As the beloved Midwest band Da Yoopers proclaims, "I love to go where the cow pies grow, and smell that dairy air, and party in Milwaukee, cause the beer tastes better there. Beer and brats and a Brewer's game, it's a party night and day. Now I'm walking across Wisconsin trying to find my Chevrolet." Chances are they never did locate that Chevy. Could have something to do with Houdini, he's from those parts and is known to perform a fairly impressive disappearing act. plant
Life in Wisconsin

Wisconsin -- it's a state that never forgets to have a good time in the small towns or big cities. With natural treasures, the big leagues, a great outdoors and enough dairy products to pump the nation full of vitamin D, the state attracts a wide range of folks vying to call it home. A state husky in stature, Wisconsin provides many areas to live and thrive in. Whether living close to the lake, nearby all of the culture or secluded within the bustling pines, resident cheese-heads find plenty to boast about. Overall, the state is highly affordable with a mixture of single-family homes and apartments available for rent.

Make Yourself Comfortable

After fumbling around with various versions of rental history, secure a handy guide that will tout various luxury apartments. Around the state you'll find yourself getting accustomed to a kind gesture and a frigid, yet friendly, handshake. Most apartments for rent in Wisconsin will ask for the first month's rent up front as well as a security deposit that can vary slightly depending on the unit. Co-signers are welcome, so long as they provide a clean credit history and the proper salary. Below are four of Wisconsin's best communities that take would-be residents from the cultured big cities to a nature-oriented lakeside paradise.

Places to Check Out

Milwaukee: The Bustling Big City

Locals are never short of options here -- this is the largest city in the state. Whether enjoying seven innings of a Brewer's game or 11 stages of music at Summerfest (touted as the world's largest music fest), residents call on the culture to fend off boredom. Other notable scenes include an eclectic art circuit, insatiable performing arts venues, and rich local lore. Public transportation consists of a bus line and the train services nearby suburbs, as well as Chicago.

Neighborhoods that stand out in the community and allow renters a chance at convenience and location on any budget are the Historic Third Ward and North Point, on the city's east side.

Historic Third Ward: Boat tours, the public food market and locally owned boutiques make up this indie-quaint section of town. Newly constructed Jefferson Block Apartments welcome renters into the neighborhood with one and two bedroom open floor plans. The property is within walking distance to many local gems that include Cedarburg Coffee Roastery, Bavette La Boucherie, The Green Kitchen, and Cuvee champagne bar.

Another option when searching for a place to park your belongings is Gaslight and Corcoran Loft Apartments. Near the action and providing spectacular views, these modern and spacious units also offer residents use of the heated parking garage, so that even on the coldest days there is no need to de-ice your vehicle before driving around town.

North Point: A stone's throw from the lake, this antiquated neighborhood thrives off of its green space. The ability to navigate the surrounding blocks on foot is also a selling point. Near downtown but removed slightly from the hustle, the community allows for a peaceful retreat into renowned architecture in structures like the North Point Lighthouse and serene beauty on the east side.

Hudson: Small-Town Charm

Hudson encompasses everything amazing about the charming and quaint towns of yore -- friendly locals; family run businesses; and affordable, spacious homes and apartments for rent. Its proximity to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, makes it a great place to settle down, as you're never too far from the action without being in the center of it all.

Residents here bide their time braving the frosty outdoors, so bring your warmest jacket (leg warmers are optional). Locals don't let the climate stop them from enjoying their surroundings and the stick-to-the-ribs German grub provided by establishments like The Winzer Stube.

Folks here tend to drive, and no public transportation system of note is in place to get residents moving. Having a car here is paramount, as walking may be just fine in warmer weather, but is unbearable once December hits.

At city center, you'll find older homes for rent that provide an exquisite amount of space, yard, and driveway for what you'd likely spend on a one-bedroom apartment elsewhere. Residents enjoy this area because it's walking distance to Birkmose Park and Phillips Center For The Arts; the culture is present on every block. If in search of something a bit more modest, apartments are available as well and are the most affordable here, or cross-town in Centerville where residents are able to traverse I-94 to get where they're going with ease. If heading to nearby Pitchfork Brewing, invite a designated driver -- the tasty libations are a local favorite.

Bayfield: Hot Harbor Town

If in search of a complete getaway into a seaside paradise adorned with wildflowers and scenic views often only captured by brushstroke, Bayfield is the perfect new home for you. The town is tiny and has no distinct neighborhoods to note. Situated just off of Lake Superior, Bayfield is a mere charter boat away from the breathtaking Apostle Islands, and the town boasts outdoor activities year-round. The shore allows for water sports in mild months and a view of distinctive ice caves and dog sledding in the winter.

This small town is best explored on foot, and due to its size, many locals walk from one place to the next. Boats and cars are other safe bets, and traffic is nearly non-existent here. Getting around so simply ought to be a crime, but enjoy it -- your errands have now become a leisurely glide down a deserted road.

It's likely that renters can expect to spend their money on larger, rustic single-family homes rather than luxury apartment complexes. Every option rests safely near the shore, and there's fresh food aplenty -- from the boats at local haunts like Bodin Fisheries, serving up trout and smoked whitefish for your culinary adventures at your new home. Residents and tourists alike also flock to Wild Rice for a seasonal foray into fine dining and a scrumptious take on scallop, crab, buffalo, and lamb.

The town is an exclusive and booming tourist destination when the sun and heat take hold. The area hosts many festivals and craft fairs month to month. An otherwise sleepy waterside town comes alive in these instances and wakes locals from the daydreams of jellybeans and unicorns they effortlessly partake in while strolling about their oft-desolate and sandy nirvana.

Wisconsin Life

Once settled, those new to the area should partake in cold-weather creative endeavors, trips to world-class eateries, nature-laden hikes and Sunday drives that'll prove educational and relaxing while familiarizing newbies with the area. Imbibe -- beer counts as a local pastime here, and bars are plentiful. Cheese abounds as well, and you'll be hard-pressed to avoid it -- get your lactose issues worked out before your move.

WI Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter’s satisfaction with their cities and states

Here’s how WI ranks on:

Overall satisfaction
Safety and crime rate
Jobs and career opportunities
Recreational activities
Quality of schools
Social Life
Commute time
State and local taxes
Public transit

Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released Wisconsin’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of 111 million American renters nationwide.

"Wisconsin renters expressed general satisfaction with the state overall," according to Apartment List. "They gave most categories above average scores."

Key findings in Wisconsin include the following:

  • Wisconsin renters gave their state an A overall.
  • The highest-rated categories for Wisconsin were recreational activities, which received an A+, and safety and low crime rate and commute time, which both received an A.
  • The areas of concern to Wisconsin renters are weather (C), public transit (B) and pet-friendliness (B).
  • Millennial renters are moderately satisfied with their state, giving it an overall rating of B-, while renters who are parents are equally satisfied, also giving it a B-.
  • Wisconsin earned similar scores to neighboring Minnesota (A+), but earned higher scores than Illinois (B+) and Michigan (B-).
  • Wisconsin did relatively well compared to other states nationwide, including New York (C), Washington (B-) and Arizona (B).
  • The top rated states nationwide for renter satisfaction include Colorado, Alaska, South Dakota, Idaho and Minnesota. The lowest rated states include Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana.

Surveyed Cities in Wisconsin