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The Edge Ames | Fun Things To Do In Ames!

10 Best Things to Do in Ames, Iowa

Looking for something to do over the weekend or on your day off? Check out these top best things to do in Ames!

  1. Brookside Park

Brookside Park is a beautifully landscaped park located across the street from the Lied Recreation Field. The park contains lots of open green space full of tall trees, lovely flowers, and shrubs. Squaw Creek runs through the park, and a walking trail winds through the property and over the creek. Park amenities include picnic shelters and tables, grill spots, volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds.

There is even a skate park and a wading pool for young children. Brookside Park is open daily until 10:30 pm. Shelter houses can be rented out by calling the park directly.

1325 6th St Ames, IA 50010


  1. Brunnier Art Museum

Founded in 1975 by Henry J. and Ann Brunnier, the Brunnier Art Museum is located inside the Iowa State Center on the Iowa State University Campus. The ISU contains the largest collection of public art on any campus in the United States as well as four campus art museums.

The Brunnier Museum contains a large and ever-changing collection of decorative art objects and paintings, sculptures, textiles, prints, silver objects, and furniture. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday until 4 pm. Admission is free. A donation of $3 is suggested.

295 Scheman Building 1805 Center Drive Ames, IA 50011


  1. McFarland Park, Ames, Iowa

Just north of Ames stands the 200-acre McFarland Park. Visitors to this park can explore a variety of habitats, including prairie and woodlands. The park contains picnic areas, a youth camping site, 5.5 miles of trails for hiking and cycling, and a 6.5-acre lake stocked with fish.

The “Touch-A-Life” trail takes visitors past a variety of plant life and onto a deck overlooking the lake. There is even an observatory supervised by the Ames Area Amateur Astronomers. The park is open all year round until 10 pm daily. The conservation center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

56461 180th St, Ames, IA 50010


  1. Reiman Gardens

For over 100 years, a horticulture garden has been a part of the Iowa State University campus. The current garden, Reiman Gardens, now covers 17 acres and is dedicated to the education and appreciation of plants and butterflies. The garden contains a wide variety of plants, flowers, and shrubs.

Some are native to Iowa and others have been imported from all over the world! The site also houses the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, which contains over 800 species of colorful butterflies. 

Intersection of University Blvd. and S. 16th St. Ames, IA 50011


  1. Stephens Auditorium

The Stephens Auditorium was built in 1969 on the campus of Iowa State University. The goal of its benefactor, Clifford Y. Stephens, was to foster an appreciation for the performing arts in the university’s students. Today, the complex also contains a sports arena and theatre.

The auditorium hosts a variety of performing arts acts, including dance, musicals, concerts, and plays. Stephens is home to the ISU theatre and music departments, but also hosts acts from around the world. Information about upcoming shows can be found on the auditorium’s website. Tickets can be purchased at the website or at the ticket office.

Corner of Lincoln Way and University Blvd. Iowa State University Ames, IA 50011


  1. Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames, Iowa

Experience the arts in downtown Ames! The Octagon Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting art and supporting artists in the area. The center includes exhibits on art and artifacts that change throughout the year as well as a gallery shop where customers can view and purchase items made by local artists.

Items in the gallery include clothing and textiles, paintings, photographs, and pottery. The Octagon Center also offers special art classes for children and adults and art-themed events throughout the year. The galleries and shop are open Monday through Saturday until 5 pm.

427 Douglas Ave Ames, IA 50010


  1. Alluvial Brewing Company, Ames, Iowa

The Alluvial Brewing Company was started on a small farm in Franklin Township, north of Ames. Their goal is to create quality craft brews with great taste while celebrating all things Iowa. Alluvial’s beers incorporate unusual ingredients such as rye, dry-hopped sour, coffee, maple, and roasted peanuts.

The result is a truly unique taste experience. Their public taproom is located on the farm and encourages social drinking and relaxation. Guests can drink outside while strolling the farm’s grounds, or come inside for a brew and a board game. Alluvial is open Thursday through Sunday until 10 pm.

3715 West 190th St. Ames, IA 50014


  1. North Grand Cinema

Located in the North Grand Mall, this movie theater has something for everyone. Not only do they have luxury loungers, they have a full bar and serve appetizers and sandwiches as well! 

2801 Grand Ave, Ames, IA 50010


  1. Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market

The Farmers’ Market is truly a community event, that is excited to bring people together from the surrounding area to enjoy the bounty of the locally grown produce, delicious baked goods and beautifully hand-crafted items. Led by the Ames Chamber of Commerce, the Ames Main Street Farmers' Market is a bigger, more exciting and provides a showcase for consumers to buy directly from Local Iowa vendors/producers offering seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses, arts, crafts, fresh flowers, plants and much more. In addition to the variety of vendors, the market also provides live local entertainment and free children’s activities each week. The Farmers’ Market is held May 2019 – October 2019.

300 and 400 block of Main Street, Ames, IA 50010


  1. Prairie Moon Winery

In 2000, Steven Nissen planted the first vines of what now has become a thirteen-acre vineyard. The dream was to grow high quality grapes, in order to create fine estate wines, without having to buy grapes from established growing areas like California. They have many new hybrid varieties along with native American grapes that provide a lot of new tastes to the palate. Stop into the Moonlight Lounge (the wine tasting room) for a flight of some of their newest creations. 

3801 W 190th St, Ames, IA 50014