Ames : Iowa

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What it's Like to Retire in Ames

Ames, Iowa, is located in the central part of the state, about 30 miles north of the state capital of Des Moines. The city was founded in 1864, as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad, and was named after U.S. Congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, who was influential in building the transcontinental railroad.  Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU),  is located in Ames, and with an enrollment of over 28,000 students in a town with a population of 60,000, it brings the median age to just 23 years. The school offers a lot to the residents of Ames as it hosts several events throughout the year, including lectures and productions in the arts. It has also partnered with the town in a popular and efficient transit system, Cyride.  

Ames has been recognized in recent years as both great town for retirement and as a top metro area for college graduates.  The Milken Report named Ames in the Top 10 small metros for people aged 65-79 due to its strong economy, learning environment, safety and public transportation.  The city also made Forbes’ list of the top 25 places to retire in 2013, and Livability.com named it as #1 Best College Town in 2014.  Picture of Beardshear Hall in the fall on the campus of ISU courtesy of Wikipedia and Michelec317; picture of Cafe Beaudelaire in Campustown courtesy of Wikipedia and Cadeseth; picture of Bales of Hay on a Farm near Ames courtesy of Wikipedia and Scott Bauer.

 

Where to Retire in Ames and Home Prices

The median sale price of a home in Ames was close to $200,000 according to City-Data.com.  Zillow reports it to be lower at $179,225, in early 2015.

Campustown is a vibrant neighborhood south of ISU which is a high-density mixed-use neighborhood full of student apartments, restaurants, and nightlife. Probably not an area in which you want to look for a retirement home.

 

What is special about Ames

Ames is has a stong economy, a great public transportation system, 35 parks and 55 miles of biking and walking trails. It is a highly ranked college town with ISU hosting lecture series and many events retirees can attend.

 

What is not special about Ames

Ames is not considered a walkable city, it does experience winters, and almost half of the population is college students,  which some retirees may not like.

 

Who will like retirement in Ames

Those who want a vibrant and safe college town with public transportation and a low cost of living, may enjoy retiring in Ames.

 

Local economy is driven by

Education services is the main driver of the economy.

 

Climate and Physical Environment

January average temperature is 21 degrees and the average July temperature is 76 degrees.

 

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

As a college town, Ames has many restaurants, and cultural events within the city and on the campus of ISU.  The Central Iowa Symphony is located in Ames as is the Town and Gown Chamber Music Association and the Community Theater.  

 

Crime

The crime rate in Ames is low.

 

Medical facilities

Mary Greeley Medical Center

 

Transportation

Cyride is the city's public transit system which has gotten high marks for ridership; The nearest large Airport is in Des Moines, about 40 miles away.

 

Valuable Links

City of Ames

Visit Ames

 

What people are saying about Ames

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Facts about AMES
  • State: IA
  • Environment: Urban,College Town,
  • City Population: 50,001-100,000
  • Median age of Population: 0-24
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 21-40
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 41,001-60,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $100,000-$200,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: 2000-4000
  • Total Crime Index: 81-90 (low)
  • Cost of Living Index: 91-100 (slightly below average)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide:

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