Moving to & Living in Waunakee
Brandon Miller
Brandon Miller

What it’s Like Living in Waunakee WI 🛝 | What to Know Before Moving to Waunakee

Waunakee is a village in Dane County, Wisconsin, and part of the Madison Metropolitan Area. The town is conveniently located about 5 miles north of Madison. Waunakee was founded in 1871 and incorporated as a village in 1893. The name "Waunakee" means "fair and pleasant valley." Residents call the village "The Only Waunakee in the World". Waunakee is one of the fastest growing towns in Wisconsin that offers a high quality of life, a newly renovated downtown, unique shops and restaurants, excellent schools, and a vibrant atmosphere while maintaining a laid back feel. Waunakee is known for its rich Native American history.

Here's what you have to look forward to after moving to Waunakee, Wisconsin!

Where is Waunakee Wisconsin?

Waunakee is located in Dane County and is part of the Madison Metro Area. Six Mile Creek runs east-west through the community. Waunakee is bordered on the southeast by Westport, the north by Vienna, the northwest by Dane, and the west by Springfield. Waunakee to Madison is 13 miles.

Waunakee Population & Demographics

The population of Waunakee is 14,879 according to the 2020 Census, which is a 19% increase from the 2010 census. Notable people from Waunakee include Ron Dayne, Heisman Trophy winner, and Andrew Keller, Iowa State’s tight end. The Waunakee racial demographics are:

  • White - 91.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino - 4.8%
  • Two or More Races - 3.4%
  • Black or African American alone - 1.6%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander - 1.2%
  • Asian - 1.1%


Waunakee, WI demographics:

  • Population density: 1,959.83/sq mi
  • Median age: 39.3
  • Sex ratio: 47.5% females to 52.5% males
  • Median household income:  $118,631
  • Educational attainment: 98.5% high school grad or higher, 58.3% bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Foreign-born population: 3.0%
  • Veteran population: 569


Waunakee is a very safe place to live. The crime rate is 74% lower than the national average, and violent crimes in Waunakee are 86% lower. In Waunakee, you have a 1 in 164 chance of becoming a victim of crime. The Waunakee Police Department has 23 police officers proudly serving and protecting the residents of Waunakee. 

Waunakee Cost of Living – Is Waunakee, WI Expensive?

The cost of living in Waunakee is 17% higher than the national average, although the cost of goods and services is only 4% higher. Here is a breakdown of the Waunakee cost of living compared to the U.S. average:

  • Goods and Services – 4% higher
  • Groceries - 6% higher
  • Health care – 12% higher
  • Housing – 45% higher
  • Transportation – 5% higher
  • Utilities – 2% higher


As you can see, housing costs make up most of the above-average cost of living in Waunakee. The housing market in the village is somewhat competitive. The average home price in Waunakee is $521,000, which is a 14.5% increase from last year. The median sale price in Waunakee is $243 per square foot, up 5.0% from March of 2022. Homes in Waunakee sell after approximately 32 days on the market, a decrease from 49 days last year. Check out Waunakee WI homes for sale to see how much a home in Waunakee will cost you.

If you are moving to Waunakee, the average rent in Waunakee is $1,432, and the average apartment size is 885 square feet, according to RentCafe.

Best Neighborhoods in Waunakee

Waunakee has a variety of beautiful neighborhoods where kids can walk to school, and residents can enjoy open spaces and lots of amenities. Here are some of the best neighborhoods in Waunakee to choose from: 

Kilkenny Farms | A Newer Waunakee Community

Kilkenny Farm features one and two-story homes, many over 3,000 square feet, three-car garages, and high-end details. The lots are spacious and back up to beautiful surrounding countryside. Trails throughout the community are perfect for golf carts, small electric vehicles, bikes, joggers, and walkers. The European-inspired beer garden shelter features arbors, stamped concrete, a brick fireplace, and lots of space for events. Those living in Waunakee will enjoy ziplining, climbing, and other fun activities. Home prices range from $700,000 to $900,000.

Centennial Heights | Affordable Neighborhood in Waunakee

The ranch-style, 3 and 4-bedroom homes in Centennial Heights were built in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The community offers affordable homes for between $300,000 and $400,000, with large, private lots. Ripp Park and Centennial Park are right in the neighborhood for outdoor activities and fun. Centennial Heights is close to shopping, restaurants, and the Waunakee Public Library. Waunakee Middle School and High School are close by as well.

Westview Meadows | Great Neighborhood for Families

Westview Meadows is a family-friendly neighborhood. Most of the ranch-style and two-story homes in the community are 3 to 5 bedrooms and were built in the mid-2000s and later. The price for a home in Westview Meadows is typically between $400,000 and $500,000. The community is surrounded by green space, and middle and high school kids can walk to school. Two nearby parks offer soccer fields, baseball and softball diamonds, a football field, two picnic shelters, playgrounds, and sledding hills.

Waunakee Weather & Climate

Waunakee has warm, wet summers and freezing, snowy, and windy winters. The hottest month of the year in Waunakee is July. The average high is 82°F, and the average low is 62°F. The coldest month of the year in Waunakee is January. Be prepared for very cold winters! The average low is 13°F, and the average high is 27°F. Waunakee gets about 36 inches of rain a year and 43 inches of snow.

Things to do in Waunakee

Waunakee has plenty of activities for all ages. You’ll find convenient shopping at Village Mall and the Walgreens in Waunakee. Waunakee also has many local shops, including Kee Kee Boutique and Simply Unique Décor. Here are some of the best things to do in Waunakee:

Drumlin Ridge Winery

Drumlin Ridge Winery is a family-owned winery producing artisan-crafted wine you won’t find anywhere else in the Midwest. The handcrafted wines are produced from locally grown grapes. Sample the white, red, and rose wines in the tasting room and tour the winery to see how the wine is made and stored. You can also tour the vineyard.

Drumlin Ridge Winery, 6000 River Road, Waunakee, WI, 608-849-9463

Governor Nelson State Park

Governor Nelson State Park spans 10,000 acres along Lake Mendota that offers a sandy beach, boat launch, fish cleaning facility, picnic areas, a playground, and over 8 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and skiers in the winter.

Governor Nelson State Park, 5140 Cty Hwy M, Waunakee, WI 53597, 608-831-3005

The Ice Pond

The Pond features programs for youth hockey and is home to 3 local high school hockey teams. They also offer hockey leagues for adults. Beginners can learn to skate, and more advanced skaters can take figure skating classes and improve their skills!

The Ice Pond, 1110 Prairie View Dr Waunakee, WI 53597, (608) 850-2828

Additional attractions in Waunakee:


Those moving to Waunakee will have plenty to do! Waunakee Parks and Rec has many neighborhood parks, including Ripp Park and Tierney Park, as well as a skate park, dog park, athletic fields, walks, and trails for a wide range of outdoor activities. Also, check out the Waunakee City Events Calendar for more fun things to do!

Waunakee Restaurants

While living in Waunakee, you’ll find a variety of restaurants that cater to every palate. Here are some of the top-rated restaurants in Waunakee:

The Lone Girl Brewing Company

The Lone Girl is a family-friendly restaurant, but it’s also a craft brewery and brewpub. They offer great food, craft beer, and other drinks in a fun, family atmosphere that appeals to all ages.

The Lone Girl Brewing Company, 114 E Main Street Suite 101 Waunakee, WI 53597, 608-850-7175

Rex’s Innkeeper

Rex’s Innkeeper is a locally owned and operated restaurant serving the best steaks and seafood in Waunakee. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and the customer service is second to none. Their specialties include steaks, prime rib, and seafood.

Rex’s Innkeeper, 301 N Century Ave, Waunakee, WI 53597, (608) 849-5011

Zoe’s Pizzeria


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At Joe’s, you’ll be treated to the best traditional New York-style pizza anywhere in the Midwest. Try the Crazy Pepperoni, The Works, Margherita, Bacon Cheeseburger, Pesto, or one of the other tasty pizzas on the menu. You can also build your own pizza!

Zoe’s Pizzeria, 604 East Main Street, Waunakee, WI 53597, 608-849-7900

Jobs in Waunakee

The average salary in Waunakee is $65,000 a year, according to Payscale. The most popular occupations in Waunakee are project managers, high school teachers, and office managers. The top employers in Waunakee are Waunakee Community School District, NORD Gear, and Uniek Plastics.

If you’re ready to explore your career opportunities in Waunakee, check out Waunakee jobs and employment on Indeed or other job search sites.

Schools in Waunakee, WI

The Waunakee Community School District is ranked in the top 10% of all school districts in Wisconsin. Schools include Arboretum Elementary, Heritage Elementary, Prairie Elementary, Waunakee Intermediate, Waunakee Community Middle, and Waunakee Community High. St. John the Baptist Catholic School and Madison Country Day School are two of the private schools in the village.

The nearest college to Waunakee is Madison Area Technical College in Madison, about 7 miles away. University of Wisconsin Madison is the top ranked and largest school in the area, enrolling 47,016 students. Mid State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids has the lowest tuition in the Madison Metro area at $3,865 per year. Students can also check out the free Waunakee Public Library.

Waunakee Statistics & Information

  • County: Clermont, Dane
  • Area: 7.17 square miles
  • Waunakee zip code: 53597
  • Area code: 608
  • Elevation: 928 feet
  • Time zone: Central Standard Time (CST)
  • Closest airport: Madison (MSN) Airport, 6.7 miles away.


Waunakee, WI Map

Explore the area and other fun attractions and restaurants with this map of Waunakee.

If living in Waunakee, WI sounds perfect to you, let Dairyland Moving & Storage take care of your move for you. Our experienced movers are the best in Waunakee. Give us a call at 608-856-6683 for a free moving estimate today!

Brandon Miller
Brandon Miller
Brandon Miller is the owner of Dairyland Moving & Storage, a moving company dedicated to being responsive, friendly, and reliable, providing our customers with more than just an efficient relocation, but also a stress-free, positive experience.
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