Madison has been identified as the best place to live in the United States and has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places lists in subsequent years.
The main downtown thoroughfare is State Street, which links the University of Wisconsin campus with the 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.
Seasonal events include the Dane County Farmers’ Market, which is held around the Capitol Square on Saturdays. It’s the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. This market attracts numerous vendors who sell fresh produce, meat, cheese, and other products. 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 held the second Saturday in August. The highly coveted tickets sell out within an hour of going on sale in May. Madison was host to Rhythm and Booms, a massive fireworks celebration coordinated to music. This celebration was 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 hockey, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snow kiting. During the rest of the year, outdoor recreation includes sailing on the local lakes, bicycling, and hiking.
Madison was named the number one college sports town by Sports Illustrated in 2003. In 2004, it 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 is a vibrant cultural hub of art, music, food, and beer. It’s a college town where students actively support the community; it’s a naturally beautiful city with plenty of outdoor activities; there is very little concentrated poverty; it is one of the most accommodating cities for cyclists and is one of the “greenest” cities around. Those are just a few reasons why Madison is a great place to live.
Madison is 2.5 hours northwest of Chicago, 1.5 hours west of Milwaukee and 4 hours southeast of Minneapolis.
The total population is 243334.