aerial view of the capitol and surrounding buildings in Madison

Explore Madison

Big yet small, cosmopolitan yet neighborly, Madison is a mid-size city whose residents enjoy a laid-back quality of life nurtured by cultural events and a shared spirit of collaboration.

Aerial photo of East Washington Avenue in Madison at night

With a dense city center, housing in downtown Madison is diverse, ranging from apartments and condos to tree-lined neighborhoods that prioritize walkability. Minor league sports teams are wildly popular, as are local leagues such as softball, soccer, and disc golf, representative of a city with a work-hard, play-hard ethic.

Long shot of tree-lined State Street looking toward the Capitol building in fall

State Street

Madison’s main corridor links the university to the state capitol through a busy and charming thoroughfare filled with cafés, art galleries, clubs, boutiques, and more. With city buses as its only traffic, State Street is friendly to bikers and pedestrians.

King Street scene packed with concert goers and a band performing outodors in the summertime

Social Scene

Madison enjoys a vibrant nightlife, drawing national musical and comedy acts of all genres year-round. Summertime is jam-packed with music festivals, art fairs, citywide farmers’ markets, and an explosion of outdoor activities.

Library Mall, busy with food carts, bikers, and students walking to and from classes.

Food Carts

For a quick and delicious lunch break, visit Library Mall and its colorful food carts, which deliver up a slice of the world’s cuisine in a tasty handheld wrap of your choosing. From Indonesia to Ethiopia, falafel to spring rolls, food cart heaven is not to be missed.

Empty outdoor dining area at night


Madison’s growing food and drink scene has no boundaries. With a tradition of farm-to-table, the cuisine has gone far beyond simple Midwestern fare. Sourcing fresh and local ingredients from the surrounding farmlands, the city’s award-winning chefs continue to serve up creative dishes and inspiring cocktails.

Farmer's market on capitol square in Madison, WI, during the autumn

Dane County Farmers' Market

Here’s a habit you’ll never want to quit: Saturday morning strolls around the capitol in search of the perfect croissant and cup of coffee. From early spring to late fall, this market brings together farmers from around the region, selling local organic produce and homemade goods. You’ll never sleep in again.

Person walks dog through snow-covered UW–Madison Arboretum

Experience Madison by the Seasons

Widely regarded as being a great place to live and work, Madison attracts people who value community and a balanced lifestyle. Take a visual tour of a city that consistently ranks highly on best-of lists year after year.

Madison, Wisconsin

aerial view of the capitol and surrounding buildings in Madison

Photo Credits

Downtown Madison (video) : Sam Li

Breese Stevens Field / Capitol at night : Sam Li

State Street : Vimal Konduri

King Street Live Concert : SV Photography

Food carts on Library Mall : Bryce Richter

Capitol Square dining : Chris Collins

Dane County Farmers’ Market : Jeff Miller

Snowy hiking trail : Bryce Richter