aerial view of Milwaukee, WI

10 Things To Know To Make Living in Milwaukee a Breeze

Milwaukee Wisconsin

by Matt Lyons Posted on April 19, 2024

Maybe you’re relocating for a job opportunity, or you’re just searching for somewhere fresh to start a new chapter in life. Either way, living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a great adventure to embark on.

Planning a move to Milwaukee? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Did You Know?

  • Milwaukee takes up about 97 square miles and lies along the shores of Lake Michigan, joined with the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic, and the Milwaukee rivers.  
  • With a population of just over 563,000, Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin.
  • Known as the “City of Brews,” Milwaukee comes with plenty of beer sampling opportunities and a lively nightlife scene. But if you’d rather stay outdoors, you can find tons of green space and water views surrounding the area, as well. 

Living in Milwaukee - FAQ

Wondering, “Is Milwaukee a good place to live?” Or simply, “What is Milwaukee like?” We’ve got you covered. Here are the answers to some of your most pressing questions about what living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is like. 

Q: Is Milwaukee a good place to live?
A: Yes, Milwaukee is a great place to live! It’s full of excellent job opportunities, fine dining, and fun activities — among many other perks. Whether you’re beginning a new career, starting a family, or planning your retirement, you’ll definitely find things to love about Milwaukee.

Q: What are the pros and cons of living in Milwaukee?
A: Pros of living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, include an affordable cost of living, available public transportation, walkability, and a diverse economy. Some of the cons include high amounts of traffic in certain areas, extreme winters, and a higher crime rate than most major cities.

Q: What is the quality of life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?
A: Milwaukee has claimed its spot on the “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” list, and quality of life is great. With high ratings in areas like healthcare, environmental quality, and leisure/culture, this metro has plenty to offer. 

Q: Is it expensive to live in Milwaukee?
A: The average cost of living in Milwaukee is pretty much on par with the rest of the country, but it’s still lower than many large cities. This makes it more affordable than other metros like New York or San Francisco.

Q: Is housing expensive in Milwaukee?
The average cost of housing in Milwaukee is right on par with the national average, though 12 percent higher than the Wisconsin average. The average home value is around $197,000. 

What Makes Milwaukee the Right Move?

Moving to a large city can feel intimidating at first. How can you get the most out of living there? What are fun things to do in Milwaukee? What expenses should you be on the lookout for?

We’re here to help you learn all that and more. Keep reading for the top 10 things to know about living in Milwaukee.

A young red-haired woman in a yellow shirt is standing in her kitchen and smiling while holding a little yellow piggy bank up to her nose. The image conveys the concepts of “saving money” and an “affordable cost of living.” 

1. You Can Enjoy a Low Cost of Living in a Top-Tier Commercial Hub.

Among perks like lots of family-friendly activities (key for those moving with kids) and an excellent dining scene, Milwaukee is home to a variety of great employment opportunities. And when it comes to large U.S. cities with great job options, you can typically expect a higher cost of living. That’s not the case with Milwaukee, though. Here's how the city compares to Chicago, for example.

  • The average home value in Milwaukee is around $196,700, versus Chicago’s average of around $289,900
  • The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee is around $1,400, while in Chicago, it’s around $2,250

2. There Are Milwaukee Neighborhoods for Families, Retirees, and Young Professionals Alike.

If you’re moving to Milwaukee, chances are you’re wondering where in the city to settle down. The good news is that living in Milwaukee means choosing from an abundance of great neighborhoods. Here are a few of our favorites. 


Wauwatosa is a great neighborhood for easy access to Milwaukee’s city center. There are plenty of activities to keep families entertained, along with great schools to attend. The neighborhood is ideal for first-time homebuyers looking to make fixer-uppers their own. And with a great local library and plenty of parks to explore, this suburb is great for any growing family.

Juneau Town

Voted as the best neighborhood to live in Milwaukee by Niche, the neighborhood of Juneau Town has a plethora of safe spaces to walk while providing easy access to shops, restaurants, and other parts of downtown — not to mention plenty of green space to explore. For retirees wanting easy access to the hustle and bustle, this neighborhood is perfect.


Ranked #1 in the “Best Neighborhoods to Raise a Family in Milwaukee” list on Niche, the neighborhood of Riverwest has plenty to offer. In addition to providing lots of outdoor amenities, the neighborhood is easy to navigate. Niche also gives the area an A+ rating for its nightlife and commuting.

Eight happy children are wearing backpacks and running through the hallway of their elementary school while holding hands.
Milwaukee schools rank high on several impressive lists, such as the best schools for athletes in the U.S. and the best school districts in Wisconsin. 

3. You Can Send Your Kids to Top-Ranked Milwaukee Schools. 

According to Niche, the top three best school districts in the Milwaukee area are Elmbrook, Muskego-Norway, and Whitefish Bay. They all come with an A+ overall Niche grade, but each has something that makes it stand out among the rest.

#1 Elmbrook School District

Elmbrook School District comes with a 15 to 1 student-teacher ratio. And looking at state test scores, 61 percent of students are proficient in math, while approximately 60 percent of students are proficient in reading. 

#2 Muskego-Norway School District

The Muskego-Norway School District is second on this list but also ranks on several other lists, including best schools districts for athletes in the U.S. (11th) and best places to teach in Wisconsin (5th). State test scores reflect that 73 percent of its students are proficient in math and 61 percent are proficient in reading. And like Elmbrook, the average student-teacher ratio is 15 to 1.

#3 Whitefish Bay School District

Whitefish Bay is third here, but it’s regarded as the best school district in Milwaukee County, according to Niche. And according to the state test results, 64 percent of its students are proficient in math, and 66 percent are proficient in reading, with a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1.

4. Sports Enthusiasts Can Rejoice.

Milwaukee is home to professional sports teams with plenty of die-hard fans. The teams include the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team, the Milwaukee Wave soccer team, and the nearby Green Bay Packers.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team. The team was first founded in 1968. Since then, they’ve gone on to win three conference championships and two NBA titles. You can head to a bar to watch the games or catch one in person at Fiserv Forum.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team. They are part of the Central Division of the league, which also includes the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals. Their games are shown on various television stations and radio stations, or you can catch a game in person at American Family Field — previously known as Miller Park.

Milwaukee Admirals

The Milwaukee Admirals — previously known as the Milwaukee Wings — are an American Hockey League (AHL) team that plays at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. They are currently the top affiliate of the Nashville Predators.

Milwaukee Wave

The Milwaukee Wave is a Major Indoor League (MIL) soccer team that shares an arena with the Admirals. The team has won seven championships in the MIL!

Milwaukee Wave

Based in Green Bay, Wisconsin — approximately 2 hours from Milwaukee — the Green Bay Packers are a National Football League (NFL) team that competes in the National Football Conference (NFC) North division. The team has won 13 league championships, along with nine pre-Super Bowl NFL titles and four Super Bowl victories. 

A view from the forest floor, looking up at tall trees in a Wisconsin forest in autumn. The leaves are a bright, golden yellow and the sky above is a lovely blue.
If you’re a fan of all four seasons, you’ll be a fan of Milwaukee. Expect snowy winters, colorful autumns, and lovely summers and springs. 

5. You’ll Experience a Four-Season Whirlwind.

When living in Milwaukee, WI, you will get to experience each of the four seasons. While the weather gets very nice throughout the spring and summer time, you will need to prepare yourself for the winters to say the least.

Winters in the Upper Midwest can be quite rough, with the average temperature of Milwaukee from November through March running under 40 degrees. The city’s snowy period is four to five months long, with the highest monthly average coming in at around four inches in January. And if you’re not used to doing so already, you’ll likely have to shovel snow during those snowy days.

While the wintertime in Milwaukee can be a bit of an additional hassle, the season still offers plenty of opportunities for families to enjoy unique and fun activities. Skate on the ice at Red Arrow Park, or take in the holiday light display at the Ingleside Hotel’s Country Christmas.

A small blue and white sign with the message “WE’RE HIRING” is hanging from a hook on the glass wall of a storefront.
Milwaukee is home to several Fortune 500 companies, as well as big names like Harley-Davidson — there’s even a Harley-Davidson museum you can visit. 

6. There Are Plenty of Job Opportunities. 

Milwaukee is a commercial and industrial center that's home to several Fortune 500 companies. Other prominent organizations include Johnson Controls, Harley-Davidson, and Rockwell Automation. The area also boasts a number of banks and insurance firms and is regarded as one of the top manufacturing regions in the country.

Here are a few additional fun facts about working in Milwaukee:

  • There are plenty of opportunities to work at small and medium-sized businesses throughout the city.
  • Milwaukee is known for producing all types of equipment, such as industrial controls and X-ray machines.
  • The service sector, which includes businesses such as hotels and restaurants, is also a large contributor to the local economy. The city’s popular tourist attractions contribute to this, as well.
  • The region is also home to several multi-hospital organizations. 
  • Other notable service sectors include business services, education, and social services.

7. Milwaukee is a Foodie’s Paradise.

Cheese, cheese, and more cheese — get ready to indulge in some excellent options when you’re in Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Cheese Mart is a great place to pick up a variety of cheese products. You can also visit West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shop to try out the meat pairings.

But you didn’t think we’d stop there, right? Besides options specifically revolving around cheese, Milwaukee is home to a number of divine restaurants that any foodie can appreciate. Places like Odd Duck are known for their unique offerings. And if you’re looking for a new seafood dish, Third Coast Provisions is a great place to try. Want to fuel your day with a nice breakfast? Head over to Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern for their signature Wolfundido.

Four friends are clinking their beer glasses together at Third Space Brewing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two of the friends’ faces are in frame and they’re smiling.
There’s a reason Milwaukee is known as Brewtown (or Brew City, if you prefer): It’s home to a slew of microbreweries that have helped make it one of the best beer cities in the nation.

(Source: Third Space Brewing via Facebook)

8. You’ll Never Get Enough of Those Brew City Brews.

For decades, beer fans and brew masters from all around the country have been flocking to Milwaukee to sample from the city's fabulous breweries. And while many still reach for Pabst and Miller, unique offerings from the area’s microbreweries have helped make it one of the best beer cities in the nation.

The full experience of the Brew City can be found at places such as Third Space Brewing, where you can try Frog Weiss, their fruited sour, or Urban Harvest Brewing Company, where you can get a Radar de Stout. If you’re an IPA fan, head over to Good City Brewing and try their Hazy IPA.

9. You Can Get Around Without the Hassle. 

Some more good news: Living in Milwaukee comes with access to several options for getting around. Whether you love to walk everywhere you go, prefer the bus, or like to hop on a bike to get where you’re going, solid transit options are among the top upsides in the Milwaukee pros and cons.


Downtown Milwaukee is a compact area that comes with a walk score of 99. The city’s Riverwalk provides easy access to not only the river but also to many parts of downtown. For example, it connects the historic Third Ward to the Beerline “B” neighborhood.

Public Transportation

Milwaukee's public transportation system is known as the MCTS and provides various services, like buses and special shuttles that run during certain times of the year (most notably during Summerfest). The Umo App lets you plan your trip, track your bus, and even pay for your ride.


If you prefer biking over walking, you don’t have to worry. The city’s public transit system offers bike racks. Even if you don’t have a bike, you can try out the Bublr Bikes program, where you’ll have easy access to stations all over the city.

10. There’s Always Something Fun To Do.

One thing is for certain about living in Milwaukee: You’ll never be bored because of how many fun things there are to explore! From museums to zoos, check out the top attractions of the city.

 A woman is holding a key in one hand and pointing behind her with the other as she poses in front of her fully loaded PODS portable moving container in the driveway of her home.
If you’re considering moving to Milwaukee, let PODS help you make the process as easy as can be. /wp:image

Simplify Your Move With PODS

Are you ready to enjoy all that Milwaukee has to offer? PODS can help. With a container delivered right to your driveway and PODS to move it wherever you need, finding a new place to call home has never been easier. And if you need packing tips along the way or want to learn more about moving, in general, read more on the PODS Blog.

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