Getting Around & Parking
It's easy to get around Downtown DSM by car, bike, bus or on foot. Whatever your preferred way to get from one place to another, we've got you covered!
Parking | Uber and Lyft | Trails | Art Route DSM
BCycle Bike Sharing | Skywalk | DART Bus | Downtown DSM
Visiting Downtown DSM soon? Download a map to make the most of your experience!
Downtown Des Moines Parking
One of the great conveniences of living, working, exploring or doing business in Downtown Des Moines is parking. Unlike other cities in the Midwest, parking options in Downtown DSM are readily available and reasonably priced. There are approximately 30,000 public parking spaces in Downtown, including more than 3,500 parking meters for long- and short-term parking needs and more than 900 free parking spaces in Downtown Des Moines.
Where to Park in Downtown Des Moines
Downtown DSM is growing faster than ever. Drivers can park their ride in any of the more than 3,500 parking meters in Downtown Des Moines. With such a vibrant Downtown, you might think that parking would be a pain. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
Getting to Downtown DSM is easy, and there are plenty of parking options within walking distance of major attractions. Drivers can park their ride in any of the more than 3,500 metered spots spread throughout Downtown DSM. And that’s not all. There’s plenty of structured parking available depending on where you're heading in Downtown DSM:
- Historic Court District: Park in the Third Street and Court Avenue ramp, or the Science Center of Iowa parking garage in Downtown Des Moines. Tip: During evenings and weekends, free parking is available in the Historic Court District.
- Des Moines Civic Center: Park your car next door at the Fourth Street and Grand Avenue parking ramp or the Third Street and Court Avenue parking ramp. Valet parking available curbside during Civic Center shows.
- Wells Fargo Arena: Park in the Fifth Avenue and Keo Way ramp, Fourth Street and Grand Avenue parking ramp or the Center Street Park and Ride ramp on Seventh Street.
- Western Gateway Park: Park at Davis Brown Tower on 10th Street and Mulberry Street ramp, the Ninth Street and Locust Street ramp or the Nationwide Insurance ramp at 13th Street and Mulberry Street.
- Historic East Village: Park at East Second Street and East Grand Avenue ramp. There is also free parking in Downtown Des Moines at the ramp located at East Grand Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Standard rate for all City of Des Moines parking garages is $1 per hour.
Parking Meters in Downtown Des Moines
Parking meters in Downtown Des Moines run Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Look at the parking spot sign for information on what hours you need to pay the meter. Meter rates range from $0.25 to $1.25 per hour. Tip: Follow signage for free parking in Polk County lots during evening and weekends. Learn more about meters, ramps and free parking in Downtown Des Moines.
Parking kiosks run Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
How does Park DSM work?
Payment for metered parking is accepted via kiosks or via the Downtown Des Moines Parking App.
To pay at a kiosk:
- Remember the six-digit number on the stall marker that you parked next to.
- Locate a kiosk nearby and follow the instructions to pay for parking (you’ll need to enter the six-digit number from your stall to get started).
- The kiosks accept coins or credit cards for payment.
- Receipts are sent via email or text.
Downtown Des Moines Parking App
Residents and visitors can pay for parking via the Downtown Des Moines parking app, Park DSM, available in the Apple Store and Google Play. (Plus, if you have the ParkMobile app associated with another city, you’re good to go and don’t need to download another app!)
After you have the app, follow the instructions for paying for parking (like with the kiosks, you’ll need to know that six-digit number from the stall sign).
You can also extend your parking session right from your phone, no need to return to your vehicle to feed the meter. (Take note of maximum parking times though.)
Visit the City of Des Moines website for more details and tips for using the app and kiosks.
Green placards on the parking meters
Located conveniently throughout Downtown DSM, these special meters allow for a short duration of free parking. Instead of inserting coins into the meter, there is a button you push which gives you 15 minutes of parking. There is, however, a 30-minute limit on parking at these meters.
If you’re heading to Downtown DSM for work or play, consider using Uber or Lyft. Enjoy the convenience of finding a ride in one touch while finding the best fares in town. Additionally, various local taxi cab companies also service Downtown DSM and the surrounding region.
DSM has plentiful trails and Downtown DSM is no exception. Run, bike or walk through our connected city and enjoy the scenery of Downtown DSM. For more interactive trail information, try the Iowa By Trail app. The Central Iowa Trail Association updates trail conditions daily for Center Trails such as Greenwood/Ashworth Park, located on the western edge of Downtown DSM. There are more than 800 miles of connected walking, biking and running trails in the region, with Downtown DSM as the culminating point for many of these area trails. Additionally, mountain biking and hiking trails are nearby as well. Many Downtown DSM festivals, markets and events offer free bike valet services, as well, for those that use the trail system to navigate to their favorite events.
Art Route is a painted path uniting 87 pieces of public art with a 6-mile-long trail in Downtown DSM, also connected to 14 crosswalks painted at six intersections Downtown. The path includes circles spaced roughly 20 feet apart. Then, chevrons are used to point toward each of the pieces of art. Art Route visitors can download a mobile app to utilize in conjunction with following the painted pathway. Find a map of the Art Route DSM path and more information on how to download the mobile app.
Want a bicycle to ride around Downtown Des MOines? Choose BCycle, a next-generation bicycle sharing program. BCycle members can pick up a bike at any B-station and return it to the same or different station when they’re finished. A 15-minute ride starts at just $4.50! Or try the pay-as-you-go option, which costs $1 to unlock the bike plus 10 cents for each minute of use. For more information, visit Des Moines BCycle.
Biking and Walking Tours
Want to really get a feel for Downtown DSM? Try a biking or walking tour! Getting out of the car and into the city is a great way to experience what all the buzz is about. There are tours for all types of interests and groups. The Des Moines Bicycle Collective has a great listing of biking and walking tours.
The Downtown Des Moines skywalks provide a convenient and easy way to get around all year round. The skywalk network system is more than four miles of connected climate-controlled skywalks in Downtown DSM and provides a plenty of room to explore downtown while socially distanced. Learn more about the Operation Downtown ambassadors who are working hard to keep downtown safe, clean and beautiful.
Riding the bus around Downtown DSM is simple with the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART). DART offers a free Downtown D-Line Shuttle with buses stopping every 10 minutes at bus stops at Grand Avenue, Locust Avenue and Walnut Street Downtown Monday through Saturday. View DART’s route schedules, bus stop finder, fares and days available.