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.
Watch this short Youtube video prepared by AmesChamber50010:
Where to Retire in Ames and Home Prices
Zillow reports the median home value in Ames was $228,992 in early 2020.
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.
The crime rate in Ames is low.
Mary Greeley Medical Center
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.
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