Vacation in Ames, attend local events

Kelly Mcgowan

Ames has quieted down for the summer and you’re in the mood for a getaway. When you get the itch to fly somewhere, put that credit card down and grab some tunes and a book and soak in the summer with these fun, money-saving Ames-cations.

“Outside of Iowa State, Ames kind of peaks during the summer,” said Emily Miller, event coordinator for Main Street Cultural District.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy, so choose a vacation and do it right here in Ames.

Music Festival

Staycation: If Warped Tour, Lollapalooza and a country music festival are not on the docket for your summer, get the experience by spending time in the Ames music scene.

“We’ve been booking a ton of concerts,” Miller said.

Catch an Ames Municipal Band concert in the bandshell for free at 7 p.m. every Thursday.

The Ames Jaycees present a concert series called Ames on the Half Shell. These $4 rock, acoustic and cover band concerts are on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., also in the bandshell.

Don’t miss Firefly Country Night on July 17. Frankie Ballard, Helluva Life and other country artists will perform on Main Street for an evening of “barbecue, beer, sweetcorn and summer fun,” according to the website. Tickets are $10.

You can find an outdoor music experience every Saturday morning in the Tom Evans plaza at the farmers market, which features two Iowa musicians each week.

“The farmers market every Saturday is like a big party,” said Lojean Petersen, manager of the Main Street Farmers Market.

Before you head to a summer concert, stop at Vinyl Cafe to cool off with an iced coffee or one of its smoothies. Surround yourself with the musical ambiance while you flip through its selection of thousands of new and old records.

Bring this book: “Love is a Mix Tape” by Rob Sheffield

Start your playlist with: “Hey Ya” by Outkast

Beach Getaway

Staycation: Pack a cooler full of your favorite summer treats and a car full of friends and head to Peterson Pits for a day of sun and summer fun. Grab a volleyball, towels and some tanning lotion and enjoy the smell of summer while you play beach games and get your bronze on.

Bring this book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

Start your playlist with: “Beachin’” by Jake Owen

Outdoor Adventure

Staycation: Skip the road trip and get all the southern charms of a Zac Brown Band song here in the heartland. Set up a picnic at Ada Hayden and don’t forget the peaches, sweet tea and pecan pie. While you’re there, do some fishing and rent a canoe from Jax. Canoes and kayaks are available for rental every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ada Hayden.

Bring this book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

Start your playlist with: “Runnin’ Down a Dream” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

Fourth of July on a lake

Staycation: Stick around for Independence Day and experience the Ames 150th Celebration. There will be a pancake breakfast, parade, live music and a talent show July 4 on Main Street and a 5K and other events at Ada Hayden on July 5. All events for the sesquicentennial celebration are free of charge.

Bring this book: “Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution” by A. J. Langguth

Start your playlist with: “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood