Madison consistently ranks among the country’s best places to live, and with good reason. Here, you will find vibrant arts, entertainment, cultural, and recreational options — combined with a down-to-earth attitude that makes the city easy to enjoy.

An isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona is home to downtown and the state capitol. The lakes lend the city a unique beauty and offer numerous recreational opportunities, including sailing, paddling, water skiing, wakeboarding, and windsurfing. Bicycle and nature trails connect many parts of the city and neighboring communities. Madison residents find plenty to do indoors and outdoors, in the city and on campus, year-round.

Arts, entertainment, and culture all thrive here, with both large and small venues hosting concerts, plays, art exhibits, festivals, and street fairs. The selection of restaurants and eateries in the greater Madison area is remarkably diverse, ranging from food carts serving ethnic specialties to gourmet restaurants and everything in between.

Students share their favorite things to do in and around Madison.

Traveling to Madison

Major metropolitan areas are easily accessible by bus or car. From Madison, it is 122 miles to Chicago and 234 miles to Minneapolis. Milwaukee is just 73 miles away. While there is plenty to do right here, many students enjoy occasional getaways to these nearby cities.

A Family-friendly City

Madison is also a great place for families, with a highly rated children’s museum, a free zoo, children’s theater companies, abundant parks, and much more. The greater Madison area is known for its excellent school systems and family-friendly neighborhoods.


Top 100 Places to Live, 2019


Best Capital City to Live In
Wallethub, 2018


“Tech Town”
CompTIA, 2018


Fittest City
American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Index, 2018

Have a specific question about living in Madison?

We’d be happy to talk with you about housing, public transportation, city amenities, or any other aspect of life in Madison.

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