While you should find Downtown Des Moines’s three distinct districts quite walkable, there are several convenient options for getting from one end to another other than a ride-share service. Get familiar with Downtown Des Moines, its transportation options and download the maps to meet your needs.
Best Ways To Get Around
While most valuable during the winter, literally miles of downtown buildings are connected by second-floor skywalk, including the two competition venues. So, if it’s raining, it’s highly likely you can get all the way from your hotel to the competition venue without having to step foot outside. (However, please note that many segments of the skywalk are NOT air-conditioned and can get warm due to the sun; if it’s a nice day out, travel at street level.)
This free bus system runs a continuous loop from the Western Gateway to the State Capitol in the East Village with buses arriving roughly every 10 minutes. While this service won’t really help you get to the competition venue any faster, most host hotels are located along the route and can get you from one end of Downtown to the other rather easily. Weekday hours of operation are 6:30 am – 6 pm and Saturday 7 am – 5 pm. On Wednesday, July 3rd, the shuttle will run until 11 pm and will be the best way to get to the capitol for fireworks (other than walking).
For full information and route map, click here.
With over 20 grab-and-go locations across Downtown, these short-term rental bicycles are a fun and convenient way to take a single trip or rent for a full day of exploring. If you’re looking for a scenic workout, grab a Bcycle and take a trip around nearby Gray’s Lake.
For rates, pick-up/drop-off locations and payment app, click here.
Get To Know Downtown Des Moines' Neighborhoods
The Court District is located just south of the competition venues. You’ll find numerous restaurants and nightlife outlets, as well as a full-service Hy-Vee grocery store with food court and pharmacy if you need to pick up any last minute items you left at home. You’ll also find The Science Center of Iowa and want to stroll around one of the country’s best farmers markets on Saturday morning.
East of the competition venues and Des Moines River lies the East Villiage, where you’ll find boutique shopping, specialty dining and plenty of nightlife sprinkled between the river and Iowa State Capitol grounds in the city’s most diverse and hipsteresque district. Be sure to check out RAYGUN – The Greatest Store in the Universe and dine at Zombie Burger + Shake Lab.
On the west side of downtown in the Western Gateway, you can enjoy a stroll around the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park before or after dining at some of the city’s best restaurants.
Click here to download a map of Downtown Des Moines or visit Catch Des Moines for a complete list of maps for the skywalk, downtown parking, recreational trails, area suburbs and more.