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Life in Dane County

Want to learn more about what it's like to live in Dane County? On this page you'll find information about Dane County school districts and childcare, outdoor recreation, entertainment and dining, and government, health, and safety.  

To start off, here are some statistics about population, housing, and transportation in Dane County from the U.S. Census Bureau

School and Childcare

We know that good school districts are a top priority for families moving to a new place. Luckily, Dane County has lots of options, 158 in total. You can find a directory with links to each Dane County School District's website here. Public School Review is a great resource for comparing individual schools and learning about their strengths and weaknesses. If your kids are not yet old enough for school, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families has a list of licensed childcare providers. The Dane County Department of Human Services has information about qualifying and applying for childcare subsidies

Outdoor Recreation

Dane County is a fantastic place to enjoy the great outdoors! Check out Travel Wisconsin's list of 7 Dane County scenic natural wonders. Some popular free attractions include the UW Arboretum, the Henry Vilas Zoo, and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The Dane County Parks Department manages 12,000 acres of land that includes 25 recreational parks, 7 dog parks, and over 100 miles of trails. Madison is well known as one of the top cycling cities in the US. This bicycle map can help you find new paths to explore! There are also several state parks in close proximity to Dane County including Devil's Lake, Governor Dodge, and Blue Mound State Park.

Entertainment and Dining

There is no shortage of fun things to do in Dane County! Like food? These are some of the best restaurants in Madison according to Trip Adviser and Fox News. Also, take advantage of the Dane County Farmer's Market every Saturday morning from April 8th - November 11th on Capitol Square. Like museums? There are some incredible free admission museums including the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Wisconsin Historical Museum, the Chazen Museum of Art, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the UW-Madison Geology Museum among others. Like sports? Check out a Madison Mallards baseball game. There are also badger sports events year-round. The YMCA of Dane County offers plenty of ways for your kids to get involved in youth sports and recreation. Like nightlife? These are the top 10 bars in Dane County according to Yelp. The Overture Center for the Arts, the Orpheum, and the Comedy Club are great places to see a wide variety of shows and concerts in Downtown Madison. 

Government, Health, and Safety 

The Dane County government homepage is a useful resource for learning about local elected officials, departments, and municipalities. Public Health Madison and Dane County has some amazing resources to help you and your family be proactive about your health. They offer a wide range of resources for learning about emergency preparedness, environmental health, family/community health, infectious diseases, and the latest news about what to watch out for. It's also smart to familiarize yourself with Dane County Emergency Medical Services, the Dane County Sheriff's Office, and a map of Dane County Hospitals

Ready to Start your Search? 

Check out our extensive neighborhoods and condo communities guide. We hope to help you find a home that will allow you and your family to flourish in Dane County!