The Main Street Cultural District (MSCD) in Ames was established on January 1, 2009.  It is the result of a 2-year local initiative to create a unique identity and focus for downtown. The presence of key cultural institutions in the Main Street area - along with unique, locally owned businesses - made this move a logical development. The concept has been strongly embraced by numerous community businesses, organizations, and individual residents. MSCD is an investor-based organization, open to anyone in the community that would like to support its development and enjoy its benefits. 


Advance and promote downtown as the destination District in the heart of the Ames community.


Ames Main Street Cultural District will be known as a unique, vibrant and visually interesting shopping, dining and entertainment destination. The city's historic center will become the focal point of a vibrant Ames economy providing more appeal to residents, visitors and students. This economic growth will increase retail sales, property values, business profits, rents and an improved tax base. 

The District will be a natural gathering space and serve as a link to the civic, cultural and public resources in the community. The Ames Main Street Cultural District will be a friendly, safe and inviting place, every day - all day! 


  • Showcase the vitality of arts and cultural venues, unique businesses, and the heritage of downtown Ames, which will add to the quality of life for residents and visitors.
  • Organize event and retail promotions that increase consumer patronage of the district.
  • Enhance partnerships among the public and private sectors: retail, culture, service and hospitality.
  • Maintain the MSCD environment with green spaces, public art, well-designed window displays, and convenient access for visitors.
  • Promote historic preservation and development of buildings and infrastructure through second-use projects, upper story renovation, façade improvement, residential development, and new construction.
  • Retain current and recruit new businesses to create a healthy balance and variety of retail, professional, and service entities.