What is Madison like - for someone from the UK to live? (Monroe: best cities)
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What is Madison like - for someone from the UK to live?
I'm new to this forum. I always got great info from this site when I did Google searches so thought id post a message myself.
I'm on the look out for a city to spend the rest of my life in and so is my partner, which is of course a big commitment. I have lived in 5 countries so I've seen a lot of cities but I'm still not decided on where to settle. My partner loves America but I'm perhaps not in the same boat always looking at Canada.
I narrowed my search down, from statistics and collated lists of the best cities in the US etc, and came up with 3;
I also have 3 for Canada (irrelevant here I know);
And two for the UK (I have actually visited and lived in a lot of cities in the UK);
Edinburgh - my home town
Can someone give me their feedback on what Madison is like?
The one thing that puts me off is there are a couple of rough (from what I have read) cities near by, which means over time it could spread into Madison.
Just to give you a heads up these are the things that concern me and my partner and what we like:
- First of we are both in our late 20s / early 30s
- Great areas to go on scenic drives; we both love going on road trips. So there has to be plenty around.
- Nice comfortable cafe's where there is a great choice.
- We are not into clubbing (those days are gone) but we do like nice comfortable laid back pubs or bars as you call them in the US - preferably trendy ones. We don't like loud boisterous ones. Edinburgh for example has a great choice of bars to suit all tastes.
- Low crime rate. Anything that has high crime rates or unsafe cities are coming straight off the list .Unlike in the UK we do not have the same gang culture as you in the US so the least amount of gang activity the better - just the bad press you get over here about your gang culture is very off putting.
- Friendly cities. We love friendly people and hate for example arrogant rude cultures. Us in Scotland are generally friendly so I'm used to that.
- Shopping. My partner loves to shop so if there is no proper downtown full of shops that will disappoint her.
- Downtown. There has to be a good downtown area. In the UK every city has a good downtown, or as we call it city centre, so that is what we are used to. We do understand it will be different somewhat.
- Good amenities
- Good health care and hospital(s), GPs etc,
- Nice architecture and pretty city. Now I know nothing will compete with Edinburgh or York in the US or come close. But there is no way I would live in an industrial city.
Well that's a lot but it is going to be the next chapter in our life's.
Madison is not a bad place to live. It is safe for most part. Schools are great and so is health care. Unemployment rates low but property taxes are very high....way high. Not sure what rough close by cities you are talking about but one might be milwuakee perhaps . Milwuakee is better than most bigger cities even though it has been named 6th biggest crime city in the USA, however milwuakee suburbs are great places to live...very expensive places to live indeed. I have lived here in madison for 27 years and had relitives who lived in milwaukee area for years so what you read here is written by someone who spend most of his life here however I am planning to move out of madison due to bad weather in very near future. Winters here are very ugly and long and it gets old after while. I don't really like madison personally but it is overall a great and comfortable community to live in and work if cold weathers don't bother you guys.
I don't think most US cities would be what you are looking for in general, they will all be lacking except the biggest ones. Try New Zealand, Aistralia or Canada...or a major city that is established....
So you're looking for a city to spend the rest of your life with your partner. How about one where you or your partner can find a job in? It's pointless to live in what you envision as the "perfect" city if you don't even have a job there! How about you apply to jobs in various places and based on the offers you receive, you choose from the options you have available.
And you fail to realize that the US is a HUGE country compared to the UK. The state of Texas is nearly 3 times bigger than the UK. Your stereotypes and "gang culture" comments are not valid in the ENTIRE US. I used to live in South Dakota which is a fairly rural state which had no "gang culture" (unless the cattle have recently formed gangs). I believe there are more cattle than people in that state. The rest of the world seems to forget how big the US really is and how diverse it is. Major cities have SOME areas of the city which are "ghetto" and have gang problems. I also lived in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. Detroit has a lot of crime. I, however, lived in a suburb 40 minutes away and was never exposed to crime while I lived there.
Yeah, Madison can be difficult to break into for a job if you aren't in government employment or something to do with the university. I finally left out of a combination of unemployment, boredom, and irritation at the people in the community. It is a pretty city, but I never felt comfortable there.
I notice a lot of your cities are in cold areas. I don't know how cold and snowy Edinburgh gets but Boise would probably be the least snowiest on your list. Are you used to snow and shoveling quite a bit in the winter?
Madison is a lovely midsized city. It is quite artsy and creative with a nice mix of people across the socio-economic spectrum. Your Rhodes Scholar and your average Joe live harmoniously (for the most part) side by side. The main part of the city is not all that diverse ethnically, but the University compensates for that in a lot of ways via its diverse student population.
It is picturesque, but not in the same way European cities are. I doubt there are may buildings over 220 years or so. The surrounding area is breathtakingly beautiful in areas. A lot of undeveloped parkland.
People are very "into" politics here and the predominant leaning is very left of center. Although I am fairly liberal, I get a little bored with the apparent competition to prove just how far to the left you lean.
Overall, I'd say people are very friendly, but they don't instantly bond with strangers. People like to take some time to get to know you before revealing all of their intimate secrets. I don't think you'll have a problem coming from the UK as I believe your expectations for "friendly" jive with those of a typical Wisconsinite.
There are a lot of people in their 20's and 30's in Madison so you would have a good sized peer group.
There really isn't a "proper downtown" unless you count the pedestrian mall called, State Street, which primarily consists of specialty/boutique shops. Otherwise, there are pockets of commercial areas on Monroe Street, Williamson Street (Willy Street) and Atwood Ave. These are nice neighborhoods because you can walk to the grocery store, the bakery, etc. After that there are several big malls.
The best shopping in the area is down in Chicago and it's suburbs - about 3 hours away. People do it all the time here, but if you are used to a short trip to major shopping areas you might feel inconvenienced.
The crime rate is low.
There are tons of cafes/restaurants that are locally owned and have great character.
I think it is a pretty city, but check out the photo thread that is stuck to the top of this forum and decide for yourself.
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