- Big City advantages with a Small Town feel. The Ashland area offers world-class, four-season attractions and assets without the congestion and hassle of a major metropolitan area. Home to communities big and small, you can enjoy your choice of living style, whether it's a tree-lined historic block, scenic lakefront view, or rural homestead. The average commute is 20 minutes. And people are Midwest-friendly.
- You don't need to leave town to have fun, but if you want to plan a day trip, our close proximity to Duluth, Minnesota offers even more diverse choices.
- If you need more than a day trip, it's easily accessible. You can fly to national and international destinations from Ironwood, Michigan (parking is free!) or Duluth, Minnesota!
- Housing is affordable. And so is most everything else. The cost of living is 11 percent below the national average.
- Schools aplenty. We are home to public and private options for K-12 and higher education. Northland College and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College offer higher education and cultural events.
- You'll find an abundance of peaceful places to relax and unwind. Awe-inspiring nature is everywhere you look - Lake Superior plus hundreds of interior lakes, acres upon acres of forest lands, numerous waterfalls - live like you're on vacation every day!
Whether you're a lifelong native or a transplant, you know there is a feeling of momentum and vibrance rolling through the Ashland region. So the next time someone asks you why you chose to live, work and play here, declare your pride with the following 10 Things You Should Know About The Ashland Area.
10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ASHLAND.
1. Big business, with a capital B
The Ashland area exports more than $1 billion in goods, and our imports grew to $994 million in 2015. The local economy is quite diverse. Major business sectors include healthcare, education, government, manufacturing, tourism, forestry, trade, transportation, agriculture and utilities.
2. Education's making the right kind of headlines
For reinventing the high school experience, Ashland tops Wisconsin. The focus on academics and career readiness is improving attendance and graduation rates. (If only we would have had such cool academic choices when we were teenagers!) We also have two top notch colleges - Northland College, a private liberal arts college with a focus on the environment and sustainability, and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, offering career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enrichment. A study by Washington Monthly ranks WITC fourth among two-year colleges nationwide.
3. We are larger than life
Ashland ranks #3 on Travel Wisconsin's Man Made Wonders of Northern Wisconsin. Located within an eight-block business district in historic downtown are 15 beautiful giant murals depicting the city’s historic founders, lumberjacks, military veterans, railroad workers, storefronts and everyday life. You can see the murals on your own or take a guided Mural Trolley Tour.
4. Jobs, jobs, and jobs
The unemployment rate in Ashland County dropped 3.7 percentage points in five years (2010-2015); more than 200 jobs were created or retained over the same time period. We're seeing steady economic growth and millions are being invested in our community over the next few years. Now that's something to shout about!
5. A great place to CHILL
Discover the winter charm of Wisconsin’s northwoods. We are an ice-fishing, ice-racing (oh just you wait!), snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing paradise. And summer is equally amazing with world class fishing, hiking, biking, boating, and nature-watching opportunities. Plus you can enjoy festivals, concerts, fairs, and races of all kinds year-round.
6. It's never been easier -- or more scenic -- to get around
Ashland has 11.5 gorgeous miles of paved walking/biking trails that run alongside majestic Lake Superior, as well as along the 5th Street Corridor. The trail connects with the Tri-County Corridor in case you are feeling ambitious and want to bike, run, or walk the 65 miles to Superior, WI.
7. Residents are on the move
Ashland is an active and effervescent community that is home to a triathlon, duathalon, and several 5K races. Runner's World ranked our Whistlestop Marathon and Half-Marathon #20 in the nation and it's a wonderful community supported event that many area residents train or volunteer for.
8. Good for our 'health'
The health care industry remains vibrant and is one of our largest employers. In 2016 we celebrated a major elevation in our already top-notch care with the opening of the Northwest Wisconsin Cancer Center. NWCC is the result of a collaboration between two of our healthcare organizations, Memorial Medical Center and Essentia Health, working together to provide expanded services and higher quality care for area citizens.
9. Hip for a day trip ... or more
A plethora of publications are telling people from Madison and Minneapolis to eat, drink and play here. We already knew we had cool places to visit; now our urban friends know it, too.
10. It all adds up
When you subtract what we don't have - long commutes in heavy traffic and stress levels that are off the charts, and add what we do have - beautiful vistas, clear skies, clean air and water, you'll decide it's a great time to come to Ashland.