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
7 hot businesses to start now It's hard to predict what businesses will take off, but these startup ideas have been drawing tons of interest from entrepreneurs and their customers on Thumbtack.com. More
How will a minimum wage hike hit businesses? Thirteen states increased the minimum wage on Jan. 1, and President Obama supports raising the federal rate to $10.10. 4 small business owners weigh in on how an increase would affect them. More
America's favorite businesses From a science camp for girls to a kombucha brewer, communities around the country voted on their favorite small businesses. These 12 came out on top, each scoring a $250,000 grant from Chase and a trip to Google's headquarters. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.