Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor in Ames Iowa

Best Places to Live in the US in 2022 Sponsored by: eXp RealtyeXp Realty

Ames, IA is the #80 Best City to Live in the USA

Bell tower on Iowa State University campus
Jeff Adkins
Ames, IA
Quality of Life
Liv Score

604
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 76
Demographics 31
Economy 60
Education 72
Health 62
Housing 53
Infrastructure 40
Amenities 55

Why Ames is one of the best cities to live in

All are welcome in Ames, IA, an inclusive and affordable community that’s one of the best places to live in the U.S. This charming Midwestern college town (Go Cyclones!) is located 30 miles north of Des Moines and has long had a stronghold in industries like food processing, advanced manufacturing and information technology. Ames residents are ridiculously friendly and have a quality of life you can’t find anywhere else. A tight-knit community, four seasons full of recreation, and a youthful spirit from students and researchers at Iowa State University are all reasons that people genuinely love to live here. Ames offers something for everyone, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a family with young children or someone in between. 

What are Ames major industries and employers?

No surprise here: Iowa State is the largest employer in Ames. Some titans of industry include higher education, health care, manufacturing and agriculture.

What are the major colleges and universities in Ames?

Iowa State University

What is the weather like in Ames? 

Ames residents enjoy four seasons. Average high temps range from 29 degrees in January to 85 degrees in July. 

What is there to do outside in Ames? 

From biking along the Ames Trail System to taking in an epic hike, the outdoors is yours to explore in Ames. Fishing enthusiasts can hang out at the Ada Hayden Heritage Park year round. The park was named for the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from then-Iowa State College.

Ames, IA is Remote-Ready

What makes Ames a great place for remote workers?

The cost of living in Ames is lower than the national average, though more than half of the residents rent their homes. Most of Ames has access to high-speed internet at a reasonable cost. Dotted with several parks and museums, Ames is a great spot for more pared back down time. When you need to work outside your home, the Catalyst coworking space is an excellent place to get work done.

What Locals Love in Ames, IA

What is the best local bookstore in Ames?

Dog Eared Books has adorable shop dogs and fun events like trivia and poetry slams. Co-owners Ellyn Grimm and Amanda Lepper even have a podcast called Bubbles and Books. 

How do you spend a weekend in Ames?

When the Cyclones aren’t playing, head to the Reiman Gardens, which has aromatic herbs, roses, a palm tree, native prairie species and more. There are also nearly 800 butterflies fluttering about in a tropical sanctuary.

What can you do for free in Ames?

Admission is free at Brunnier Art Museum (though donations are welcome!). The museum has a collection of decorative arts – we’re talking ceramics, glass, ivory, jade and enameled metals. 

Whats the best way to spend happy hour in Ames?

You’d be hard-pressed to find better happy hour specials than the ones at London Underground, a British pub with tasty beers from around the world and an impressive selection of whiskey.

Whats something only locals know about Ames?

The Ames Miracle Playground and Field is an inclusive playground built for children of all abilities. It has rubberized turf and is wheelchair accessible.

Is Ames, IA a good place to live?

With an affordable cost of living, a strong economy and friendly residents, Ames is a best place to live in Iowa.

Thinking of Moving to Ames?

What is the Ames, IA Real Estate Market Like?

Ames is a midsize city with affordable living costs and exceptional quality of life, ideal for young families and professionals looking to trade the hustle and bustle of Des Moines for a quieter suburban environment and tons of outdoor opportunities in over 38 parks. Another attractive feature of this young city is its reasonably-priced housing market with homes for sale in Ames, IA, at a median sale price of around $246K. The Ames, IA real estate market offers more single-family detached homes than condos. Families can find existing and new homes on the north and east sides of the city, particularly desirable are the new development communities of Quarry Estates and Northridge Heights. Most condo units are located southeast of Ames, some selling for as low as $70K. If Ames, IA sounds like the ideal place for you, contact a local eXp real estate agent.   

Quick Facts About Ames, IA

Average Commute
16.1
Median Home Value
$246,387
Med. Household Income
$50,783
Total Population
66,361
Walk Score
39
Median Property Tax
$3,338

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