Madison, Wisconsin

Berkeley Of The Midwest

The eight years that I spent at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, I have incredibly fond memories of. It's a beautiful place, with four seasons up in Wisconsin. And really wonderful people.
-Author: Laurel Clark

The Best Thing About Madison?

The summers

After a long, cold winter (wind chills can drop to 30 below), Madisonians greet the sun with gusto. The summers here are insane. Music and beer festivals punctuate almost every weekend, there are plenty of bike paths all over the city and there’s a lively nightlife, all on an isthmus surrounded by two incredible lakes.

Here's a transplater on living in Madison:
I moved from Houston 5 years ago. I miss the food really bad and that’s my biggest complaint. The winters are terrible and long but love summers here and love that you can find greenery all over. Houston was all concrete (I lived downtown and then by the galleria). The traffic is nonexistent compared to Houston. There are a lot of community minded things to do but not a ton of big artists if you’re into live music. The bar scene is much less varied here in my experience too. very few strip malls, cleaner in general, the roads are WAY better, air quality is excellent!

The Worst Thing About Madison?

It’s pretty insular

Madisonians are very pleased with themselves. Surrounded by more conservative communities, the notorious liberal enclave is renowned for its progressive attitude, but it can still be uncomfortably segregated. Change takes a while because initiatives often get bogged down in navel-gazing bureaucracy. Though at its worst, Madison is still a decent place to live.

Here's a transplanter on the vibe:
It's hard to get to know people in Madison unless you make that effort first. So in other words, not too different from the East Coast (whatever that is… as if Maine and Boston are the same place.) Madison is definitely not a conservative town politically, but still has a pretty reserved feel despite its liberal politics.

Lifestyle Of Madison

Madisonians are friendly, outgoing and pretty helpful when they want to be. There’s an emphasis on health and hardiness and plenty of ways to indulge in both. The university and seat of state and county government provide jobs to a good percentage of individuals and the Epic campus just outside of town has brought Madison firmly into the tech sector.

As for housing, if you are a 20/30-something looking for a downtown lifestyle then you’re in luck. Lots of high-density rentals have been and continue to be built across Madison’s downtown area.

If on the other hand you’re looking for single family homes, Madison has plenty to choose from. Turn-of-the-century and architecturally significant homes are plentiful across the hot neighborhoods of Marquette, Dudgeon-Monroe, & Schenk-Atwood. All pedestrian friendly with tons of access to mini-commercial centers on their main streets.

Check out the Madison calendar of events to see what happens here:

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Affordable and accessible

Just three hours from Chicago, Madison provides a respite from big city life while offering lots of ways to have fun. Conventions and other events mean that the city can get kind of crowded, but if you know where to go -- and when -- it’s a lovely city to live in.