Beer, bratwurst, and biking, in Wisconsin’s capital.

College Life and Culture in Madison, WI
Credit: Bryce Richter, UW Communications

Wisconsin’s state capital is consistently ranked as one of the country’s brainiest and greenest cities. Home to the University of Wisconsin, the city has a robust population (235,000 and counting), endless outdoor activities, and some of the best arts—and brats—for miles. It’s a winning combination of laid-back and energetic that’s perfect for families.

Ella's Deli & Ice Cream Parlor

Stop at this old-fashioned shop, where families share overstuffed Reubens, fried pickles, and hot-fudge sundaes with grilled pound cake.

Hilton Madison Monona Terrace

This hotel has a pool and views of Lake Nonona—not to be confused with Lake Mendota, just across the isthmus.

State Street Brats

Hit State Street Brats for a taste of the famed local bratwurst.

Memorial Union

Do like the UW Badgers and hang out at this Italianate-style palace, with a terrace that has prime lake views.