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Madison Travel Guide


Madison Introduction


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Madison, Wisconsin's, secret is out: Consistently ranked by national magazines as one of the best places to live in the U.S. And Madison's population is growing more than twice as fast as the rest of the state. Some of the new folks are drawn to the city's beautiful natural setting—an isthmus separating two glacial lakes that are surrounded by rolling hills. It's a great area for bicycling, cross-country skiing and other outdoor activities.  Click here to see the full Madison travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madison Geography


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The heart of Madison is built on an isthmus that divides lakes Mendota and Monona. From the state Capitol, which is surrounded by a huge plaza called Capitol Square, several major streets radiate outward like spokes on a wheel. One of those, State Street, is closed to most vehicle traffic—its six blocks are a pedestrian paradise with shops, museums, street entertainment, bars and restaurants. State Street merges with the University of Wisconsin's Library Mall at its western end.   Click here to see the full Madison travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madison History


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The Native American people who lived and hunted in the lakes and forests around Madison for thousands of years left behind one of the world's largest collections of effigy mounds, many of which survive. By the 1830s, however, most Native Americans had either left the area or been forced out by the U.S. government, clearing the way for fur traders and lead miners to settle the isthmus.  Click here to see the full Madison travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madison Sightseeing & Things to Do


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If possible, visit Madison in the summer, when the weather is balmy and the farmers market's wonderful collection of colors, smells and tastes is at its peak. Capitol Square, where hundreds of vendors set up stalls every Saturday, is the center of town and a good place to start your tour. The white-domed Capitol building is there—take time to admire the glass mosaics and well-tended gardens.   Click here to see the full Madison travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madison Nightlife


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After lying dormant for some years, Madison's music scene is revived with several midsized, multiuse music venues. The Orpheum, which doubles as a restaurant and movie theater, books national acts not big enough to fill stadiums such as the 17,000-seat Kohl Center, as do the Barrymore on the East Side and the venues of the Overture Center. Much of the fun, however, happens in the tiny clubs clustered downtown, especially in the King Street area, where there is a variety of music and dance options nightly.   Click here to see the full Madison travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madison Restaurants & Dining


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For a small city, Madison has a plethora of riches for the food lover, and residents are interested in good food of all kinds. In the past few years, more than a dozen new top-notch spots have been added. Madison. In addition to more traditional Wisconsin fare, choices include Middle Eastern, Indian, Laotian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican. Chautara, a Nepalese restaurant said to be the oldest in the nation, is in Madison. The state's first Indonesian restaurant, Bandung, also opened there and has attracted large crowds.  Click here to see the full Madison travel guide on Travel42 »

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