Welcome to Ames, Iowa, a town where exciting cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and delicious food come together to make a wide range of things to do. This guide will show you the best things to do in Ames, Iowa, including its hidden gems. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or food, Ames calls you to explore and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Ames has a lively arts, history, and science scene that shows off the city’s accomplishments.
1. Iowa State University Museums
- Address: 1805 Center Dr, Ames, IA 50011
The Iowa State University Museums are located in Ames, Iowa, and offer an interesting look into art and science. The Brunnier Art Museum has a huge collection of decorative arts, from ceramics to textiles, that show how different cultures have made things. The Science Centre has hands-on exhibits that keep people of all ages interested in science. The Christian Petersen Art Museum, which is right next door, honours the famous sculptor and shows how he changed Iowa’s cultural scene. People from all over the world come to these museums to experience the exciting way that art and education come together.
- Address: 305 S. Burlington Ave., Ames, IA 50011
The Textiles and Clothing Museum in Ames, Iowa, is a fascinating look into the history of clothing in the area. It has a carefully chosen collection of old clothes that show how fashion and textiles have changed in the Midwest over time. People can look at static displays about the cultural meanings of clothing or take part in hands-on workshops where they can learn traditional textile techniques like dying and weaving. This museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Iowa’s rich textile history because it gives you more than just a glimpse into the past. It creates an immersive experience that ties together historical threads of fashion with the present.
- Address: 416 Douglas Ave, Ames, IA 50010
The Ames Historical Society is one of the most important groups in the city that works to protect and share the city’s rich history. The society’s many exhibits, artefacts, and educational programmes take visitors on a full journey through Ames’s history, from its earliest days to the present. Highlights of the community’s history come to life through guided tours and special events. In addition to having a building, the society actively gathers and stores historical materials that add to the ongoing story of Ames. The Ames Historical Society is a great place to learn about and connect with the community’s long history because it is in charge of keeping it safe.
4. Farm House Museum
- Address: 601 Farm House Ln, Ames, IA 50014
The Farm House Museum on the campus of Iowa State University is a valuable piece of history. It is the oldest building on campus, having been built in 1860. It shows how people lived in Ames, Iowa, in the late 1800s and early 1900s as farmers. Rooms that have been carefully restored show the tools, implements, and way of life of the time. Guided tours explain the artefacts and their history. Throughout the year, educational programmes and special events make the experience better by letting people learn about Iowa’s farming history through hands-on activities and exhibits with a theme. The Farm House Museum is an interesting living history lesson that shows how the farming roots of Ames have shaped its lively community.
- Address: 1407 University Blvd, Ames, IA 50011
The botanical garden Reiman Gardens is spread out over 17 acres on the campus of Iowa State University. The Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing is the highlight, with its immersive experience with a variety of butterflies. The gardens are known for their varied landscapes and careful maintenance. Themed areas like the Rose Garden and Herb Garden show off a lot of different plant species, making a visual tapestry that is always changing. The gardens are more than just a place to enjoy plants. They also host educational programmes, workshops, and community events, making them a lively place to learn and appreciate other cultures. The Hughes Conservatory and the outdoor Sycamore Falls make the experience even better for visitors by offering peace and quiet all year long amidst lush plants and rushing water. Reiman Gardens is a place that combines natural beauty, learning, and cultural enrichment in a way that is seamless. Its world is captivating and changing all the time, and visitors are welcome to become immersed in it.
Ames is surrounded by beautiful nature, which makes it a great place for people who love being outside to explore.
1. Ledges State Park
- Address: 1515 P Ave, Madrid, IA 50156
Ledges State Park is a beautiful natural retreat known for its rough beauty and unique rock formations. The park is over 1,200 acres and is located in the Des Moines River Valley. It has trails that wind through tall sandstone cliffs and offer hikers stunning views. The Lost Lake Trail is a difficult but rewarding hike, and the beautiful scenery and designated picnic areas make it a great place for nature lovers to visit. As a peaceful place to get away, Ledges State Park invites people to enjoy Iowa’s natural beauty and the peace of its stunning landscapes.
- Address: Multiple access points along the Skunk River
There are several ways to get to the Skunk River.
The Skunk River Water Trail is a peaceful and beautiful way to enjoy the water in the middle of Iowa’s beautiful landscapes. There are several places along the river where people who like being outside can start a peaceful kayaking or canoeing trip. The trail leads through beautiful scenery, so paddlers can enjoy the natural beauty of the area around the Skunk River. People can enjoy the relaxing sounds of nature and watching birds and other animals as they walk along the water. If you’re a beginner paddler or an experienced adventurer looking for a new adventure, the Skunk River Water Trail will give you a peaceful and immersive time in Iowa’s great outdoors.
3. Ada Hayden Heritage Park
- Address: 5205 Grand Ave, Ames, IA 50010
The Ada Hayden Heritage Park is a natural haven where people can enjoy nature while also protecting it. The park covers 430 acres and is centred around a lovely lake, making it a beautiful place to do many things. People can bike or walk around the lake on well-kept trails that offer stunning views of the water and the lush surroundings. There is also a fishing pier in the park, where people can cast their lines in peace. Ada Hayden Heritage Park is a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts to go to relax and have fun because it has beautiful scenery and easy-to-reach facilities.
4. McFarland Park
- Address: 56461 180th St, Ames, IA 50010
In the middle of Story County, Iowa, McFarland Park is a great place for nature lovers to get away. The park has well-kept walking trails that wind through woodlands, prairies, and wetlands, as well as a variety of ecosystems. Nature lovers can enjoy the peace and quiet of Iowa’s natural areas while learning about the state’s diverse plants and animals. People don’t just go to McFarland Park for quiet walks; it’s also a place where people can learn about wildlife, conservation, and environmental issues. McFarland Park is a great place for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors because it has both beautiful nature and educational programmes.
5. Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor
- Address: 801 E 13th St, Ames, IA 50010
The Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor is a green space that helps people learn about and appreciate Iowa’s natural ecosystems. There are interpretive trails in this environmental corridor that let people learn about the state’s diverse plant life and how important it is to protect it. Birdwatching tours led by naturalists in the area can teach you about the birds that live there. Holiday events, like walks through the leaves in the autumn, give people a chance to get involved in their communities. The Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor is a useful resource for both locals and visitors because it works to teach about the environment and protect natural areas.
Ames is great for families because it has fun things for people of all ages to do.
- Address: 427 Douglas Ave, Ames, IA 50010
The Octagon Centre for the Arts is a busy cultural hub that makes Ames a better place for art. This centre is the hub of the local arts scene and is housed in a historic octagonal building. It has many different things to do, such as changing art shows with pieces by local artists. The centre offers art classes and workshops that are fun for the whole family as part of its mission to encourage creativity. It also has family art nights where people of all ages can get creative and use their hands. The Octagon Centre for the Arts is a lively place where people from all over the world can get lost in the wide range of artistic expressions.
- Address: 515 Douglas Ave, Ames, IA 50010
The Ames Public Library is more than just a library. It’s an active community resource. The library is a great place for readers of all ages because it has a wide range of books and educational materials. Reading programmes and interactive storytelling sessions for kids help them love books from a young age. The library is more than just a place to find great books. It also hosts family-friendly events like book fairs and author visits, making it a lively cultural hub for the community. The Ames Public Library is an important place for learning and getting involved in the community because it has a friendly atmosphere and works hard to promote education and literacy.
3. Furman Aquatic Center
- Address: 1635 13th St, Ames, IA 50010
The Furman Aquatic Centre is a great place to swim that gives locals and visitors a chance to relax. During the hot summer months, this outdoor water park is a great place to cool off. The centre has many pools with different depths so that people of all ages and swimming abilities can use them. Families can enjoy the water play areas, and people who want to get a rush can go down the exciting water slides. Themed pool parties and special events make things even more exciting and make the atmosphere lively. Furman Aquatic Centre is a popular place for summer fun in Ames because it has a lot of different water attractions and works hard to keep the area safe and fun.
- Address: 1407 University Blvd, Ames, IA 50011
Reiman Gardens is a botanical paradise with a wide range of carefully chosen landscapes that captivate visitors. The gardens are on the campus of Iowa State University and cover 17 acres. They are a great place to enjoy nature and learn at the same time. The Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing is a highlight because it has a wide range of colourful butterflies living in tropical plants. The Children’s Garden, seasonal displays, and themed gardens all make the experience more real for people of all ages. In addition to being a beautiful garden, Reiman Gardens is also a place where educational programmes take place. This makes it a lively place to visit for both nature lovers and students.
5. Iowa State University Creamery
- Address: 295 Barilla Ave, Ames, IA 50011
This is the address: 295 Barilla Ave, Ames, IA 50011
The Iowa State University Creamery is a great place for people who love dairy products and ice cream. It is both a working dairy farm and a store, so visitors can get a unique and educational experience. Visitors can enjoy tasty ice cream made on-site with dairy products from the university. It comes in a variety of flavours. Guided tours show how dairy products are made, from milking cows to making ice cream. At the creamery, there are also educational workshops where people can learn how to make ice cream. The Iowa State University Creamery is a must-see for anyone looking for a tasty and educational experience.
There is a mix of local flavours and international influences in Ames’ food scene.
1. The Café
- Address: 2616 Northridge Pkwy, Ames, IA 50010
The Café is a hidden gem for foodies, with a menu that changes all the time and a farm-to-table philosophy. This restaurant is known for using only locally sourced ingredients, and the food they serve shows off the wide range of foods that grow in Iowa. Guests can enjoy seasonal specials made by the chef that give them a taste of the flavours of the area. The cosy atmosphere makes the dining experience better and makes the restaurant feel more like a home away from home. Because it focuses on freshness and quality, The Café is a great place to go in Ames if you want to try delicious food that is inspired by the area.
- Address: 2504 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014
Cafe Beaudelaire is a charming place to eat that serves both comfort food and food with an international flair. There are a lot of different kinds of food on this café’s menu, with dishes that are both French and American in style. Customers can enjoy the unique tastes of each dish while taking in the cosy and artistic atmosphere. Cafe Beaudelaire is a great place to eat because it has options for both vegetarians and meat lovers. Its dedication to unique food pairings and friendly atmosphere make it stand out as a great place to get a taste of global-inspired food in the middle of Ames.
- Address: 303 Welch Ave, Ames, IA 50014
The Stomping Grounds Café is a casual coffee shop where customers can enjoy the perfect mix of artisanal coffee and a friendly atmosphere. This coffee shop is a cultural centre that offers more than just great coffee; it’s also a place where artists can show their work. Guests can enjoy open mic nights and live music events, which help build community and creativity. The cosy interior and patio outside make it easy for customers to relax. Not only does Stomping Grounds Café serve great coffee, it’s also a lively place in the middle of Ames where cultural and culinary elements come together without any problems.
- Address: 402 Main St, Ames, IA 50010
The Spice Thai Cuisine is a culinary masterpiece that takes customers to the lively and tasty world of real Thai food. The menu at this restaurant is very varied, and it really captures the essence of Thai flavours. The dishes are colourful and fragrant, and they are made with fresh ingredients. The Spice Thai Cuisine has dishes for all kinds of tastes, from traditional favourites to new and different ones. There are even dishes for people who love spicy food. The warm and friendly atmosphere makes the food even better, and the restaurant is perfect for people in the middle of Ames who want to totally immerse themselves in the delicious food of Thailand.
- Address: 316 Main St, Ames, IA 50010
The historic Olde Main Brewing Co. is a brewpub that serves great craft beer in a friendly pub atmosphere. This brewery is located in a cute downtown building and serves a wide range of locally brewed beers to suit all tastes. These craft beers go well with a menu that includes appetisers and hearty main courses, making for a great meal. It’s more appealing because of the lively atmosphere and historic charm of the downtown area. Olde Main Brewing Co. is the best place in the heart of Ames for beer lovers and people who want to enjoy a lively and tasty pub atmosphere.
As we conclude our journey through Ames, Iowa, we hope this guide has illuminated the myriad of activities awaiting you in this charming Midwest city. From enriching cultural experiences to thrilling outdoor adventures and delectable culinary delights, Ames truly has something for everyone. Plan your trip, immerse yourself in the local charm, and embark on a memorable exploration of Ames IA’s best attractions.