New to Madison? Welcome! We’re SO happy to have you. Moving to a new city can be quite the process, but there’s so much magic in Madison, and we wanted to help, so we’ve created a must-do guide for anyone new to the Madison area, covering everything from food and events to history and nature.
Here’s where we would start.
Take Madison by bike.
Did you know that Madison is “the unofficial bike capital of the Midwest” according to Destination Madison? And for good reason! Many Madisonians choose bikes as their preferred mode of transportation and even cycle as a hobby or for exercise. You haven’t experienced Madison until you’ve taken our city by bike. Read our blog here to learn more about how important cycling is to our community.
Experience Madison’s great outdoors.
Although Madison is a thriving city, we are surrounded by bountiful lakes, parks, and gardens. Make sure to check out one of Madison’s 270+ parks year-round to experience the sun and the snow at their peak. Or, if you’d rather be lakeside, take your pick of 5 lakes spanning 15,000 acres! Our gardens are world-class, so walking through Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Allen Centennial Gardens, or UW Madison’s Arboretum is a must! And finally, we have the Henry Vilas Zoo, home to 650 animals and is completely free!
Explore Madison’s history.
Madison is rich in history - whether classical history or something a bit more out of the box, there’s something for everyone here. Check out the Wisconsin Historical Museum, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, or the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, as a start. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more unique, take a peek at the free National Mustard Museum in Middleton. And, of course, don’t forget to take a stroll in Madison’s beautiful Capitol building to take in the central hub of Madison’s political scene!
Listen to the sounds of Madison.
Thanks to our amazing venues, Madison has an incredible music scene that attracts artists from all genres. Check out Majestic Theatre, The Sylvee, and the High Noon Saloon as a starting point. Plus, our community supports the arts through free concerts and live music by some of the most talented local artists out there. Grab a ticket or pull up a chair and get ready to be amazed.
Get a taste of Madison’s food scene.
This wouldn’t be a guide to Madison without mentioning our incredible cuisine. It’s a given that our farm-fresh dairy should be at the top of your list, and with fun artisan stores like Fromagination, it’s easy to find. But don’t miss out on our other delectables! Our local produce, baked goods, and beer are sure to impress the most distinguished palates. Some of our favorite unique spots include Sai Bai Thong, RED Sushi, Mint Mark, and Everly.
Now that you’ve gotten your bearings, you’re ready to live like the locals. We hope you enjoy Madison, and we’re so happy you’re here! We love sharing our love of Madison, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions.