men who brought the Gateway Arch to life in this award-winning documentary. Run time: 35 minutes.

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Architect Eero Saarinen works on a model of the Gateway Arch.
Builders work on a section of the Gateway Arch hanging hundreds of feet in the air.
Builders weld sections of the Gateway Arch together from hundreds of feet in the air.

Learn what inspired architect Eero
Saarinen to design the Gateway Arch

"Monument to the Dream" traces
the adventures of the Arch's evolution

The fabrication of this 630-foot tall
national monument was not a project
for those with a fear of heights

A wide-angle view of Tucker Theater inside the Gateway Arch Visitor Center shows the empty theater.

"Monument to the Dream" - 1967

Recorded at unnerving heights, this documentary tells the adventure of the iconic Gateway Arch. It all began with a contest won by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, then climaxes with a race against the sun to place its final section in the fall of 1965. You'll see details of how one of the greatest civil engineering feats of the 20th century was achieved in this film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 1967.

Plan Your Visit

Ready to explore the sights above and stories below at Gateway Arch National Park? Here are some helpful pointers to make the most of your visit.

  • Before You Go

    Book Tram, VR Experience and Movie Tickets in Advance

    While you are visiting the free museum, take a Tram Ride to the Top, immerse yourself in the Virtual Reality Experience set on the St. Louis riverfront in the 1850s, and watch the award-winning documentary about the building of the Gateway Arch. Tram tickets sell out early and often, so buy your tickets ahead of time. The time listed on your ticket is when you need to be at the tram or theatre entrance.

  • The Day of Your Visit

    9:00 AM Park Your Car

    Our preferred parking lot is open at the Stadium East Parking Garage. Give yourself enough time to select a spot and make your way to Gateway Arch National Park. Pre-paid parking may also be purchased in advance.

  • 9:30 AM Head to the Security Screen Line

    As a National Park Service site, Gateway Arch National Park requires all visitors to enter through security. Give yourself and your guests at least 30 minutes to get through security screening at the entrance.

  • 10:00 AM Visit the Free Museum

    The stories below are just as magnificent as the sights above! Before you make your way to your scheduled tram ride or documentary viewing, set aside an hour or more to browse the free world-class museum, featuring six interactive galleries detailing over 200 years of St. Louis and American history and how the Gateway Arch came to be.

  • 11:30 AM Grab Lunch at the Arch Café

    Enjoy lunch during your visit. The Arch Café offers everything from St. Louis ribs, burgers, paninis and toasted ravioli to vegetarian and gluten-free options as well as a coffee bar. The Café is open during regular hours.

  • 12:00 PM Watch an Award-Winning Documentary

    Share in the triumphs and struggles of the making of the Gateway to the West with the "Monument to the Dream" documentary located in Tucker Theater. The 35-minute film describes the details behind Eero Saarinen’s design, compelling stories from the builders and the lasting impact the Gateway Arch leaves on the St. Louis community today.

  • 12:50 PM Take the Tram to the Top

    Make your way to the tram entrance just past the museum to make your journey to the top of the Gateway Arch. A tour guide will assist you through interactive, pre-boarding exhibits before you take your trip to the top and take in all the breath-taking views 630 feet above the city.

  • 1:30 PM Shop at the Arch Store

    Stop by the Arch Store on your way out. Pick up a souvenir to remember your visit or choose from a unique collection of gifts, apparel, books and more.

  • 1:45 Experience the 1850s Riverfront in our Virtual Reality Theater

    Find yourself immersed in multiple perspectives of what it was like in the 1850s on the St. Louis Riverfront in our virtual reality theater, located just outside the Arch Store in the tram lobby.

  • 2 PM Take a Walk Through the Park

    The sights continue after your ride to the top. Extend your day at Gateway Arch National Park by spending time in our 91-acre park along the Mississippi River or learn about the Old Courthouse.

    Please Note: The Old Courthouse is temporarily unavailable due to renovations.

Have more time to experience history?

Take a seat in our Virtual Reality Theater! A 3D headset will transport you to a 360° depiction of the St. Louis riverfront in the 1850s. You’ll be immersed in the sights and sounds of the bustling levee, and will learn the stories of some of the diverse people who crossed paths there.


Tucker Theater is operated by the National Park Service. Gateway Arch National Park was originally named Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, after President Thomas Jefferson, but was renamed in 2018. The entire park is about 91 acres and includes the Gateway Arch, more than five miles of paved paths, plus another 30 acres or so encompassing the Old Courthouse, Luther Ely Smith Square, and a good bit of the surrounding streets. The Gateway Arch and the surrounding landscape was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.