Downtown Des Plaines has a rich heritage and offers residents, business owners and visitors, unique shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Since the 1870s, Miner and Ellinwood streets have been at the center of commerce in Des Plaines. Iconic buildings like the Des Plaines Theatre, Masonic Temple (Leela Arts Building), Brown’s Department Store (Dotombori), and the bank building (formerly Huntington) are Des Plaines landmarks. And established businesses like R.C. Wahl Jewelers, the Sugar Bowl, Square Deal Shoes and The Choo Choo Restaurant have chosen the Des Plaines downtown as their home for years.
Des Plaines City Council is linking the historic with the modern and taking an active role in transforming underutilized gems to revitalize the downtown in alignment with the City’s comprehensive plan. In 2022, the City purchased 620 Lee Street (including the Leela Arts Building on the second floor.) To make the site more marketable to potential tenants, the City has begun demolition and building upgrades. The potential for this space is exciting and builds on the momentum we’re seeing in our downtown.
The City recently completed renovations on the historic Des Plaines Theatre. The City recognized that the theatre’s restoration could serve as a catalyst for downtown revitalization and economic development. To make the project feasible, Rivers Casino agreed to provide financial support to assist with the property’s purchase and renovation. The City invested $6.7 million in the renovation.
Transit-oriented development (TOD) creates dense, walkable, and mixed-use spaces (residential, commercial and office) near public transit. This kind of development promotes sustainable transportation and supports local businesses, and Des Plaines is well positioned to reap its benefits. The City’s 2019 comprehensive plan identifies TOD as a key tool to support vibrant and sustainable communities. In addition, planning continues to bring a Metra Train Station to Oakton Street on the Metra North Central Rail Line.
Des Plaines Theatre
Check out a live performance and dine, drink, and dance all under one roof! The beautifully renovated venue re-opened in 2021 after a multi-million dollar investment by the City of Des Plaines and Rivers Casino. With multiple shows a week, the Des Plaines Theatre offers a little something for everyone. Visit desplainestheatre.com for the schedule, to purchase tickets and learn more.
With over 400,000 visits a year, the Des Plaines Public Library is a bustling place. Home to computers, programs, special events, and books, DPPL is a hub of activity in our downtown.
Did you know that Des Plaines has its very own museum? The Des Plaines History Center and Kinder House Museum offer a look at the history of Des Plaines and its people through exhibits, educational programs, and archives.
Several Des Plaines Park District facilities are located in or near the downtown area.
Des Plaines is ideally located, with access to planes, trains, buses, and an impressive highway network.
The Des Plaines stop of Metra’s Union Pacific Northwest line is in the heart of downtown.
The Miner St. corridor provides access to several Pace lines, including the Pace Pulse (a rapid transit line that will operate on Dempster Street between Evanston and O’Hare International Airport) anticipated Spring of 2023.
Are you driving to downtown Des Plaines? The City has several convenient public parking options.
- Metropolitan Square Parking Garage (660 Metropolitan Way)
- Civic Center Parking Deck - Just north of Miner Street behind City Hall (606 Lee Street)
- Library Parking Deck (1448 Prairie Avenue)
- Metra adjacent parking
- Street Parking
Metro Square is a 90,000-square-foot mixed-use retail, office, and residential development just north of Miner Street. This marketplace in the center of downtown features several national businesses and has opportunity for further development. In addition, several marquee retail units are available for customization. The facilities include a dedicated parking garage and central plaza area.
The City of Des Plaines wants to make it easy for you to access the tools you need, whether you're a small, medium or big business, already in Des Plaines or looking to locate here.
The City’s Community and Economic Development department is a partner in your journey. Staff in the Department wants to help your business and our local economy thrive. Our team works with local brokers to help connect you to properties. A current listing of properties available in the City is here.
The staff will guide you through the development process and connect you to resources in the community.
The City’s Business Assistance Programs make it possible to get your business off on the right foot or to make the changes necessary to improve your existing business.