Madison is the second largest city in Wisconsin with a population of more than 208,000 people. With the dynamism of a large city and the friendliness and accessibility of a small town, Madison provides an ideal place for anyone to live.
Madison, home of the University of Wisconsin and the State Capitol, offers a large array of activities year round. A large portion of downtown Madison sits on an isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, only two of five lakes nearby. The University’s Memorial Union is located on Lake Mendota and serves as a popular gathering place for people to socialize and listen to live music. Hoofers is also a part of the University that offers six unique outdoor recreation clubs, some of which include sailing, horseback riding and scuba diving. Canoes, rowboats, and kayaks are also available for rent throughout the Madison area. During the winter months of Wisconsin, ice skating, sledding, and skiing are popular activities that are accessible around Madison.
State Street, the heart of downtown Madison, is alive with activity every day. Connecting the Capital to the University, State Street features specialty shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants, theatres, museums and much more. The 200 shops of State Street offer a more unique selection than the average mall, which can be found on Madison’s east and west sides. The Overture Center for the Arts, a $200 million architectural landmark, is located on State Street and presents hundreds of performances, art exhibitions, and other community events year round.
Restaurants in Madison offer a wide range of dining not typically found in a city its size. From typical Breweries, cafes, and American restaurants to the various ethnic restaurants, Madison’s dining includes eclectic cuisine from the Caribbean, Argentina, Afghanistan, Korea, Turkey and elsewhere.
The University’s Kohl Center, Field House, and Camp Randall Stadium provide afull schedule of thrilling entertainment as they are the home to the Wisconsin Badgers basketball, hockey, volleyball, and football teams. The UW Band keeps an upbeat atmosphere playing songs like the University’s fight song, “On Wisconsin.” Other appearances by the UW Band include a spring concert, and post-game performances, known as the 5th Quarter, at every home football game.
Madison is commonly considered the bike capital of the Midwest as it has more bikes than cars, and over 100 miles of bike paths ranging from bike trails around Lake Monona and through the University Arboretum, to bike lanes on the streets of downtown Madison, to the number of Outlying Trails.
One of Wisconsin’s main attractions, the Wisconsin Dells, is just an hour from Madison. Wisconsin also maintains many beautiful and scenic State Parks throughout the state. Devils Lake, located an hour north of Madison, attracts nearly 1.4 million people per year due to its popular campgrounds, hiking, and biking cliff trails. Other attractions in Madison include the Henry Vilas Zoo, the UW Geology Museum, and Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
A popular outing held every Saturday from late April to early November on the Capitol Square is Madison’s Farmers Market. Madison is also recognized for its annual events like: Art Fair on the Square, Taste of Madison, Concerts on the Square, and Paddle and Portage.