About Ames: Iowa State University

Main Street, Ames, Iowa
Main Street in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Faye Gilbert.)


Small town warmth. Big city amenities.

Ames logo

Beneath the small town charm of Ames, Iowa, beats the heart of a much larger city. A city that has become a player in developing the world's bio-economic future. A city with top-quality education, from kindergarten to grad school. A city that regularly draws well-known bands, as well as emerging super stars, international symphonies and Broadway musicals. A city with hundreds of acres of parks, 35 miles of bike trails, and cultural festivals and celebrations. A city that's been ranked the 2nd most liveable small city in the nation.

CyRide bus
The city-wide bus system CyRide offers reliable, inexpensive transport.

On the maps

Ames is 30 minutes from Des Moines, and 3 hours from Kansas City, Minneapolis and Omaha.

Ames links


Great schools. No traffic jams. Safe communities. Clean air.

Iowa is a place where neighborhoods are friendly and commutes are short. A place where quality public education isn't just a dream, but a reality. A place of vibrant cities with shopping and entertainment possibilities. A place of endless outdoor recreational opportunities.

Find out more about Iowa at

How Ames ranks

Best college town rankings

Among the top 25 'Smartest College Towns.'
The Daily Beast, 2011

8th among best places (small cities) to live in America.
Money, 2014

Top 15 cities for people who hate long commutes.
U.S. News & World Report, 2009

2nd most liveable small city in the nation.
New Rating Guide to Life in American's Small Cities, 2002

30th in "Best Small Places for Business and Careers."
Forbes magazine, 2008

How Iowa ranks

The 6th best place to raise a child.
Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010 Forbes magazine, 2010

The The 5th best place for well-being,
Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 2010

The 5th best state to retire.
MoneyRates.com, 2010

The 6th most bike-friendly state.
League of American Bicyclists, 2011

4th among states for business.
CNBC, 2009

Brain power

A national brainpower ranking of 200 U.S. metro areas puts Des Moines at No. 35.
Portfolio.com and American City Business Journals Inc., 2010