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Where to Settle: The Top Neighborhoods in Madison, WI

Are you thinking of moving to Madison, Wisconsin?

No question, the capital city of Wisconsin is home to some of the richest arts & music venues, great museums, and fun festivals. Much more than a college town, Madison offers one of the best opportunities for a growing family and young professionals with promising careers.

In all of west Milwaukee, you can find some of the best neighborhoods in Madison, WI — having easy public transport systems, affordable housing, and fun outdoor amenities.

Regardless of age group or reason for relocating to the old city, there’s a neighborhood fit for you. Let’s help you explore all the best neighborhoods in Madison and narrow down your search into the top five.

Quick Overview

  • Wexford | Safest Neighborhood
  • Westmorland | Most Family-Friendly Neighborhood
  • Vilas | Best Neighborhood for Young Adults and Students
  • Willy Street/Marquette | Historically Rich Neighborhood
  • Maple-Prairie | Most Affordable Neighborhood 
  1. Wexford

The Wexford village, as it’s commonly called, is known for being one of the safest neighborhoods in Madison, WI. Located between the Beltline on the west of Madison and Gammon Road, the city is a hotspot for breeding young careers and families.

Due to its close proximity to local restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, and fun parks, housing in the village gets taken quickly. Coming over to Wexford, you should expect to find housing prices to be 48% higher than in other neighborhoods in Madison.

The balancing factor about its priced real estate is the higher income rate of 49% when compared to other neighborhoods. A plus for anyone looking for a job in Wexford is its staggering low unemployment rate of 0.7%.

If you’re a family with kids, you will find the network of walking paths a fun way to bond. The residents enjoy frequent short walks to and fro the various parks, Tiedeman Pond, and High Point pool.

Many new residents might find moving a bit tedious, especially those making a long-distance move. With the help of services like StraightLine Moving Inc. in Madison, anyone struggling to transition into the village will find it easier.

Population: 13,207

Crime rate: Very Low

Average Home Rent: $1,321

Average Home Sale Price: $420,600

Known For: Amazing parks, great museums, sporting Events.

  1. Westmorland

Still on the west side of Madison comes another safe and relatively affordable neighborhood—it depends on who’s asking. Westmorland offers a lot of green scenery for nature lovers with its 12-acre landscape space.

Westmorland is probably the most bikeable neighborhood in all of Madison, WI. It has several bike trails cutting across the campus, local parks, and downtown, making transportation even better with its already easy public transit.

Known for its perfect blend of modern and classic styles, new residents or tourists will find historic-style ranch homes around the town. Being a modern-friendly neighborhood, Westmorland caters dearly to young adults looking to start a wonderful family.

The average home sales value is a little higher than other parts of Madison, with an almost 50% difference. Luckily, unlike most other neighborhoods, Westmorland offers you various housing architectures, ranging from colonial-style to Cape Cod-style designs.

With a low crime rate and great schools like Van Hise Elementary School for the kids, Westmorland might be the best place to raise a family in Madison.

Population: 48,498

Crime rate: Low

Average Home Rent: $1,585

Average Home Sale Price: $485,700

Known For: Linking bike trails, historic architecture, Green space.

  1. Vilas

Bordering the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College, Vilas is another top neighborhood for any settling in Madison. The area is filled with rich historic culture, having the oldest park in all of Madison, Henry Park.

With the University nearby, Vilas is home to many young professionals looking to start their careers or finish up a degree. Although right in the heart of campus, the neighborhood gives an oasis amidst the chaos of college life.

Being a town of highly intellectual and academic residents, anyone living here has the opportunity of networking with experts in various fields and making life-long connections. 

Everything in this place is either walkable or bikeable. If you ever want to get out of the serenity, the bustling Monroe Street is within walking distance where you get to enjoy all the fun and entertainment.

Housing in Vilas is mainly on the renter side, which makes the neighborhood a prime real estate investment target. Low crime rates and lower unemployment status rock this neighborhood for prospective careers.

Population: 48,498

Crime rate: Low

Average Home Rent: $1,469

Average Home Sale Price: $605,000

Known For: Oldest park in Madison, Henry Park.

  1. Willy Street/Marquette

Crossing over to the east side of Madison lies one of the most popular and oldest neighborhoods, the Marquette Neighborhood. Located between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota, the 1800s neighborhood finds itself as the center for a historical and artistic feel.

Also known as Will Street or Wil-Mar, Marquette has a proud mix of heritage, tasty restaurants, bars, and local shops nearby. 

Most of the homes and buildings date back two centuries, but there are a growing number of modern-style housing near the waterfront on Lake Monona. House valuation can be averagely affordable by growing families and young professionals starting a career.

Residents of this area are privileged to enjoy dozens of festivities in the neighborhood. Besides the popular Madison music festival, other annual events include the Waterfront and Orton Park festivals. There are little or no dull moments here, as members of the community actively try to be social and showcase a vibrant lifestyle.

Compared to other neighborhoods such as Vilas, Marquette rarely has abundant college students flooding in to live. Still, the historic buildings tend to bring tourist attractions occasionally.

For anyone planning a stay here, visiting popular landmarks like Rutledge and Williamson Street will place you in a nostalgic atmosphere.

Population: 11,718

Crime rate: Medium/Low

Average Home Rent: $1,800

Average Home Sale Price: $483,500

Known For: Historic buildings and heritage, Calendar of events Madison, WI. 

  1. Maple-Prairie

Sitting north of Fitchburg and Verona lies one of the most affordable Madison suburbs. Maple-Prairie is made up of the combination of parts of Maple Grove and the Prairie.

On average, the residents of this neighborhood are family folks. Any new family looking to start somewhere safe and provide the perfect education for their kids, this area has some of the best public schools in Madison, WI.

Housing in this part of Madison can be relatively cheap, with sales prices ranging from $362,500 to $421,900. Plus, unemployment is low in this neighborhood, as almost everyone has some form of job to maintain the average lifestyle expenses here.

Maple-Prairie can be a quiet neighborhood most times. But if you ever want to get a little bit of activity now and then, the famous Maple Prairie Park welcomes you. It has playgrounds and dog-friendly zones to lighten the mood for you or your kids.

Population: 32,933

Crime rate: Low

Average Home Rent: $1,400

Average Home Sale Price: $392,200

Known For: Maple Prairie Park, best schools in Madison.

Key Takeaway

Is Madison a good place to live? Of course it is!

Not only will you get to live in a place that allows you to thrive in your career, you also get a perfect mix of bustling college life, Madison downtown events, and quiet time.

The summary of the housing units in Wisconsin’s capital city is simple: lively, communal, safe, heritage-rich, and family-friendly.

Now is the perfect time to get yourself into one of the best neighborhoods in Madison, WI before real estate valuation begins to climb again. 

Stay safe and happy living.

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