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Madison Information

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University of Wisconsin

Best Place To Live

  • #7 in 10 Best Places To Live and Work
  • #1 in Top 10 Cities to Find a Job
  • #8 in 100 Best Places to Raise a Family
  • Nation’s Smartest City
  • One of the Top Ten Best Outdoor – Oriented Towns
  • One of the Ten Most Livable Cities in the United States
  • Madison Area #2 – Best Place to Educate Your Child
  • Madison Rates One of 9 Cities Where Dogs Rule
  • Madison Ranked One of Ten Best Markets for Women in Business
  • Madison Rated 5-Star Business Opportunity metro
  • Madison Rated One of Five Perfect College Towns
  • Middleton Rated Best Place in America to Live
  • Dane County Farmer’s Market Named Best in Nation
  • Madison Ranked One of World’s Top Startup Hubs
  • One of the Nation’s 25 Best Cities in Which to Live
  • One of the Top 10 Best Green Large Cities
  • #1 Walking City

"Best Place To Live"--Money Magazine

A Nationally Honored City

Madison, Wisconsin consistently ranks as one of the top places in the country to live, work, go to school, play and raise a family. Wisconsin's beautiful capital city, with a vibrant population of approximately 200,000, offers both small town charm and a range of leisure and cultural opportunities usually found in only much larger communities.

Madison is known for its exceptional quality of life. Money magazine named Madison the “Best Place To Live in America” in 1996 and the “#1 Best Mid-Size City to Live in the Midwest” in 1998. Over twenty-five other major national publications, including Parenting, U.S. News & World Report, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Expansion Management, Bicycling, Outside, Ladies Home Journal and Entrepreneur, have recently honored Madison with top-tier rankings in key categories including: “Great Places to Raise a Family;” “Best Schools in the Nation;” “America’s Safest Cities;” “Best Cities for Working Moms;” “America’s Best Places to Live and Work;” “Where to Retire;” “Best Places In America to Start and Grow a Company;” “One of America’s Seven Dream Towns;” “Best Cities For Women;” “Best Bike Towns in the County;” and, “Most ‘Child-Friendly’ Cities.”

Excellent Public Management and Services

Madison, one of the few communities in the country to have a “Triple A” bond rating, is recognized for its excellent public management and services. The community boasts nearly 200 parks and, in partnership with Dane County, maintains one of the only free zoos, including a children’s petting zoo, in the nation. The nationally recognized bus system provides excellent public access and helps many families live without the need for multiple cars and accompanying gasoline and insurance costs. The city is well known for its excellent health care services with four hospitals, over 100 clinics and top-notch physicians and specialists.

A Strong and Vibrant Economy

Madison has a low unemployment rate, excellent schools, a well-prepared labor force, with a strong work ethic, an excellent business climate and a very strong economy. Crime rates, poverty rates and pollution rates are low. High-technology employment is growing at a rate of 10% a year. Madison is an outstanding location for business development and success.

Unique Natural Beauty and Recreational Opportunities

The natural beauty and recreational opportunities of Madison’s landscape are truly unique. Built on an isthmus in the midst of four glacial lakes, Madison offers an abundance of activities including sailing, fishing, swimming at thirteen area beaches, boating, with eleven launch sites, tennis on dozens of public courts, hiking, biking, ice skating, jogging on nationally-honored trails and golfing at 4 public courses. Hunting, snowmobiling, skiing, sledding and canoeing are also popular.

Other public facilities include the Madison Civic Center which hosts over 50 major concerts and productions a year, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens with 14 acres of outstanding specialty gardens and a domed conservatory, the Dane County Exposition Center, a major meeting and entertainment venue, and Monona Terrace, Madison’s beautiful new Frank Lloyd Wright designed community and convention center located downtown on the shores of Lake Monona.

Madison is known as a city of many special arts, ethnic and community events including the widely-acclaimed downtown Farmers’ Market with over 200 vendors (#1 “Star Farmers’ Markets” by Food & Wine magazine, 1996), summer “Concerts On The Square” with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, “A Taste Of Madison,” dozens of performances by the Madison Repertory Theatre, Children’s Theatre of Madison, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and the Madison Opera, and, the popular “Art Fair on the Square,” one of the top art fairs in the country which draws about 200,000 people each summer.

Madison has a thriving downtown. The State Street Mall is a key retail, dining, entertainment and cultural center of the community, linking the world-acclaimed University of Wisconsin-Madison with the bustling and beautiful Capitol Square. Quality and unique restaurants, shops and galleries abound and museums and historical buildings include the Madison Art Center, the State Capitol, the Madison Children’s Museum, the State Historical Museum and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Exciting plans for a major new $100 million downtown arts complex are also underway.

Outstanding Activities For Children and Families

Children’s activities flourish in Madison, from arts and crafts, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, dance, drama and music, to sports such as little league, softball, T-ball, basketball, bowling, gymnastics, football, golf, ice hockey, skating, swimming, diving, tennis, track, soccer and more. After school activities are also available at many school and neighborhood center locations. Madison is also recognized as a leader in quality day care, with 142 licensed day care centers and almost 200 licensed family care providers.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the world’s premier universities, offers Madison residents unique benefits such as access to a beautiful, shoreline campus, a 1200 acre Arboretum, a Geology Museum, the Elvehjem Museum of Art, the new Kohl Center with a 460,000 square foot arena for basketball and hockey, many other major sporting events and performances of national and international renown at the Wisconsin Union Theater.

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