About Ames

The Iowa State campus

Iowa State's picturesque 19-hectacre campus features a quiet lake and a park-like setting. Located in the geographic center of the U.S., Iowa State offers a pleasing mixture of urban and rural life. Iowa State's central campus was one of only three colleges to receive the American Society of Landscape Architects medallion award given to outstanding landscape sites. The book, The Campus as a Work of Art, proclaimed Iowa State to have one of the 25 most beautiful campuses in the country.

Ames: among America's best

Throughout the years Ames has received many honors including:

  • 2nd most liveable small city in the nation (New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities)
  • 6th best small city in America in which to do business (Bizjournals.com)
  • One of the 9 great places you've never heard of (Mother Earth News)
  • Among the 20 best places to live in America (Men's Journal)
  • One of the 20 best places in America to live and work (BestJobsUSA.com)
  • 30th in Best Small Places for Business and Careers (Forbes magazine)


Ames has dozens of churches or communities of worship, including Protestant and Catholic Christian churches, a synagogue, and an Islamic center. A Hindu temple is located in the nearby town of Madrid.

Restaurants and ethnic markets

Ames has a wide variety of ethnic restaurants and food markets, including Asian, Indian, Italian, Korean, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. In addition to the mainstream supermarkets, Ames also has an international grocery store, two organic food stores, and two Asian food stores.

For a listing of these establishments and addresses visit the restaurants and ethnic markets page.

Living options

Many students choose to live on-campus in Iowa State's Department of Residence housing. There are three neighborhoods - Buchanan Hall, Frederiksen Court apartments, and Schilletter and University Village apartments - that are open all 12 months of the year including winter break.

Linden Hall is also a popular choice for international students looking for a more traditional residence hall experience. Linden Hall is open during the academic year and winter break, but is not open during the summer months.

Explore all of Iowa State's on-campus housing options by visiting the Department of Residence website.

Students are encouraged, but not required, to live on campus. Information about off-campus living options can be found at www.amesrent.com.

Personal finances

Decide how you want to handle your personal finances. You may elect to open a local checking or savings account. There are automatic teller machines on campus and in the Ames community that are connected to numerous banks and credit unions.

For a listing of financial institutions in Ames visit the Chamber of Commerce website.

Iowa weather

Iowa State is in the temperate weather zone which means that we have four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and sunny. Most students wear shorts or light pants, and short-sleeved shirts and T-shirts in the summer. Autumn begins very warm, turning cool and crisp in October. Winters can be very cold, ranging from 1º C to 25º C. Snow falls during the winter, so be prepared to bring or buy a warm winter coat, hat, scarf, mittens or gloves, and snow boots. Spring brings warmer temperatures, with frequent rain showers.