Ever been to Wisconsin? The land of cheeseheads, dairy farms, and rolling green hills. With its picturesque countryside, quaint small towns, and bustling cities, Wisconsin offers a unique blend of Midwest charm and urban sophistication for its visitors and residents.
We wanted to know what exactly lies behind the common conceptions of this wonderful state and share our findings with our beloved readers – you!
So, guess what? We decided to reach out to a local who was willing to share his local living experience with us.
Meet Mark Stoneman, a long-time resident of Door County, Wisconsin.
Editor’s Note: Welcome to this ongoing series of articles featuring interviews of locals from various cities across the United States. Our goal is to provide readers with unique insights about local living, drawn from personal experiences of individuals on the ground.
If you do have any questions or inquiries related to a particular city or state, we encourage you to send them over, which we will use to improve and refine our questionnaires for a more helpful output. Submit them here here
Before heading over to our insights from Mark, here are some key takeaways:
What Would a Typical Life in Wisconsin Be Like? – Things at a Glance
- Wisconsin reigns as the top cheese-producing state in the US, boasting over 600 varieties of cheese, including the renowned cheddar and Colby.
- Brewing beer is a serious business in Wisconsin, with a rich history and more than 150 breweries producing some of the country’s finest craft beer.
- Though winters may be chilly and snowy, Wisconsin’s summers are stunning and warm, offering a plethora of outdoor activities and plenty of sunshine.
- Outdoor enthusiasts will revel in Wisconsin’s abundant opportunities for recreation, with over 15,000 lakes, parks, and forests for boating, fishing, hiking, and skiing.
- Sports aficionados will find themselves at home in Wisconsin, where a thriving sports scene includes professional teams such as the Packers, Brewers, and Badgers.
- Wisconsin’s Midwest hospitality is legendary, with a warm and welcoming populace always up for a good time.
- Living in Wisconsin is affordable compared to other regions in the US, making it an attractive place to call home.
- Wisconsin’s rich history and diverse population have resulted in a vibrant culture, with museums, festivals, and events celebrating everything from German heritage to Native American traditions.
Top Wisconsin Cities by Population
Here’s all you need to know about Wisconsin from a local’s perspective.
What are the Pros of living in Wisconsin?
One of the things I love about Wisconsin is its natural beauty, which is largely attributed to its many lakes and waterways.
The state lies along two of the Great Lakes of North America, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, as well as thousands of smaller lakes and beautiful waterways such as the Eagle River system.
Personally, I enjoy Wisconsin’s seasons, including winter, which is one of my favourite times of the year due to the snow and winter sports. Summers are also glorious, with warm but not too hot temperatures.
Good People and Strong Work Ethics
I appreciate the strong family-oriented culture and reputation for hardworking people in Wisconsin.
Good Home Craftsmanship
One of the things I admire about Wisconsin is the level of craftsmanship in home construction, which is beyond anything I’ve seen elsewhere.
This is due in part to the state’s strong technical education programs in schools and long winters, which provide both the desire and ability to construct excellent homes.
Green Bay Packers
Wisconsin’s beloved NFL team, the Green Bay Packers, is a significant part of the state’s culture that I have fully joined since living here.
Despite not understanding the obsession before, I have come to appreciate the fandom that surrounds the team.
What are the Cons of living in Wisconsin?
As someone who loves winter, March and April can be a bit of a challenge in Wisconsin when the snow is gone, but the leaves have yet to come out.
Standoffish to Newcomers
I’ve noticed that people in rural areas of Wisconsin can be somewhat standoffish to newcomers. While I appreciate the beauty of their strong family-oriented culture, it can be challenging to develop friendships because people’s social lives are tied up in their families.
This doesn’t mean that people are intentionally rude, but there isn’t much room in their lives outside of their extended families.
How do the Seasons affect daily life in Wisconsin?
This depends on where you live, especially since living along the shore of the Great Lakes (as I do) can make the climate a little different. However, this is how I tend to experience the seasons:
To me, Wisconsin doesn’t have much of a spring compared to other U.S. states where I have lived. When I lived in Kentucky, for example, the springs were beautiful. In Wisconsin, I feel that the winter can linger far into what many people would consider spring.
Where I live, we can have snow even in May. I find that winter gives way pretty quickly to summer. The average high in May where I live is 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 45 degrees Fahrenheit. But those are just averages.
Summers are glorious in Wisconsin. The days are warm but not too hot. If the day does get a little hot, it typically cools down nicely in the late afternoon. The trees are in full leaf, and the flowers are in bloom. The agricultural fields are full of crops, and many people keep gardens over the summer months.
Given Wisconsin’s many lakes and waterways, this is an excellent time to enjoy them, whether you like to fish, swim, or boat. Because of the nice summer weather and water, Wisconsin is one of the most popular places to vacation in the summer.
People come from the other side of the country to visit here. An average high in July is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the fall, the temperatures begin to drop again. Despite this, many people look forward to the fall for several reasons. First, the fall is when the leaves on the trees turn colours, making for a beautiful sight that people even travel to Wisconsin to see.
Second, the fall is when the hunting season starts. Deer hunting in Wisconsin is a very important thing for many people, and many families provide a large amount of their yearly meat through deer hunting. It’s a way for people to connect with nature and with their friends and family.
Some areas of Wisconsin will see snow already in the fall. People also get excited about the fall because this is when the National Football League starts and the Green Bay Packers get to play.
An average high in October is 56 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 43 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many people complain about Wisconsin winters, but I love them. I love the snow, ice, and winter sports. Wisconsin is one of the colder and snowier states in the lower 48, which can make transportation difficult sometimes, but the road crews are typically very good at clearing the roads quickly and well.
While many people complain about Wisconsin winters, others really love them. One reason is the many snow and ice sports people enjoy, such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Winter can get tricky in the later months when the snow is gone, but the leaves aren’t out yet on the trees. An average high in January is 26 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cost of Living in Wisconsin
The average cost of living in Wisconsin is 4% lower than the United States average.
While housing and food costs are typically lower in Wisconsin compared to other places, heating costs and long commutes for many people in Wisconsin mean you end up paying more for utilities and transportation.
Cost breakdown of Essentials and Utilities:
Loaf of bread: $2.50
1 dozen eggs: $1.00
A gallon of milk: $3.50
A pound of Potatoes: $0.60
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: $2.00/pound
Head of lettuce: $2.00
Average household utility bill (natural gas, propane, heating oil, electricity, water): $142/month
Cable TV/Internet: $80/month
The cost of living tends to be highest in urban centres like Milwaukee and Madison and lowest in rural areas of the state.
Wisconsin has a higher tax burden than most states. It is number 32 out of the 50 U.S. states for tax burden. This means that 31 states have fewer local and state taxes and only 18 states have more local and state taxes.
My Opinion about Healthcare in Wisconsin
Wisconsin generally has good healthcare with many excellent hospitals and clinics. However, obtaining healthcare can be more challenging in rural parts of the state, particularly in the North Woods. Telehealth solutions have become an increasingly vital part of healthcare in such areas.[I’m going to refrain from elaborating on expenses because this is an extremely complicated matter in the United States of America. It’s all connected to health insurance policies, and costs for health insurance policies are widely variable on almost innumerable factors.]
About Housing in Wisconsin
Housing is one of the best aspects of living in Wisconsin. The average cost of housing in the state is around 30% lower than the national average, and in my experience, the quality of housing is much higher than in many other parts of the country.
The typical monthly rent for a two-bedroom dwelling in Wisconsin is approximately $800.
The typical cost for a single-family house in Wisconsin is $237,000, which is more than $70,000 less than the national average for a single-family home in the United States.
Let’s talk about Transportation in Wisconsin
Most Wisconsin residents will want and even need a private vehicle since many smaller cities and rural communities do not have adequate public transportation, although most larger cities have public bus services.
National and regional bus lines connect many, but not all, communities in Wisconsin.
While Milwaukee is the major air travel hub, mid-size cities like Green Bay, Appleton, and Madison have smaller regional airports.
Regular and dependable rail service runs between Milwaukee and Chicago, IL, making it the best way to travel between Wisconsin and downtown Chicago.
What’s the Job Market in Wisconsin like?
Wisconsin has low unemployment and high labour force participation rates. However, the state’s job growth rate is low.
The major industries in Wisconsin are agriculture and manufacturing, but both have experienced job reductions due to automation and the relocation of manufacturing jobs to other countries.
Recreation is another significant industry in Wisconsin and remains a strong sector for employment opportunities.
Thanks to the state’s strong labour movement history, many jobs in Wisconsin offer decent pay and benefits.
Food Scene in Wisconsin including must-try dishes!
Much of the food in Wisconsin is comparatively plain but of high quality, particularly the meat and cheese.
Wisconsin has many excellent butchers and meat processors. Due to the state’s history of immigration from central Europe, the meat products, such as sausage, are of exceptional quality, surpassing that of most other places. Wisconsin is famous for its bratwursts, but there are also many other types of sausages to try.
Wisconsin is known as the Cheese State, with many local and regional cheese makers who have honed their craft over generations.
Brewing has been an important part of Wisconsin life since the beginning. Spotted Cow beer, a favourite of many in the state, is only available in Wisconsin. However, there are many other excellent breweries in the state.
Wisconsin is renowned for its “Supper Clubs” which are locally owned destination restaurants where patrons are encouraged to linger for hours over the evening.
Friday night fish fries are very popular in Wisconsin, with many restaurants offering all-you-can-eat fish fry specials.
In addition, Wisconsin’s many Hmong immigrants have introduced a variety of Asian foods and flavours into the state.
The urban centres of Madison and Milwaukee offer much more restaurant variety, much like any other urban location in the United States.
Best Places to visit in Wisconsin
- Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field is a unique experience for those football thrill seekers.
- The Door County lighthouses are picturesque beacons that guide ships through the waters of Lake Michigan. The views of the surrounding landscape are stunning.
- Hitting the beach on Lake Michigan is a great way to soak up the sun and enjoy the natural beauty of Wisconsin’s great outdoors.
- Wisconsin Dells’ waterparks are a thrilling and refreshing way to beat the summer heat and create unforgettable memories with family and friends.
- The University of Wisconsin Badgers football or basketball games bring out a whole different fun. Students, alumni, and fans from all over the state with their passion for the game come to cheer.
- The Milwaukee Bucks basketball game at the Fiserv Forum is a high-energy event that showcases the skill and talent of some of the best players in the NBA.
- Devils Lake State Park is a stunning natural wonder that offers breathtaking views and challenging hikes.
- The Wisconsin State Fair is a celebration of the state’s agricultural heritage and a showcase for the best food, music, and entertainment that Wisconsin has to offer.
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses are architectural masterpieces showcasing organic design. It inspires visitors from all over the world.
Wisconsin’s History and Culture
The love for the Green Bay Packers is real, and the stereotype holds true.
While hunting may be unfamiliar or distasteful to some, it is an important way of life for many people in Wisconsin.
Many Wisconsinites take pride in their ethnic heritage, whether it be German, Irish, Norwegian, Hmong, or any of the other ethnicities that have made Wisconsin their home.
Early rising and starting work as early as 6:00 a.m. is a common practice in Wisconsin. Consequently, many people also go to bed early.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of alcohol abuse in the United States. Avoid falling into this habit, and be cautious while driving.
Common Misconceptions about Wisconsin
Some people say that the winters in Wisconsin are terrible. However, the reality is that winter can be a delightful season if you make the most of it and appreciate what it has to offer.
It has the potential to be your favourite time of the year if you embrace it.
Advice for Someone Moving to Wisconsin
- If having good internet is important to you, make sure that the home you are moving into has reliable and fast internet available. Many parts of the state have comparatively poor internet service.
- Winter can be an enjoyable season with proper gear. Don’t skimp on coats, boots, and gloves. Waterproofing is just as important as insulation to stay warm and comfortable during Wisconsin’s snowy and cold winters.