Best Places to Live

Ames, IA

Population: 62,815

Courtesy of Joe Wolf under a CC 2.0 license.

Ames, IA has sat comfortably on our Top 100 Best Places to Live for four years straight. And that’s no accident. Consistently listed on other high profile rankings – Best City for Singles and Best City for Entrepreneurs  – Ames, IA is is jam-packed with amenities like outdoor recreation, a thriving downtown and a growing economy.

All of these qualities can be traced back to Ames being one of the Top 10 College Towns. As the second time being ranked as a best college town by Livability.com, Ames, a short drive from state capital Des Moines, is home to Iowa State University. ISU is renowned for its biology/agriculture program, business school and Cyclones football.

Why do people come here and stay? Students may move to Ames to earn a degree, but they keep coming back, and eventually stay, for the community pride, affordable health care (people and animals), career opportunities, and the long list of things to do.

So if you want to be a veterinarian (or if you have animals that need excellent care), move to Ames to also take advantage of the restaurants, sports, outdoor recreation, museums and shopping. In Ames you’ll also find ample housing options as well as employment opportunities.


Read more about why Ames is a great place to live!


Industries that thrive in Ames include: arts and entertainment, health care, scientific management, retail trade and, of course, primarily education. Some of the city’s major employers are Mary Greeley Medical Center, Hy-Vee, Danfoss, and Iowa State.