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St. Louis River Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Weather

Gateway Arch; credit: U.S. National Park Service
Gateway Arch; credit: U.S. National Park Service

The river cruise port of St. Louis is in an ideal location for almost any cruise along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

This major midwestern city is about midway between the northernmost point on the Mississippi at St. Paul and Minneapolis as well as the southernmost point at New Orleans. It also is a common port of call for cruises that begin on the Ohio River and merge with the Mississippi.

The city is big enough to offer any visitor a wide variety of attractions. One in particular stands out in a big way.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Gateway Arch National Park is the home of two major St. Louis attractions for any river cruise visitor.

The 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch, the tallest monument in the United States, is without a doubt the most famous attraction in the city of St. Louis. The arch, which is as tall as a 63-story building, represents the historic “gateway” to the western half of the United States. It began with explorers such as Lewis and Clark and embraced the many pioneering settlers who went out west to start a new life. Visitors to the arch can take a tram to the top.

Another attraction at the Gateway Arch National Park is The Old Courthouse. It was the site of the first two trials of the famous Dred Scott slavery case in the mid 1800s. It was also the site of a famous case in the 1870s when female suffragettes fought in court but failed to win the right to vote for women.

The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site to the north of the Arch has a 14,000 square-foot museum with exhibits, galleries and a replica of the 55-foot keelboat used by the Corps of Discovery to navigate the Missouri River. The corps was a special volunteer unit of the U.S. Army that formed the nucleus of the Lewis and Clark Expedition that explored the Louisiana Purchase of a vast part of the western U.S. The expedition took place between May 1804 and September 1806.

The Confluence Tower monument at the same location consists of two identical,180-foot towers that mark a major moment in the formation of the Corps. Visits can ride to the top of them and view the surrounding countryside.

Shore excursions for some or all of the above hover around $75 to $85 per person depending on length, amenities, transportation and time of year. Anyone who visits on their own will need a rental car because of the distance between the park and the historic site.

River Cruise Weather

St. Louis monthly temperatures
© 2021 Scott S. Bateman

St. Louis has cold winters, hot summers, a distinct dry season and a distinct rainy season.

Daytime temperatures reach a low point in January with an average of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

July and August are the hottest months of the year with average daytime temperatures reaching into the upper 80s Fahrenheit.

Precipitation reaches a low in January and February with an average of about two inches of rain and snow. Summertime brings the most rain with an average of about four inches a month.

River cruise visitors might find that late April, all of May, all of September and early October are good months to visit. Temperatures are comfortable and the risk of rain is low.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
September 18, 2021

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