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Downtown Des Moines Itinerary: A Day on the D-Line

DART Downtown DSM

August 13, 2019

When you use the free DART D-Line Shuttle, getting around Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is easy! The D-Line runs from 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Parking is available along the route at any parking meter, and meters are free after 9 p.m. There are also some free parking lots available along the route. Try out the D-Line by following this itinerary — or mix it up and make it your own!

[Read more about exploring Downtown DSM with DART D-Line.]

Suggested Morning Stops

9 a.m. — Start the day off sweet with breakfast at Molly’s Cupcakes! It’s located just a few steps away from stop #3995 at E 3rd St. and Walnut St. in the Historic East Village. Enjoy one of their classics, like a chocolate or vanilla, or opt for a specialty treat. Molly’s Cupcakes Hours: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. M; 8 a.m. -10 p.m. Tu-F; 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sa; 10 a.m. — Hop on the D-Line at stop #3995 at E 3rd St. and Walnut St. and head up to the Iowa State Capitol for a self-guided or scheduled tour. You can either ride all the way up to stop #1607 at E 9th St. and Grand Ave. or get off at bit earlier at stop #3751 at Grand Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. and walk up the West Terrace steps. Iowa State Capitol Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. M-F; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sa

Suggested Lunch Break

12 p.m. — Stop in for lunch at Scenic Route Bakery. A “Hot Piglet” or Peachy Thyme sandwich will curb those cravings when paired with sweet potato tortilla chips. To get to Scenic Route from the Capitol, cross Grand Ave. to catch the D-Line at stop #1608 and head back towards the river. Hop off at stop #2773 at E 3rd St. and Walnut St. and then walk right around the corner to the bakery. Try out a sandwich, soup or salad and their refreshing Rosemary Lemonade! Hours: 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. M-Sa

Suggested Afternoon Stops

1 p.m. — After lunch, walk on over to the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge to keep on exploring. You don’t need to hop on the D-Line for this one, just head down Grand Ave. towards the river and turn at Robert Ray Drive. Find information on the numerous influential women that the bridge is dedicated to. If you’re for it, you can keep walking towards the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens. Otherwise, head over the bridge into Downtown DSM. On the other side, there’s a small park to have fun at, as well as the site of the soon-to-be-built Lauridsen Skatepark, which will be the largest in the country.

Get back on the D-Line at stop #3432 at 3rd St. and Grand Ave. and ride over to the Des Moines Public Library – Central Branch in the Western Gateway neighborhood. Get off at stop #3438 near 10th St. and Grand Ave. and head inside to see what the library has to offer! There are programs aimed at children, families, students, adults and seniors happening on any given day, and always new books to check out.

Central Library Hours: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. M-Th; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. F; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sa; 4 p.m. — Once you’ve seen what the library has to offer, head outside and across the street to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park! This park has many creative and bold outdoor sculptures you won’t want to miss, including the iconic ‘LOVE’ sculpture by artist Robert Indiana. You can also enjoy a snack anywhere on the grass or benches.

John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

5 p.m. — Enjoy a fun dinner at Zombie Burger + Drink Lab! Catch the D-Line anywhere along 15th St. and 10th St. on Locust St. or Grand Ave. near the park and ride it back into the Historic East Village. Get off at stop #3996 at E 5th St. and Locust St., which is just a block away from there. You can either opt for the sit-down or quick-service version at Zombie Burger, depending on your schedule and preference! Be sure to try one of their fun burger creations and share a cereal-topped shake.

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab Hours: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. Su-Th; 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. F-Sa

Travel Tips

Remember, when you’re traveling on the D-Line, you’ll want to make sure you take into account the schedule and bus rules. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Be at the bus stop 5 minutes early and make sure you are visible to the bus as it approaches.
  • Pay attention as you ride and pull on the yellow cord to tell the driver you want to get off at the next bus stop.
  • Nonsealable food and drink containers are not allowed on the bus, so be sure to bring water bottles and other containers that can close completely.
  • View routes, purchase tickets, and plan trips by using the MyDART app, available for both iPhones and Androids.

More questions? Visit https://www.ridedart.com/routes/shuttles/42-downtown-d-line.                    

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.

Giada Morresi

Giada Morresi is the mobility and marketing intern at the Des Moines Regional Transit Authority (DART).