Wisconsin February 05, 2018
This Wisconsin City Was Just Named One of National Geographic Traveler’s Best Small Cities
Our fabulous capital city is getting some national recognition. The most recent issue of National Geographic Traveler Magazine named Madison on it’s list of
. Madison was named “greenest,” citing the capital city’s many parks, trails and bike-friendly culture. The list takes into account things like breweries, restaurants, coffee shops, pet-friendliness and even whether a town is artsy. 29 “Cities on the Rise” from its February/March 2018 issue
Most of us already knew how absolutely stellar Madison is, from it’s spectacular food scene to its location between two lakes and near numerous state parks, our state capitol is one of those spots that we love to visit but we kind of hope too many out-of-towners don’t find out about. Madison is still on the smaller side and can feel a bit like a hidden gem that we want to keep for ourselves. Here are just a few of the reasons that Madison is so darn awesome.
The Dane County Farmer's Market is reported to be the largest producer-only farmers market in the country. Outdoors surrounding Capitol Square for nearly three full seasons, the market continues in winter, but it just heads indoors. Not only in the market a great place to stock your fridge, but you can eat your way through and it's a wonderful place to catch up with friends. The farmer's market feels like it sort encompasses all that is great in Madison at one time.
Because this is our capital city, there's plenty to see on the government side of things. In the warmer months, there are stunning views from the viewing deck up near the top of the building. is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It's accessible Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 3:45 p.m. The Capitol Building turned 100 in 2017 and there are tons of nooks and crannies to explore there.
No matter the weather, Madisonians love to be outdoors. Whether they're hiking through the UW Arboretum ...
... or taking advantage of all the nearby water, there's pretty much no reason to stay inside in Madison.
Frankly, I don't know why you'd plan a trip to Madison without making a food itinerary, too. There's so much great food here that if you don't plan ahead, you might forget something. Whether it's a simple, hearty breakfast at Monty's or a fancier brunch at Basset Street, some street food from a vendor on State Street or reservations at L'Etoile, every type of meal is covered - and covered well - in Madison. Tons of ethnic options, options for literally every budget, options on the water or up on the rooftop overlooking the city - there's something for everyone and you'll be happy Madison is a walking city as you work off some of those calories.
We love our beer in Wisconsin and Madison has plenty of craft breweries to tempt your tastebuds. From the more traditional Capitol Brewing to the less serious folks at Karben 4, there's a full spectrum of options. Adding in a few of the breweries in nearby towns means you could drink yourself through quite a few days in Madison and not ever repeat. And that's not even counting the wineries and distilleries.
One of the very best things about Madison is how many things are free. From the Vilas Zoo to the Veterans Museum and a whole lot of other stuff as well, you could spend a full weekend here and not have to spend much more money than you do on your lodging.
How many other universities can boast their very own on-site dairy? It makes sense that we have one here in Wisconsin, but if you're not an alum, you might not be familiar with the glory of Babcock Hall ice cream. You don't have to be a student to enjoy all the amazing things the campus has to offer. Grab some ice cream, check out Union South or spend time on the greatest patio that's ever been imagined, Union Terrace.
We always knew that Madison was a total gem of a place. It's an interesting mix of university town and state capital. It's been called one of the best college towns in the country, but UW isn't the only reason you should spend time in Madison. From the stellar food scene to the abundance of outdoor entertainment options, plus museums, theaters, shopping, and more, you cannot run out things to do in Madison. It makes sense that National Geographic recognized what an amazing small city it is.
What other things do you love to do in Madison? Let us know in the comments.
Looking for more to do in Madison?
Check out this amazing secret garden that makes for a perfect little retreat right in the city.