Situated amidst a number of lakes, Madison boasts the best of both worlds: It's a vibrant city filled with local sounds and homemade flavors with gorgeous lake views around every turn. Miles of bike trails wind their way from downtown Madison to outside the city limits, where there is no shortage of historic landmarks and state parks to explore. And wherever you go in the Madison area, you're sure to breathe in a whole lot of what the locals dub: "Bucky Pride."
Grab your bike helmet, bring that appetite and get ready to "Jump Around." We're discovering 10 reasons why Madison is one of the coolest cities in America!
The city was built on an isthmus.
Madison is one of just two major U.S. cities built on an isthmus. (The other is Seattle.)
In Madison, it’s all about the lakes.
Pictured here: A Betty Lou cruise glides across Lake Monona, one of the five major lakes in the Greater Madison area.
Frank Lloyd Wright left a legacy here.
The Monona Terrace, Taliesin and the First Unitarian Society are just a few of the places you can visit along the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail in Madison.
There are 12+ state parks – plus a national natural landmark!
I made my way to Cave of the Mounds just outside of Madison for "ROCKStoberfest." Beer + music in an underground cave? Yes, please!
Madison’s museum scene offers hands-on fun.
Explore a wide variety of museums - from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (pictured here) to Livsreise just outside the city in Stoughton.
This city’s local food scene is a foodie’s dream.
When it comes to amazing restaurants, you can't go wrong in Madison. Pictured here: A vibrant dish from Everly on Monroe Street.
From State Street talents to national artists, live entertainment is a big deal.
Music is celebrated in big ways here - from the buskers on State Street to festivals like Live on King Street!
Madison is one of the most bike-friendly cities in America.
Roadbiking, fat-tire biking, mountain biking, bike rentals and more: Madison is considered to be one of the most bike-friendly cities in America. Pictured here: Quarry Ridge in Fitchburg.
UW-Madison is home to several (free!) hidden gems.
Allen Centennial Gardens is a quiet little escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, located right on the UW-Madison campus. Admission is free.
Madison claims the nation’s second tallest capitol building.
Madison's centerpiece, of course, is the Wisconsin State Capitol. Check out the views of downtown Madison from the building's observation deck.
Watch 10 Reasons to Love the Madison Area on Discover Wisconsin March 24-25!