Aerial Monona Terrace

Photo by Cassius Callender

Best Places to Live

Madison is consistently named one of the best places to live.

Learn More

Rankings and Accolades 

What does one of the world’s happiest cities look like? One of America’s fittest, most walkable, and best places to live? A place for business and pleasure? It looks like Madison, Wisconsin. See where we rank.


#8 Greenest City in the US
EcoCation (2024)

The 25 Greenest Cities in the US
The Discoverer (2022)

#17 Most Green City in the US
WalletHub (2022)

#4 Greenest Cities in the US (2020)

Most Environmentally Friendly Cities in the US
Insider (2019)


#6 Fittest City in the US
American Fitness Index (2023)

#8 Best City for an Active Lifestyle
WalletHub (2023)

#2 Fittest City in the US
American Fitness Index (2022)

#5 Best Place in the US for Allergy Sufferers
WTOP News (2022)

#5 Fittest City in America
American Fitness Index (2021)

#20 Most Active Cities in the Country
USA Today (2021)

#5 Fittest Cities in the US
Men's Health (2021)

#18 Mental Healthiest Cities in the U.S.
Men’s Health (2021)

#4 Happiest Cities in America (2021)

#6 Best Cities for Remote Workers (2021)

#4 Fittest City in the U.S.
ACSM American Fitness Index (2020)

#2 Best Cities for Bikes (2020)

#9 Best Cities for Runners (2020)

#2 Fittest Cities in America
Men's Health (2019)

#2 Most Walkable Cities (2018)


#8 Best Cities for Singles
WalletHub (2024)

Best Mid-Size Town
Midwest Living (2023)

#3 Happiest Cities in America
WalletHub (2023)

15 Happiest Places to Live in the US
Outside (2023)

#1 Most Neighborly City
NeighborBlog (2023)

#3 Best State Capitols for Safety & More
WalletHub (2023)

#1 College Town to Live in After Graduation
Livability (2023)

#1 Top Ten Cities for College Grads
Apartment Advisor (2023)

#13 Best City for Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions
WalletHub (2023)

#1 Best Places to Live in the U.S. (2022)

#11 in 30 Most Beautiful Cities in the U.S.
Forbes (2022)

Top 8 Little Cities that Think Big
AFAR (2022)

#40 Best Places to Live
Money (2022)

#22 Best American Cities to Live The Good Life in Retirement
The Street (2022)

#6 Best Cities for Single Moms
Lawn Starter (2022)

#1 Best Places to Live in the U.S. (2021)

#2 Best State Capitals to Live In (2022)

#14 Best Places to Live in the U.S.
CBS News (2021)

#1 Best State Capitals to Live In (2021)

#1 10 Best Places to Retire in America (December 2020)

#2 Happiest Cities in America (2020)

#3 Top 100 Best Places to Live (October 2020)

#2 Best Places for Outdoor Enthusiasts to Live and Work (October 2020)

#2 Best Cities for Millennials (September 2020)

#3 Best State Capitals to Live In (February 2020)

#1 Cities with Best Work-Life Balance (January 2020)

#2 Most Caring Cities in America (December 2019)

#8 Best Places to Live (September 2019)

#5 Best U.S. Cities for Renters with Pets (April 2019)

One of the Best Small Cities in America
National Geographic (January 2018)

Top 10 Best City for Recent College Grads (May 2018)

#1 Best Cities to Live In if You're Young and Broke (May 2018)


Best College Towns in America
The Points Guy (2022)

#1 Best College Football Town in America (August 2019)

#4 Sportiest City in the U.S.
Men's Health (September 2017)


#9 Best Cities for STEM Jobs
WalletHub (2023)

#27 Top US Cities for Representation of Women in STEM
CommercialCafe (2023)

#2 Best City for Work/Life Balance & Mental Health
CoworkingCafe (2023)

#7 Best Cities for Young Professionals
SmartAsset (2022)

#1 Best Cities for Work Life Balance (November 2020)

#1 20 Best Places to Live and Work Remotely (September 2020)

#7 Best Cities for STEM Professionals (January 2020)

#1 Cities Where Women Are the Most Successful (April 2019)

#2 10 Best Cities to Start Your New Career (August 2018)

#9 Best U.S. Cities to Find a Job (August 2018)

#3 10 Cities Where Women Are the Most Successful (September 2018)


#35 in National Universities (UW-Madison)
US News & World Report (2024)

#5 Most Educated City in America
WalletHub (2023)

Great American Cities for Creatives (That You Can Actually Afford)
Thrillist (2022)

25 Best College Hotels in the U.S. (August 2018)

Most Educated City in Wisconsin (July 2018)

#15 Best Public Schools in the U.S.
US News (September 2018)

#4 25 Best Green Colleges in the United States (October 2018)


#10 Most Pet Friendly City in the America
Travel + Leisure (2022)

#8 Best Cities for Families to Live In
Bankrate (2022)

#6 America’s Best Cities for a Quickie Getaway (2021)

#2 U.S. Destinations to Travel to This July (2021)

#1 Best Places in the U.S. for Raising Children (January 2020)

#2 Best Cities for Working Moms (March 2019)

#1 Best Cities to Raise a Family (August 2018)

#12 Best Cities for Millennial Families (October 2018)


#8 Best Beer Festivals
USA Today 10Best (2023)

Top 5 Best Drinking Cities in the World
Punch (2023)

#5 Best Gluten Free-Beer
USA Today 10Best (2023)

#2 Best Cities for Cheese Lovers
Money Talks News (2023)

#2 Best Cities for Cheese Lovers
Lawn Starter (2023)

#74 Best Foodie Cities in America
WalletHub (2023)

#7 America's Best Cities for Cheese Lovers
The Populist (2022)

16 Best Veggie Burgers in America
Tasting Table (2022)

#1 Best U.S. Cities for Living Sober (2022)

#8 Best Cities for Beer Drinkers (December 2020)

Best Food Trucks in America (February 2019)

#2 Best Beer Festival (March 2018)

#4 The World’s Best Beer Destinations
vinepair (2018)


Coolest Cities to Visit in Each State
The Discoverer (2023)

#7 Coziest Frozen Lake Towns
Fodors (2023)

Best Cities for Veterans
Lawn Starter (2023)


More Things To Do

Load More

Things To Do in Winter

From indoor relaxation to outdoor adventures, these winter activities will turn your winter from...

Things To Do in Fall

Stunning colors. Crisp air. Warm beverages. Corn mazes and pumpkins. Fall is an undeniably special...

Summer Things to Do

Check out our list of 99 summer activities and then book your trip.


Think Madison’s sparkling lakes are gorgeous in the summertime – just wait for the...

Outdoors & Recreation

Why is Madison a haven for outdoors and recreation enthusiasts? Skiing and skating. More than 260...

Arts & Culture

Love the arts? Looking for a vibrant culture? Madison is the city for you. Come find your...


Whether you're here to visit the State Capitol or spend time on our lakes, Madison is a...

Bars & Nightlife

From outdoor patio seating to enjoying nightly live entertainment, you'll enjoy vibrant bars and...

Free Things to Do

From stunning lakes to one of the nation's best free zoos, there's an abundance of free...


From shops that line State Street's pedestrian mall to neighborhoods known for specialty stores,...

Things to Do With Kids

There's no shortage of things to do with kids in Madison. From a quirky children's museum to...

Spas & Wellness

Whether relaxing at some of Madison's best spas or just searching for overall wellness, it's...

Colleges & Universities

Madison's a progressive city with highly-acclaimed colleges and universities that attract...

Local Sports

Badgers, Mallards, Flamingos. Oh my! Madison's vibrant local sports scene features college and...

Essential Madison Experiences

Essential Madison Experiences are your guide to unforgettable times. Taste, explore and learn about...