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Polk County, City of Des Moines and Downtown Des Moines Partners Announce New Court Avenue Entertainment Experience

May 14, 2021

Des Moines, IA- Polk County, The City of Des Moines and partners including The Greater Des Moines Partnership, Catch Des Moines and Court Avenue District are pleased to announce a new entertainment experience for downtown Des Moines. Starting on May 21st and running through September 4th, parts of Court Avenue will close to vehicle traffic on Friday’s and Saturdays from 9PM- 2AM. The closure will create an ‘entertainment zone’ open those 21+ to enjoy additional live music and vendors on occasion, as well as visit their favorite bars and restaurants. The limited road closures will allow establishments to expand patio seating and provide room for outdoor entertainment including DJ’s and live music.

As part of the revised entertainment plans, a two-block area of Court Avenue surrounding 3rd street (see attached map) will be fenced off to traffic starting on May 21st to coincide with the Dew Tour which will be taking place a few blocks north at the new Lauridsen Skatepark. The same closures and expanded entertainment will remain in place throughout the summer.

There is no charge to enter the entertainment district. However, visitors age 21+ will be asked to pass through a gate with photo ID’s and security screening. Polk County Board of Supervisor Tom Hockensmith says, “This is a similar approach that other cities including Milwaukee and Kansas City have in place at popular bar and restaurant districts and have proved to be successful. Additionally, the added security will ensure patrons feel safe while visiting the Court Avenue district.”

The road closure during the outdoor entertainment district hours (9PM-2AM) will prevent access to some on-street parking. Vehicles will be allowed to leave the area once gates are in place. However, visitors after 9PM will be encouraged to park at nearby parking ramps which will have added security cameras in place.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie says “This plan offers a safe, expanded entertainment atmosphere so guests and visitors can enjoy our beautiful downtown area with a more pedestrian friendly environment.

About Historic Court District

One of Downtown Des Moines' (DSM's) oldest neighborhoods, Historic Court District has seen many changes since its inception in 1846. Learn more about Historic Court District, home to some of Downtown DSM's major attractions, restaurants and housing options.