Is This Iconic Missouri Symbol An Overrated Tourist Attraction?
You can't miss it when traveling from Illinois to Missouri. You can see it from the highway. You can see it from the Mississippi. I even got several great shots of it from the train. I'm talking about one of Missouri's iconic symbols and one of America's signature structures. The Gateway Arch. Which has landed on a list at Ranker.com as one of The Most Overrated Tourist Attractions In 43 States.
The Ranker.com list pretty much encompasses any kind of tourist attraction that is either overcrowded, overpriced, or just doesn't live up to the hype. Some of the attractions besides The Gateway Arch that makes the list include: Plymouth Rock, Hollywood, The World's Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas, The Iowa 80 Truck Stop outside of Davenport, The Bean in Chicago, "The Christmas Story" house in Ohio, and Atlantic City.
Ranking #42 on the list is The Gateway Arch. Unlike some of the attractions making the list where Ranker makes a compelling argument that such a tourist attraction isn't worth your time or effort, they don't really do that with the Arch. The only thing they say about it is, "You wait forever for an underwhelming view. No thanks."
Now I haven't ever been up in the arch or ridden the tram to get to the top. Yet, it is something on my bucket list, and not even the idea that waiting forever to get an underwhelming view of St. Louis and the Mississippi River is convincing me to change my mind.
Maybe it's because the fact that you can actually go up to the top of The Gateway Arch to start with is amazing to me. Maybe it's because having seen the arch close up, it's just so much more massive than it seems from the bridge crossing the river, which has only piqued my curiosity.
Or maybe it's my experience that even though I've overpaid and waited forever to get and see Chicago from the top of John Hancock Center numerous times, it never gets old that just makes me think it's an experience worth having.
Or perhaps it's because everything we experience is in the eye of the beholder. For example, the Las Vegas strip comes in at #43 on the Ranker.com list right after The Gateway Arch. Yet, I love being on the strip in Las Vegas. Yes, it can be crowded. Yes, a little goes a long way. But there's something about that sensory overload out in the desert, the views of it from the hotel room high above it that I just love experiencing.
Another place on the list, The Iowa 80 Truck Stop on Interstate 80 outside of Davenport is kind of the same thing for me. Should you go out of your way to stop at the self-proclaimed world's largest truck stop? If I'm honest, no. You shouldn't. It's not that special.
Yet if you happen to find yourself traveling Interstate 80 through Iowa and can time a pit stop or food stop around it I think it's worth checking out. Then again, it takes me back to the road trips of my childhood and how places like this were found all along well-traveled highways. Not to mention there's a great trucking museum on the premises and every year they hold a Truckers Jamboree. Also, if you need to buff up your four-legged canine traveling companion you can not only get your car washed, but your dog washed there as well.
My point is, yes, perhaps to some people The Gateway Arch doesn't live up to the hype. Or the views aren't that spectacular. Or it isn't worth the money. Or the tram takes too long to get up to the top. Yet for many of us, it's an experience worth having. What do you think?