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Old 05-02-2015, 10:24 PM
 
39 posts, read 64,660 times
Reputation: 31

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Our family is considering a move to Madison for a job. After living in several U.S. cities and a couple of other countries, I have found that it's tough to get the "real" understanding of a place until you live there. I am hoping to learn from those of you who live/have lived in Madison

Forget the Money Magazine sound bytes about the 100 Best Places to Live, Raise a Family, etc... All places have their good and their dark underbelly. I'd like to hear about both so I can make an educated decision.

I'd love to hear the actual best and worst parts about Madison--specifically for families.

Thanks for your time and insight.
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:29 PM
 
Location: IN
21,216 posts, read 36,837,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailing_st_croix View Post
Our family is considering a move to Madison for a job. After living in several U.S. cities and a couple of other countries, I have found that it's tough to get the "real" understanding of a place until you live there. I am hoping to learn from those of you who live/have lived in Madison

Forget the Money Magazine sound bytes about the 100 Best Places to Live, Raise a Family, etc... All places have their good and their dark underbelly. I'd like to hear about both so I can make an educated decision.

I'd love to hear the actual best and worst parts about Madison--specifically for families.

Thanks for your time and insight.
What is your price point and what do you desire in terms of location, amenities, schools, etc? My favorite parts of Madison are the near west side and over by Middleton if price was no obstacle. Generally speaking, the east side of Madison is a bit more reasonable in price. Sun Prairie is growing fast and Verona and Waunakee are both fine places as well. Downtown is seeing continued new construction and growth in the residential and commercial spaces. Epic continues to grow but more of the younger employees choose to live in Madison instead of Verona itself.
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:50 PM
 
39 posts, read 64,660 times
Reputation: 31
Thanks. When I mentioned "parts," I was referring to elements, characteristics, etc. Not geographical areas.
I am just trying to get a feel for what people who live in Madison love about it and the things they do not.

I know all about the weather. :O)
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
141 posts, read 344,566 times
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I've only been here a few months, and know my perspective will mature with time, but I have to say that so far, Madison has only exceeded my hopes and expectations. My favorite thing about Madison is how much joy de vivre people have here, how they embrace so many passions and pastimes, including sports, the arts, the university and intellectual culture, beer, food, nature... I love the layout of the city and how accessible it is by bike, foot, and car. There's a variety of work opportunities here, from construction to tech. There are so many awesome day trips, too. People here are open and love life in a way I've never experienced before. The energy of the town isn't slow, like you'd get in a lot of small towns, where all people ever want to do is go to church and eat dinner, but it's also not too fast, like in major metros where people are driven by trends and competition and you get eaten alive if that's not your style. People here are down to earth and genuinely love what they love, not just because it's trending.

The downsides? Roads are bad, which is a product of the harsh winters. Those winters end up being the biggest downside of living here for most people. I've only lived through half of one and actually enjoyed being able to experience such a deep winter, but I figure anyone gets tired of it after going through it for many years. It's rough when your car will barely start because it's -15 base temperature. Rents are high. For the most part, I enjoy the energy and fun that the town's college population brings, but there are situations where run-ins with annoying drunken students can take away from the experience.

The recent Tony Robinson shooting has flared racial tensions and re-exposed deep racial inequality in Madison. It's clear that life in Madison for a black person comes with many causes of outrage, frustration, and fear that aren't there for white people living here. It's hard to face all this, and all the attendant anger and shame, but at the same time, I've been impressed with the heart people show, the willingness to face these issues, and the very different attitude city government and police have about these matters than just about any other place I've seen. There's a way to go, but the passionate and courageous people who are fighting for a more just city can't help but inspire hope in those who share the same dreams and ideals.
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:28 AM
 
26 posts, read 38,875 times
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The bad? Winter! That's the only real drawback in my mind. We don't get a ton of snow (compared to the "snowbelt" further east along the Great Lakes region), but its damn cold for way too long. The past two winters seems to have been especially rough just in terms of temperature, so hopefully we'll have a couple more mild years ahead of us.

Otherwise, a lot of the common drawbacks to smaller cities are present in Madison. Traveling from the Madison airport can be expensive with few direct flights. Public transport is good, but not great. There's less diversity in shopping and dining options than you'd find in a larger city. Certain industrial/commerical/professional fields might be served by one or two companies, which might put a damper on long-term career prospects.

The good? The city, quite simply, is beautiful. There's a range of educational, cultural, physical and recreational activities available at a range of price points. The city is known for being very biking-oriented. There's also a strong interest in other outdoors activities, both within Madison and the surrounding areas. Crime is low. Madison may not be a bargain for housing, but there are a lot of very affordable high quality options in the city and its suburbs. A range of urban, suburban and rural properties, all within close proximity to downtown Madison.
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:14 PM
 
4,060 posts, read 4,599,580 times
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Cons:
Housing is expensive by midwest standards
Job market is mixed
Winter can be long
Mosquitoes
Edge of tornado country
Airport has limited direct flights

Pros:
Lots to do indoors/outdoors
Beautiful area
Schools generally very good
About 3 hours to Chicago depending on traffic for some of the greatest museums in the country
Dining is pretty good for the size
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
2,178 posts, read 1,715,094 times
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Did anyone mentioned the smell from the lakes in summer?
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:42 PM
 
2,919 posts, read 8,984,731 times
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When I think of the worst of Madison, this Star Trek quote comes to mind...and after you live here a while, you will understand why:

Quote:
You are erratic, conflicted, disorganized. Every decision is debated, every action questioned. Every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony, cohesion, greatness. It will be your undoing.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:20 PM
 
36,660 posts, read 26,501,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brrabbit View Post
Did anyone mentioned the smell from the lakes in summer?

Never noticed it.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:39 PM
 
Location: WI
3,851 posts, read 9,138,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timberline742 View Post
Never noticed it.
some years worse than others, seems to highly depend on the blue/green algae blooms, direction of the wind if any, and even water levels. Heck i can remember a couple summers we hardly put our boat in Mendota due to a combination of algae warnings plus no-wake zones.
Those were the times we'd head to Lake Wisconsin, etc to get into some water with flowage to keep it a bit cleaner
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