The staff and students of Iowa State University make up the lion's share of the renting population in Ames. This means that they typically occupy the rental apartments between September and May of each year. Looking in the window between those months is your best chance to find a great apartment.
Ames landlords aren't afraid to be discriminating when it comes to renting out their suites. They want responsible tenants who are quiet and who will look after the apartment. Being punctual, dressing neatly and being professional and polite when meeting with a potential landlord can help get this impression across.
Ames' convenient and affordable Cyride system provides bus services across the city. You should be able to get almost anywhere on the system, and at only $1.25 for a one-way ride, the system is very affordable. Bicycle trails also run through the city, and many students bike to ISU rather than bussing or driving.
If you like small, locally owned businesses, downtown Ames has stores and restaurants in historic buildings. Taking in a Cyclones game at the university is always fun. Ames has a bustling pizza scene, with places like Black Market, Jeff's Pizza and the Great Plains Sauce and Dough Company all worth a visit. Most of the bars are filled with college students, and Mickey's and Paddy's are two options sure to be filled with a college crowd on most nights.