Where should I live in Ames, Iowa?
April 8, 2009 11:00 PM   Subscribe

My wife, baby daughter, and I are moving to Ames, Iowa this summer for work -- I'm just finishing grad school and am starting a job at ISU, and she's going to stay at home with our daughter for a while. We care about schools down the road but not immediately. We're open to renting or buying and would prefer a house but an apartment would be fine. I'd like to live biking distance from the university if possible, but not in a college-student-type rental house. Any advice would be great. Thanks!
posted by calcalcal to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The best place for non-students who want to be close to campus but not in the "student area" would probably be just south and east of campus town, in this area south of street. In the area you see with Friley Road, McCarthy Rd, Ash ave, Beach, etc. That's a much more family-oriented area.

looking at Zillow.com it looks like houses there run in the $150k-$220k range. I have no idea about rentals.

Other then that, there are a lot housing options in the area around Ontario Steet here, that's also a very non-student area.

And this area is also pretty close, and the houses are even cheaper, in the $90k-$130k range.

It's kind of hard question to answer, since the town is actually fairly uniform. It's all pretty nice, and as long as you don't get an apartment directly in campus town you're not going to have too much of a "partying college student" vibe.
posted by delmoi at 11:33 PM on April 8, 2009

in this area south of street.

er, I meant south of storm street. (and east of ash)
posted by delmoi at 11:35 PM on April 8, 2009

It's been about seven years since I lived in Ames but, in my experience there are there three places you want to avoid. The neighborhood directly between Friley Hall and The Towers (which I don't know if they exist anymore), directly west of campus for about two or three blocks, and the huge apartment complexes on the very south end of town. The neighborhood that delmoi described is very pretty. The loopy streets are where all the greek houses are but they aren't really rowdy for the most part and the area is very pretty with lots of big trees. I lived in the true downtown area and it was really nice. I biked to campus from there. Ames is decently bike friendly.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:56 PM on April 8, 2009

Living North of Downtown Ames would also be a good option. The area is called the Old Town. College students tend to avoid it because they seem to think it's far away from campus, but a good many of them live farther away in their West Ames locations. A bike trail runs between campus and the area on 6th street, and it only takes about 15 minutes of biking at the most to get there. Stay North of Main, East of Grand and West of Duff and there's lots of great places.
posted by TrialByMedia at 1:22 AM on April 9, 2009

Ames is small enough that you can live just about anywhere in town and be within about a 15 minute bike ride of campus. It is a bike friendly town with many wide sidewalks on the different entrances to campus. Also, for during the winter, the bus system is excellent and will get you to campus efficiently.

Foam Pants and TrialByMedia give great advice for areas of town. As far as schools are concerned, Ames has one of the best school systems in the state, and any of the schools in town will definitely be up to par. Good luck, Ames is a great town to live in. Go Cyclones!
posted by caflores22 at 6:47 AM on April 9, 2009

Ames is beautiful, and very bike-friendly. Really, it would be hard to live in a neighborhood that would preclude biking to the university, and the bus system is cheap and well-run. The neighborhood just to the east of Riverside Park is very lovely, but can be pricey. The schools are all great.
posted by Malla at 1:44 PM on April 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the great answers. I'm pretty excited about moving to Ames, and this makes it sound better.
posted by calcalcal at 5:08 PM on April 9, 2009

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