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Madison, Wisconsin

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Madison in Wisconsin.


Star for Vacation Rentals Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn - Madison Welcome to a world of luxury and beauty on 120 scenic acres of rolling hills with gorgeous views and private hiking trails. Our bed and breakfast is near the lively city of Madison and the European-influenced towns of New Glarus and Mount Horeb. Check out the website

Phone: 866.424.6340   Price Range: $129 - $219   Size: 5 Units   Open Season: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Kids Allowed: No   Pets Allowed: No   Restaurant Onsite: No   Conference Facility: No
Nearest Popular City: Madison   Nearest Lake/River: Lake Mendota   Languages: English   Lodging Types: Bed and Breakfasts   Activities: Antiquing, Biking or Bicycling

Star for Vacation Rentals Arbor House - Madison The Arbor House in Madison, Wisconsin blends historic features with modern amenities and an environmental emphasis. The inn showcases resource efficient architecture, interior design, energy and water use, landscaping, and inn operations, while providing opportunities for recreation and learning more about urban ecology. Eight distinct guestrooms provide travelers with an array of experiences. Check out the website

Phone: (608) 238-2981  Price Range: $251 - $500   Size: 20 - 49 Units   Open Season: N/A
Kids Allowed: Yes   Pets Allowed: No   Restaurant Onsite: No   Conference Facility: No
Nearest Popular City: Madison   Nearest Lake/River: N/A   Languages: English   Lodging Types: Bed and Breakfasts, Ecotourism Resorts   Activities: Biking or Bicycling, Birding

Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

As of the 2010 census, Madison had a population of 233,209. making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 81st largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dane County and neighboring Iowa and Columbia counties. Madison's suburbs include DeForest, Shorewood Hills, Sun Prairie, Fitchburg, Maple Bluff, McFarland, Stoughton, Middleton, Monona, Oregon, Waunakee and Verona.


In 1996 Money magazine identified Madison as the best place to live in the United States. It has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places list in subsequent years, with the city's low unemployment rate a major contributor.

The main downtown thoroughfare is State Street, which links the University of Wisconsin campus with the State Capitol Square, and is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes and shops. Only pedestrians, buses, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles and bikes are allowed on State Street.

On the other side of Capitol Square is King Street, which is developing along State Street, but with less of a student character and more appeal to the growing young white-collar high-tech population in Madison. King Street has more upper-end restaurants and cafes than are found on the more student-budget State Street.

On Saturday mornings in the summer, the Dane County Farmers' Market is held around the Capitol Square, while on Wednesday evenings, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs free concerts on the Capitol's lawn.

The Great Taste of the Midwest craft beer festival, established in 1987 and the second longest running such event in North America, is the second Saturday in August and the highly coveted tickets sell out within an hour of going on sale in May.

Madison is host to Rhythm and Booms, a massive fireworks celebration (coordinated to music) that begins with a fly-over by several F-16s from the local Wisconsin Air National Guard. This celebration is the largest fireworks display in the Midwest in length, number of shells fired and the size of its annual budget.

During the winter months, sports enthusiasts enjoy ice-boating, ice-skating, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, playing ice hockey and snowkiting.[47] During the rest of the year, recreation includes sailing on the local lakes, bicycling and hiking.

In 2004 Madison was named the healthiest city in America by Men's Journal magazine. Many major streets in Madison have designated bike lanes and the city has one of the most extensive bike trail systems in the nation. Madison has an active cyclist culture and it is commonplace to see groups of bicyclists in the city on nice days. Bicycle tourism is an $800 million industry in Wisconsin, which has 20 percent of the nation's bicycling industry manufacturing capacity.

There are many cooperative organizations in the Madison area, ranging from grocery stores (such as the Willy Street Cooperative) to housing co-ops (such as Madison Community Cooperative and Nottingham Housing Cooperative) to worker cooperatives (including and engineering firm and a cab company). In addition, there are several credit unions.

In 2005, Madison was included in Gregory A. Kompes' book, 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live. The Madison Metro area is also credited as the most liberal in the state, and has a higher percentage of gay couples than any other city in the area outside of Chicago and Minneapolis. The city was also named the number one college sports town by Sports Illustrated in 2003.

Among the city's various neighborhood fairs and celebrations are two large student-driven gatherings, the Mifflin Street Block Party and the State Street Halloween Party. Rioting and vandalism at the State Street gathering in 2004 and 2005 led the city to institute a cover charge for the 2006 celebration. In an attempt to give the event more structure (and to eliminate opportunity for vandalism), the city and student organizations worked together to schedule performances by bands, and to organize activities. The event has been named "Freakfest On State Street." Events such as these have helped contribute to the city's nickname of "Madtown."


Madison's vibrant music scene covers a wide spectrum of living musical culture.

Several venues offer live music every night of the week, spreading from the historic Barrymore Theatre on the eastside to the Annex on the west side. Several small coffee houses and wine bars offer live music every night in all formats. Closer to downtown, the High Noon Saloon is developing a national reputation for developing and breaking indie rock and local acts. The biggest headliners generally perform at the Orpheum Theatre, the Overture Center or at the UW Theatre on campus. Other popular rock and pop venues include the Majestic Theater, the Frequency, and as of late, the Great Dane Pub.

The Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps has provided youth aged 16–22 opportunities to perform across North America every summer since 1938. The University of Wisconsin Marching Band is a popular marching bands.
Popular bands and musicians

Garbage is the city's most recognized contemporary contribution to popular music. The multi-million album selling alternative-rock band has been based out of Madison since formation in 1994 by producer-musician Butch Vig of Viroqua. Vig is well-known for producing albums for such highly regarded bands as Bongzilla, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Fall Out Boy and Against Me!.

Madison has a lively independent rock scene, and local independent record labels include Crustacean Records, and Art Paul Schlosser Inc which is the label for Art Paul Schlosser who has been on the WGN-TV news in Chicago and has had his songs played on the Dr Demento radio show. Another Dr. Demento and weekly live karaoke favorite is The Gomers, who have a Madison Mayoral Proclamation named after them and have performed with fellow Wisconsin residents Les Paul and Steve Miller.

Madison is also home to Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers, Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Clyde Stubblefield of Funky Drummer fame, and musicians Roscoe Mitchell, Richard Davis, Ben Sidran, Reptile Palace Orchestra, Killdozer, Polydream, Zola Jesus and Harmonious Wail.

Music festivals

In the summer months Madison hosts many music festivals, most notably the Waterfront Festival, the Willy St. Fair, Atwood Summerfest, Isthmus Jazz Festival, The Orton Park Festival, Forward Music Festival, 94.1 WJJO's Band Camp, Greekfest, Madison Pop Festival, the WORT Block Party and the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival, with more being added all the time. One of the latest additions is the Fête de Marquette, taking place near or on Bastille Day (7/14), at Central Park. This new festival celebrates French music, with a focus on Cajun influences. Madison also hosts an annual electronic music festival, Reverence and Folkball, a world music and Folk dance festival held annually in January.


Museums include the UW–Madison's Chazen Museum of Art (formerly the Elvehjem Museum), the Wisconsin Historical Museum (run by the Wisconsin Historical Society), the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Madison Children's Museum,[62] and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Madison is also the home of many independent art studios and galleries. It hosts the annual Art Fair on the Square, a juried exhibition, and the complementary Art Fair Off the Square.

Performing arts

The Madison Opera, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Forward Theatre Company, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Madison Ballet are some of the professional resident companies of the Overture Center for the Arts. The city is also home to a number of smaller performing arts organizations, including a group of theater companies that present in the Bartell Theatre, a former movie palace that was renovated into live theater spaces, and Opera for the Young, an opera company that performs for elementary school students across the Midwest. The Wisconsin Union Theater (a 1300 seat theater) is home to many seasonal attractions and is the main stage for Four Seasons Theatre, a community theater company specializing in musical theater, and other groups. Madison is also home to the Young Shakespeare Players, a theater group for young people that performs uncut Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw plays.

Community-based theater groups abound in many neighborhoods of Madison including the Broom Street Theater which is not on Broom Street. Past productions have included comic-style riffs on regional and local news stories such as Audrey Seiler, a University of Wisconsin–Madison student who faked her own kidnapping, causing a county-wide search that gained national attention for several weeks. Other groups include Children's Theatre of Madison, Strollers Theatre, Madison Theatre Guild and the Mercury Players.

Madison offers one comedy club, the Comedy Club on State, and has other options for more alternative humor, featuring several improv groups, such as The Prom Committee, Spin Cycle Improv, Atlas Improv, The Monkey Business Institute, the now defunct ARC Improv and Comedy Sportz, and sketch comedy groups The Public Drunkards and The Rabid Badger Theatre Company. A spearheading organization called the WiSUC Project annually hosts the "Funniest Comic in Madison" contest at the High Noon Saloon.

Several films have been at least partially made in Madison. One of the most noted was the documentary The War at Home, which chronicled the anti-Vietnam War movement in Madison. Another film that made extensive use of the city as a backdrop was the 1986 comedy Back to School, starring Rodney Dangerfield. The University's Bascom Hill was used extensively, as was the University Bookstore. The film also showed many campus dormitories, and various outdoor locales, including the Union terrace and Library Mall. More recently, the 2006 film The Last Kiss used Madison and the university as a back-drop. One early scene in the film was also shot on the Union terrace. In 2008, scenes were shot at the state capitol and surrounding area for use in the 2009 film Public Enemies featuring Christian Bale and Johnny Depp.

Madison is also home to one of the largest film archives in the nation at the Wisconsin Historical Society.


The Wisconsin State Capitol dome, closely based on the dome of the U.S. Capitol, is the jewel of the Madison skyline, and is visible throughout the Madison area due to its position on the high point of the isthmus (and a state law that limits building heights within one mile (1.6 km) of the structure).[63] Because of its location in the urban core, Capitol Square is well integrated with everyday pedestrian traffic and commerce, and the spoke streets—especially State Street and E. Washington—offer dramatic views of the Capitol.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright spent much of his childhood in Madison and studied briefly at the University, and is responsible for several Madison buildings. Monona Terrace, a meeting and convention center overlooking Lake Monona, designed by Taliesin Architect Anthony Puttnam, was based loosely on a 1938 Wright design. Wright did design the seminal Usonian House, which is located here. (Another key Wright building, the Unitarian Meeting House, is in the adjacent suburb of Shorewood Hills.) The Harold C. Bradley House, designed collaboratively by Louis H. Sullivan and George Grant Elmslie in 1908–1910 now serves as the Sigma Phi Fraternity in the University Heights neighborhood, along with many well-maintained early 20th-century residences.

The Overture Center for the Arts, designed by Argentina-born architect César Pelli, and led by Flad Architects and Potter Lawson (Madison-based firms) as executive architect, also stands on State Street near the Capitol. Since opening in 2004, the center has already presented shows and concerts in its Overture Hall, Capitol Theater and The Playhouse. The center, also including smaller performance spaces, also houses the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The style, unlike Pelli's Petronas Towers, leans toward sleek modernism, with simple expanses of glass framed by stone that are intended to complement the historic building facades preserved as part of the building's State Street exposure.

Many of the over 175 Madison buildings designed by the architectural firm of Claude and Starck are still standing, including Breese Stevens Field, Doty School (now converted to condominiums), and many private residences.

The UW–Madison campus includes many buildings designed or supervised by architects J. T. W. Jennings (the Dairy Barn, Agricultural Hall) and Arthur Peabody (the Memorial Union and the Carillon Tower). The UW administration building Bascom Hall sits atop a steep hill overlooking Lake Mendota, and has been the site of many demonstrations and events. The density of the campus has grown to include 8 to 10 story high-rises including dormitories, research facilities, and classrooms. Several campus buildings erected in the 1960s exhibit brutalist architecture, which is now unpopular. In 2005 the University of Wisconsin embarked on a major redevelopment initiative that will transform the east end of its campus. The plan calls for the razing of a nearly a dozen 1950s to 1970s vintage buildings and the construction of new dormitories, administration, and classroom buildings, as well as the development of a new pedestrian mall extending to Lake Mendota.

The downtown and near east side is currently experiencing a building boom, with dozens of new condominium and apartment buildings being constructed.

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