Whether you’re a young family looking for fun, kid-friendly activities, a retired couple searching for a relaxing getaway or a college student who just wants something fun to do on the weekend, Ames and Iowa State University are for you! Are you planning a trip to see us soon? Check out the blog posts below for more information about all the fun things we have to offer!
This week in Ames: Sept. 13-19
Happy Monday! Here’s what’s happening in Ames this week:
Lecture season has begun on the Iowa State campus. This week, you can catch a lecture titled “Youth Voting and the 26th Amendment: Youth Can Make a Difference” by Bobbi Gentry on Monday night (Sept. 13) in the Memorial Union Sun Room. But Iowa State offers so many lectures that you should just take a look at the full list and mark your calendar now. Most lectures are held in the Memorial Union; some are held elsewhere on campus, and a few are virtual events. All lectures are free and open to the public.
If you’ve been waiting to go to Reiman Gardens this fall, wait no longer. The Gardens’ new signature garden space, Sycamore Falls, is having its big grand opening Wednesday, and the Gardens will be open to everyone from 3-6 p.m. at no charge. The Sycamore Falls area includes a water wall, stream, waterfalls, reflecting pool, and a tower that overlooks the site – welcoming all Ames visitors driving down University Boulevard.
Maintenance Shop concerts have also begun their season at ISU. If you’ve never been to a concert at the Memorial Union’s M-Shop, you’re missing out. The musical acts are unique, and the venue is intimate, making each concert a dynamic experience. This Thursday, you can catch Vesperteen in concert starting at 8 p.m. Tickets for the general public are just $12 in advance, or $14 at the door.
Campus is going to be a little quieter this Saturday with no football game. We’re probably headed to the Ames Downtown Farmers Market for early-fall produce, and we might hang around for shopping and some gelato. Who knows? We might even eat dinner at The Spice and then go listen to Jack Curtis at Noir starting at 7 p.m.
If you missed it last week, your kids will be happy that Thomas the Tank Engine is coming back to town. “Day Out with Thomas” is rolling back into Boone this Friday through Sunday (Sept. 17-19) with the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s Party Train Tour. Advance tickets are required.
This weekend provides another great excuse to go to Reiman Gardens. The Garden Quilt Show is back, from Friday through Sunday, Sept. 17-19, co-sponsored by the Iowa Quilters Guild. You’ll see garden-themed quilts created by talented Midwestern textile artists. Vendors will demonstrate, display, and sell fabric art. While you’re there, be sure to check out the ongoing OrigamiintheGarden2 sculpture exhibit.
And, finally, Burnin’ Sensations will perform live at Prairie Moon Winery and Vineyards on Sunday from 3-6 p.m. If you haven’t been out to the winery in north Ames, what are you waiting for? It’s always a fun time!
This week in Ames: Sept. 6-12
We hope you’re enjoying this first full week of September! There’s a lot going on this week, so let’s get started:
Tuesday night, Society of Broken Souls, a Folk Noir songwriting duo of multi-instrumentalists Dennis James and Lauryn Shapter, will perform as part of the Goldfinch Room on the Lawn series at 5:30 p.m. Fingers crossed that the weather forecast holds! These outdoor concerts are fun and relaxing; you can bring your own picnic dinner, but The Traveling Pig food truck will also be around, as well as a bar selling beer and wine. Admission is $10. Bring your lawn chairs!
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In Ames, Friends of Army Aviation will sponsor a 9/11 Memorial Ride on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday (Sept. 9, 10, 12). Rides on a Huey Helicopter from the Vietnam era will be available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Ames Municipal Airport. The Huey Helicopter will also be at the Boone Municipal Airport on Sept. 11. For both events, find ticket info here.
On Friday and Saturday, Maximum Ames is holding two nights of free live music at three venues in conjunction with Ames Pride’s “Pride Around Town” event. Check out the lineups at Alluvial Brewing Company, London Underground, and The Angry Irishmen. Find all the details here.
This is another BIG Cyclone football week. For the second time in three years, Iowa State will be the site of ESPN’s College GameDay, the network’s signature college football pregame show, on Saturday, Sept. 11. (The three-hour show begins at 8 a.m. central time on ESPN.) The set will again be located South of MidAmerican Energy Field at Jack Trice Stadium in the grassy area between the Sukup End Zone Club and Reiman Gardens. Plan for lots of extra traffic in Ames on Saturday morning.
Of course, that’s just the early part of the day. At 3:30 p.m., Iowa State takes on the University of Iowa, and the annual Cy-Hawk showdown promises to be as exciting as ever. The game, which is sold out, kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will be shown on ABC. Tailgate responsibly!
If you have young kids, they’ll be thrilled that Thomas the Tank Engine is coming to Central Iowa. “Day Out with Thomas” is rolling into town Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 11-12) with the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s Party Train Tour. Advance tickets are required, but if you’ve waited too late to reserve your seats, another “Day Out” event is coming our way the weekend of Sept. 17-19. For tickets or more info, visit the Day Out With Thomas webpage or call the depot at 1-800-626-0319.
For outdoor fun and competition, check out the Great Ames Adventure Race on Sunday, Sept. 12 at Ada Hayden Heritage Park. The race is an all-ages amateur athletic event combining paddling, bicycling, and running, starting at 7:30 a.m. Check it out at
And finally, don’t miss Dueling Pianos Sunday from 3-6 p.m. at Prairie Moon Winery and Vineyards. $5 gets you access to the lawn and, as always, includes a free glass of sangria.
August 30, 2021
Get ready for gameday!
The big news in Ames this week is Cyclone football. After a 2020 season without tailgating, and limited fans in the stadium, this football season is highly anticipated.
The Saturday, Aug. 4 game against University of Northern Iowa Panthers begins at 3:30 p.m. in Jack Trice Stadium.
Parking lots open at 7 a.m., and stadium gates open 90 minutes prior to the game.
For parking information and for a list of what is (and isn’t) allowed in the stadium, click here.
Fans will see a lot of exciting changes when they head toward Jack Trice Stadium from the north. A $90 million, five-level Sports Performance Center has been completed, and an elevated north stadium concourse and north plaza have been added. The concourse extension creates a continuous pedestrian walkway around the stadium.
This year, the Cyclones have broken a school record total of season football tickets sold, surpassing the 48,000 mark for the first time ever. As of last Friday, a limited number of single tickets were still available. If you need tickets, they can be purchased online or by phone (toll free at 888-478-2925 or locally at 515-294-1816).
On gameday, if any tickets remain, you can purchase them at the will-call window at the Athletics Ticket Office.
Not in Ames? You can catch the game on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
Get your Cyclone gear
Don’t forget to gear up for the season! Ames shops have what you need for late-summer games as well as those chilly fall events. Try Barefoot Campus Outfitters, Dogtown University, or Iowa State University Book Store for all the latest fashions and sports-worthy accessories.
Cyclone Central Tailgate
For pre-game fun, check out the Cyclone Central Tailgate at the ISU Alumni Center (429 Alumni Lane). Doors open at 12:30 p.m., and the ISU Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band performs a step show on the Alumni Center staircase before marching to the stadium. (Photo courtesy Matt Van Winkle, ISU Alumni Association)
Iowa State is ranked No. 7 in the preseason AP poll behind the strength of 19 returning starters from last year’s PlayStation Fiesta Bowl championship team that went 9-3. Three Cyclone football players have been named AP First-Team Preseason All-American, and four Cyclones made the USA Today Sports Preseason All-America Team.
August 23, 2021
This week in Ames
This is a big week in Ames, as students have returned to Iowa State for the fall semester. Classes officially began on Monday, Aug. 23. Welcome to Ames, everyone! Good luck with classes!
Before the summer gets away from you, be sure to enjoy Ames patios this week! Here are just a few options for local al fresco dining:
- Dublin Bay is an Irish pub with a generous beer menu, sandwiches, soups, salads, and more, all served on a vibrant outdoor patio.
- Wallaby’s, a bar and grill in Somerset, features a rooftop bar and dining area. Keep Wallaby’s in mind this fall, too…it’s a great place to watch the game on TV!
- Cornbred Barbecue features smoked meats, unique bar snacks, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic refreshers in the heart of downtown Ames at the Old Train Depot. Just follow the party lights!
- For local beer, check out Alluvial Brewing Company in north Ames, with live music on Thursday nights and food trucks available some weekend nights.
Midwestern American songwriter/folksinger Marques Morel will perform at the Goldfinch Room songwriter showcase on the Stephens Auditorium front lawn on Tuesday, Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the nine-show concert series this summer. Admission is $10 per person. “Doors” will open approximately 30 minutes before show time, and you are encouraged to bring your own lawn chairs and/or blankets for this outdoor concert. You may also bring a picnic with non-alcoholic beverages if you wish; a food truck and bar are available on site. This event is supported by the Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau Community Grant Program. PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO EXTREME HEAT ON TUESDAY, THIS CONCERT HAS BEEN MOVED INSIDE STEPHENS. PLEASE USE SOUTHWEST DOORS FOR ENTRY.
On Thursday, check out the Charles Ginnever Inside/Outside Party from 4:00 to 5:30 pm on campus at the Christian Petersen Art Museum and Anderson Sculpture Garden. On exhibit in both the Anderson Sculpture Garden and Christian Petersen Art Museum, Ginnever’s sculptures challenge the viewer to interact with art from multiple perspectives. Enjoy the start of the fall semester with refreshments and conversation, and experience these two exhibitions by the renowned sculptor!
This weekend, head over to Nevada for Lincoln Highway Days. Enjoy local music, food booths, a parade (Saturday at 10 a.m.), antique cars, craft show, and free family games. The events will run from 5-9 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday.
You’ll have two Ames farmers’ market options on Saturday: Ames Main Street and North Grand, both open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Stop by for a variety of seasonal produce, flowers, hand-crafted items, live music, and prepared foods.
On Sunday, enjoy a fun, live music event at Prairie Moon Winery and Vineyards. Baberhood Bluegrass Band will perform an outdoor concert from 3-6 p.m. This group specializes in bluegrass, with an emphasis on folk, but they may surprise you with some rock or country music! Local wine and beer are available for purchase on site, and we highly recommend ordering one of the brick-oven pizzas, which are divine. A $5 entry fee at the door includes a glass of sangria.
Have a great week!
August 19, 2021
This week in Ames
This week, don’t miss out on the popular “OrigamiintheGarden2” sculpture exhibit currently on display at Reiman Gardens. And stop by the Ames History Museum, 416 Douglas Ave., to learn about groundbreaking women from Ames in the “A Woman’s Place is Everywhere” exhibit.
On Friday, support Prairie Rivers of Iowa and enjoy a pint of craft beer at Alluvial Brewing Company. The “Butterflies, Bees & Brew” event is a fun way to support Prairie Rivers’ environmental efforts. For $25, you can try Alluvial’s specially brewed “Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Blueberry Mead” made with locally sourced honey, as well as enjoy live music, prairie walks, and food trucks. The fundraiser runs from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Alluvial Brewing Company, 3715 W. 190th Street in Ames.
• Head downtown for a late-summer farmers’ market on Saturday morning (8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
• Stay downtown for some back-to-school shopping…or visit North Grand Mall for kids’ apparel and accessories. While you’re there, check out the new location for Coe’s Floral, Gifts & Design; an expanded Inside Golf; and new food options: Strawberry Hills Sweets & Treats and Time to Roll ice cream and Tex-Mex
• Enjoy an end-of-summer celebration at Bandshell Park on Saturday, sponsored by Ames Public Library. Bring a picnic dinner and listen to music by The Cherry Pickers from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
• Cap off your Saturday night with a performance by Coffeeshop Romance at Noir, 405 Kellogg.
• On Sunday, peruse more than 30 local handmade and vintage vendors at the family-friendly Beautiful Land pop-up market at the Fareway parking lot, 619 Burnett in downtown Ames, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Listen to live music by Fred Love from 12:30-2:20 p.m., and purchase delicious ice cream from the ISU Creamery from 2-4 p.m.
See our calendar for all the details!
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Published August 2, 2018. Summer is winding down. But don’t start buying new notebooks and dusting off those bookbags just yet! There’s still plenty of fun events you can attend in Ames before summer is officially over. Keep reading to find out our top five favorite August events! More
Published July 16, 2018. It’s 100 degrees and 80 percent humidity outside. Your ice cream is melting, and the kiddie pool in the backyard just isn’t as fun anymore. You don’t want to spend another day inside watching cable, so where do you go to cool down? Ames, of course! Ames has lots of fun ways for you and your family to beat the heat this summer. More
Published July 3, 2018. Summer is in full swing! That means pools days, lots of ice cream and, of course, tons of fun events in Ames! Keep reading to check out our top five favorite things to do this month. All these events are open to the general public, so you’re more than welcome to bring the whole family. More
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Published May 2, 2018. Ames and Iowa State University is a great place to visit this May. Summer is just on the horizon, and there are great events happening all month long! Keep reading to check out our five favorite events that you should attend this month. More
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Published April 3, 2018. April is a great time to visit Ames and Iowa State University! The weather is beginning to warm up, flowers are starting to bloom and fun events are happening. Keep reading for a list of our top five favorite events to attend this month. More