With an abundance of natural beauty and some uniquely charming cities and towns, Wisconsin is unquestionably a great state to live. With low unemployment, a booming economy, an affordable cost of living, and a laid back, Midwestern style, there’s enough on offer to keep everyone happy. Whether you’re a young family looking for somewhere to put down roots, or a single professional hoping to take your first step on the property ladder, you’re sure to find at least a few things to attract you on our round-up of the 20 best places to live in Wisconsin.
20. Brewer's Hill
Affordable house prices? Check. A low crime rate? Check. Plenty of amenities? Check, Check, check. With a great range of services, easy access to the booming job market and big-city attractions of nearby Milwaukee, and a welcoming, friendly vibe, the small neighborhood of Brewer's Hill makes a great way to kick of our list.
19. Menomonee River Valley
5,790 residents choose to call the Menomonee River Valley neighborhood of Milwaukee home, and for very good reason. At just $151,788, the price of property here makes it one of the most affordable places to live in the greater Milwaukee area, while the plentiful amenities, low crime rate, clean streets, and excellent commuting links afford an excellent quality of life.
For those on a budget, Wauwatosa makes a great option. Property can be had for as little as $227,200- although don’t make the mistake of thinking the low home value correlates to low desirability, at least not in this case. Wauwatosa’s population of 47,687 residents are well served by an excellent range of attractions and amenities, some great shopping outlets, a low crime rate, an outstanding school system, and a thriving local job market. The median household income sits at a very respectable $74,929, which, given the low costs of living, is more than decent
With a population size of 248,856, Madison is big enough to accommodate every taste, lifestyle and budget imaginable. Properties come in for around $223,300 (although there are plenty of upscale options available for those with a bigger budget), while the abundance of libraries and parks, indoor and outdoor music venues, festivals, art fairs, shopping facilities, and restaurants guarantee everyone has somewhere to spend their reaction time. Crime is low considering the city’s size, while poverty and unemployment are also on the lower end of the spectrum. The schools, meanwhile, are some of the best performing in the state.
16. Stevens Point
As The Crazy Tourist notes, Stevens Point is the ideal place for first time buyers to get their foot on the property ladder without blowing a hole in their budget. Regularly ranked as one of the best places to live in Wisconsin for retirees, the safe clean streets and abundance of public services and amenities do indeed make it great option for seniors, while the first-rate schools make it equally attractive to families, and the excellent range of bistros and breweries are certainly a draw for millennials. Regardless of age or status, everyone is likely to enjoy the low crime rate and amazing range of green spaces and parks.
15. Sturgeon Bay
Thanks to a stunning setting, a great line up of year-round events (the Fire & Ice celebration, Maritime on Madison weekend festival, and Harmony by the Bay concert series being just a few to mention), a close knit, friendly community, affordable property, and outstanding schools, Sturgeon Bay comes in at very respectable #15.
With a population of just 1,305, Nashotah offers residents the chance to experience peaceful, small town living within just a short drive away from the job opportunities, nightlife, and amenities of Milwaukee. “I have lived in Nashotah since I was two years old. I consider this community my home and I wouldn't trade it for the world! Nashotah runs deep in my veins and will forever hold a place in my heart,’ says one resident on Niche, while another enthuses “Located in Waukesha County Lake Country outdoor recreation options are abundant and nearby, with several lakes in the area and a large County park with hiking, X-country skiing, picnic areas and two dog parks. The public-school system is outstanding.”
13. Shorewood Hills
Wandering why Shorewood Hills makes it to #13 on our round up? Then check out the strong local job market, the considerable median household income of $125,000, the excellent school and healthcare system, the low crime, unemployment, and poverty rates, the plethora of local amenities and events, and the close knit, welcoming community of 2105 residents. If you need anymore convincing of its desirability, then the median home value of $627,300 should be enough.
The town of Middleton offers an abundance of recreational pursuits, with plenty of green areas and access to some great hiking spots and bike trails. The attractions don’t end there- the streets are safe, clean, and relatively crime free, while the school system is one of the best around (Middleton High School, Memorial Hight school, Sunset Ridge Elementary School, Northside Elementary School, and Kromrey Middle School all score top marks). The job market is strong enough to support a median income of $70,105, while the desirability of the area is high enough to allow residents to attach a $309,900 price tag to their properties. All in all, a very solid all-rounder.
11. Historic Third Ward
Historic Third Ward is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Milwaukee for millennials- for good reason. The crime rate is exceptionally low, as is the average property price (you can expect to get a very decent home for just $270,500, making it a great place for young professionals to get their foot on the property ladder). The median household income is a very respectable $89,737, while the nightlife is excellent, combining classy bars with first class restaurants. Throw in a great range of shops, cafes, and recreational outlets, and you can understand why Historic Third Ward makes a very deserving entry at #11 on our roundup.
10. Juneau Town
Just $230,449 will get you a very decent property in the Juneau Town neighborhood of Milwaukee – a more than reasonable price for the privilege of living in such a highly desirable area. Thanks to the easy access is offers to the job market in Milwaukee, most residents are netting median incomes of $75,154, making it an exceptionally attractive proposition to millennials. Crime is low, the streets are walkable, and there’s an abundance of shopping, nightlife, and big city attractions on the doorstep… which may just explain why Niche has ranked it #1 in Best Neighborhoods to Live in Milwaukee.
9. Fox Point
If you want family-friendly, you’ll not go far wrong with the exceptionally hospitable little community of Fox Point. Median home value is about average for this part of Wisconsin (expect to part with around $316,600 for a decently sized family home), but that’s about the only thing you’d call average. The crime rate is phenomenally low, the median household income of $118,281 is fantastically high, while the school system is stellar. Amenities, shops, restaurants, and cafes are bountiful, while the stunning location by Lake Michigan is superb.
If you want to join the 11,499 residents that already call the peaceful town of Cedarburg home, then you’re in luck. A decently sized family home can be had for the very affordable price of just $281,500 (rent, meanwhile, comes in way below the national average at just $822). If you’re wondering what the catch is, then simply put, there isn’t one. The median income of $82,198 is more than healthy, the streets are safe and walkable, there are lots of parks and green spaces to enjoy, the school system is one of the best around, the community is safe and welcoming, and its close enough to Milwaukee and Lake Michigan for convenience, but far enough away to enjoy its own unique identity.
The cost of the average property in Mequon may come in at a substantial $374,300, but the list of benefits of living in the town far outweigh the price of moving in. The 23,787 residents enjoy an exceptionally low crime rate, access to a healthy job market (one so healthy, in fact, that most households enjoy a median income of almost twice the national average at $109,488 ), a great public school system, a full-on schedule of family-focused local events, a strong community spirit, and all the amenities, recreational facilities, leisure centers, and services you expect of a place that’s managed to secure an A+ on Niche along with the status of # 1 Best Place to Live in Ozaukee County.
With its idyllical lakeside location, Shorewood is unquestionably one of the most scenic villages in Wisconsin to live. With easy access to the thrills and spills of Milwaukee to the south and the stunning beaches of Whitefish Bay to the north, Shorewood gives its residents the chance to combine peaceful living in a close-knit, welcoming community with the convenience of city life. The safe, walkable streets are a huge boon to families, while the easy commuting access to the jobs and nightlife of America’s fifth-biggest metropolis makes it equally attractive to young professionals. If you’re keen on moving in, you can expect to part with around $330,800 for a property to buy, or $948 for a rental.
If you want to live somewhere that offers easy access to the largest city in Wisconsin, affordable housing, a low crime rate, a job market that supports a median household income of $101,761, a bountiful display of local facilities and businesses, some great restaurants, cafes, stores, theatres, parks and more besides, you may want to cast your eye in the direction of Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee that, at the last count, was home to 37943 very happy residents.
The police are doing a great job of keeping the streets of Bayside safe: last year, there were zero reports of violent crime. The property crime rate may be slightly higher, but it’s still in the minor league when compared to the national average. A full schedule of events and an abundance of recreational facilities and amenities is enough to make sure no one gets bored, while the excellent local schools, high median income of $99,125, stable local economy, and good job opportunities more than justify the rather steep median home value of $341,200.
The small town of Kohler may only have 2,236 residents to its name, but it’s pulling out all the stops in making them proud to call it home. The schools serving the district are all top-rated, while its recreational amenities, churches, community events, restaurants, and shopping are all befitting of a much larger town. The safe streets, low rate of unemployment and poverty, affordable housing, and high standard of living combine to make a hugely attractive destination for families.
2. Whitefish Bay
Occupying a stunning lakeside location, there’s no question Whitefish Bay is blessed with beautiful surrounds. It’s also got some great schools, a booming job market, an affluent population (the median income is a healthy $111,069), safe, tree-lined streets, an abundance of outdoor recreational facilities, some unique stores, cafes, and restaurants, and a packed schedule of community events. Prepare to spend around $365,500 on a property to buy, or $1238 on a property to rent.
Finally, we come to the #1 best place to live in Wisconsin, Elm Grove. The small superb of Milwaukee is home to 6127 residents, all of whom enjoy access to some of the best schools in the state, a crime rate that’s barely worth a mention, a median income that stands at a very robust $113,750, a generous, welcoming community, numerous green spaces and parks, and a plethora of shops, cafes, and amenities. A single-family home may cost you around $360,800, but it’s a price few would quibble over for the privilege of living in such a desirable place.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn