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20 Ways to Taste Fall Flavor in Ames
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20 Ways to Taste Fall Flavor in Ames

Pumpkins, apple picking, sweater weather and hearty soups are a few things that come to mind during the autumn season. Luckily, Ames has plenty of ways to taste fall flavor with one or all of these experiences!

1. While strolling through the Main Street Cultural District, pick up the Autumn Special from Ali Cakes. The Red Maple Cupcake is a red velvet cupcake topped with a brown sugar maple crème cheese frosting. Head to the next block and pick up some harvest bonbons or a caramel apple or two from Chocolaterie Stam and you won’t be disappointed!

2. Pumpkin Spice is still all the rage. Get your caffeine fix with a pumpkin flavored drink at Burgie’s, Stomping Grounds, Arcadia Cafe, Café Diem, Starbucks, or McDonalds.

3. You can have your spice and eat it, too! Pumpkin and apple flavors make up a plethora of baked delights from Dutch Oven Bakery, Dunkin’ Donuts and HyVee. Don’t forget about a Caramel Apple Pie or Pumpkin Doughnut Mammoth Muffin from Perkins to share! If you’re in the mood to have a new fall flavor delivered to your door, try the Butterscotch Pecan cookie from Insomnia Cookies.

4. Although the temperatures may be getting cooler, Dairy Queen’s annual Apple and Pumpkin Pie Blizzards are still a tasty fall treat.

5. Warm, hearty soups become a staple menu item for many in the fall. Skip the prep work and enjoy a steaming bowl of Iowa Corn Chowder from the IowaStater at the Gateway Hotel & Conference Center.

6. The Depot Deli & Cookie’s etc. always serves two house-made soups daily made from fresh ingredients. Look for the Pumpkin Ale with Kale & bratwurst for a taste of fall. A selection of grab-and-go frozen soups are always available. The ever-changing dessert selections also reflect a fall theme: S’mores bars; pecan shortbread bars, pumpkin cake roll, to name a few, are the perfect sweet entrance into the season.

7. The Café is also known to have a rotation of nightly and weekend features, including soups, showcasing local and seasonal flavors. Enjoy tried and true favorites like the Café Burger or Mac and Cheese or something new and savory like an apple and brie omelet for brunch.

8. Dublin Bay gets in on the autumn action with their savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding. Made with sugar pumpkins from Lee's Greens in Nevada, IA roasted with cinnamon, nutmeg & clove and served with cinnamon ice cream. Pair that with an Irish drink, or enjoy on its own.

9. If you are looking for something unique before an Iowa State Football game, Salt & Pretzel Co. Bistro and Market has everything you need to elevate your tailgate. Pretzels, sauces, sausages, you name it!

10. Let your inner German out at the annual Oktoberfest celebration in downtown Ames on October 22. Enjoy German food, competitive games, live music, and lots of beer! Olde Main Brewing Co. has an Oktoberfest Seasonal Brew. See if you can drink it from a boot!

11. Alluvial Brewing Company partnered with Wheatsfield Cooperative for Beach Newton featuring Turkish figs. Another seasonal brew is the Mallow Mooed Marshmallow Milk Stout on the nitro tap.

12. Take a Wheatsfield Cooperative class, Warm Fall Reds, on Wednesday, October 12 to get ready for the darker days of fall. You will walk away knowing just the right wine to accompany heartier meals and bountiful celebrations.

13. Cooks’ Emporium is always ready to offer up recipes, tips and tricks. Many Saturdays, and some weeknights, you can take a class to learn how to recreate flavorful dishes at home.

14. The Iowa Arboretum Pumpkin Carving takes place on October 13. Test your skills and help the arboretum carve pumpkins to be displayed during the Halloween events while enjoying a free chili dinner. You can also decorate your own pumpkin with the Ames Homebuilders on October 23, pumpkin and decorating supplies provided!

15. Coe’s Floral & Gifts, Everts Flowers, Home & Gifts, and HyVee all have gorgeous varieties of fall mums, flower arrangements and décor items. Coe’s even has workshops on how to create your own arrangements to set your home apart from all the rest!

16. Black’s Heritage Farm is open from 10-6 daily. Pick your perfect pumpkin, feed some animals, or take a pony ride!

17. Take the family on a one hour and thirty-minute journey (across the Bass Point Creek High Bridge, and the Des Moines River Bridge) to the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad's pumpkin patch. Once at the patch, children will be able to select their perfect pumpkin before returning to town. On the return trip, children will receive an activity booklet and a treat.

18. Scare is in the air as Reiman Gardens’ Spirits in the Gardens returns on October 22 And 23.  All are welcome to join in the spooky fun by attending in costume. As part of a new, astounding display, see 500 carved pumpkins lit against the evening sky, trick-or-treat, make crafts, listen to storytelling and more!

19. Don’t forget to treat your four-legged friends! Treats on a Leash is the place to find seasonal goodies and maybe even a scary (and cute!) costume!

20. How much do you know of Iowa State campus history, legend, and lore? Join University Museums for an evening of historic and haunted stories about Iowa State on October 31!

These aren’t the only things happening in Ames and the surrounding communities this fall. Check out to keep up on all things to DO, EAT, SHOP, and STAY. 

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  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    What a wonderful list! Thanks for contributing to the Travel Iowa blog!
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