Calm, glistening waters set the atmosphere for life in Madison. With Downtown resting on an isthmus between Lake Mendota and Monona, this city is known as “The City of Four Lakes” to include Lake Waubesa and Kegnosa, although they are actually just below the city. Not to mention the small Lake Wingra that sits inside the city near two college campuses and the Henry Vilas Zoo.
Madison, the capital of Wisconsin and home to nearly 245,000 people, was originally bought in 1829 by James Doty, a former federal judge, as he had plans on building a city in the Four Lakes Region. Once the Wisconsin territory was established in 1836, a state capital had to be established and Doty lobbied quite aggressively for the legislature to deem Madison as the capital. Naming his city after former president James Madison, and naming all the other streets after each of the 39 singers of the Constitution, Doty’s city of Madison became the capital on November 28. It was also centrally located between two growing cities to its east and west, as well as between a lead mining region in the south and the state’s oldest city to the north.
Madison became home to the University of Wisconsin in 1848 and was incorporated as a city in 1856. The capitol building that stands now was built between 1906 and 1917, after the original building was replaced in 1863, with the second building being burned in 1904. During the Civil War, Madison served as a final stop for Union soldiers before heading off to fight the Confederate. Following the war, the site of Camp Randall became the new University of Wisconsin and Camp Randall Stadium in 1917.
Things to Do in Madison:
Life is sweet in Madison. Winter, spring, summer or fall, you’ll always have things to do after renting an apartment in Madison. Whether you choose to visit some of the local attractions, awe at the art that graces the galleries, enjoy yourself on its famous lakes, or pick up a few things at some of the retail stores, Madison will keep you busy and entertained.
Every city has its share of attractions, but the ones in Madison are unlike any other. Take a cruise without ever leaving home with Betty Lou Cruises as they take you around Lake Mendota and Monona, providing you with food and drinks. Spend the day with over 800 animals at the Henry Vilas Zoo – admission is free. Explore the 16 acres of beautiful indoor and outdoor garden displays at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
Those attractions are here to stay, but you can’t forget about the fantastic events that Madison hosts every year. Events like the World’s Largest Brat Fest. The Brat Fest is a huge charity event that takes place during Memorial Day weekend with live music, a full carnival and so much more. The Madison Bacon Festival is held annually at the Alliant Energy Center for adults to sample bacon dishes, enjoy live music, and hear quirky, bacon-related lectures. Held at Capitol Square, the taste of Madison is a family-fun event held during Labor Day weekend where you can try food and drinks from almost 100 eateries.
From performing arts to museums and galleries, arts and culture are in abundance in Madison. For performing arts, companies such as the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society provide Madison with one-of-a-kind experiences as they present their chamber music festival in June. The Madison Opera is a non-profit company that not only produces three productions a year, but also offers educational programs. Kanopy Dance Company is a terrific source for “soulfully fearless,” physical expressions of passion through the modern and contemporary dance. To see any of these productions and more, visit the Orpheum Theater, the Overture Center for the Arts, or The Bartell Theatre.
Galleries and museums in Madison will give you a taste of not only carefully created works of art, but also a step into the past as you view much of the heritage that Madison was built on. Places like the Chazen Museum of Art allow you to walk through various collections of ancient and present-day art. You could step back in time and live through the history of Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Let the little ones learn as well at the Madison Children’s Museum where they can enjoy interactive exhibits, activities, and special events.
Outdoor recreation is never-ending in Madison. With four very distinct seasons, there are four seasons of sports to go along. If you like biking and hiking, try the local hot spots Lake Monona, UW Arboretum, and UW Madison campus as they all provide beautiful views of the local lakes. For those that want to get on the water, feel free to take part in any or all of the various activities, such as fishing, boating, canoeing, sailing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. You can also stay on dry land and enjoy a match on any of the 26 public tennis courts, or tee off at one of the four premiere public golf courses. During the winter months, the fun doesn’t stop as you are more than welcome to get out for some ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, sledding and snowmobiling.
What to Consider When Moving to Madison:
When moving to Madison, while the entire city has something to offer, there are countless neighborhoods and it can be difficult to determine which one is best for you. There are, however, eight neighborhoods that are rather notable and should be considered as you search for Madison apartments.
Westmorland is a wonderful neighborhood on the west side of the city that has many iconic locations, a great sense of community, and a great retail complex. You’ll find places like the Beatty & Strang International Style House, the Glenway Golf Course, Sequoya Commons, and the Westmorland Park. This is also the location for the annual “Weed Feed” invasive species recipe fest.
Williamson-Marquette is an eccentric neighborhood known as Wil-Mar. With the door to the 60s opening into the present, Wil-Mar is the location for festivals like Waterfront and La Fete do Marquette, which help to support the community. This ‘hood is also home to the Yahara River Bridges and Machinery Row.
University Heights is the hot spot for the architectural heritage of Madison. Those such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and George Maher popularized the prairie style and furthered others here – Wright built the Gilmore House, Sullivan built the Bradley House, and Maher built the Elliott House.
Dudgeon-Monroe is the perfect neighborhood of Madison as it has a wonderful mix of outdoor activities, eateries, businesses, notable locations and more. This neighborhood is home to Edgewood College, the Bicycle Beltline, the arboretum, and the Madison Opera.
First Settlement is a downtown neighborhood that houses the Capitol building, but also has a residential area with bike paths along the lake. This area is also the source of The Progressive magazine, the Isthmus newspaper, and Lake Monona. There are great eateries such as Muramoto, venues for live music like the majestic Theatre, and shops such as Context.
Tenney-Lapham is a close-knit community with Mansions on Lake Mendota, and beautifully built two- and three-story flats. This neighborhood hosts the Annual Art Walk and Tour de Coops, and is home to the East Johnson business district, James Madison Park, and the Yahara River Parkway.
Vilas is the location of Henry Vilas Zoo and Lake Wingra, just west of downtown, between Edgewood College and the University campus. This area is highly residential as you’ll often see college students walking and biking to class, residents taking walks with their kids and dogs, families playing on their lush lawns or on their way to one of the nearby parks.
Schenk-Atwood is known for its diversity and friendly atmosphere. This area is the location of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Absolutely Art, and the Starkweather Solstice Celebration. With parks, gardens, and a river all in the area, the residents of this neighborhood truly care about their home and each other.
Why Madison Apartments Are Hot:
Encamped in the natural beauty of the Four Lakes – and one small one – Madison is the destination location you never knew existed. With a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy year round, the annual festivals that will have you eating some of the best food you’ve ever had, and the myriad of great neighborhoods, what is not to love about Madison? On top of all of that, Madison has been ranked locally and nationally as one of the best places for so many reasons.
That’s right; Madison apartments are hot and have been for some years now. In 2014, Madison was ranked number one for: the Greenest City in America, America’s 10 Best College Football Towns, Top 100 Places to Live, and UW-Madison Sociology Department was No.1 in U.S. Private & Public Universities. These recognitions and many, many more make moving to Madison a great idea and one you won’t regret.
Diverse shops, unique boutiques, and fine arts studios line Monroe Street, a major shopping destination.
The best bicycling in the country includes the Capital City Trail and the Wisconsin Road Cycling Course.
Madison is home to five glacial lakes, perfect for afternoons boating, canoeing, and kayaking.
The Broadway musicals, ballets, and live performances available at the Overture Center.
Spending the afternoon at Henry Vilas Zoo, one of only a few admission-free, free parking AZA accredited zoos.
The Dane County Farmers’ Market is open year-round – outdoors during warm months and indoors during the winter.