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Des Moines, IA

New Entertainment Zone Opens in Downtown Des Moines

Posted by 
Kimberly Ritter
Kimberly Ritter
 27 days ago

This weekend began the first of a new weekend entertainment zone in the Court Avenue District. This new Des Moines entertainment experience has been designed and organized to help add additional live music, vendors and outdoor seating for the Court Avenue area.

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Downtown Des MoinesImage courtesy of Deposit Photos

Running through September 4th, parts of Court Avenue will be closed to cars and other vehicles on Fridays and Saturdays from 9PM- 2AM.

As part of the plans for the district, a two-block area of Court Avenue surrounding 3rd street will be closed on weekend evenings.

The closure of Court Avenue during these times will create a designated entertainment zone that is open to adults ages 21+. Guests of the district will be able to enjoy live music and vendors, as well as to visit their favorite bars and restaurants.

The limited road closures in the area will allow venues to expand patio seating, and provide room for outdoor entertainment including DJ’s and live music.

There is no charge for Des Moines area residents ages 21+ to enter this new entertainment district, but guests will be asked to pass through a security gate with a photo ID. This procedure is similar to what other Midwest cities such as Milwaukee and Kansas City have in place at popular bar and restaurant districts.

The closure of the road during the designated hours of 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. will prevent access to some on-street parking. Vehicles will be allowed to leave the area once gates are in place. However, visitors after 9 p.m. will be encouraged to park at nearby parking ramps which will have added security cameras in place.

Located in the heart of downtown Des Moines, the Historic Court District is the main entertainment district of downtown. This Historic Court District houses restaurants, bars, and breweries that often host live entertainment.

Designed to draw more traffic to downtown businesses while allowing guests to remain socially distanced, the new entertainment district will offer a way for Des Moines area adults to enjoy Court Avenue in a whole new way.

Recent months have brought concern about late night crimes and shootings in the Court Avenue District. Creation of this district will move some of the late night traffic from the district. The enhanced security precautions for the area will help create a safe pedestrian area for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Polk County Board of Supervisor Tom Hockensmith noted that “The added security will ensure patrons feel safe while visiting the Court Avenue district.”

This weekend marked the first entertainment zone and helped create a place for visitors in town for the Dew Tour, which took place a few blocks north at the new Lauridsen Skatepark. The same closures and expanded entertainment will remain in place throughout the summer for Des Moines area patrons to enjoy.

In regards to the changes, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said in a statement “This plan offers a safe, expanded entertainment atmosphere so guests and visitors can enjoy our beautiful downtown area with a more pedestrian friendly environment."

Parts of Court venue will remain closed to cars and other vehicles on Fridays and Saturdays from 9PM- 2AM through September 4th.