7. Madison, Wisconsin
If you don’t mind cold winters, Madison is one of the prettiest cities in the Mid-west. It is known as “The City of Four Lakes”, encompassing Lake Kegonsa, Lake Waubesa, Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. This idyllic setting makes for stunning outdoor recreational opportunities. In fact, Madison has one of the most extensive network of bike trails in the country. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright spent his childhood here, and designed several buildings around town. Head down pedestrian-only State Street between the University of Wisconsin campus and Capitol Square to find lively restaurants, cafes, shops and music venues. Madison is a particularly good place to study if you’re a sports fanatic.