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Life in the Fox Cities

The Appleton Area School District is located in Appleton, a community of 70,000, located about 100 miles north of Milwaukee and 30 miles south of Green Bay. 

East-central Wisconsin is comprised of 18 unique communities positioned along the scenic Fox River and Lake Winnebago. Appleton is the largest of and most diverse of the Fox Cities. Appleton is full of livable city neighborhoods spreading east and northeast until reaching farmland outside the city.

Living here blends the conveniences of urban living with stunning natural beauty, Midwest friendliness, a very affordable cost of living, and low crime rates, and high-ranking schools and universities.

What we love about Appleton
  • Appleton has been named to Livability's annual Top 100 Best Places to Live list for 2024. The list recognizes the best small and mid-sized communities across the U.S. and is based on extensive research into economic variables and factors that influence quality of life, with a unique emphasis on affordability. According to Livability, the Fox Cities region is known for its standout quality of life, bountiful career opportunities, thriving entrepreneurial spirit, and vibrant local dining and shopping scene!
  • Appleton was also recognized as the sixth most livable small city in the U.S. for 2024. The study, from SmartAsset, compared 281 cities with a population of 65,000 to 100,000, while considering metrics such as housing costs, average commute times and amounts of entertainment options.
  • Appleton was #15 of the "Best Cities to Live in Wisconsin for 2019"
  • Appleton was rated the 3rd-best city in the U.S. for children in 2017 by SmartAsset
  • Appleton was listed in the top ten “2015 Best Affordable Places to Live”
  • Appleton was #50 in a ranking of “Best Small Places for Business and Careers” by Forbes (only ranked below LaCrosse for Wisconsin representation)

"Appleton is one of the best places to live in the U.S., with several notable amenities that keep residents entertained year-round. From a performing arts complex that brings Broadway shows to the region and the Trout Museum of Art in the heart of downtown, the fun is never done. The area is known for its live music, ranging from a summer concert series to punk bands playing at pizzerias and guitarists strumming at coffee shops. One of the safest cities in Wisconsin, with a low cost of living and growing entertainment and food scenes, Appleton is increasingly appealing to young families and young professionals. Additionally, the city of 74,000 residents is known for its charming neighborhoods, friendly people and affordable housing, all of which add to Appleton’s appeal."

Appleton serves as the heart of the Fox River Valley and is home to Lawrence University, the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Fox River Mall, Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, Appleton International Airport, and the Valley's two major hospitals: St. Elizabeth Hospital and ThedaCare Regional Medical Center. It also hosts regional events such as Octoberfest and the Mile of Music.

Recreational Opportunities

Fishing is available year-round—by boat in the warmer months, and on ice in the winter. Our state parks and forests are open for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and scenic drives. We have access to 80 bicycle trails throughout the state. We camp and play golf in the summer and hunt in the fall. The city of Appleton has 24 neighborhood parks and four community parks in its park system.

The Arts

Wisconsin is rich with artistic opportunities, we have hundreds of museums and art galleries, along with venues for watching live theater performances or listening to live music. The state and our area are home to a wide variety of summer outdoor music festivals featuring country, rock, Christian, alternative performers, and more.


Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago are within a few hours driving distances. Airports in both Appleton and Green Bay connect the Fox Cities to domestic and international destinations.

See for Yourself

Interested in seeing a slice of Appleton? Check out these videos by Appleton's own Lawrence University.