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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Madison (WI), Wisconsin

Madison is the state capital of Wisconsin - and the home of the University of Wisconsin. Its downtown is located in the picturesque isthmus between 2 lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona.

Madison, the second largest city in Wisconsin, is an exciting university town with rich cultural institutions as well as a beautiful natural environment. Madison boasts a 30-mile web of paved trails that are lit, snowplowed, and biked year-round. Eco-friendly commutes are a dream with walkable streets and great bus service.

The downtown is vibrant and warm. Students from the nearby University of Wisconsin (41,000 students) congregate here. State Street, a car-free zone, links the campus with the capital square. The city has a reputation for its counterculture and liberal points of view, centered in the neighborhood of Mifflin and Bassett streets. During the 70’s the area was referred to as the “People’s Republic of Madison”. Many museums and restaurants now vie for patrons. Many of the city’s important buildings were designed by world famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Cesar Pelli.

This fast-growing city now encompasses several smaller communities: Madison, as well as the villages Maple Bluff and Shorewood Hills, and the city of Monona. The city's boundaries also approach the villages of Verona and Waunakee.

Where to Retire in Madison (WI) and Home Prices

Retirees can either live with the general population or in a community designed for active adults.
Madison is one of the most stable housing markets in the country. The NAR reports that the median sale price of a home in Madison was $410,100 in the 2nd quarter of 2022.

What Is Special about Madison (WI)

• A downtown between 2 lakes • University of Wisconsin - Madison • Dane County Farmers Market on the capitol square • Consistently one of the “Best Places to Live”, #2 for Top Uniquely American City • Great Taste of the Midwest craft beer festival • Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra free concerts • Mifflin Street Cooperative • Art Museums Numerous awards as one of America's 10 Best Cities for... Educated Workers, Cycling, Healthcare, etc.

What Is Not Special about Madison (WI)

It is cold in the winter and in danger of overdevelopment in the suburbs. Homeless people can also be an issue.

Climate and Physical Environment

Madison is located on the isthmus between 2 lakes, with 3 more lakes located within the city limits.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Very few places in the U.S. can offer someone in retirement the cultural riches of Madison. There is the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Madison Opera, Madison Repertory Theatre, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Ballet, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Many of these companies are located in the Cesar Pelli designed Overture Center for the Arts.


The crime rate in Madison is below the national average.

Medical Facilities

Meriter Hospital Inc; St Marys Hospital Medical Center; Univ of WI Hospitals/Clinics Authority


Dane County Regional Airport is 6 miles away. The Transit Authority offers good bus service around town. 

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