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16 Best Places to Stay in Ames, Iowa

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Ames, with its blend of small-town hospitality and collegiate dynamism, is a unique little oasis smack dab in the middle of Iowa. This quintessentially Midwestern, mid-size city gets its youthful exuberance from the Iowa State University campus. As a result, it’s got a little more heart, soul, and action compared to the average middle-of-nowhere Midwestern city.

While most people visit Ames for the U, whether for work, study or just visiting, enough is going on in the area to plan a long weekend getaway. Plus, due to its central location and proximity to I-35, Ames is a good base camp to explore Iowa.

You won’t have to look hard to find a decent place to stay, either. The city’s range of accommodations caters to various tastes and price points, whether you’re after the cozy ambiance of a boutique inn, the modern comforts of brand-name hotels, or unique vacation rentals.

Whether you’re checking out schools, visiting your kids at the University, or planning a tour of Iowa’s hidden gems, you can find the right place to stay in Ames.

TL;DR – Where to Stay in Ames

Best Places To Stay In Ames

Looking for the best hotel in town? I got you, Fam. Read on for Ames, Iowa’s best inns, motels, and hotels.

1. Radisson Hotel Ames Conference Center At ISU

Radisson Hotel Ames Conference Center at ISU building exterior
Radisson Hotel Ames Conference Center at ISU / Booking.com

Address: 2609 University Boulevard, Ames, IA 50010

The Radisson Hotel Ames Conference Center at ISU boasts a convenient location just off Highway 30. You’ll find yourself right next to Research Park, just a stone’s throw from Ames Municipal Airport, and the Veterinary Medical Research Institute.

The on-site restaurant offers a cozy dining experience, and the fitness center allows guests to maintain their exercise routine. You can also bring your pets, making this the top choice if you’re road-tripping with your furry children.

2. Gateway Hotel & Conference Center

Gateway Hotel & Conference Center building exterior
Gateway Hotel & Conference Center / Booking.com

Address: 2100 Green Hills Drive, Ames, IA 50014

If you’d like to stay in the same neighborhood as the Radisson but fancy a slight upgrade, consider the Gateway Hotel & Conference Center. Offering a 3-star stay, it’s a popular choice for folks visiting the university campus.

The Gateway Hotel and Conference Center prides itself on its full-service experience, offering guests yummy onsite dining, a pool, a well-equipped business center, and complimentary parking. The decor is clean, modern, and beautifully complemented by the hotel’s private garden.

3. GrandStay Hotel & Suites

GrandStay Hotel & Suites building exterior at night
GrandStay Hotel & Suites / Booking.com

Address: 1606 South Kellogg Avenue, Ames, IA 50010

GrandStay Hotel & Suites provides a prime choice for access to Ames Municipal Airport and puts you within easy reach of the ISU campus, downtown, and I-35. Every room has a full kitchenette and a sitting area with a sofa bed.

There’s a buffet breakfast and a snack bar, too. There’s also an indoor pool, hot tub, and a decent fitness center. You can bring pets too, although you’ll want to inform the staff beforehand – there may be an additional charge.

See Related: Best Hotels Near The Amana Colonies, Iowa

4. Country Inn & Suites By Radisson, Ames, IA

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Ames, IA building exterior
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Ames, IA / Booking.com

Address: 2605 Southeast 16th Street, Ames, IA 50010

For Midwest road trippers, it doesn’t get better than the Country Inn & Suites By Radisson, Ames. Perched next to I-35, it offers guests a comfortable experience backed by a suite of amenities that are both functional and relaxing. There’s an indoor pool and a well-equipped gym, and guests can start their day with a complimentary hot breakfast.

Recent testimonials tout this Country Inn & Suites inviting atmosphere and underscore the bang for your buck factor. Guests frequently praise the consistent cleanliness, location, amenities, and great value for money.

5. Hampton Inn & Suites Ames

Hampton Inn & Suites Ames building exterior
Hampton Inn & Suites Ames / Booking.com

Address: 2100 Southeast 16th Street, Ames, IA 50010

The Hampton Inn & Suites Ames is one of the newest hotels in town. Considering that and the chic exterior, you might expect to fork over a king’s ransom for a bed, but think again! This sensibly priced Hilton-owned property offers quiet accommodations right next to I-35.

A pool and state-of-the-art gym is open for guests to maintain their wellness routines. You can also use the high-speed internet, a business center, and meeting rooms. Guest ratings consistently highlight the hotel’s clean, comfy rooms, well-maintained facilities, and the complimentary breakfast variety as a highlight of their stay.

6. Iowa House Historic Inn

Iowa House Historic Inn building exterior
Iowa House Historic Inn / Booking.com

Address: 405 Hayward Avenue, Ames, IA 50014

From one of the newest hotels in town to one of the oldest, the Iowa House Historic Inn is about as close to the main ISU campus as possible. It’s also one of the most popular in town, receiving rave reviews from couples, families, and other guests who love the Inn’s superb breakfasts.

Located in a beautifully preserved old house, the inn offers a home away from home vibe you won’t find elsewhere in Ames. Each room is uniquely decorated, often with beautiful antique furniture and decor. On top of all this, tons of reviews recommend the friendly staff’s attentiveness and local knowledge.

See Related: Where to Stay in Iowa: The Very Best of the Hawkeye State

7. AmericInn by Wyndham Ames

Aerial view of AmericInn by Wyndham Ames
AmericInn by Wyndham Ames / Booking.com

Address: 2507 Southeast 16th Street, Ames, IA 50010

Another convenient place to stay for anyone on a road trip, the Ames AmericInn by Wyndham is also superb value for money. This pet-friendly hotel is on the eastern edge of town, next to Hwy 30 and I-35.

The decor of this hotel is a fun blend of modern meets Midwest cabin, although some of the furniture could use an update. Overall, this place might be the top all-rounder, featuring comfortable rooms with Wi-Fi, an indoor pool, outdoor seating areas, an airport shuttle, and a good breakfast.

8. Econo Lodge

Econo Lodge Ames room interior
Econo Lodge Ames / Booking.com

Address: 2600 Southeast 16th Street, Ames, IA 50010

Econo Lodge is a good choice for anyone on the road looking to keep to a budget. While some of the appliances, amenities, and furniture are a little outdated, Econo Lodge is incredibly good value for money and right next to Hwy 30 and I-35.

Rooms have all the standard amenities and free Wi-Fi, and some come with whirlpool tubs. You won’t find much in terms of dining, but the lodge does have an indoor pool, a sauna, and a small business center.

9. Sleep Inn & Suites Near ISU Campus

Sleep Inn & Suites Near ISU Campus building exterior
Sleep Inn & Suites Near ISU Campus / Booking.com

Address: 1310 Dickinson Avenue, Ames, IA 50010

If I have one beef with the Sleep Inn & Suites Near ISU Campus, it’s that there are hotels nearer. Aside from this technicality, it’s another great place to stay, balancing style, modernity, amenities, location, and value for money. It’s also right next to a bowling alley!

Breakfast is provided, which you can work off at the fitness center or dip in the indoor pool. When booking, check with the front desk to see if you can get a room with a view of the nearby lake!

10. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ames, An IHG Hotel

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ames, An IHG Hotel building exterior
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ames, An IHG Hotel / Booking.com

Address: 2600 East 13th Sreet, Ames, IA 50010

Located in northeast Ames, just off I-35, the IHG Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ames ensures guests are never far from the city’s pulse while being strategically positioned to offer swift access to major thoroughfares.

It offers the signature blend of convenience and contemporary comfort from a Holiday Inn, with clean rooms, free Wi-Fi, and an indoor pool. Guests can expect Holiday Inn’s standard breakfast fare and use on-site baggage storage.

11. Best Western Plus University Park Inn & Suites

Best Western Plus University Park Inn & Suites building exterior
Best Western Plus University Park Inn & Suites / Booking.com

Address: 2500 University Boulevard, Ames, IA 50010

Not far from the Radisson, the Best Western Plus University Park Inn & Suites presents an opportunity to dive into the local culture with its prime location within Campustown.

It’s a popular choice for families visiting students at the U and for people traveling with pets and service animals. There’s also a pool, fitness center, a patio, and a business nook if you’ve gotta put in the hours.

12. MICROTEL Inn and Suites

MICROTEL Inn and Suites Ames building exterior
MICROTEL Inn and Suites / Booking.com

Address: 2216 South East 16th Street, Ames, IA 50010

The Ames MICROTEL Inn and Suites is another popular choice that provides the whole package for minimal cost. You can find cozy yet affordable family suites for less than $100 a night -some with kitchenettes. Expect air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi.

This 2-star motel also offers a buffet breakfast, vending machines, and a business center inside. So, sourcing snacks and other travel needs won’t be a problem! It’s also pet-friendly and has a garden for Fido to stretch his legs.

See Related: Best Day Trips from Des Moines, Iowa

Vacation Rentals in Ames

With the vacation rental market on the rise in Ames, many great short-term rental properties are sprouting up all over town. Here are some we’ve picked out from VRBO.

13. Right in the Cy’s Backyard

Right in the Cy's Backyard exterior
Right in the Cy’s Backyard / VRBO

This House in the heart of Campustown, has ISU Stadium, Hilton Coliseum, and Iowa State Center right on its doorstep. It can sleep up to 10 and is ideal for families visiting students, checking out a Cyclones game, or in town for events.

The academia-themed decor is sumptuous, blending modern and retro aesthetics. And don’t get me started on the cute kid’s room!

14. Fun Family Place with Extras

Ames Fun Family Place with Extras bedroom interior
Fun Family Place with Extras / VRBO

While the last house is definitely for the “Type A” university crowd, this Family Fun Place in Campustown is your “Type B” bro. Also sleeping 10, it also comes with a DIY inflatable hot tub, a grill, a gym, a board game collection, and a games room with air hockey, foosball, and pool table.

15. House in a Quiet Neighborhood

House in a Quiet Neighborhood Ames exterior
House in a Quiet Neighborhood / VRBO

This airy, welcoming, family home in a quiet part of Campustown is perfect for just about anyone – even the solo traveler looking for their own private kingdom for a weekend away. Among fresh decor, stunning hardwood, and modern amenities, there’s also a good-sized yard and a firepit out back.

16. Chic Urban Retreat

Ames Chic Urban Retreat exterior
Chic Urban Retreat / VRBO

This Chic Urban Retreat is in the very heart of Ames, close to the main campus, the Brunnier Art Museum, and the city’s best bars and restaurants. It’s an adorable little house in an equally adorable, leafy neighborhood, perfect for a couples getaway in Ames.

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