Ames is in a great location. It is small enough to avoid being intimidating and large enough to avoid being boring. It has the charm of the country and the flair of the city. So, if you're looking for a taste of the country, the area just north of Ames is farmland. Those looking for city life will find Des Moines appealing, which is a mere half-hour drive from Ames. Since half the population is composed of college students, there are plenty of things for students to do and see in Ames, and most of it is available at reasonable rates.
Students coming from densely populated areas, such as Chicago, may find Ames to be a boring small town. Ames may also be seen as too strict by many students—the city council passed a ban on putting indoor furniture outside. But students generally make due with what Ames has to offer, and most of the students who attend ISU are generally satisfied with Ames. If aesthetic pleasure is high on your list of priorities, Ames may be the place for you—the town is clean, beautiful, and has a lot to offer for its size.