Interested in moving to a lifestyle rich city? This ultimate guide to moving to Madison Wisconsin provides local information about the area. Madison has the excitement of a large city, but on an intimate, user-friendly level. Madison is located in Dane County about 2 hours northwest of Chicago and about an hour east of Milwaukee WI. On the shores of Lake Mendota, Madison is a cosmopolitan state capital and renowned college town. Surrounded by great hiking trails and bike paths, not to mention some of the best golfing in the Midwest, Madison is the perfect place for anyone looking for a variety of activities all year long. You can even go sailing, swimming or canoeing on Lake Mendota! All while enjoying Madison’s idyllic summer weather!
When you visit Madison, you’ll quickly discover it is a place where the performing arts are plentiful! From catching a touring Broadway show to laughing the night away while watching improv, there is world-class entertainment to be found nearly every night.
With more than 45,000 students representing 50 states and 134 countries, our community is diverse, energetic, and constantly in motion. Jump around with 80,000 Badgers fans at Camp Randall Stadium and witness athletic feats from our 23 Big Ten varsity teams.
According to the Trust for Public Lands, Madison Ranks #12 in the Nation for Parks. The report indicates that 95% of Madison residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park. In addition, Madison had high scores for playgrounds, basketball hoops and dog parks. What a great city we live in!
This ultimate guide is designed to provide you with all you need to know when thinking of moving to Madison Wisconsin!
As of 2019, with 254,977 people, Madison is the 2nd most populated city in the state of Wisconsin out of 777 cities.
Race & Ethnicity
The largest Madison racial/ethnic groups are White (73.6%) followed by Asian (8.9%) and Hispanic (7.0%).
In 2019, the median household income of Madison households was $65,332.
The median age for Madison residents is 31.0 years young.
In Madison, the summers are warm and wet; the winters are freezing, dry, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 13°F to 82°F and is rarely below -7°F or above 90°F.
To learn more about weather in Madison, check out U.S. Climate Data.
Madison Schools & Education
Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is a public school district headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. It serves over 27,000 students in 48 schools, including 32 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, four comprehensive high schools and one alternative high school.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university in Madison, Wisconsin. Founded when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, UW–Madison is the official state university of Wisconsin, and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System
Madison College is a world-class community college in Madison, Wisconsin. For more than 100 years, MATC has offered educational opportunities to a wide variety of students with varying educational needs. Students can earn an associate degree, technical diploma or a certificate in more than 150 programs.
Best Restaurants in Madison
- Fresco: Modern New American spot on the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art rooftop offering Downtown views. 227 State St, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 663-7374. Blog
- Sardine: Hip bistro with creative French fare & a lively bar in a former warehouse with Lake Monona views. 617 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 441-1600
- Paisan’s: Longtime eatery featuring Italian fare, thin-crust pizzas & a patio with Lake Monona views. 131 W Wilson St, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 257-3832
- Mickie’s Dairy Bar: Cozy local institution serving hearty portions of breakfast fare at communal tables. 1511 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711 (608) 256-9476
- Nitty Gritty: Longtime bar & grill featuring free birthday beer, cocktails or soda plus pub grub & TVs. 223 N Frances St, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 251-2521
- The Best Brunch Spots
- Forage Kitchen
Shopping in Madison
- Farmer’s Market on the Square: Find the season’s best bounty of vegetables, flowers, meats, cheeses, and specialty products from approximately 275 vendors throughout the year. Over 150 members attend every Saturday. All of the items for sale are grown, raised, and produced in Wisconsin by the person behind the stand.
- Hilldale Mall: A partially enclosed shopping mall/lifestyle center development on the west side of Madison offering an unparalleled selection of national and local retailers.
- State Street and Downtown Madison: A seven-block bustling thoroughfare, which runs between Capitol Square and the University of Wisconsin, buzzes with activity day and night. Offering lake access, amazing views, several museums and theaters, more than 140 restaurants including a diverse array of coffeehouses, ethnic restaurants, and award winning chefs, as well as more than 80 unique shops including bookstores, art galleries and specialty shops.
Things to Do in Madison
- Memorial Union: A popular outdoor space overlooking Lake Mendota. A place to come to socialize, relax, study and be nourished.
- Overture Center for the Arts is a state of the art performing arts center and art gallery
- Wisconsin State Capital: houses both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature along with the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor. Free tours offered daily. A sixth floor museum and observation deck are also open in summer.
- Biking and Hiking: There are more than 200 miles of scenic biking and hiking trails. Check out the City of Madison’s Low-Stress Bike Route Finder to map a ride that suits your comfort level.
- Arboretum: An extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is used by students and researchers focusing on ecological restoration. While it is not a park, thousands of people visit the Arboretum each year to enjoy its seasonal beauty. Your cooperation will help protect the Arboretum’s plants, wildlife and ongoing research projects, as well as others’ safety and enjoyment.
- UW Madison Athletics: University of Wisconsin – Madison competes in 22 sports and has a total of 1003 student athletes: 465 men and 538 women. There are always athletic events going on around town all year long.
- Best Winter Indoor Activities
- Get Ready for Winter Outdoor Activities
- Top 3 Winter Running Routes
- 85 Things to Do in the Winter
- Summer Festivals
- Madison Parks Scavenger Hunt
- Virtual Summer Events
- Things to do in the area
- Top 7 Dog Parks
Jobs in Madison
Medical Care in Madison
Madison is well-renowned for its medical care.
Homes for Sale in Madison
- Parkwood Hills
- Shorewood Hills
- University Hill Farms
- Glacier Ridge
- Hawks Landing
Ways to Give Back
We hope this ultimate guide to moving to Madison, WI was helpful! If you are interested in learning more about the area and need help with the buying process, we are happy to help! Please contact Audra Geldmacher at 608-577-5318 or Wanda Roche at 608-212-2928 for any questions that you have.