OFB 50 States Project: Wisconsin

OFB 50 States Project: Wisconsin

In The OFB 50 States Project, you the readers spill the beans about your state: the good, the bad, and the delicious. And thus provide “forever place” seekers (like yours truly) a useful resource in their search. We’d love to hear about your state! To be a part of this project, click here to fill out the form!

The Facts

Low State Taxes Ranking:  46Low Cost of Living Ranking:  23

State Economy Ranking:  34

Average Temperatures (Madison):

  • Winter:  27°
  • Spring:  58°
  • Summer:  82°
  • Fall:  60°

The Nickname

The Badger State

The Short of It

The state of Wisconsin is brought to you by the following awesome OFB readers:
1) Kim  //  2) Nate  //  3) Emily F.  //  4) Kasey

What food best represents Wisconsin?

  • Cheese, Brats, Beer 1, 2, 3, 4 (!)

What song best represents Wisconsin?

  • Roll Out the Barrel 1
  • Cadillac Ranch – Bruce Springsteen 2
  • Feelin’ So Fly Like a Cheesehead – Higher Education  4

How does WI refer to a carbonated beverage drink?

  • Soda 1
  • Beer 2
  • Soda to the south, pop to the north 3
  • Soda, pop, or soda pop 4

If you could take a friend to one place in WI, where would it be?

  • The Terrace at UW-Madison 1
  • Door County 2
  • Any of the lakes 3
  • The Dells 4

The Dells, WI

The Dells (photo by Roller Coaster Philosophy)

The Long of It

Biggest misconception about WI?

  • We’re a big farming state filled with lots of cows — I don’t think this is necessarily true. 1
  • We don’t hate people from Chicago and Illinois, we love it when they come here with their money…and leave 🙂 2
  • There’s a big difference to liking beer and being drunk all the time. 3
  • It’s not all flat farmland. There are ample rolling hills and moraines. We do have cities and Northern Wisconsin is heavily forested. 4

Best aspect about living in WI?

  • It’s a great balance of city/suburbs/rural areas. Milwaukee and Madison are probably the two largest cities, and they are both dynamic and fun in very different ways. Milwaukee is great because it’s a large city that is easily navigable and offers a lot to do — Brewers games, Summerfest, yummy eats in the Third Ward. Madison is a great mix of being a college town mixed with a very active community — my neighborhood is filled with runners and bikers, and there is a huge network of bike and walking trails to help you to to get across town! And there is a big culture of going “up north” during the summer – either to the Wisconsin Dells or personal cabins, we take our summer vacationing very seriously! 1
  • Low cost of living and everything from big city to small town to coast lines and north woods. 2
  • Midwestern friendliness, values, hospitality. Four seasons. Beautiful country life and decent sized city life activity. Great education system. Tons of activities! 3
  • The bond that Green Bay Packer fans share with each other. Plus we have a ton of year-round tourist activities; lots of parks, festivals (brats, music, cheese, chocolate, etc), breweries, etc. 4

Worst aspect about living in WI?

  • The weather isn’t always the greatest. I’ve lived here my entire life, so I like having four seasons, but winter can be tough (especially this year when it is lasting into April). But there is also a lot to do during the winter — skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice fishing… 1
  • High taxes. 2
  • Hmmm, depends on your dislikes. It was a gorgeous 65 degrees yesterday and it is raining/snowing today. Humidity can be brutal. Certain political parties have had control of the state for quite some time and our taxes are higher than some states. We’re working on bringing that down now though! 3
  • Probably the need to salt the roads every winter. It can cause a lot of corrosion underneath your car. And road construction season. 4

Summarize your feelings about Wisconsin in five words.

  • I wouldn’t live anywhere else. 1
  • You can have the rest. 2
  • Perfect places for raising families. 3
  • Friendly, beautiful, affordable, comfortable seasons. 4

Our Freaking Take

I can honestly say that I’ve never met someone from Wisconsin. And if I have, I didn’t get to know them well enough to find out about their home state. After reading this post, I feel like I really missed out. The Midwest (it’s not in the Middle or the West of the country, but I’ll go with it) is pretty much foreign to Joanna and me, so we really had no expectations. But we both agreed — it sounds sort of magical. Sure, the taxes don’t sound too awesome, and I could do without the winters, but cheese, brats, and beers? Summers at the lake? Green Bay Packers? Doesn’t really get much more American than that. Consider us intrigued, Badgers.

How did these answers line up with your perception of Wisconsin? Have your thoughts on the state changed after reading this? Could you see it fitting your forever-place bill? 

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  • Reply Brian June 7, 2013 at 7:50 am

    My wife and I usually go to Wisconsin every year or so for a quick weekend getaway. As she puts it “beer and cheese, these are my people.”

    • Reply Johnny June 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Well put, Brian’s wife.

  • Reply Morgan June 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Now you are talking my language! I’m from the great state of Wisconsin!! I would have to agree with everyone in the post about how amazing this state is. I would also have to agree with them that winter and road construction seasons are the worst but if you live here long enough you deal with it and it’s almost weird when it’s not a bad winter because you are always waiting for the weather to turn bad, hah.

    You guys definitely need to come up here for Summerfest or any of the summer festivals in Milwaukee (or really anywhere in the state come to think of it). Also fit in a Brewers game (although oddly enough I am a Cubs fan , shh it’s ok, just go with it). If baby girl doesn’t come with (or you can bring someone to watch her, or wait heck bring her along!) fit in some time for all the great breweries and wineries this state has to offer!

    Oh wow, I could go on and on about how much I love my state but since there was already a post about it, I feel as though I should stop 🙂

    Thanks for highlighting the best state of all!

    • Reply Johnny June 8, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      Love the Wisconsin pride! I guess if you know to expect ugly, terrible winters, it’s probably bearable. I loved the Brewers growing up, so I’d love to catch a game at Miller Park and watch the mascot go down the slide.

      We didn’t know what to expect when we started the post, but now we think your state is pretty swell.

  • Reply Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies June 7, 2013 at 9:26 am

    No mention of Wayne’s World? That’s been my entire frame of thought on Milwaukee since 1992.

    • Reply Johnny June 9, 2013 at 12:12 am

      Nice catch! I still remember my mom telling me as a kid that saying “shwing” wasn’t very nice. Now that’s a good mom.

  • Reply Chris June 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Well first off I pronounce it “Wiscansin” to make fun of my Chicago born cousins. My eldest cousin goes to college in Waukesha and one of my friends also lives there. I’ve heard so many great things about the state but I’ve never been. The only other assumption I had about Wiscansin was the unions run everything.

    • Reply Johnny June 9, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Had I known there was a town called “Waukesha,” I’d have gone to school there, too.

  • Reply Emily @ evolvingPF June 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

    My husband and I bought tickets last night to visit Madison over July 4th! We are going for a wedding. It’s my first visit to WI and his second (though last time he just went to UW-M).

    Hey natives, is there anything we should be sure to attend/see in Madison on July 4th or 5th? Are there big festivals or fireworks shows or something? I have high expectations… Oh, and we don’t care for beer – sorry – but we love cheese!

    • Reply Johnny June 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

      Crazy timing! We’re also not beer drinkers, but we’d definitely make up for it with cheese consumption.

      Any Wisconsinites (?) got any tips for out-of-towners?

    • Reply Emily June 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      I’m not from Madison, but there will definitely be plenty to choose from. I’d hop online and check out the local website for the near where you’re staying.

      Summerfest is in Milwaukee and will still be going on that weekend. If you want to drive east a bit, it is either the biggest or one of the biggest music festivals in the nation. One ticket in gets you to tons of stages. Not sure who is on the main stage the 5th, but those tickets are extra. There are tons of food vendors down there and it is all on the lake front. So fun. You would for sure get your fill of beer, brats, cheese and more. Just the people watching is amazing! LOL!

    • Reply Nate June 12, 2013 at 8:01 am


      There’s always lots of stuff to do in Madison. Check out the website for the ‘Isthmus Magazine’ it’s got listings for everything from live music to cooking classes. I’d spend some time walking around the campus and State Street. Seriously, park the car and walk. Driving downtown is best left to the locals. If the weather is nice hang out at the Memorial Union Terrace for a while. Babcock Hall ice cream is a must.

      There’s gonna be fireworks happening multiple times that week. The big display is on the 3rd, it’s called Rythm and Booms where they set the fireworks to music.

      Have fun!

  • Reply EcoCatLady June 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    My Ex was from a tiny town in rural Wisconsin. It’s hard to know if everybody from Wisconsin is like him and his friends, but from what I could tell, fishing and drinking beer were the two main activities of interest! This will probably make him sound like a caricature, but he always wore a plaid flannel shirt and had a beer can collection that could fill an entire small room from floor to ceiling! He could cook up a mean fish fry and delicious beer brats though – and was always talking about something called “cheese curds” but I never exactly figured out what those were.

    • Reply debtperception June 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Are you serious about the cheese curds? I want some of those so bad!

      • Reply EcoCatLady June 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm

        What are they?

        • Reply debtperception June 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm

          Cheese curds are like bite-size pieces of cheese made fresh from cheese factories. Fresh curds will squeak against your teeth. Cottage cheese are curds but “cheese curds” are larger and dryer. You can even get them fried…kind of like mozzarella sticks.

        • Reply EcoCatLady June 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm

          Yikes! I have to say that sounds rather disgusting to me. I’ve never been a big fan of mild cheeses though. They sorta taste like soggy styrofoam to me.

          Or it could be that I’m still subconsciously holding a grudge against my Ex… you never know! 🙂

    • Reply Johnny June 9, 2013 at 12:36 am

      Hopefully it’s not still too tender, but your ex sounds really cool. Fishing, flannel, can collection? Pretty much the trifecta of awesome.

      But I’m with you on cheese curds. Totally foreign to me. And while I’m sure they taste good, the whole squeaking thing sorta creeps me out.

      • Reply EcoCatLady June 9, 2013 at 12:58 am

        Ha! No, it was 20 years ago, so I think it’s pretty thoroughly scarred over. And I am heartened to learn that there are other humans out there who find a beer can collection to be “awesome” because I, ahem, didn’t! 🙂

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone June 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    I’m originally from MN, and spent much of my childhood in WI. (My family owned a house there…we called it the “Wisconsin House.” Fact.) I agree with the cheese, brats, beer. So true!

    • Reply Johnny June 9, 2013 at 12:38 am

      It’s after midnight here, but your reminder of cheese and brats is bringing on hunger pains for a second dinner.

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