Best Places to Live

Madison, WI

Population: 243,122
Courtesy of Clint Thayer

It shouldn’t be a shock that Madison, Wisc., the top pick on our 2015 Best Places to Live list, landed on this list as well. The city’s low percentage of uninsured residents, high ratio of doctors, vast recreational options and highly active citizens make it one of the Top 10 Healthiest Cities. People living in Madison lead rather healthy lives, with only 14 percent of the population smoking and most residents experiencing just three “poor health days,” according to County Health Rankings.

Eight area farmers markets provide access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, while many residents in Madison grow their own produce during summer months. Most restaurants in Madison, especially those around downtown, cater to requests for vegetarian meals and provide healthy options when eating out. Madison also ranked as one of the 2013 Best Foodie Cities

Downtown and several Madison neighborhoods contain well-maintained networks of sidewalks and bike paths that make walking or biking to places a good option. Parks in Madison offer opportunities to cross-country ski, sled and ice skate during winter months, or swim, golf and play team sports during warmer weather. The city maintains 26 public tennis courts, while four golf courses are open to everyone. Lake Wingra, which is just north of the University of Wisconsin campus, draws residents from all walks of life who come to canoe, play soccer or walk the shoreline. Community centers, fitness clubs and specialized outdoor experiences provide even more ways to burn calories and stay in shape. Favorite workout spots in Madison include Capital Fitness, Boulders Climbing Gym and Bliss Flow Yoga & Wellness Center.

With five general hospitals and more than 20 medical clinics, including UW-Madison’s medical, nursing and pharmacy schools, finding health care is easy in Madison. 

See where Madison ranked on the 2013 Best College Towns list. 

Madison, WI Highlights

Healthy Choice: Head to The Green Owl Café for delicious vegetarian meals.
Health Alert: Don’t go too crazy at the Ale Asylum, a favorite microbrewery.