Milwaukee city skyline (Photo by Wei Zeng on Unsplash)

Looking to move to the Badger state, take in the amazing dairy products and maybe find yourself being part of the die-hard sports fans that make themselves known in Wisconsin? This is the article for you. Let’s get this out of the way: the weather tends to get quite chilly, but the Northerners who call it their home have ways of dealing with it and in doing so, reap the rewards of living in America’s Dairyland. Some of the best places to live in Wisconsin offer access to outdoor adventure, a thriving brewery scene and more. 

Speaking of being outdoors, the natural beauty of Wisconsin is another perk. Weekends are filled with fishing, hunting, and even snowmobiling. And it’s not just good for weekend plans. In fact, a recent study reports living closer to both green spaces (outdoor areas, parks, forests) and blue spaces (bodies of water) may reduce the risk of experiencing serious psychological distress among older adults. It’s a win, win!

In contrast to those brutal winters, summertime is perfect. As The Honest Local puts it, “summers in Wisconsin couldn’t be dreamier. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 85°F and you can count on sunshine from June through September. In fact, many of our friends refuse to leave Wisconsin because of the blissful summer weather. They’d sooner rent/purchase a home to escape for winter, but couldn’t fathom moving out of Wisconsin altogether because of the great season.”

If Wisconsin is famous for anything – it’s cheese. “The state produces three million pounds of cheese a year in 600 varieties – more than a quarter of all cheese produced in the United States,” says LivabilityIf you’re looking to move out west, StudyFinds set out to do the research for you, visiting 10 expert websites to put together this list of the best places to live in Wisconsin. If you’ve got your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

Downtown Milwaukee
Downtown Milwaukee (Photo by Kellie Klumb on Unsplash)

The List: Best Places to Live in Wisconsin, According to Experts

1. Madison

The capital of Wisconsin, Madison is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the state. It is home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, numerous parks and outdoor recreation areas, and a thriving cultural and arts scene.

This is definitely a city you can get your education in, “As one of the best college towns in the U.S. and one of the most educated cities in America, Madison is a great choice for students moving to Wisconsin to pursue higher education. Attend a BIG10 school, root for the D-1 Badgers (NCAA), and choose from over 600 graduate and undergraduate programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Earn your associate’s degree in over 180 training programs, or get prerequisites for your four-year education with one of the 140+ transfer pathways at Madison Area Technical College. Get a degree in bilingual education, art therapy, thanatology, and more at the faith-based Edgewood College. Or work on your nursing degree at Herzing University,” says Extra Space.

Dividends Diversify talks about all the fun things to do, “First of all, this is a beautiful city. So, just enjoy the views when you are out and about. From the stunning capitol building. And the Monona Terrace. That was designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The city is surrounded by lakes. Great for boating, swimming, and fishing. While the community is very biker friendly. Thus, many people commute to work on their bikes. And if that’s not for you, there are plenty of trails to explore to get off-road. Next, you can enjoy some great summer festivals.”

Livability talks about how it’s great for families, not just college students, “Families have a lot to love in Madison. First off, admission to the Henry Vilas Zoo is free — that’s right, free. In the summer, enjoy movies at city parks, which are also free. The three-story Madison Children’s Museum downtown will keep young learners entertained and active with hands-on exhibits. And while Dane County might have the highest property tax rate in the state, they use it for public amenities, and the schools here are some of the best, including charter and magnet schools.”

2. Milwaukee

Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee is known for its beer, cheese, and cultural attractions. It is home to a number of museums, galleries, and performance venues, as well as professional sports teams and numerous festivals throughout the year.

Sports are key to the city, “Sports fandom is a year-round endeavor, with two major league sports teams calling the metro area home. Milwaukee Brewers’ baseball games start after a fan tailgate in the parking lot of American Family Field, and the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team draws big crowds to every home game,” says US News.

After sports, you still have plenty to do as Home & Money says, “It’s safe to say that it’s impossible to be bored when living in Milwaukee. The city is filled with art and culture. And if that kind of thing gets you jazzed up, you should definitely check out the Milwaukee art museum and some of the amazing architecture. And if you’re a beer-guzzling, hot dog eating, out-of-shape sports fan, you’ll have plenty of options as well. You’ll be able to cheer on all the athletes with better genetics than you at professional basketball, baseball, and hockey games.”

Live in the city, but don’t “pay for it” as HOMEeIA says, “One of the great things about living in Milwaukee is that you get all the benefits while spending less than you would in most big cities in the United States. It means the cost of living in Milwaukee, WI is cheaper than the US average.”

3. Green Bay

Home to the Green Bay Packers football team, Green Bay is a city located in northeastern Wisconsin. It has a low cost of living, a strong job market, and numerous outdoor recreation opportunities, including fishing, hunting, and boating.

If you fancy a brew, Eric Estate has you covered, “Pop into any one of the numerous bars along Broadway St. These establishments rarely update and have all the things you would expect. Dim lighting, Neon Signs, Packer Memorabilia, etc. Order one of the many local Wisconsin beers, or if you are brave ask for a Kessler. These dive bars are a second home to many. Some regulars have been frequenting the same place for 20+ years and have stories – boy do they have stories.”

Not a fan of craft beer? You’ll still fine: ” It’s pretty clear from my intro that living in Green Bay means that you will have a lot of sporting options around you. Along with the local football team, most people in Green Bay enjoy flexing their own sports prowess at a local park. If you’re more of a hiker or a fan of taking a stroll, then you might like the botanical gardens within city limits too. Of course, there are also plenty of indoor activities that you can choose from as well. These include the local cinemas, the Green Bay Children’s Museum, as well as the National Railroad Museum. With that said, most other parts of the city will have their own intellectually stimulating entertainment options that you can choose from. They also have a pretty decent food scene,” adds Upgraded Home.

A solid economy should make you feel secure, “Green Bay offers residents lots of economic opportunities that might be difficult to find anywhere else in Wisconsin. The city is truly blue-collar with an unemployment rate of 4.2% for July 2021, way lower than the US employment rate. There are opportunities in various industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, etc,” writes Think Real Estate.

4. La Crosse

Located in southwestern Wisconsin, La Crosse is a picturesque city situated on the Mississippi River. It has a vibrant downtown area, numerous parks and trails, and is known for its thriving arts and music scene.

As a primer of the city, “La Crosse, Wisconsin is a vibrant city situated on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is known for its strong sense of community, eclectic mix of activities and attractions, and scenic beauty. There are plenty of things to do in La Crosse for both visitors and locals alike including outdoor recreation like cycling, kayaking, hiking, fishing and camping as well as cultural attractions such as museums, art galleries and music venues,” says Best Places.

Niche adds, “La Crosse is in La Crosse County. Living in La Crosse offers residents an urban suburban mix feel and most residents rent their homes. In La Crosse there are a lot of bars, restaurants, and parks. Many young professionals live in La Crosse and residents tend to lean conservative. The public schools in La Crosse are highly rated.”

 New Home Source mentions, “The city also has a wide range of live and local entertainment ranging from weekly comedy shows to the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. Downtown offers a wide variety of restaurants with cuisines from all over the world, as well as a host of bars, as part of the Craft Beverage Trail that starts in La Crosse and takes participants all around the area and into Minnesota to enjoy wineries, breweries, and distilleries across the region.”

5. Hudson

A small city located in western Wisconsin, Hudson is frequently cited as one of the best places to live in the state. It has a strong sense of community, excellent schools, and numerous parks and outdoor recreation areas, including the Willow River State Park.

“The Town of Hudson is a classic river town — that is, the great St. Croix River, which divides Wisconsin from Minnesota, simply dominates the community. Originally called Willow River by its first settlers and later named Buena Vista, or ‘beautiful view,’ the town was formally renamed ‘Hudson’ due to its similarity to Upstate New York’s famous Hudson River,” mentions Livability.

Niche puts it like this, ” Living in Hudson offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Hudson there are a lot of parks. Many families and young professionals live in Hudson and residents tend to lean conservative. The public schools in Hudson are highly rated.”

Best Places says, “Hudson, WI is a picturesque city west of Minneapolis known by its vast landscape dotted with beautiful hiking spots like Willow River State Park or charming cafes along Main Street; gorgeous waterfalls are all around the area making it perfect location for romantic getaways. Regional-center complex/Capital city – Southeast Minnesota along upper Mississippi River, 20 miles west of Wisconsin border.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Winston McDaniel

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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  1. Jason says:

    So the four largest cities and one small town noted for ita quaintness. Quite an in depth study.

  2. Leon Yelle says:

    Umm, for those of us that actually live in wisconsin. Believe me this list is wayyyyyyy off. Madison, green bay, and r u kidding me milwaukee? Wow, no thanks. How bout rhinelander, plymouth, port washington… or anywhere else.


    Hudson Wisconsin is east of Minneapolis…not west…as that would make it Hudson Minnesota!!

  4. Valia kang says:

    LMAOOOOOO RARELY GOES ABOVE 85??????? idk what wisconsin yall are in bro
    And MILWAUKEE?????? GREENBAY???? lord no pls