Park & Ride to the Iowa State Fair

Posted on June, 20 2024

Iowa State Fair parking is easy when you take a DART Park & Ride shuttle to the fair in 2024. 

DART operates shuttle services from three Park & Ride locations during the Iowa State Fair. By riding Park & Ride shuttles, fair-goers enjoy their trips to the Iowa State Fairgrounds without worrying about traffic or paying for parking.

You can park for free in lots specified at each location and then board buses headed to Gate 10 of the fairgrounds. Once finished at the Iowa State Fair, return to Gate 10 and board a bus back to your Park & Ride location.

Shuttles begin boarding at 8 a.m. and run until midnight every day of the fair. There is no set schedule for the shuttles, but buses leave Park & Ride locations every 10 – 15 minutes on average.

Some items are allowed on buses, but not allowed on state fairgrounds or the Grandstand if you're attending a show. See a full list of these restrictions by clicking here.  

2024 Ticket Discounts

As of 2024, riders will not recieve any discounts for showing their Advanced State Fair Admission Tickets. Discounted tickets will be available in the MyDART® app, starting August 1, 2024.



Park & Ride Locations

Free parking is available at all locations. No overnight parking is allowed at any Park & Ride location. Vehicles will be towed if left overnight.


Center Street Park & Ride

Photo of 7th & Center Parking Ramp

Enter the 7th & Center Parking Garage from 7th St. State Fair shuttles and ticket booth are located on the ground floor in the southeast corner of the garage. 

If signs indicate the parking garage is full, overflow parking is available in the parking lot across the street from the garage entrance. This overflow lot is open after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.


Iowa State Capitol Park & Ride

Photo of the State Capitol

Park at State Capitol visitor lots (see map or posted signs for restrictions on weekday parking). Ticket booth and shuttles are found on E 12th St on the east side of the Capitol Building (by the Iowa Statue of Liberty and Liberty Bell Memorial), west of the Lucas Building. 

In 2024, Capitol Lot 15 (across from the Park & Ride booth and boarding area) will be partially closed for resurfacing and Lot 13 (located directly behind the Park & Ride shuttle pickup) will be closed off to visitor parking during the week of the fair. 


Southeast Polk High School Park & Ride

Photo of southeast polk high school

Parking is available at Southeast Polk High School parking lots on the east and west sides of the building. Ticket booth and bus boarding is located at the main entrance of the high school (on the west side of the building). 

Overflow Parking

Parking at the high school is likely to fill up by mid-morning on most days of the fair, and shuttle service is a 15 minute walk from the overflow lot at Southeast Polk Jr. High School. Courtesy stops are located along roads that run around the south and west side of the high school. 

If you are planning to attend the State Fair in the late morning or early afternoon, and would have difficulty walking the distance from the overflow lot, then please consider using 7th & Center St. or State Capitol Park & Ride locations. 


State Fair Shuttle Tickets

Purchase shuttle tickets from booths located at each Park & Ride location or in the MyDART app, beginning August 1, 2024. Tickets purchased in the app are half-price.

Cash, credit card, Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted at ticket booths. If paying in cash, exact change is preferred. Booths will hold limited cash on hand, and may not be able to break bills larger than $20.

Ticket booths close at 8 p.m., but mobile app tickets and exact fares are still accepted as you board.

Photo of tickets in booth





  • Children (6 - 10)
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Persons 65 or older
  • Persons on Medicare


  • Children (0 - 5)
(No cost, but please pick up/download free ticket.)

Key things to know:

  • Only one ticket purchase is needed to get you to the fair and back ("round-trip").
  • Discounted, one-way tickets are available at booths upon request. 
  • All riders must be counted, so please let ticket booth attendants know of any free riders in your party.
  • As of 2024, riders will not receive any discounts for showing their Advanced Admission State Fair Tickets.


How to Board Buses

Boarding the shuttle bus looks a little different depending on how you’ve purchased your tickets. Here’s the boarding process for each option:

If purchasing tickets from booths:

Photo of group at ticket booth


  1. Approach the ticket booth at your location. Please be prepared to stand as lines may form during busy times.

  2. Purchase a ticket for each passenger (tell attendants about all free riders).

  3. Join the bus boarding line.

  4. Give paper tickets to attendant. 

    Attendants will take tickets and tear your boarding ticket. Tickets are used to count passengers and to ensure fare was paid. No ticket is needed to return to your Park & Ride location.

    If purchasing tickets in MyDART app:

    1. Purchase only (1) ticket for each passenger, including downloading a ticket for all free child riders. One person can buy a ticket for multiple riders. 
    2. Join the line for the bus.
    3. As you approach the front of the line, you’ll activate a ticket for each rider. In the Tickets tab, tap all tickets you would like activated and then select the "activate" prompt on the bottom of the screen.
    4. Show the activated tickets to the attendant as you board.

    Tip: In the MyDART app, you can quickly activate multiple tickets on the Tickets page by tapping all you need at once and then clicking “Activate.”


    A few other notes for boarding...

    If boarding after 8.p.m.:

    After ticket booths are closed, bring exact fare or purchase shuttle tickets in the MyDART app. As shuttles drop off passengers, they will stop at boarding locations if people are waiting. Drivers cannot make change for fare and will ask riders to insert exact payment directly into the farebox or to show them your MyDART mobile tickets.

    Our shuttles may be running during times when the Fair is no longer offering entry/re-entry to the Fairgrounds. Please review Iowa State Fair hours before boarding. 


    If boarding with a stroller or car seat:

    Strollers, wagons, and carts are welcome on the bus! Children may stay inside these items during the trip when space permits. We only ask that these devices do not block aisles or seating on board the shuttle that is needed by other passengers. If space is limited on your bus, you may be asked to collapse the strollers and wagons. Additionally, these collapsed items may be stowed at the front of the bus, over the wheel well, during the trip.

    Were here to help! Ask an attendant or driver for assistance if you have questions.


    Returning to Your Park & Ride Location

    Once you are finished at the Iowa State Fair, you will return to Gate 10 on the Fairgrounds. There will be three lines to wait in – one for each Park & Ride location. Check the sign to the left of your line to make sure you are headed back to the right Park & Ride. You'll also see the Park & Ride locations noted on the side of the bus as you board, indicated on the digital destination sign.

    At about 6:30 p.m. every night, lines for the State Capitol and Center St. Park & Rides will merge as buses will service both locations on each trip. 

    What if the Grandstand show goes late?

    Shuttles will run until midnight, unless the Grandstand show runs late. If the show lets out late, shuttles will continue until all lines are cleared. Please come straight to Gate 10 after leaving the show to ensure you do not miss the last bus.


    DART Customer Service

    For questions or additional information, please contact DART Customer Service at 515-283-8100, Opt. 0, or


    MyDART® is a registered trademark of Des Moines Area Regional Transit. All rights reserved.

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