Madison is consistently ranked best among US cities for quality of life. The area receives recognition for great food, healthy lifestyles, and general livability. Athletics spectators enjoy access to world class competition and top tier athletics teams. Outdoors lovers and active sporting enthusiasts place Madison among the nation's most desirable places to call home.
#2 Best Small City To Live, Men's Journal, 2004
Outdoor cafes along State Street and the always-popular Union Terrace on Lake Mendota offers the ideal spring or summer setting for enjoying friends. As autumn closes in, the Capitol area and campus bar scene ramps up, including options to suit any taste. Beyond the brat and the beermug, the men of Mad Town appreciate staying fit. A dense competition calendar is available to enthusiasts of all types. Whether you are an aspiring fan of some activity, or among the elite ranks, you're in good company.
#7 Best Cycling City, Bicycling Magazine, 2010
Respect for cyclists, an extensive network of bike paths and designated lanes makes the going easy inside the city limits for two-wheeled commuters. Choose any direction out of town and you'll find quiet, well-maintained roads stretching for miles through Wisconsin's scenic, rolling farmland. This is an great area for riding at any experience level.
Best Farmer's Markets, Eating Well Magazine, 2007
Madison is home to the nation's largest producer-only farmers' market. The all-local selection of fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, eggs, honeys and jams add color and variety to Capitol Square on Saturday mornings, April - November, before heading indoors for the winter months. The market's stated mission is for providing "an opportunity for farmers and people from urban communities to deal directly with each other".
Best College Sports Town, Sports Illustrated, 2003
Hockey: The Kohl Center ranks 1st in college hockey for attendance. Basketball: Wisconsin is nearly unbeatable at home, due in part to the wizardry of the great Bo Ryan and, of course, the iconic "Grateful Red". Football: Experiencing Camp Randall and 80,000 Badger fans makes up for having to come in from the top-ranked tailgate party in all of college sports.
#8 Healthiest Place For Women, Self Magazine, 2009
Reportedly 85% of women in Madison surveyed engage in exercise outside of work - recognized as a reason behind why cancer and heart disease mortality rates are 15% below the national average.
Top 10 Greenest Cities, Yahoo! Real Estate!, 2007
As the first city in the nation to offer curbside recycling (currently at 97% participation), Madison pursues "green efficiency" by doing what is right for both the environment and for taxpayers. The Natural Step ethic is integrated into all City services, including a green purchasing policy.
#3 Best Cities For Men, Men's Health, 2010
Ranking among the very best in the Life, Fitness, and Health, the Metrograde survey - and highly technical research analysis - indicates that Madison men benefit greatly from the positive example led by Bucky Badger on good wellness habits.
Best Midwest Food Town, Midwest Living, 2009
From the all-local Sustain-A-Burger at the Great Dane, to the all-local. . . everything at the Dane County Farmers' Market, it is easy and affordable to eat local and organic in Madison. While not being organic, the Babcock Hall Dairy Store on campus is very, very local. Cheese, milk, and arguably the best ice cream on planet Earth are produced daily. Cows are milked at 4:30; visitors welcome.
Best Outside Towns, Outside Magazine, 2006
Some remain skeptical that Madison is consistently mentioned in the same breath as locations like Heliewa HI, Durango CO, Bellingham WA, Asheville NC, or Bend OR. . . no mountains, no ocean. Perhaps in its own unique way, this is what makes Madison so special. Amid the undulating farmlands and clear blue skies is a place and people with an intrinsic connection, where locals are true stewards of their rivers, lakes, and trails. There are four active outdoor seasons in Madison, no less.
Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rankings
Madison is often called the "Berkley of the Midwest". Learn more about what makes this city great through the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau.