How to Shop Like a College Student in Ames, Iowa

If you happen to find yourself in Ames one day for an extended stay (like I did), here are a few survival tips! This week I explored the farmer’s market for food and fun. It helps to have a great group of friends and no other appointments for the day!

The Ames weekly farmers market starts at 8am-early afternoon and runs along Main Street downtown. Don’t worry if you sleep through your alarm and skip breakfast (like me!), there are plenty of food trucks for either breakfast or lunch. You might try stopping for Huey’s Mini Doughnuts, or maybe settle for just a coffee at Burgie’s. The maple latte has undergone quality control by yours truly and comes recommended!

Their van goes all out…


Once you’ve found sustenance (or caffeine/sugar—to each his own), make sure to grab some fresh vegetables from one of the stands. You’ll find only what’s in season. Mid June offers radishes, carrots, cucumbers, snow peas, kale, rhubarb, beets, lettuce, Swiss chard, turnips, onions and cabbage. If fresh provolone cheese is your thing, check for the dairy guy, too. Samples are available.


There are plenty of handmade soap and lotion options as well. Below is featured a particularly cute tin of mini soap bars. If you dig, you can find Lego men!

The wood work is beautiful. If this is your idea of what a rolling pin should look like, check out Gingerich Amish Baskets!

Some things aren’t obviously for sale, but could be tempting if you need, say, an iron… Do what you have to do in desperation. Who am I to judge.

Feel free to take a break in the wine barrel rocking chair and listen to the trumpets! 

Make some friends…

Look at pretty rocks… (The petrified burnt tree trunk quarters would make unique book ends, would they not?)

Check your height… 

Admire the goofy pottery…

And take advantage of vintage photo ops!


If you’re musical, you’ll want to stop at Rieman Music while you’re downtown. Be cautious, though. You might cave and splurge on some sheet music—or maybe even a sweet new guitar! Everyone has their weaknesses.

(Be a paparazzo to your talented friends every chance you get. It’s just a good habit.)


Always keep an eye out for sculptures when you’re out and about in Ames. This fella’ has a bike chain for lips and looks like he’d like to dance!

Most people like to live off of more than just the locally available veggies and dairy products. Fortunately for us, we have Walmart! Sometimes getting there lands you on a bus going in the opposite direction, but if you’re lucky nice people will help you get back on track! 

Make sure to only buy what you can carry, or your arms will fall off walking back to the bus. Also, double-bag mischievous items like strawberries and yogurt. They like to escape an the most inconvenient of times ( i.e. in the middle of a crosswalk).


And that sums it up. If you do it right, you should be set in terms of both food and sight-seeing for a solid week. Cheers!


How to Shop Like a College Student in Ames, Iowa — 6 Comments

  1. I love this post and the photos! Including the one of yours truly 🙂 and the coffee was indeed wonderful, next time we’re at the farmer’s market we’ll have to stop by and use our coupons 🙂

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