4 Reasons to Move to Ames, IA, Right Now
No matter what stage you are in life, you'll find it all in this stunning region nestled in the heart of Iowa.
Iowa is known as one of the best and most affordable places to live, with housing costs 24% below the national average. One of its communities has garnered particular attention as a friendly, lively place that only continues to grow.
It is home to a major university, but the Ames MSA is not only a fun place for young adults but families, too. If you’re looking for one of the most desirable places to live, here’s why it’s time to consider a move to Ames and the surrounding communities.
In This Article
1. Score an Excellent Education
Not only is the region home to Iowa State University, which is known for its excellence in science and technology, but also several highly ranked public schools.
Niche ranked Gilbert Community School District No. 2 among public school districts in Iowa in 2023, while Ames Community School District, with a student-teacher ratio of 14:1, ranked No. 11. The Roland-Story Community School District in Story City, was No. 24 on the list.
“Gilbert and Roland-Story schools got really high honors,” says Kim Schilling, the CEO at Bethany Life, a continuing-care retirement community.
Schilling’s son attends a different school within Gilbert Community School District and says he is challenged with the offerings of advanced learning courses.
“He’s been in two other school systems since we moved, and this one is by far the best,” Schilling says. “He’s in some advanced learning classes that he was never able to be a part of in some of the other schools.”
2. Find Endless Chapters of Fun Here
Whether they’re cheering on Iowa State’s football team at Jack Trice Stadium or strolling around the historic downtown district, students and residents alike will find a full range of experiences and opportunities to enjoy.
“There’s lots of different festivals and activities and sporting events and art things going on,” says Marianne Pacha, former Iowa State student and current restaurateur. “There’s always something going on for every type of person.”
Pacha and her husband, Matt, own Flight Bar + Grille in Huxley, just 8 miles outside of downtown Ames. Serving fresh bar food and offering flights of margaritas, beer and whiskey, Flight Bar + Grille is just one of the many small businesses in the region.
“It’s not just Ames,” Schillings says. “You’ve got Ames, Nevada, Story City, Roland and Gilbert.”
3. Expect to Be Outside
When Marianne Pacha is not running the restaurant or caring for her 3-year-old son, she is photographing the wildflowers and foliage in the area’s many parks and trails, like Cambridge Pond and the signature High Trestle Trail Bridge.
“My favorite here in Huxley is Christiansen Forest Preserve,” Pacha says. “It’s great for hiking and nature trails.”
People can be found biking the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail or tailgating football games, visiting the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market, dining alfresco and shopping at the plethora of retailers in the region.
“Ames is the city, but it has nice parts of it carved out,” Schilling says. “It’s got lakes, trails and, yes, it is absolutely beautiful.”
4. Thrive in a Diverse Economy
The area’s economy is fueled by the abundance of talent coming from the area’s acclaimed schools. Those looking to move to Ames to further their careers have plenty of options, from education and entrepreneurship to agriculture, manufacturing and health care. “There are great health care options here,” Schilling says.
With agriculture as the state’s economic backbone, animal sciences is extremely important in Iowa. Iowa State University is one of the few colleges that provides a veterinary program for those interested in animal sciences, and Ames is home to the National Centers for Animal Health.
“Ames is an amazing small city,” Schilling says. “It’s a college town that has everything you could possibly need, from shopping to eating to academics – it’s also all very close.”
Get to Know the Ames MSA
Want to learn more about living and working in Ames, Iowa? Check out the latest edition of Livability Ames, Iowa And the Greater Boone & Story County Region.