Home to around 72,400 people, Appleton, Wis., is a family-friendly and centrally located city in the Fox River area. Listed as one of CNN/Money Magazine's Best Places to Live, Appleton offers a small-town atmosphere within a relatively large metro area. Located 30 miles southwest of Green Bay, Appleton is known for its growing population, community charm and numerous historic buildings.
Fur traders settled in the Fox River Valley during the first part of the 19th century. The Lawrence Institute was founded in 1947, and Samuel Appleton donated a large sum of money to fund the college library. Because of the generous donation, the community was named in honor of him. Incorporated in 1853, Appleton grew alongside Lawrence University, and education has remained an important community concern throughout the city's history. Even today, there are 24 public and 13 parochial schools in Appleton, which is remarkable considering the city's size. As the city has developed, retail, entertainment and other industry has developed alongside it. Those searching for Appleton apartments for rent will appreciate this small city's culture and historic, intellectual vibe.
Appleton is home to a vibrant and historic downtown center. Residents of the community have made it a priority to protect and revitalize Appleton's historic center. From nightlife and shopping to churches and museums, downtown Appleton offers residents everything they could ever want out of city life without the hectic nature of living in truly large city.
Appleton residents also enjoy a variety of fun activities and events. Community events are often held within this college town, from foodie parties like Grampa's Grill Out and Gluten Free Baked Goods to musical happenings like karaoke events and Music Videos Night. Most of Appleton's community events take place in its downtown area. Numerous art exhibits also dot the downtown area, a result of the city's dynamic arts scene.
In addition to Lawrence University, which enrolls about 1,500 students each year, Appleton is home to a number of trade and technical colleges: Fox Valley Technical College; Gill-Tech Academy; The Salon Professional Academy; and Empire Beauty School. Outside Appleton, the closest university is the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, which is about 20 miles away.
As the largest city in the area, Appleton acts as an employment hub for surrounding towns. In fact, the city's population increases 8.4 percent on workdays due to commuting. According to the city's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in Appleton are Thrivent Investment Management, the Appleton Area School District, Appleton, Inc., Miller Electric Manufacturing, Outagamie County, Appleton Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Hospital, West Business Services and Valley Packaging Industries.
According to City-Data, the cost of living index in Appleton is 93.3, which is almost 7 percent less than the U.S. average. Those searching for Appleton rentals will want to factor commuting costs into their monthly budgets, as the majority of the city it not particularly walkable. The city has an average rental market, with about 30 percent of homes being renter-occupied.
In addition to its many charming local events, the Fox Valley Area offers many larger scale events throughout the year. Brewfest, located in nearby Neenah, Wis., gives guests the opportunity to sample more than 50 handcrafted beers, sodas and wines. Appleton hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration in its downtown area, which boasts five music stages, a family fun area and more than 100 food booths.
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