While big cities like Madison offer culture, cuisine, and charisma, they also deliver terrible traffic, towering expenses, and a taxing quality of life.
With that in mind, we wanted to uncover the best suburbs around Madison. These burbs have all of the benefits of being near Madison without actually having to be in the city.
Of course, not all suburbs of Madison are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. Using Saturday Night Science, we delve into the factors that matter most, from commutes and housing costs to community vibes, to help you uncover the perfect suburban spots in the Greater Madison area.
What’s the best suburb of Madison? Cross Plains ranks as the best suburb of Madison for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Cross Plains, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.
We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Madison ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.
Feel free to check out some more reading about Wisconsin:
The 10 Best Madison Suburbs To Live For 2023
Cross Plains is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Madison area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Cross Plains.”
Everyone here is rich; families average $87,841 a year, which is the 7th highest in the Madison region. And only 0.34% are out of work. Homes average more than $283,100 each.
Mount Horeb is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Madison for 2023.
It ranks 9th for incomes in the area and only 1.73% of residents lack insurance, good for 6th best.
Here in Waunakee, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Madison metro area.
The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.
But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Waunakee.
Shorewood Hills ranks as the 4th best suburb of Madison for 2023.
You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Shorewood Hills and the schools are some of the best around.
Coming in as the fifth best is Cottage Grove.
Cottage Grove gets kudos for having the 5th most expensive homes in the Madison area, where houses sell for an average of $327,100. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.
Oregon is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.
Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 1.28% which is 5th best in the area.
According to online reports, Oregon is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Madison area, meaning you need to get in soon.
The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Verona.
Verona schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.
And, it’s only 8.8 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.
McFarland is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.
A solid 1.24% of people lack insurance, good for 3rd in the area.
Is ‘Everything Better In Sun Prairie?’
It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.
And rounding out the top ten for 2023 is Evansville.
This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.
Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Madison for 2023
Figuring out the best suburbs around Madison was simple. We used Saturday Night Science to find things people like about living in the suburbs and then locate the suburbs with those things.
We analyzed the newest American Community Survey data for 2017-2021 to research each suburb. We decided upon the following criteria:
- Low unemployment rate
- High median household incomes
- Population density (lots of things to do)
- High home values
- A lot of college-educated people
- Low poverty
- High rate of insured families
We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Madison.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Madison.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 in each category, where 1 was the “best.
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality-of-life index.
Finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index, the “Best Suburb near Madison.” We’re lookin’ at you, Cross Plains.
This result may differ from our state-wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a more extensive selection of suburbs.
We updated the data for 2023. This report is our tenth time ranking the best Madison suburbs. Skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.
Summary: Welcome to the Best Madison ‘Burbs of 2023
We said it once, and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.
So if you’re craving the amenities of a larger city like Madison but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might be for you.
For more Wisconsin reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Madison Suburbs
|1||Cross Plains, WI||4,070|
|2||Mount Horeb, WI||7,727|
|4||Shorewood Hills, WI||2,015|
|5||Cottage Grove, WI||7,255|
|9||Sun Prairie, WI||35,528|
|14||Prairie Du Sac, WI||4,380|
|21||Lake Mills, WI||6,194|
|22||New Glarus, WI||2,211|