We're back again, and thanks to all of you who wrote in. The response to these posts has been astounding. We can't run anything close to the total number of e-mails sent in. For that, we say thanks. If you missed our past entries, here you go:
The Big 12 guides to:
Without further ado, here's a guide to Ames, Iowa, from the Cyclones fans who know the place best.
Vince in Ames wrote: When visiting Ames you HAVE to go to Hickory Park. It is a must! Very cheap and very good food. (I get a bacon cheeseburger w/fries for $5-6.)If you your walking around late at night around Welch (the bar district) make sure you get a Super Dog. It is honestly the best thing ever. Other good restaurants are Battles Bar-Que, Old Main Brewing Company and El Azteca. Tailgating is also pretty good around Jack Trice, with many people getting their Friday morning and staying until Sunday afternoon. Walk around our tailgates and you'll meet genuinely nice people. We're excited your joining the Big XII so let's have a good season!
Ben in Kansas City wrote: A lot of people will mention Hickory Park, and it's definitely good, but, if you want the real best BBQ in Ames you have to go to Battle's BBQ on Welch Ave. For pizza I would recommend Great Plains Sauce and Dough Co. Get the Denver Style crust and honey for dipping. Football gameday: Start with 5 AM chili and beer at Tip Top Lounge then head over for some of the best tailgating in the Big 12. Going several years without good football has allowed ISU fans to focus entirely on perfecting the tailgating scene. Lots G2 and G3 will show you the wildest time but get there early and practice up on your beer pong and flip cup.
David in Kansas City wrote: In regards to wanting to know what to do in Ames, people need to go to the corner of Welch Avenue and Chamberlain Street after dark to have a Superdog from the hot dog stand there. It is a beef hotdog with ketchup, mustard, pineapple sauce, cilantro garlic sauce, crushed chips, bacon, and Monterrey Jack cheese melted on top. It sounds strange but it is delicious.
Zach in Ames wrote: If you want to try some unique burgers, a new burger kitchen opened up on the north side of town the last few months.Oddfellows Burger Kitchen offers some crazy new combinations of burgers that you'd never think of; my personal favorite is the Grilled Cheese Burger (two burger patties w/ bacon & cheese using two grilled cheese sandwiches as the buns).The Oddfellow burger uses two glazed donuts. And their signature Oddfellow drink is a blue drink served in a quart-sized Mason Jar.Decked out in a collection of knick-knacks on the walls, Oddfellows is definitely a place to check out. The website has plenty of pictures to back up my claims too.
My take: I've never heard of this Superdog until all of you e-mailed about it, and I'd only sort of heard of Oddfellows. One of my favorite restaurants in Dallas is coincidentally also named Oddfellows. These will both go on my to-do list for my next visit to Ames.
Travis in Ames wrote: In Ames, it is a must to stop at Hickory Park. You can get a great burger or sandwich for around $5 or some even better BBQ for $10-$15. I'm not sure if there is anything over $15.Tailgating is a great atmosphere around Jack Trice. The student lot is isolated from the donor lots so no need to worry about being harrased by drunk students. I can't say this about all tailgaters, but most are welcoming and willing to talk and shoot the breeze before/after the game. It never matters on how many people are attend the game, there are always just as many people still in the lots. Campustown (Welch Ave.) is pretty much ran by students, so enter at your own risk. Main Street as some nice little bars and restaurants, especially Olde Main Brewery. They always have at least 6 of their own brews on tap and maybe more depending on season.
Marlin Cone in Kansas City wrote: Welcome to TCU & WVU fans:We're glad to have you replace the two turncoats, one of which touted their "Code of Honor" and proceeded to violate it in the manner they exited the B12! We look forward to hosting you on your visits to Ames. The tailgating before FB games is one of the very best in NCAA FB, usually starting 4-5 hours prior to the game and lasting 1-2 hours afterwards. Out athletics complexes (FB, BB, etc.) are situated on both ends of a very large parking lot with additional facilities on the perimeter as well (concert hall, theater, continuing education, alumni offices). It is easy to get into and out of and I am sure you will find the fans to be very friendly and welcoming to you.
Charlie in Des Moines, Iowa wrote: Black Market Pizza is a must for game day food. They have some wild pizzas, but they are perfect pregame food. I heard about them from Man vs. Food and now I spend every Saturday during the football season there.
Mark in Dallas wrote: When examining things to do in Ames, Iowa, you have to realize that ISU is going to be in the same category as Oklahoma State and Kansas State...Ames is about 60,000 and probably half of that number has direct ties to the university. Of course the signature restaurant is Ames is Hickory Park. But if you want something different, I'd go to El Azteca for Mexican or Valentino's for some pizza.Right next to the football stadium is Reiman Gardens. It's really pretty impressive and worth seeing at least once.ISU is continually on different lists as having one of the most beautiful college campuses, so it's worth going for a walk around the campus. There are a couple small museums and an art collection on campus if you're into that sort of thing. Going for a stroll around Lake LaVerne is always fun too if you have some extra time.For the disc golfers, there is an amazing course near the football stadium. And if you're looking to do something outside the box, you can head to a corn maze just outside of town in the fall.Finally, Jack Trice Stadium has one of the best tailgating atmospheres. Before you head into the game after tailgating, be sure to check out the statue and story of Jack Trice. One of the most underrated and underpublicized stories in all college football.
Andrew Schramm in Iowa City wrote: Ames, Iowa is one of the best, and I can say that with even more confidence now that I live in the home of the rivals, Iowa City. I can't go to Ames without visiting The Cafe on the north side. Ubbs, eat there once and you won't want food from anywhere else. Also, check out the Maintenance Shop in the basement of the Memorial Union--best concert venue in Iowa. Other than that, Hilton Magic is something to behold and when we pack the Jack, look out.
Greg Bal in Iowa City wrote: Stomping Grounds is the best outdoor place to hang out with good beer/wine and food. It's walking distance from the athletic stadiums and has a large outdoor well-shaded patio. Very casual and great for either before or after games. Food is inspired by the owners' trip to Paris.
Bret Larsen in Johnston, Iowa wrote: Honestly Ames, Iowa has the best tailgating in the Big 12. Tons and tons of open space, pretty lax rules, fun down-to earth people who just want to have a good time and watch football. Ames isn't going to overwhelm you with what it has to offer before or after the game but there is definitely something for everybody and the best part is you won't have to wait in long lines or spend an arm and a leg to have a good time. Welch Avenue is the spot for all the college age kids. It has the best line-up of food for after the bar (super dogs, gyros, fajitas, pizza, tacos, breakfast, etc.) Main Street is the spot for the older folks with tons of nice townie bars and good food options. One thing Ames lacks is a really good place to watch a game so I would suggest going to the game (its never hard to get a ticket, they usually almost give away the hillside tickets) or at least making your way to the tailgating lot and finding someone with at tv. Just don't be a douche and you will be welcome pretty much anywhere in Ames (unless your a Hawk fan).
Did the ISU fans leave anything out? Feel free to fill us in with a visit to the comments on this post. Thanks again, folks. This series has been really, really fun, and we're not even close to finished.