Iowa State University and the Ames Community
What's it like to live and study in central Iowa? The city of Ames offers possibilities you didn't expect.
Ames, the home of Iowa State, ranked in the New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities as the second most livable small city in the nation. The city of 60,000 people, which is also the site of the state Department of Transportation, the Ames Laboratory, and the National Animal Disease Lab, lies 30 minutes north of Des Moines, in central Iowa (which was rated the #1 best place in the United States for business and careers by Forbes magazine and the #9 best place to live in the United States by Yahoo).
A Cosmopolitan Small Town
Ames benefits from the university's cosmopolitan atmosphere and offers the advantages of a small city. Cyclone Stadium and the various performing arts facilities of the Iowa State Center (James H. Hilton Coliseum, C. Y. Stephens Auditorium, and Fisher Theater) host major concerts, touring companies, small-venue artists and groups, and other cultural events. Ames has an extensive, well-maintained, and accessible park system; the downtown park hosts evening band concerts once a week throughout the summer. Students with families will find excellent public schools, numerous activities and organizations for children, and many day care centers. Expansion Magazine rates Ames #3 in the United States for "best-educated work force" and "most PhDs per capita." AARP Magazine (2009) rates Ames the #5 place to live in the United States, calling it "high on culture and low on stress" (Ames topped the AARP list of cities in the U.S. for life expectancy). In all, it's a very pleasant place to live. The City of Ames, Iowa State students, and the University itself collectively support an efficient public transportation system. Des Moines, the state's capital and largest city, offers additional cultural attractions, including outstanding art and science centers and triple-A baseball in a beautifully remodeled ballpark.
The ISU Campus
The ISU campus was designed by the Olmstead Brothers in 1906, The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) selected Iowa State’s central campus as a “medallion” site in 1999. Iowa State joined Yale University and the University of Virginia as recipients of this honor.