Best Places to Live

Madison, WI

Population: 243,122
iStock Photo/DenisTangneyJr

Whether you’re a foodie looking for tasty dining spots, an outdoor enthusiast in search of adventure, or a techie on the hunt for great job opportunities, you’ll find what you’re seeking in Madison.

Landing the No. 7 spot on our list of the 2018 Top 100 Best Places to Live, Wisconsin’s capital city has a fun, lively vibe that’s drawing recent college grads in droves — and its economy is hot, with an employment rate of 98.5 percent for those with bachelor’s degrees. Madison is an emerging tech hub, according to TechNet and the Progressive Policy Institute, and it’s home to a diverse range of employment opportunities in fields like health care, life sciences, education, agriculture and advanced manufacturing.

Plus, Madison is a cool college town, thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Situated on the south shore of Lake Mendota, the university draws more than 43,000 students that represent 50 states and 121 countries, creating a diverse, engaged community.

“Madison’s resident population and student population enjoy a seamless relationship that makes for a welcoming environment for recent grads,” says Robert Gard, director of PR and communications for the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The city has the second-highest concentration of college-educated millennials in the country, which is a testament to recent grads wanting to stay or move here. Additionally, Madison’s booming tech industry has paved the way for challenging, high-paying jobs.”

Find out more about why Madison is one of the best places to live in the country, and check out our top picks for how to upgrade your Madison lifestyle after graduation.