With around 243,344 residents, Wisconsin is the second largest city in Wisconsin and the seat of Dane County. The city's history began in 1829, when the former federal judge James Duane Doty bought over 1,000 acres of swamp and forestland between the two lakes Mendota and Monona. After establishing the city in the Four Lakes region, he named it after the much-admired founding father James Madison; moreover, the street-names were chosen after each of the 39 signers of the Constitution.
Madison has been called the best place to live in the United States, with one of the biggest reasons being its low unemployment rate. The city boasts a spectacular skyline, with its downtown perched on an isthmus between the Lake Mendota and Monona, while the lakes Waubesa and Kengosa lies to the south. Madison's geographical position has earned the city its nickname: The City of Four Lakes.
The main downtown thoroughfare, State Street, is filled with restaurants, espresso bars and stores. This area is extremely pedestrian friendly, as no cars are allowed on the street aside from emergency and delivery ones.
Madison features plenty of food, fun and festivals. Every Saturday morning in the summer, Dane County Farmer's Market offers fresh produce, meat, cheese and other local and regional products. The event is the largest producer-farmers' market in the country, and is held around the Capitol Square. For music, head down to the Capitol Square lawn, where free concerts by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, are held each Wednesday evening. Madison also has a vibrant music scene that covers a wide spectrum of musical culture. Many smaller venues host a plethora of live shows, while the biggest names usually perform at the Orpheum Theatre and the Overture Centure.
Festivals abound, and one of the more famous ones is The Great Taste of the Midwest craft beer festival. This merry event has been ongoing since 1987, which makes it the longest running such event in North America. These festivities are so popular, that the highly coveted tickets sell out within just an hour in May even though the event is not until mid August!
If you come during the winter, check out the many cool activities like ice skating, ice boating, ice fishing and snow kiting. In warmer months, popular recreation includes sailing on the lakes, bicycling, and hiking.