Things to do in Ames

Saige Heyer

Everyone needs to take a study break every now and then, and Ames provides plenty of activities for entertainment.

Take a walk down Main Street. Downtown Ames has a lot to offer in the way of shopping, eating and arts and crafts. The many businesses Main Street presents include clothing and jewelry boutiques, consignment shops, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, flower and gift shops and salons. There are also a few banks and a Hy-Vee drugstore. 

Grab some friends to grab some coffee. There are quite a few places in Ames to get a cup of coffee. In addition to the various cafes on campus, you can also choose from Starbucks, Panera Bread, Cafe Diem, The Cafe, Cafe Milo and Stomping Grounds, to name a few. Either find a table and sit down for a nice conversation or take your cup of joe to go and head out for a stroll around town or on campus.

Go for a walk, run or bike ride. There are many trails and other places to go to that not only provide fresh air, but a little exercise as well. There is a trail that goes under Lincoln Way and connects Brookside Park to Stuart Smith Park. You can also go for a nice walk or run at the cross-country fields a few blocks southwest of campus.

Play a few games at the practice fields. The practice fields next to Maple/Willow/Larch and across from Jack Trice Stadium offer students the opportunity to play sand volleyball, softball or any other field sport including soccer. Playing a game or two is a great way to get a large group of friends together.

Attend some sporting events. During the school year, Ames has no shortage of sporting events for students to attend and show their school spirit. Students can purchase tickets online through the Iowa State Athletics website ( or at the ticket office located at 1800 South Fourth Street in Ames. The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If high school sports are more up your alley, there are many schools in the area including Ames, Gilbert, Nevada, Slater and Boone.

Get involved with or attend community events. Not only does Iowa State have a plethora of events students can attend, but so does the Ames community. To find a complete schedule of events, check out or the Ames Chamber of Commerce website at 

Find somewhere to volunteer. There is no shortage of places to volunteer in Ames. A few of the places, which are listed on the Volunteer Center of Story County’s website at, include Community Housing Initiatives, Mainstream Living, Iowa Arboretum, Youth and Shelter Services, Food Bank of Iowa, Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad, The Salvation Army, Lutheran Services of Iowa, Story County Conservation and Bethany Manor. The Volunteer Center of Story County is located at 130 South Sheldon Avenue. For more volunteer opportunities, give them a call at 515-268-5323. You can also volunteer at the Arc of Story County, simply go to

Offer your babysitting services to parents in need. Parents are always in need of a list of sitters they can call when they need someone to watch their children. You can check the Student Job Boards on AccessPlus for babysitting opportunities. You can also check various babysitting websites such as, and for opportunities and to let parents know you’re available. Checking area bulletin boards and local newspapers isn’t a bad idea either.

Visit the area wineries. This one is for those of you who are 21 and older. Prairie Moon and Snus Hill are the closest wineries to Ames, but there are many more scattered around Des Moines and throughout the state of Iowa. You can take a tour of a single winery or go on a wine tour throughout the area. Looking for a great way to get away for the weekend? Take a look at the Iowa Wine Trail at, the Heart of Iowa Wine Trail at or the Western Iowa Wine Trail at When planning a trip to visit the different wineries in Iowa, make sure you drink responsibly and designate a sober driver.

Go for a golf outing. There are four golf courses in Ames – Veenker Memorial Golf Course, Ames Golf and Country Club, Coldwater Golf Links and Homewood Golf Course. While Ames Golf and Country Club require a membership or that you’re a guest of a member, the other three are open to the public. Veenker Memorial Golf Course offers discounts to ISU students with their valid ISU card.

If golfing isn’t your cup of tea, there are two disc golf courses in Ames. Carroll Marty Disc Golf Course is located at Gateway Park south of campus on Mortensen Road and Stable Run Disc Golf Course is north of campus on 13th Street.

In the winter, Veenker Memorial Golf Course and Gateway Hills are popular places to go sledding.

Go to the movies. With two movie theaters in Ames, there are plenty of new flicks to see. Movies 12 is located on South Duff Avenue and North Grand 5, also known as the Dollar Theater, is located inside the North Grand Mall.

Go bowling, play arcade games or laser tag. Perfect Games in West Ames has plenty of things to do to keep you entertained. They have 24 lanes for bowling, an arcade and laser tag. Perfect Games also has a patio party every Thursday. Check out their website at to see all the specials they have to offer.