So it’s no surprise that in 1997 Money magazine declared Madison to be the “Best Place to Live in America”. This was followed up by a parade of other media, and perhaps why the city has had an enormous growth rate since the turn of the millennium, kept from light-speed only by our, um, interesting winters.
Yours truly is a typical Madisonian: came for college and never wanted to leave. Famed for its edge-dwelling radical political brouhahas of the 1960s (now much tamer), the University of Wisconsin and its inevitable mish-mash of world-renowned research and college-age looniness was a major attraction for this impressionable student, as it is for those who refuse to grow up—which is a large share of the population here. And since half of the world seems to want to study here here, it’s kind of like being abroad at home.
Even a few years spent abroad post-graduation were spent thinking about the Mad City, or looking on streets of Asia for someone wearing a Bucky Badger T-shirt. Travel writing takes me overseas regularly, but the old truism that traveling allows one to better appreciate home certainly holds here. Madison ain’t heaven, but I certainly haven’t found a better place to live.