Fun Facts
© Madison Children's Museum


Madison is an eclectic mix of cultures, from college town to capitol, from single students to stay-at-home moms. So it's no wonder we've earned national notoriety for some of the people and places that have contributed to what makes Madison memorable.



Madison is one of only 2 U.S. cities built on an isthmus! Nestled between lakes Monona and Mendota, Madison is renowned for its beautiful four-season scenery. 

Greater Madison is an energetic metropolis-and Wisconsin's vibrant hub-with approximately 500,000 residents.

Madison has five area lakes, over 260 parks and over 200 miles of shared-use trails and paths.

Besides boasting natural beauty and outdoor recreation, Madison plays host to stimulating cultural offerings, distinctive restaurants, excellent music venues, and unique shopping, creating a destination that enriches both residents and visitors alike.

A true college town, the intellectual offerings of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and surrounding schools attract scholars from around the world.  

There's also plenty of public transit, including green options like hybrid buses and cabs.



233,209: Madison's population in the 2010 census
42,099: Number of students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
81st: Madison's ranking in largest cities in the United States
2nd: Madison's ranking as largest city in Wisconsin
77: Number of miles between Madison and Milwaukee
122: Number of miles between Madison and Chicago
5 lakes: Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa, Wingra
6,000: Number of acres Madison has devoted to parkland
260: Number of parks maintained by the City of Madison Parks Department
10: Number of public beaches in the City of Madison
10: Number of off-leash dog parks in the Greater Madison area
14: Number of communities that make up the greater Madison area (Cottage Grove, Cross Plains, DeForest, Fitchburg, Maple Bluff, McFarland, Middleton, Monona, Oregon, Shorewood Hills, Stoughton, Sun Prairie, Verona and Waunakee)
97: Number of years guided tours of the State Capitol building have been held (tours began in 1915)
608: Greater Madison's area code
Under 30: The age of more than half of the Madison population
Under 20 minutes: the average travel time it takes the majority of the Madison population to get to work



Buckingham U. Badger: Full name of "Bucky," the ubiquitous mascot of the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Forward: Motto of the State of Wisconsin and also the name of the gold statue that sits atop the Capitol Dome.



  • Frank Lloyd Wright (architect)
  • Tyne Daly (actress)
  • Chris Farley (actor)
  • Eric Heiden (Olympic Speed Skater)
  • ​Thornton Wilder (Playwright)



  • Public Enemies (2009)
  • Barefoot to Jerusalem (2008)
  • The Last Kiss (2006)
  • Side Effects (2005)
  • The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
  • The Big One (1997)
  • Chain Reaction (1996)
  • I Love Trouble (1994)
  • For Keeps (1988)
  • Back to School (1986)



Madison's Farmer's Market features approximately 170 vendors who sell unique items such as artisanal cheeses, emu, venison, bison, rabbit, goose, duck, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and trout. 

There are over 56 craft breweries in our DMA and year-round craft events including a Craft Beer Week Festival (only in Wisconsin could a beer "week" last 10 days!)

Greater Madison also goes beyond beer, with a growing distillery district and local, award-winning wineries.

The World's Largest Brat Fest, hosted on Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center each Memorial Day weekend, has sold 3,003,435 brats since 1983 and has raised $1,092,698 for charities in that same time frame. This Madison-born celebration has been named Best Outdoor Festival by readers in 2009, 2009 and 2010. More fun facts from this festival:
            o Johnsonville Brats Consumed in 4 days: 209,376
            o "Double Johnny's" Consumed: 6,500
            o Veggie Brats Consumed: 10,592
            o Village Hearth Buns Consumed: 242,188
            o 20 oz. Pepsi Bottles Consumed: 64,900
            o Onions Consumed: 1,700 Lbs.
            o Heinz & Brat Fest Mustard Consumed: 186 Gallons
            o Heinz Ketchup Consumed: 330 Gallons
            o Heinz Sweet Relish Consumed: 180 Gallons
            o Frank's Sauerkraut Consumed: 3,978 Lbs.
            o # of FREE Live Acts: Over 200!
            o Hours of FREE Music: Over 150 Hours!
            o # of Volunteers: 5,014
            o #of Volunteer Hours Donated: 16,446
            o Number of Participating Charities: 100
            o Total Brats Sold Since 1983: 300.3 TONS
            o # of Celebrity Cashiers: 63

Plus, Madison plays host to a plethora of foodie fairs, including:
            o Great Taste of the Midwest (Beer Festival)
            o Taste of Madison
            o Food for Thought Festival
            o Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest
            o Isthmus Food Cart Fest
            o Yum Yum Fest
            o Madison Restaurant Week (Summer and Winter)



The greater Madison area features 200 miles of off-road and multi-use paths (there are also many "bike only" lanes on city streets), 260 parks, and 6,000 acres of parkland 

There are lots of ways to get out on Madison-area lakes. With 15,000 acres of lake, there's plenty of room for stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, motor boating, fishing, and swimming

In Wisconsin, winter means ice boating, ice skating, ice fishing (notice a theme here?) plus pond hockey, downhill and cross-country skiing

The greater Madison area has also played host to the Cyclo-Cross National Championships in 2012 and 2013, a sport that combines track and field like events with mountain biking 

If you can play it, chances are there is a team for it, including Ultimate Frisbee, Soccer, Softball, Kickball





1917: Wisconsin has the first electric voting machine in the world installed in the Assembly Chamber in 1917. The cost for this machine is $11,600.

1917: WHA radio, considered the oldest radio station in the nation in continuous service, begins broadcasting. Pioneering experimentation in "wireless" led to transmissions of voice and musician 1917 and a regular broadcasting schedule in 1919. Call letters were assigned in 1922.

1968: Using techniques developed at UW-Madison, the first bone marrow transplant in the United States is performed at UW Hospital.

1998: Researcher James A. Thomson announces the successful cultivation in the laboratory of human embryonic stem cells, primordial cells that have the capacity to develop into any tissue in the body.