|Ames is located in central Iowa roughly 30 miles north of Des Moines, in the eastern part of Story County, astride the Skunk River. The city was named after Massachusetts congressman, shovel tycoon, and transcontinental railroad supporter Oakes Ames, the railroad is still a daily part of Ames life, with nearly 90 Union Pacific long-haul freight trains passing through town each day over several at-grade road crossings. Unfortunately, no passenger rail service is available to the city. Life in Ames follows the ebb and flow of the academic year at Iowa State University, the city's largest employer. Other major employers include the Iowa Department of Transportation, Sauer-Danfoss, Ball Corporation, and Barilla. |
Traveling from the north (eg, Minneapolis, approximate drive time 2.5 hours) or from the south (eg, from Des Moines, 0.5 hours, or from Kansas City, approximately 3 hours), take I-35 to exit 113 and drive west along 13th Street to Clark Avenue. Head south on Clark Avenue to City Hall and the Main Street district. Traveling from the east (Chicago, 5.5 hours) or from the west (Omaha, 2 hours), take I-80 to I-35, and then I-35 north and as above.
Trailways. Has a location on the north side of Lincoln Way east of Duff Avenue and west of Dayton Road, but this location is not yet integrated into the city bus or bike- and foot-path system, so have car transportation arranged if arriving by long-distance bus.
Shuttle service is available from Out of Town transport to/from the Des Moines International airport. If flying via charter or general aviation, one can use Ames' airport on the southern edge of town, south of Airport Road, but again, privately-arranged car transport is the best bet from there into town.
Iowa State University sporting event Men's football and men's and women's basketball are probably the biggest draws, but Iowa State is also a national power in mens' wrestling and the university fields teams in several other sports in the Big 12 Conference, at the NCAA Division I level.
Cultural events at Iowa State Center Concerts and plays at Scheman and Fisher theaters.
• Brunnier Museum.
• Farm House Museum.
• Christian Peterson sculpture collection. Located around the ISU campus.
• Hoggatt School. A historical one-room schoolhouse.
• Iowa State University Campanile
Iowa State University licensed paraphernalia (sweaters and such) are available from several retailers around town, but perhaps most notably at the bookstores on or near campus along Lincoln Way. Other specialty shopping can be had in Campustown, Somerset, or downtown.
For big-box chain stores, the major shopping areas are along south Duff Avenue from Lincoln Way south past U.S. Highway 30, and along east of north Grand Avenue near the North Grand Mall, between 24th Street and Bloomington Avenue.
• Aunt Maude's, Main St, on the west end. Slightly more formal dining.
• Bali Satay House. Vegetarian friendly.
• Cafe Beaudalaire, Lincoln Way, in Campustown. Vegetarian friendly.
• Hickory Park, South Duff. Barbecue.
• Battle's BBQ, Welch Ave. Barbecue.
• If it's outdoor grill season, stop by the Iowa State Meats Lab and pick up some cuts.
The college club scene is served by an ever-shifting array of bars and clubs in Campustown.
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The city-university partnership Cyride provides bus service to most of the city. Far is $1, with monthly passes available for $35.
Ames has a moderately extensive paved trail system for walking and biking.
Lincoln Way is the main east-west thoroughfare of the city, running from just south of downtown west to Campustown and along the southern edge of the central campus of Iowa State University. Similarly, 13th street runs across the northern edges of the downtown area and the university campus. Main north-south roads include Duff Avenue and Grand Avenue (which together carry U.S. Highway 69 through Ames) and North and South Dakota Avenues.
Apart from Iowa State University itself, there are generally, there are three main pedestrian-friendly concentrations of shops and restaurants: Downtown on Main Street between Clark and Duff Avenues, Campustown south of Lincoln Way along either side of Welch Avenue, and the much newer Somerset neighborhood, to the east of Stange Avenue north of 24th Street.
Go to Story City about a 15 minute drive north of Ames on I-35 or U.S. Highway 69 to see their antique carousel. You may also want to visit the corn maze in the summer just east of Ames, between Ames and Nevada, Iowa on U.S. Highway 30.
Iowa State University