A woman in a cyber blue wig and cat ears blows bubbles during a festival on Willy Street.

Photo by Focal Flame Photography

Willy Street Fair

Summer's Willy Street Fair and Parade opens the street to live music, vendors and entertainment.

Neat Madison Neighborhoods

Greater Madison is made up of eclectic neighborhoods, each with its own style and personality. Keep reading to discover each area’s unique attributes and start planning a stay in your favorite neighborhood today!


Vibe: Intellectual, family-friendly
Location: Near Westside

Labeled as Madison’s “first suburb,” the Monroe Street neighborhood is now considered close to downtown. Many University of Wisconsin-Madison professors call this area home, and their influence keeps the shops and restaurants quaint and friendly. Families love the admission-free Henry Vilas Park Zoo and residents stay active by exploring the UW-Madison Arboretum and Lake Wingra.

For a Piece of History: Visit Camp Randall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. There are so many unique and important iconic places along Monroe Street but Camp Randall has been around the longest. Home to the UW-Madison Badger football team since 1917, the stadium also hosted the state fair before the Civil War. Once the war started, Camp Randall housed troops, with more than 70,000 men attending training drills at the complex.  


Vibe: Funky, diverse
Location: Near Eastside

The creative Atwood Avenue neighborhood has transformed from a blue-collar district into a hip and vibrant community. Many consider this east-side neighborhood one of Madison’s most innovative due to its numerous funky shops, ethnic restaurants and cultural opportunities.

For a Slice of Heaven: Visit Gail Ambrosius for deliciously exotic, hand-crafted fine chocolates inspired by the finest, freshest ingredients. When in the Atwood neighborhood, be sure to stop-by her shop and sample the truffles, caramels and seasonal chocolates (you’ll discover why Gail was named one of the top ten chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine).


Vibe: Bohemian, eco-friendly
Location: Near Eastside

The Williamson-Marquette neighborhood, affectionately known as “Willy Street,” was the first in Madison to form a neighborhood association in 1959 and continues to preserve its eclectic heritage thanks to its independent-minded residents. The neighborhood is a haven for foodies, with restaurants featuring everything from Laotian to Cajun. Locals love the music scene on Willy Street and summertime brings many music festivals.  

For a Bit of Nostalgia: Step into Hotel Ruby Marie, Madison’s oldest operating hotel. It is now a bed and breakfast with one of the best views of Lake Monona, and it hosts a piece of history along with a complimentary breakfast and happy hour.


Vibe: Cosmopolitan, sophisticated
Location: Downtown

More than an entertainment district, downtown Madison is a lifestyle district, encompassing dining, culture and nightlife. Five areas combine to form Madison’s oldest neighborhood, and its main objective is to preserve a viable and vibrant downtown. With the State Capitol building, numerous museums, award-winning restaurants, live music and local shops, the downtown area of Madison is a mecca for anyone craving city life.

For a Piece of History: Climb the steps of the Capitol Building. Reaching to a height of more than 265 feet (three feet shorter than the nation’s capital building), the Capitol dome is topped by the elegant gilded bronze statue “Wisconsin.” Inside, a mural lavishly decorates the interior dome of the rotunda, the only granite dome in the United States. Tour the building — don’t forget the sixth floor’s observatory deck, which gives a breathtaking view of Madison.


Vibe: Up-and-coming, fresh
Location: Eastside

Johnson Street is experiencing an unprecedented boom, with creative new shops and restaurants moving in. Empty retail space is being bought by innovative new companies, merging with Madison’s experienced anchor businesses that have been around for 25 years or more. The neighborhood brings a fun vibe and an unintimidating feel, where doors are open for all visitors and residents.

For a Piece of Peace: Visit Tenney Park, which is like a picture out of a storybook. The park has winding paths, views of Lake Mendota and five picturesque bridges. It may be even more beautiful come winter, when ice skaters glide on the frozen lake and the snow-white trees reflect on the ice. The park was designed by nationally known landscape architect Ossian Cole Simonds, and is an intact example of the Prairie School of landscape architecture.


Tours & Tastings

Madison has food events and tours for every foodie. From ice cream to artisan cheese. Love craft...

Sunday Drive

If you're seeking more variety, plan ahead and add a leisurely Sunday drive to your weekend trip...

Biking Around Madison

Regardless of when you visit, don't forget your bike. Biking around Madison is a year-long...

Arts & Music

Often ranked among the best places for artists to live, Madison also serves as a vibrant place to...

Dairy Discovery

Wisconsin is known for its dairy and Madison's restaurant and retail relationship with dairy...

Fantastic Fish Fry

Finding a fantastic fish fry in Madison is easy. The hard part? Making a choice which to eat at. Let...

Badger Football Game Day Guide

It's easy to get lost in a sea of Badger red on game day in Madison.  Our itinerary has you...

History & Heritage

From capitol to campus and around every corner in Dane County, you'll love exploring the history...

Kid Friendly

Looking for kid-friendly itinerary ideas? Madison is a great place to discover destinations that...

Like a Local

You can read all about our accolades, but the best way to experience Madison is like a local!

Shopping Experience

Madison plays host to hundreds of stores, from local boutiques to major malls. No matter the reason,...

Fun in the Sun

No matter what the season, there's always a reason to be out and about in Madison. Read on for...

Tourist at Heart

Whether you're a visitor or a resident, these attractions evoke the spirit of Madison, and...

University Highlights

You don't have to be a Badger to appreciate the University of Wisconsin-Madison! Throw on your...

Madison Winter Wonderland

Explore some of the best things to do in winter in Madison, WI! Try one of these mini-itineraries to...