University of Wisconsin–Madison

About Madison, Wisconsin

 What is life like in Madison, WI?

Madison has a population of 240,000 (metro area 654,000) and is nestled between two lakes in south-central Wisconsin. Madison is the state capital and home of the main campus of the University of Wisconsin and its 44,000 students. Situated on a narrow isthmus, Madison shares many qualities with other well-known “college towns” like Berkeley and Austin – including a creative and educated population – but retains a small-town feel. There are many outstanding restaurants, an active theater community, live music, more than 250 parks, a plethora of summer and winter outdoor activities and good shopping – yet Madison is just minutes from the beautiful rural countryside. National groups and magazines rank Madison highly for being a very bike-friendly city and a great place to raise a family and is consistently rated as one of the best places to live in the country for quality of schools, housing affordability, standard of living, peace of mind, continuing education opportunity, adult education level, health, air access, traffic congestion and safety, and work force employability.


  • #1 Best Place to Live, 2015
  • Top 20 Best America Cities
    Business Week, 2012
  • #1 Best City for Young Adults
    Kiplinger, 2012
  • Top Ten Happiest Cities
    National Geographic, 2015


  • Most Educated City in America
    Men’s Health Magazine, 2011
  • #2 Best City for Green Commuting, 2014
  • Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Community
    The League of American Bicyclists, 2015 
  • #2 Best City in America for Parks, 2016