Located smack dab in the middle of the Hawkeye State is Ames, Iowa, perhaps best known as home to Iowa State University. The city was recently ranked as one of the “Best Places to Live” and “Best Cities for Singles." Residents here have an easy 20-minute drive to the state capital of Des Moines for even more entertainment options, but there are plenty of things to do in Ames. Here's a look at some of the reasons you should consider moving there.
See You at the Jack
Go Cyclones! The Iowa State University football team plays its home games at 61,500-seat Jack Trice Stadium, a facility highlighted by hillside seating in each stadium corner. The 2016 ISU Cyclones home football schedule includes tantalizing games against powerful rivals like Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and West Virginia.
Try the Margarita Pizza
With all fresh ingredients purchased from Ames area farms, The Café is a casual yet upscale dining destination for locals and tourists. The popular restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with menu items ranging from banana pancakes to margarita pizzas. Also on site is a lounge and wine bar.
Hit 'Em Far and Straight
Fore? Actually, five golf venues grace the Ames landscape, including the demanding Veenker Memorial Golf Course. Players will hit every club in their bag while traversing the challenging course, and greens fees are reasonable.
Excitement in Store
Visit unique shops and restaurants in the downtown Main Street Cultural District, among them Ames Silversmithing, Emerhoff’s Footwear, Miss Meyer’s Clothing Consignment and Treats on a Leash. Top restaurants and hangouts are Aunt Maude’s, Café Diem, Chocolaterie Stam, London Underground and Whiskey River.
All Bottled Up
Beer drinkers often prefer the microbrewery experience, and an Ames establishment where customers can savor the flavor is Alluvial Brewing Company. Good pub food is served at the well-decorated taproom that produces popular brands like Hoptagious IPA and Ox-spresso Oatmeal Stout.
Move It, Move It
Hiking, biking, fishing and boating are available at several of the 35 parks in Ames. One of the most popular places for fresh air enjoyment is Ada Hayden Heritage Park, which offers a lake, nature area, walking path and paved bike path.
Glitzy galleries and unusual art studios grace the Octagon Center for the Arts in the city’s downtown area. The center schedules an annual outdoor Octagon Arts Festival each September, which welcomes 100 top artists and about 15,000 spectators.
Rock the M-Shop
The Maintenance Shop inside the Iowa State University Memorial Union Building, better known as M-Shop, each January hosts a free Winter Classic Concert. The 2016 extravaganza, open to the public, featured performances from Ames party-rock bands Pelvis, Twins and Kickstart the Sun.