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Judicial Branch Building and Courthouse Tours

Visiting the Iowa Judicial Branch Building or a county courthouse

To schedule a tour of the Iowa Judicial Branch Building, contact Public Information Specialist Abhash Shrestha at 515-348-4963 or [email protected]. Please schedule your tour at least two weeks in advance of your visit. You can find more information below about touring the Iowa Judicial Branch Building.

To schedule a tour of one of Iowa’s 100 county courthouses, please call the clerk of district court in your county. You can find a directory here.  Depending on the county, clerk’s office staff will help make the necessary arrangements for the tour, or the clerk will refer you to the government office in the courthouse that arranges tours. The ability to schedule a courthouse tour will depend on the availability of staff and other scheduled events at the courthouse. 

Iowa Judicial Branch Building Tours

The Iowa Judicial Branch Building is located on the Iowa State Capitol Complex and is the home of the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and state court administration.

The building, which sits on a bluff overlooking downtown Des Moines, is located at 1111 East Court Avenue, two blocks south of the Capitol.  There is a Iowa State Capitol Complex map here.

Inside the five-story limestone building, you will find historic allegorical murals dating back to the 1880s, an inlaid marble floor, a soaring coffered dome, and two stately courtrooms. There is an easy-to-follow self-guided tour map here.

Scheduled guided tours of the Judiciary Branch Building are available for groups consisting of 20 or more individuals. The free tours offer an enriching experience for both students and the general public and provide valuable insights into the judicial system.

During the tour, visitors may have the opportunity to hear from one of the Iowa Supreme Court justices or even capture a memorable group photo to commemorate your experience.

Justice May speaking to the students at the courthouse

Justice McDermott with the students in the courthouse.

Hours and directions
Monday- Friday (except State Holidays)
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
pdf map (Judicial Branch Building) 

Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa Court of Appeals oral arguments are open to public. The seats in each courtroom are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Oral argument dates are listed in the calendar links below.
Supreme Court Calendar
Court of Appeals Calendar

Historic Murals
Visitors may want to watch a slide show about the history and restoration of the murals prior to visiting.

Video Tour 

Discover some of the special features in the Iowa Judicial Branch Building and the interesting stories behind them. This 11-minute video is narrated by retired KCCI-TV news anchor Kevin Cooney. The video was produced in 2016 by J. Alex Cooney with video production provided by his company, JAC Photoworks. The Cooneys donated their time and expertise for the production of the video.

Accessibility

Parking: Visitors with disability can park in the disabled parking area in the North East side of the Judiciary building as indicated in the Map.

Wheelchair access to the building is available alongside the parking to the main entrance of the building.

Elevators are available on the ground floor and first floor to provide access to all public areas.

Animals:  Only service dogs trained to assist persons with disabilities are welcome in the Supreme Court. Service dogs must be under the control of their handlers at all times.

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