Exploring Madison

I spent the first few days in Madison searching around for apartment and wandering around downtown Madison a bit. There’s a lot of diversity in the neighborhoods here.

The near-west side around Monroe street has a short stretch with local stores and restaurants, immediately surrounded by the suburbs.

The isthmus (between two lakes) is where the State Capitol and the downtown area are located. There’s a law that restricts the height of buildings as to not block views of the State Capitol, but it does sit on top of a hill. I don’t think I’d call the buildings around downtown skyscrapers, but it still feels like a decently sized city’s downtown should feel like.

View of downtown Madison from across Lake Monona.

But my expectations are probably shaped by living in Idaho for a year and a half.

Neat fountain of downtown, in downtown.

Monona Terrace is a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but build posthumously. The terrace is a convention center, and it hosts the local farmer’s market during the winter months. The top of the terrace is a cafĂ© whose roof is a picturesque garden/patio area. The view looking over Lake Monona (the second largest lake in the area) from the top is really pretty, and for some reason I didn’t grab a picture. I did grab one looking past the water fountain up towards the Capitol. The reverse view I bet is also really nice.

From the terrace to the State Capitol

The near east side is an urban environment; So really walkable, lots of small restaurants and shops, no chain stores (that I’m aware of), that sort of thing. I haven’t explored too much there other than restaurants, but that’s probably going to change seeing as I’ll be living there now (on the border of these two neighborhoods).

There’s still a lot of places to explore. I haven’t been to the shore of Lake Mendota (the biggest lake) nor State Street (where a lot of shopping/students/student parties are) nor the University of Wisconsin Campus. So lots more exploring to be done, although now it needs to wait until I get moved in.


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