Nestled deep in the Midwest is a pastoral gem … well, sort of. Ames, Iowa is definitely a Midwestern gem – it was, after all, named the “Best College Town in America” by Livability.com in 2014, and it was named one of the top 10 cities for college students. Ames is home of Iowa State University – a top-ranking research university and a charter member of the Big 12 Conference.
If you are moving to an apartment in Ames to be close to Iowa State University, you might want to consider looking in the Campustown neighborhood. This mixed-used neighborhood is just south of campus and features a variety of restaurants, cafes, shops, nightclubs, and student apartments.
Established in 1858, ISU is a land-grant, space-grant university with an enrollment of about 33,000 students. ISU is considered one of the top public universities in the nation. It is also the only university in the country to have a US Department of Energy research laboratory located on campus – the university played a crucial role in the Manhattan Project in the 1940s.
Even if you aren’t moving to an Ames apartment to be closer to the university, you will probably enjoy cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones! The Cyclones, part of the Big 12 Conference, compete in NCAA Division I. Catch a football game at Jack Trice Stadium, the basketball team at Hilton Coliseum, and the hockey team at Ames/ISU Ice Arena.
But back to being a pastoral gem … Ames is home to 36 parks and 55 miles of hiking trails and golf courses. Reiman Gardens, located at ISU, is the state’s largest public garden. Located on14 acres, the park includes a butterfly house that is home to 800 butterflies of 80 different species, the Hughes Conservatory, the Antique Rose Garden, an herb garden, a children’s garden, an open plaza, and more.
Ames offers a gorgeous downtown with terrific shops, restaurants, and the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market, held May through October and offering a variety of local produce, baked goods, handmade items, and more. The market also features live music, a Chef’s Table, and special events such as a chili cook-off, petting-zoo, and a salsa contest.
The Main Street Cultural District offers the Farmer’s Market along with other events, including Firefly Country Nights, ArtWalk, MusicWalk, and Oktoberfest. Downtown also features a variety of public art and is home to the Ames Main Street Cultural District.
Living in the shadow of a major university has its perks. The campus features a variety of fantastic museums, including the Peterson Art Museum, the Farm House Museum, and the Brunnier Art Museum. When you are in the mood for fine arts, the ISU Theatre features several theatrical productions.
There’s no doubt – Ames is a major college town. But it is also a family-friendly, charming, and close-knit small town tucked away in the heart of the Midwest. Find your apartment in Ames now – you’re definitely making the “Smart Choice.”