Wisconsin Magic: Embracing the Beauty of Living in Madison 


Every great college town has a unique combination of these: great cultural diversity, top academic institutions, and a unique nightlife and dining scene. 

Well, Mad City is one of the best at being a college town in the U.S. Living in Madison, WI, offers all the big city perks that are perfect for families, students, and working-class citizens. 

With a population of about 272,903, Madison is one of the best places to live in the Midwest and one of the top cities in the nation. 

Let’s explore all the finest things and beauties of living in the capital city of Wisconsin. 

An Affordable Cost of Living 

Contrary to the popular notion that Madison has a higher cost of living index at 3% compared to the nation’s average, it’s still a place for the middle class to live. Like most cities and towns, Madison has a wide range of housing options fitting for any budget. 

The daily commute cost within the city is relatively lower than most areas of its size around the country—the same goes for its food scene. Plus, the active job market and relatively high pay make up for most of the spending you might make while living here. 

If you come from cities like Chicago or New York, you will discover that relocating to Madison, WI, even with movers like Straightline Moving Company, gives your wallet much more breathing space. 

  • Average House Rent: $1,622 
  • Median Home Value: $435,500 

On average, a single person can expect to live comfortably with only about $2,628 monthly. For a family of four, $4,646 is enough to afford all their major and minor expenses. 

The Job Market is Actively Hiring 

From IT to bioscience, healthcare, and, most importantly, academics, the economy in Madison is booming, and there’s usually always an actively recruiting job market. On average, the city’s economy holds out during recessions and difficult national financial crises. 

Most of the jobs created in the city are largely as a result of the University of Wisconsin, being a top employer amongst others in the city. Data shows UW has employed approximately 21,000 residents in the city to its workforce. 

Other major employers across different sectors in the city are American Family Insurance firm, Alliant Energy, Promenade Corporation, and the top hospital in the entire state, UW Health. 

  • Median Household Income: $74,895 
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.3% 
  • Poverty Rate: 16.6% 

A Perfect Haven for Outdoor Lovers 

Imagine a place where there are plenty of parks, even too many for you as an outdoor enthusiast to visit. Moving to Madison as someone who loves to be with nature, you will find an estimated number of 11 parks per 10,000 people in the city. 

From the residents’ favorite 250-acre Elver Park to the birdwatchers’ zone of Tenney Park and James Madison Park, there’s so much beauty to engulf yourself in.  

Moreover, if you like to bring out the camera, you can snap some pictures of yourself standing in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. You can also catch one of the many annual festivals like the Run Madtown Event happening in the city. 

Showcases A Vibrant Art, Music, and Food Culture 

What is it like living in Wisconsin as an artist?  

The Mad City ranks high amongst others its size with a vibrant and active art and music scene. For instance, annual events like the Great Taste of the Midwest or the Art Fair on the Square showcase the beauty of creating excellent beer and beautiful art. 

Living in the city resonates well for art collectors and those who love to paint. At the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, residents can view exhibits and sculptures from top artists. 

Moreover, residing in America’s Dairyland capital, you should know you’re in for delightful treats and dairy products. Take a cheese tour at Fromagination and rate sample flavors across different local shops like Mousehouse Cheesehaus. 

It’s One of The Best College Town 

Madison, Wisconsin, is probably one of the best college towns in the nation, and for good reasons. The Wisconsin Idea is a deep-rooted tradition amongst the residents and students of UW-Madison, where improving the lives of others is strongly upheld. 

Mad City doesn’t just exude academics and intellectuals; unlike most other college areas in the country, Madison has plenty of concerts, sports (Go Badgers!), breweries, festivals, and pleasant scenery for every resident. 

Moreover, the University’s students actively support their community by helping distribute farm crops among the needy and tutoring local school children. 

Transportation In and Around the City is Flawless 

Is Madison, WI, a good place to live without owning a personal car? 

While the city has a unique public transport system in place, the Madison Metro Transit, residents are mostly keen on cycling or walking their way around the area. However, residing outside the city center is a different ball game altogether—you might need to own a car. 

On average, the Mad City has a widespread network of lanes and paths tailored for bikers and cyclers. Living in Madison, WI, as a biker means you are in a city that ranks among the top five cycling towns in the nation. 

If you are relocating to Madison without a car or bike, you can still feel like one of the locals. You can skip the Metro Transit by renting an electric-assisted bicycle from any of Madison’s B-cycle stations. 

There’s Plenty of Fun Activities To Do 

Outdoor fun in Madison is never scarce! All through the year and past all four seasons in the Mad City, there is always something fun to give you the thrill of a lifetime. 

Generally, Madison is the talk of Wisconsin for its amazing food and art scene; there are also extras like parks and festivals, but those two tend to take center stage. 

Since you’re new to Mad City, let’s walk you through some of the activities you can engage in while there. 

  • Grabbing delicious bites at Capital Brewing 
  • Catch live shows at the Orpheum Theater 
  • Don’t forget to visit Capitol Square in Downtown 
  • Must-visit tour of Henry Vilas Zoo 
  • Stop by the Dane County Farmers’ Market—the largest in the nation 
  • Visit the University of Wisconsin Arboretum 
  • Surround yourself with carefully curated natural scenes at the Olbrich Botanical Garden 

Most of Its Neighborhoods Are Safe 

Living in Madison, WI, is relatively safe, depending on who you ask and which neighborhoods you stay in. But on average, the city is about 13% safer than most in the U.S. Your chances of falling victim to violent or property crimes in the city are 1 in 36. 

Property crimes in the city are the more prevalent types of crime, which can happen to 24.65 per 1,000 residents—higher than the national average of 20. 

As a newbie in Madison, here are some of the nice and safe neighborhoods you might want to consider residing in: 

  • Westmorland 
  • Wexford 
  • Walnut Grove 
  • Hill Farms-University 
  • Parkwood Hills 

Conclusion—Life in Madison 

The average life in Madison is excellent, and most residents wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else. Forget the stats on property crimes; living in Madison, WI, is safe.  

However, as a precaution and safety measure, it’s best to watch your surroundings and avoid lonely alleys and dark corners at night.  

But most of all, remember to have fun! Participate in the festivals, become part of the college lifestyle, and you might just find yourself inviting more people to the city. 

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