Moving to Wisconsin

While folks normally recognize Wisconsin for its tasty cheese, farmland, the Green Bay Packers, and That ‘70s Show. But did you know that that’s only a small slice of what the north-central state is all about?

Like its Midwestern neighbors, Wisconsin is part of America’s heartland. Along with affordable living (especially its cheap rent), gorgeous natural resources (with shores on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan), awesome cities (like Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay), and down-to-earth folks (ya betcha!), it’s clear to see why the state is the celebrated treasure of the Midwest.

Considering a move to Wisconsin? Great Guys Long Distance Movers wants to help you weigh the pros and cons of moving to the Dairy State. This guide covers the following topics:

  1. Things to Consider Before Moving to WI
  2. Top Places to Live in the Northern State
  3. Helpful Interstate Moving Checklist
  4. Great Guys Quality Moving Services
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Living in Wisconsin: What to Know Before Moving to Wisconsin

Mulling over a move to the Badger State? If so, check out these handy facts on the 23rd largest state (65,498 square miles in total area) and the 20th most populous state (5.81 million) in America.

Pros and Cons of Living in Wisconsin

Pros: 

  • Cost of living: With a cost of living index of about 97 (compared to the national average of 100), Wisconsin lets you stretch your hard-earned dollar a lot further than in many other states.
  • Cheap rent: The state ranks in the Top 5 for affordable monthly rent. It is one of only ten states where renting is cheaper than buying. Purchasing a home is also pretty affordable.
  • Recreational activities: From snow sports and whitewater rafting to boating and fishing for steelhead on the Great Lakes, the state is famous for its year-round outdoor recreation. 
  • Four seasons: Folks who appreciate the changing of the seasons will love what Wisconsin has to offer. All four seasons – spring, summer, fall, and winter – are on beautiful display here.
  • Parks all over the place: Enjoy hiking, camping, and the like? You won’t be wanting with the 47 state parks (including Newport State Park, Devil’s Lake State Park, and High Cliff State Park).
  • Tons of festivals: With Milwaukee dubbed the ‘City of Festivals,’ you can betcha that there will be a festival that suits your particular tastes – food, music, art, culture, the list goes on. 
  • Cheese, brewskis & brats: The Dairy State has a trio of popular offerings: cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, etc.) and craft beer (e.g., New Glarus’ Spotted Cow and Belgian Red), and bratwurst.

Cons:

  • Higher taxes: According to 2019 Tax Rates by State by WalletHub, Wisconsin is ranked #45 overall in the country. The state also has one of the highest property tax rates in America.
  • Extreme temperatures: This goes both ways. In summer, particularly in the southern part of the state, temps can hover in the 90s. In winter, the average low is about 7°F with a bunch of snow.
  • Moo smell: As the main producer of dairy in the United States, all that production comes with one stinky problem: manure. This unpleasant byproduct is more of an issue in rural areas, but it bears mentioning.
  • Overweight issues: Wisconsinites tend to on the heavier side. A high rate of obesity can be chalked up to diet (cheese, brew, brats, etc.) and the sedentary nature of cold winter living.
  • Pesky bugs: From beetles and mosquitoes to gnats and boxelder bugs, there’s no escaping a wide variety of pests. Make sure to pack a bottle or two of bug spray before moving here.
  • Wacky laws: Wisconsin has its fair share of weird statutes. For example, it’s against the law to make cheese that’s not “highly pleasing.” Also, worrying about squirrels is illegal in La Crosse. 

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: 1.94%. The effective real-estate tax rate is #47 lowest in the nation.
  • Sales Tax: Wisconsin’s base state sales tax: 5%. Combined with local taxes: 5–5.6%.
  • Income Tax: 4–7.65%. The state has a progressive income tax code with four brackets.

Housing Market

To Rent or Buy? Overall, it is a better option to rent rather than buy in Wisconsin. It is ranked #5 among only ten states that are more affordable to rent than buy in 2019, according to ApartmentGuide. Milwaukee, for example, is a great WI city that offers surprisingly low overall cost of living.

  • Median Home Value: $191,600
  • Median Rental Expense: $683 (1BR), $867 (2BR)

Cheapest Places to Live in Wisconsin:

  1. Merrill
  2. Rothschild
  3. Kronenwetter
  4. Waupun
  5. Waupaca
  6. Ripon
  7. Sparta
  8. Neenah
  9. Little Chute
  10. Shawano

Cost of Living

According to the Cost of Living in Wisconsin by BestPlaces, Wisconsin has a cost of living index of 97.8. This index is higher than the national average of 100.

Utilizing the Family Budget Calculator, we can compare the average monthly expenses in three Wisconsin cities. Let’s use a family of four for these examples (2 adults + 2 children). 

Green Bay Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $786
  2. Food = $716
  3. Childcare = $1,291
  4. Transportation = $1,182
  5. Healthcare = $1,226
  6. Other necessities = $606
  7. Taxes = $907
  8. Grand total = $6,715 per month or $80,582 per year

Milwaukee Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $911
  2. Food = $709
  3. Childcare = $1,381
  4. Transportation = $1,099
  5. Healthcare = $1,200
  6. Other necessities = $653
  7. Taxes = $953
  8. Grand total = $6,906 per month or $82,877 per year

Madison Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $1,091
  2. Food = $769
  3. Childcare = $1,580
  4. Transportation = $1,201
  5. Healthcare = $904
  6. Other necessities = $750
  7. Taxes = $1,062
  8. Grand total = $7,357 per month or $88,283 per year

Weather & Natural Disasters

The state of Wisconsin has a continental climate. This makes for warm summers and very cold winters.

Lying between Upper Michigan, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and two major rivers (the Mississippi and Saint Croix), the majority of the state has a humid continental climate with warm summers, while the south-southwestern region sees hotter summers. The highest recorded summer temperature is 114°F.

As for winter, it gets pretty chilly here. The winter low can drop under 10°F. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the state was in the village of Couderay, which was -55°F in early February of 1996. The state also gets a lot of snow, with an average of 40 inches in the south and up to 160 inches in the Lake Superior area.

Climate Statistics:

  1. Average rainfall – 34 inches
  2. Average snowfall – 48 inches
  3. Sunshine – 188 sunny days
  4. Summer high – 81°F (July)
  5. Winter low – 7°F (January)

Natural Disaster – Threats & Risks:

  1. Flooding
  2. Tornadoes
  3. Thunderstorms
  4. Blizzards & Snowstorms
  5. Extreme Cold
  6. Strong Winds
  7. Wildfires
  8. Extreme Heat

It’s important to understand the potential risks in Wisconsin. Visit the Milwaukee Health Department’s Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather page to learn more, so you can prepare for these threats.

Economy & Job Market

According to Economy Rankings by US News & World Report, Wisconsin is currently ranked #24 in the United States. This score depends on three subcategories: the business environment (#24), employment (#8), and growth (#38). Its GDP is approximately $321.4 billion, and the median income is $31,998.

Top Industries:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Advanced Manufacturing
  3. Healthcare
  4. Information Technology
  5. Life Sciences
  6. Consumer Products
  7. Tourism
  8. Film Industry
  9. Finance & Insurance
  10. Energy

Top Employers:

  1. State of Wisconsin (Madison)
  2. Johnson Controls (Milwaukee)
  3. Kohl’s (Menomonee Falls)
  4. Tyco International Plc (Glendale)
  5. Menards (Eau Claire)
  6. Northwestern Mutual (Milwaukee)
  7. Kohler Co. (Kohler)
  8. ManpowerGroup (Milwaukee)
  9. Fiserv (Brookfield)
  10. Regal Beloit (Beloit)
  11. Quad/Graphics (Sussex)
  12. Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee)
  13. Schneider (Green Bay)
  14. Kwik Trip (La Crosse)
  15. UW Health (Madison)
  16. Bemis (Neenah)
  17. University of Wisconsin – Madison (Madison)
  18. Shopko (Green Bay)
  19. Ashley HomeStore (Arcadia)
  20. Spectrum Brands (Middleton)

Looking for work in Wisconsin? Here are some handy resources:

  1. State of Wisconsin DWD page: Job Center of Wisconsin
  2. Job search: Indeed, LinkedIn, CollegeRecruiter, CareerBuilder
  3. Resume help: Monster, TopResume, ResumeRobin

Traffic and Transportation

Wisconsin’s transportation system is made up of highways, roads, airports, railways, harbors, public transit, and infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. It is overseen by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, with a focus on the interstate and state highway systems.

Major Forms of Transportation:

  1. Road (11,800 miles of state and interstate highways)
  2. Air (including Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport)
  3. Bicycle (RIDESHARE program)
  4. Public transit (81 public transit and rideshare systems)
  5. Railroad (Amtrak and METRA)
  6. Water (ferries and cruises)
  7. Taxi & Limousine Services
  8. Ridesharing (Uber, Lyft, etc.)
  9. Harbors (29 ports of commerce)
  10. Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure

Primary Interstate Highways:

  • Interstate 39: At just over 182 miles in length, I-39 travels from Highway 29 in Rib Mountain to Normal, Illinois. This interstate highway was built in the 1980s and 1990s to replace Route 51.
  • Interstate 41: Formed in 2015, I-41 runs for approximately 176 miles, connecting I-94 and US 41 close to Russell, IL in the south, then terminates in the north in Howard (Green Bay metro area).
  • Interstate 43: Built in 1981, this interstate highway is contained entirely within the state of Wisconsin. It travels for almost 192 miles from Beloit in the south to Howard in the north.
  • Interstate 90: Running east-west, I-90 is about 192 miles long. The entire length of interstate highway has a speed limit of 70 mph. It starts in Minnesota near La Crosse and ends in Beloit.
  • Interstate 94: This interstate also travels east-west. At 348 miles, I-94 is the longest stretch of interstate highway in WI. It travels from Hudson in the west to the southeast near Russell, IL.

According to Best and Worst States to Drive In by WalletHub, Wisconsin comes in at #18 in the nation. This ranking is based on four subcategories: cost of ownership & maintenance (#14), traffic & infrastructure (#20), safety (#40), and access to vehicles & maintenance (#17).

Things to Do

Tourist Destinations:

The Badger State is home to famous natural wonders, cultural sites, and much more.

  • Cave of the Mounds: Situated in Blue Mounds, this National Natural Landmark draws many visitors from all around the world to its natural limestone cave.
  • The Historic Third Ward: This Historic District was designated to preserve Milwaukee Public Market, Third Ward Riverwalk, and other celebrated Milwaukee attractions.
  • Taliesin Preservation (Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center): Once the architect’s home and studio, this building was built to mirror the organic landscape of the Midwestern plains.
  • Historic Cedarburg: The historic town, found along the banks of Cedar Creek, is a mixture of historic and modern. Visitors and artists alike flock to this charming area.
  • Wisconsin State Capitol: Located in the state capital of Madison, the capitol building neighbors the Office of the Governor, state Supreme Court, and the Capitol Square.

Food & Drink:

Wisconsin has some tasty eats and treats! Here are the top picks:

  • Top All-You-Can-Eat: Amber Indian Cuisine (Middleton)
  • Top Apple Pie: The Elegant Farmer (Mukwonago)
  • Top Bar: The Old Fashioned (Madison)
  • Best Beach Bar: Tom’s Burned Down Café (Madeline Island)
  • Top Craft Brewery: New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus)
  • Top Brunch: Mimosa (Milwaukee)
  • Top Burger: Solly’s Grille (Milwaukee)
  • Top Chili: Chili John’s (Green Bay)
  • Top Coffee Shop: Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. (Milwaukee)
  • Top Food Truck: Streetza (Milwaukee)

State Parks:

Want to explore Wisconsin’s wonderful outdoors? Consider these popular state parks:

  • Copper Falls State Park: Great views, hiking, camping, and more. Located in Mellen.
  • Amnicon Falls State Park: Home to beautiful waterfalls and rapids, this grand park is in South Range.
  • Peninsula State Park: This Fish Creek gem features 3,775 acres of hiking, biking, and beaches. 
  • Devil’s Lake State Park: Devil’s Lake in Baraboo is the third oldest state park and boasts amazing hiking.
  • Newport State Park: In Ellison Bay, Newport is the only formally-designated wilderness park in WI. 

Museums:

There are some great museums in the Dairy State. Here are our top 5 picks:

  • Portage WWII History Museum: Houses a unique and historical displays of military artifacts.
  • Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum: This Wausau museum is renowned for its bird collection and other exhibits.
  • EAA Aviation Museum: One of the top and most extensive aviation attractions in the world.
  • Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame: Explore the rich history of Wisconsin’s famed football team.
  • Milwaukee Art Museum: One of the crown jewels of Mil-town, this museum on the shores of Lake Michigan, is home to a substantial collection of over 20,000 works.

Cool & Unusual:

Looking for something off the beaten path in Wisconsin? Check out: 

  • House on the Rock: Located in Wyoming Valley, this architectural wonder contains several buildings, collections, exhibits, and garden displays that will light up your imagination.
  • American Science & Surplus: Into lasers and robots? How about whoopee cushions? In any case, this is truly a geek’s paradise that offers a wide variety of novelty and hard-to-find items.
  • Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron: Home to the “world’s largest scrap metal sculpture,” Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron, an art sculpture garden, can be found smack dab in the middle of Wisconsin.
  • Apostle Island Sea Caves: The sea caves on Lake Superior’s islands are absolutely breathtaking. During winter, waterfalls and surfaces freeze over, producing beautiful ice formations.
  • FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard: Located in Sparta, there’s a field behind Fiberglass Animals, Shapes, and Trademarks (FAST) filled with a bizarre collection of giant fiberglass molds.

Schools and Universities

According to USA Today’s Geographic Disparity: States with the Best (and Worst) Schools, Wisconsin is ranked #13 in the United States. When it comes to higher education, the state offers great value and affordability. Milwaukee has several top colleges and universities, including Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Top WI Colleges:

  1. University of Wisconsin – Madison (Madison) 
  2. Marquette University (Milwaukee)
  3. Edgewood College (Madison)
  4. Lawrence University (Appleton)
  5. Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee)
  6. Ripon College (Ripon)
  7. St. Norbert College (De Pere)
  8. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (La Crosse)
  9. The University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (Eau Claire)
  10. University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (Milwaukee)

Top WI Public School Districts:

  1. Elmbrook School District (Brookfield)
  2. School District of Whitefish Bay (Whitefish Bay)
  3. Mequon-Thiensville School District (Mequon)
  4. Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District (Middleton)
  5. Shorewood School District (Shorewood)
  6. Greendale School District (Greendale)
  7. Waunakee Community School District (Waunakee)
  8. Cedarburg School District (Cedarburg)
  9. Kimberly Area School District (Combined Locks)
  10. Pewaukee School District (Pewaukee)

How to Become a Wisconsin Resident

Becoming an official resident of Wisconsin offers several benefits when it comes to work opportunities, taxes, education, and fishing/hunting/trapping. Here’s a list of steps to establish Wisconsin residency:

  1. Establish permanent domicile (long-term lease or purchase of a home)
  2. Obtain a Wisconsin driver’s license
  3. Register and title vehicle(s) in the state (if applicable)
  4. Register to vote in Wisconsin (and cast a ballot if inclined)
  5. File personal income taxes in the state of Wisconsin

For in-state tuition purposes, always make sure to check the specific requirements of each institution. Here’s the link for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Residence for Tuition Purposes as an example.

Moving to Wisconsin DMV

Acquiring a new driver’s license:

After moving to Wisconsin, new residents have 60 days to obtain a Class D or Class M driver’s license. (Note: A commercial driver must apply for a WI CDL within 30 days of moving to the state.)

Steps to getting a new license:

  1. Establish Wisconsin residency
  2. Visit a DMV customer service center
  3. Complete & submit a Driver License Application (Form MV3001)
  4. Provide proof of citizenship/legal permanent resident status/conditional resident status/temporary visitor status, current identification, social security number, and Wisconsin residency 
  5. Pass vision and hearing screening
  6. Pass written and/or driving exam (if applicable)
  7. Have photo taken
  8. Pay applicable fees
  9. Receive temporary license paper receipt (valid for 45 days)
  10. Wait for permanent driver’s license to arrive by mail

Vehicle registration:

New Wisconsin residents must register out-of-state vehicles and obtain WI state license plates. 

Steps to registering your vehicle:

  1. Visit your local DMV customer service center
  2. Present vehicle title or registration card from the previous state
  3. Present proof of identity
  4. Complete, sign, and submit the Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1)
  5. Provide proof of sales tax paid in the previous state (if owned for less than 90 days)
  6. Pay title, vehicle registration, and municipal/county wheel fees (when applicable)
  7. Receive Wisconsin plates

To qualify to vote, you must be:

  1. A citizen of the United States
  2. A WI resident for at least ten days before election
  3. 18 years of age or older on election day

You may register to vote online, via mail (by sending the registration form to local municipal clerk no later than 20 days before the election), or in-person (at your local municipal clerk’s office).

Note: Felons have their voting rights restored in Wisconsin upon completion of their sentences.

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Best Places to Live in Wisconsin

Northern Wisconsin

De Pere

Population: 25,000
Median Home Value: $170,200

Considered the #1 place to live in Brown County, De Pere is a city of 25,000 and part of the Green Bay metro area. 62% of residents own their homes, and the public schools are excellent.

Forward-thinking yet down to earth, the city of De Pere offers a strong sense of community with solid values. Fox River bisects the city, which is conveniently located between the countryside and urban areas. Offering a safe community, nice folks, and an assortment of activities, stores, restaurants, businesses, and more, De Pere is a growing area perfect for families and young professionals.

Top public schools are West De Pere High School, Foxview Intermediate School, Susie C. Altmayer Elementary School, De Pere Middle School, and Heritage Elementary School. For those seeking private education, the best private schools include Notre Dame School, Our Lady Lourdes School, and Green Bay Montessori Children’s World. De Pere also has St. Norbert College and Paul Mitchell the School – Green Bay.

Raising a family or starting your career? Either way, if you’re looking for a smaller city close to Green Bay (less than 15 minutes south of the metropolis), De Pere should be at the top of your list!

Eau Claire

Population: 68,000
Median Home Value: $170,000

Eau Claire, situated in the west-central region of Wisconsin, is the state’s 8th most populous city. French for ‘Clear Waters’ – it got its name from the Eau Claire River – Eau Claire is a wonderful city with a small-town feel. 54% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools are ranked high.

Home to the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, the city is the fastest-growing in the state, with an economy bolstered by retail, education, and healthcare. Known as “outdoor cultural mecca,” it is home to two rivers (along with the Chippewa River), locavore restaurants, and an impression arts complex. If you’d like to visit or commute to a bigger city, Minnesota’s Twin Cities are easily accessible via I-94.

Top public schools are Memorial High School, Robbins Elementary School, Meadowview Elementary School, Flynn Elementary School, and North High School. Top private schools include Regis High School, Immanuel Lutheran High School, Immaculate Conception Elementary School, Regis Middle School, and Messiah Lutheran School. Eau Claire has some opportunities for those seeking higher education, including the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College, and The Salon Professional Academy – Eau Claire. 

Offering the right mix of outdoorsy charm and big-city living, Eau Claire is great for young professionals but offers a little something for everyone, from college students to families and retirees.

Green Bay

Population: 105,000
Median Home Value: $146,600

Next, we find ourselves in one of Wisconsin’s most celebrated cities: Green Bay. With a population of about 105,000, the mid-sized city sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Some 56% of residents own their homes, and the public schools rate as above average.

Considered one of the Midwest’s ‘dream cities,’ Green Bay offers a surprising combo of affordability, safety, and great amenities. Known as a place filled with rich sports history (go Packers!), the city also offers an endless list of top attractions, activities, and amenities: beaches, two major shopping malls, Bay Beach Amusement Park, Tundra Lodge Resort & Water Park, numerous trails, three hospitals, Austin Straubel International Airport, the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and so much more!

Top public schools in the Green Bay area are West De Pere High School, Bay Port High School, West De Pere Middle School, Ashwaubenon High School, and Hemlock Creek Elementary School. Leading private schools include Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, Northeastern Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Bay City Baptist School, Providence Academy, and St. Bernard School.Green Bay has several institutions of higher education, including Bellin College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, Rasmussen College, and Empire Beauty School – Green Bay.

Whether you’re a family person, millennial professional, or retiree, Green Bay is one of the few US cities that still offers a safe community coupled with cheap living costs and a plethora of amenities.

Hudson

Population: 13,500
Median Home Value: $344,700

Hudson, located in St. Croix County, is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The #1 place to live in the county, this city of less than 14,000, is populated by many families and younger professionals. Over half, or 60% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools are ranked high.

Offering a nice downtown with unique shops, as well as safe neighborhoods, Hudson is a beautiful place in western Wisconsin. It is considered an ideal spot to grow up as well. And with Minneapolis and St. Paul only 25–35 minutes west of the small city, day trips and commutes are a breeze!

On the downside, winters can be pretty intense here. Also, the cost of living is higher, mostly due to higher housing costs – the median listing price in 2019 is around $400,000. That said, Hudson is well-known as a wonderful place to live. 

Are you looking for the best K–12 education? Top public schools serving the Hudson area include Hudson High School, River Crest Elementary, Hudson Prairie Elementary School, Rock Elementary School, and Willow River Elementary School. Top private schools serving Hudson are Trinity Academy, St. Patrick School, and Good Shepherd Christian Academy.

In search of a mellow Wisconsin community close to the Twin Cities? Hudson might be more expensive than other parts of the state, but it offers a lot for the right residents.

Southern Wisconsin

Elm Grove

Population: 6,200
Median Home Value: $417,400

As we make our way down to the southern portion of Wisconsin, the first stop on our tour is Elm Grove. This small village in Waukesha County is considered to be the #1 place to live in all of Wisconsin. A whopping 95% of residents own their homes, and the public schools are exceptional.

As Milwaukee’s top suburb, Elm Grove is made up of a generous & kind community, safe & kid-friendly neighborhoods, and diverse & highly ranked schools. To boot, Milwaukee is only 20 minutes to the east. It’s great offerings prompted Business Insider to name the village the best suburb in America in 2014.

As far as downsides, Elm Grove has the highest median listing price on this list at just under $450,000. Though often viewed as an affluent community, there is a nice variety of all kinds of folks living here.

Are you raising kids? Top public schools serving Elm Grove are East High School, Pilgrim Park Middle School, Central High School, Tonawanda Elementary School, and Swanson Elementary School. Top private schools serving the Elm Grove area include St. Mary’s Visitation School and Elm Grove Lutheran School.

If you have the financial means, Elm Grove is hard to beat!

Madison

Population: 250,000
Median Home Value: $256,600

Hands down one of the best places to live in the state (and one of the best cities in America), Madison has been attracting droves of millennial families and career-oriented individuals over the past few years.

As the capital of Wisconsin, Madison is home to renowned institutes of higher learning and tech companies. It is also well-known for its outdoor recreation, carrying the nickname of the City of Four Lakes. Coupled with great job opportunities, stellar schools, reasonable cost of living, rich arts & culture scene, award-winning restaurants, and more, Madison is one of the best cities to live in the Midwest.

Top public schools serving the area are Middleton High School, West High School, Memorial High School, Sunset Ridge Elementary School, Sunset Ridge Elementary School, and Kromrey Middle School. If you’re interested in private schools, you may want to explore Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart, St. Ambrose School, Abundant Life Christian School, and Our Lady Queen of Peace School. Top colleges are the University of Wisconsin, Edgewood College, University of Wisconsin Colleges, Herzing University – Madison, and Madison Area Technical College.

Are you looking for a great mixture of simpler, down-to-earth living and big-city amenities? If so, you might want to consider becoming a Madisonian!

Milwaukee

Population: 599,000
Median Home Value: $123,600

Next, we find ourselves in the largest (and arguably most famous) city in Wisconsin: Milwaukee. Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, the city of about 600,000 is considered one of the Top 100 cities for young professionals in the United States.

World-famous for its brewskis, baseball, and bratwurst, Milwaukee epitomizes iconic American living. It also embraces its Native American heritage, having borrowed its name from the Algonquian phrase meaning “beautiful land.” Offering modern amenities, blue-collar charm, and appealing living costs, Milwaukee is a top Midwest city filled with food, festivals, and fun times.

As for drawbacks, the city is known for three main issues: high crime rates, constant roadwork & construction, and race & residential segregation. Fortunately, it continues to make great strides to improve in these areas. It also experiences pretty intense winters.

Top public schools: Reagan College Preparatory High School, West High School, Rufus King International School, Whitman Middle School, and Downtown Montessori School. Top private schools: Marquette University High School, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Eastbrook Academy, Pius XI Catholic High School, and Wisconsin Lutheran High School. Top colleges: Milwaukee School of Engineering, Marquette University, Alverno College, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Top neighborhoods: Juneau Town, Historic Third Ward, Menomonee River Valley, Brewer’s Hill, Harbor View, Northpoint, Lower East Side, Mount Mary, Riverwest, and Hawthorne Glen.

Offering all the benefits of a big city without the big-city price tag, Milwaukee is a revitalized and ever-developing city worth serious consideration for people that like to work hard and play hard.

Whitefish Bay

Population: 14,000
Median Home Value: $403,500

Last but not least, we end our trip through Wisconsin in Whitefish Bay. Ranked the #2 best place to live in the state, the suburb of Milwaukee is arguably the top village to live in the state. 82% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools are highly rated.

Though a small village of only 14,000, Whitefish Bay has garnered several accolades, including the top spot among the 15 best places to live in Wisconsin by The Crazy Tourist, as well as ranking #9 amongst America’s 50 Best Cities to Live in 2019 according to 24/7 Wall St. This is due to its prime location along the shore of Lake Michigan, a thriving job market, low crime, and a wide variety of amenities.

On the downside, this is one of the state’s more pricey areas, but you get what you pay for.

Looking at educational options for your children? Top public schools serving the Whitefish Bay area include Whitefish Bay High School, Whitefish Bay Middle School, Cumberland Elementary School, and Richards Elementary School. Top private schools serving Whitefish Bay are Dominican High School, St. Monica School, Holy Family Parish School, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, and The Hillel Academy.

Considered the top village, suburb, and place to raise a family in all of Wisconsin, Whitefish Bay easily makes the list of top places to live in America’s Dairyland.

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How to Move to Wisconsin

Moving doesn’t have to be so stressful. With the right planning, you can enjoy a smooth transition. Follow this convenient interstate moving checklist for your Wisconsin relocation.

Begin Early:

  • Procrastination is not your friend, especially when it comes to moving. Set aside at least two to three months to successfully plan and perform your Wisconsin move. You’ll be glad you did.
  • To begin, get your hands on an organizing folder for receipts and moving documents. Next, make a moving checklist. You can either write it by hand, print it out, or keep it on a device.
  • Have some help? Plan a group meeting to discuss your moving plans. Decide how to divvy up the work and assign duties. Make sure everyone is on the same page and understands their part.
  • Okay, so everyone’s on board now? Great! Take this opportunity to create a weekly schedule. Place it in a highly visible part of your home (fridge, hallway, and so on). Update accordingly.

Inform Folks:

  • Rent your home? Notify your landlord ASAP. This notice will not only protect your reference but also safeguard you from any issues with security or damage deposits.
  • Own your home? Set yourself up for a successful sale or rental. Get a hold of a real estate pro to maximize selling price or find dependable renters.
  • If you operate a business or utilize services (in-home care, lawn maintenance, etc.), try to provide parties with at least one month’s notice to adjust and find new work.
  • This one’s easy to forget during a hectic move, but don’t be that person who doesn’t give a heads up to family and friends. It can be a huge shock!

Hire a Moving Company:

  • Start by comparing several movers (at least 3–5 fully licensed and insured candidates).
  • Try to book moving services ASAP to lock in the lowest rates and best availability.
  • Looking to save money? Consider a move during the non-peak season (fall and winter).
  • Great Guys makes it cheap & easy to book long-distance movers. Get hold of us today!

Book Storage Service:

  • Need a spot to stash extra stuff? Remodeling or traveling? You need a storage solution.
  • Many WI moving companies also provide short-term and long-term storage services.
  • Looking for a tidy, secure storage option that fits your budget? We’re ready to assist. 

Declutter and Downsize:

  • Getting rid of worn or disused items saves space and money.
  • To start the process, first tour your place and take an inventory of items.
  • Once done, sort through possessions in each space (one room at a time).
  • Decide what stuff you want to discard or keep — place in piles, bags, or label.
  • Finished sorting? You can now sell online, donate, or recycle any old items.
  • Don’t forget to correctly dispose of hazardous materials (gasoline, oil, etc.)

Start Packing Process:

  • DIY packing? Again, don’t procrastinate. Give yourself a few weeks to pack.
  • Grab plenty of quality packing supplies: boxes, tape, packing peanuts, etc.
  • Place heavier items at the bottom of boxes — pair items of similar size.
  • Are you dealing with extra heavy stuff? Place in smaller boxes for easy handling.
  • Use suitable packing material to fill up empty spaces in moving boxes.
  • Remember to thoroughly tape and clearly label every box.
  • Keep packing at a steady rate of several weeks to make it manageable.
  • Need helping hands? We’re happy to connect you with cheap packers!

Prepare for Travel:

  • Taking a flight? Buy airline tickets ASAP for the best rates and availability.
  • Driving? Take your vehicle in for professional inspection and service.
  • If possible, try to arrive at your new home ahead of the moving truck.
  • A new WI resident has 60 days to transfer out-of-state driver’s license.

Prep Kids and Pets:

  • Moving can be very disruptive for little ones of all kinds.
  • Discuss the upcoming change with kids. Be kind and patient.
  • Use playtime or a story to communicate things with them more easily.
  • Also, make sure to maintain normal routines as much as possible.
  • Schedule appointments and checkups with dentists, physicians, etc.
  • As for pets, visit the vet. Check Wisconsin pet laws (state and local).
  • Transfer records, including school transcripts and medical records.
  • If doable, visit your new community to explore everything it has to offer.
  • Moving day will be distracting. Schedule babysitting or pet care.

Handle Utilities and Services:

  • If possible, have current utilities disconnected the day after you move out.
  • Schedule new services to be active by the time you move into your new home.
  • Update your mailing address. Visit a post office or go online to the USPS site.
  • While you’re at it, change your info for box subscriptions, online services, etc.

Perform Deep Cleaning:

  • Own your home? A thorough cleaning will greatly boost appeal during a showing.
  • Rent your home? Hire professional cleaners to safeguard references and deposits.
  • While you’re at it, consider painting, hardwood floor refinishing, and other services.
  • If doable, schedule cleaning service right after movers have finished up at your place.

Say Goodbye:

  • Don’t forget to take a break and commemorate your relocation with loved ones. 
  • Remember, this can be an emotional time for both parties. Be kind and present.
  • Host a party or BBQ, coordinate a group hangout, or plan individual luncheons.
  • Do what works best. Celebrate in one night or spread meetups over a few weeks.

Be Ready for Moving Day:

  • A week out, confirm arrival time and other details with moving company.
  • Fill a ‘first-night’ box with prescriptions, bedding, toiletries, snacks, etc.
  • Have extra food in your fridge or pantry? Give to neighbors or donate.
  • Thoroughly clean and sanitize appliances to guarantee mold-free transit.
  • The night before moving, try to stay in, eat well, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Moving day has come! Meet with the moving crew for clear communication.
  • Once the movers have loaded your stuff, take one last tour of your place.
  • Finally, don’t forget to make some great memories while moving. Enjoy it!

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Quality Moving Services from Wisconsin Movers

Great Guys Long Distance Movers offers top Wisconsin moving services at unbeatable prices.

Long Distance Moves

Moving to or from Wisconsin? Leave it to our pros. We work with fully vetted moving companies. Enjoy an easy and affordable moving experience anywhere in the US with our qualified long-distance movers.

Intrastate & Local Moves

From cheap quotes to quality moving services, our group of moving companies is here to get you in and out as smoothly as possible. Discover how our local movers can help you enjoy a pleasant transition.

International Moves

Moving overseas due to corporate or military relocation? You need the right company in your corner. Great Guys can hook you up with a fully licensed international relocation service for a painless move.

Small Load Moves

You don’t have to spend big bucks to move. From one-bedroom apartments to studios and college dorms, our small-load movers make it super affordable and convenient to move in or out of your place.

Furniture Shipments

Have fragile or bulky furniture? The furniture movers in our network come prepared with the right equipment, knowledge, and personnel to easily tackle any size or scope of job – safely and securely.

Piano Transport

Transporting a cherished instrument requires attention to detail. Our piano moving specialists take great proud in their work. Breathe easy while movers deliver your organ or piano to its new home.

Art Shipping & Transport

When it comes to antiques, collectibles, and fine art, you shouldn’t settle. Our specialized art shippers go above and beyond, offering topnotch services from non-abrasive packaging to custom carpentry.

Storage

In search of short-term or long-term storage? Whether you need to relocate, renovate or travel, we’ve got the right fit for your needs and budget. Contact us today to book your perfect storage solution.

Last Minute & Short Notice Moves

A sudden move can be super stressful. Whether you’re relocating for a new job, facing eviction, or dealing with procrastination, we’re here to help you hire short-notice movers in your area ASAP.

Residential Moves

Our moving partners excel at providing a bump-free residential relocation in Wisconsin. Breathe a sigh of relief while one of our household moving companies cover everything. They make moving easy!

Packing Services

Packing can be a pain. Add the complication of work and life, and it can be downright agonizing. Save precious time & energy by hiring our pro packers. Their helping hands are ready to give you a break.

Commercial and Office Moves

Expanding your retail business? Relocating your company’s office? In any case, you need certified and skilled professionals. Experience a successful transition with our top-tier WI commercial movers.

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