91 of 100
BACK NEXT
91. Ames, Iowa
Population: 51,681
Pro: Academic environment in a charming small town
Con: Ames has to endure comparisons to Iowa City

For a small Midwestern railroad town, half of whose residents are students at Iowa State, Ames gets more than its share of national recognition. It's the home of the Ames Laboratory, an historic and still-thriving research arm of the Department of Energy; the National Animal Disease Center, the U.S. testing center for mad-cow disease; and the Ames Straw Poll, an important August event in the Republication Party's presidential-nomination process.

As in other college towns, small businesses in Ames service the students or tend toward science and research, reflecting the strengths of the university. ISU hosts the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, which connects faculty, researchers, and students to the entrepreneurial world and assists the business community in accessing the resources of the university. Ames' local manufacturers include 3M, pastamaker Barilla, and Ball Corp., which makes beverage containers. -Elizabeth Bland

Interactive map: Ames, Iowa
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Ames, Iowa


NEXT: 92. Prescott, Ariz.

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
More Galleries
6 designers shaking up fashion These designers are changing the way we dress, accessorize and shop, from custom made-to-fit dresses to smart jewelry that's actually stylish. More
8 must-have travel apps Whether you've got wanderlust or an airline grievance, here are some apps to pack onto your phone. More
Secrets to success from Smalltown USA Utah State professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.