Although it is generally considered to be more of a “college town” than a “big city”, as the second largest city in the state of Wisconsin behind Milwaukee, Madison is not exactly small potatoes. Madison is known as an extremely liberal and progressive city, is famous for its local music scene, and is generally considered one of the better places to live in the country. Much of the culture in Madison surrounds the University of Wisconsin, which is considered to be one of the top sports colleges in the country.
If you are looking to experience Madison culture to the fullest, it’s likely that you will want to stay in the vicinity of Downtown. Upscale and upper-midscale hotel options near Downtown include the Best Western Plus Inn on the Square Madison, the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Madison, and the Madison Concourse Governor’s Club Hotel. For mid-priced options near Downtown, you might look at the University Inn on State at Frances Madison, or the Dahlmann Campus Inn Chancellors Club Madison. If you want to stay right near the University, the Best Western Plus InnTowner Highland Club Madison and the HotelRed Madison are both great choices. For lodging close to the airport, the Cambria Suites Madison and the Best Western East Towne Suites Madison are good choices in the mid-priced range. If you would like to stay in a bed-and-breakfast, the Livingston Inn, the Speckled Hen Inn, and Danny’s Bed-And-Breakfast are all great options which are centrally located near all the action in Madison.
With Madison being both a bustling college town and a mid-sized city in its own right, the sheer quantity of restaurant options can be downright dizzying. Madison is a foodie’s town, and we hope we can help you wade through the sea of culinary choices and find what you are looking for. If you want to experience the best that Madison has to offer in cuisine, without even having to break the bank, it doesn’t get much better than the local farm-to-table favorite Nostrano. If you are in the mood for Japanese food and sushi, check out Sushi Muramoto, or for Indian, hit up Maharaja. In the realm of Italian food, Lombardino’s and Paisan’s are great choices, while if some great BBQ suits your fancy, pay a visit to Fat Jack’s Barbecue or Smoky Jon’s 1# BBQ. For good pizza in Madison, we recommend Roman Candle Pizzeria and Ian’s Pizza by the Slice.
Without a doubt, people like to party in Madison, and the city enjoys a thriving nightlife. If you are looking to experience the aforementioned live music scene, which Madison is known for, some great places to catch a show include the Barrymorelive Theatre, the High Noon Saloon, and the Frequency. Inferno Nightclub, Segredo, the Cardinal Bar, and Plan B (a gay club) are excellent dance club options. Madison is a beer-centric city, and there are a lot of great brewpubs and beer bars in Madison, including Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company, Vintage Brewing Company, Capital Brewery, Granite City Food and Brewery, Ale Asylum, and Capital Tap Haus. If you’re looking for a good cocktail lounge, Opus Lounge may be your best bet, while sports fans might want to catch a game or two at a locals favorite sports bar like Smokys Club or Nitty Gritty.
Between Madison’s reputation as one of the top college sports cities in the country, its renowned music scene, its progressive leanings, and its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, Madison has a lot to offer the potential visitor. Tucked up in Wisconsin is a bit of a hidden gem of a city to many who are not familiar with the rich culture the home of the University of Wisconsin has to offer. We recommend you pay Madison a visit and get familiar, you won’t regret the fun times you will have!