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Madison is the capital of Wisconsin, a state in the United States of America. Madison is the second largest city in Wisconsin.

The city is often described as The City of Four Lakes, comprised of Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Wingra and Lake Waubesa, although Waubesa is not actually in Madison, but rather immediately south of it.

Madison, Wisconsin

Picture in your mindís eye two pure blue, clean and clear glacial lakes surrounded by rolling hills. Fill in the picture with a charming Wisconsin city bustling with people who are eager to welcome visitors and to share this idyllic scene, and you will be envisioning Madison, Wisconsin.

Much of the activity in Madison centers upon the 18,000 acres of lake surface within or just outside the city limits. The heart of Madison is built on an isthmus that divides Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. From the state capitol, which is surrounded by a huge plaza called Capitol Square, several major streets radiate outward like spokes on a wheel. One of those streets, State Street, is closed to traffic, except for a few buses. On this pleasant oasis, many of the city's best museums, shops and restaurants are located. This area adjoins the campus of the University of Wisconsin.

The university occupies much of the isthmus west of Capitol Square. Mansion Hill is a historic neighborhood of grand limestone houses north of the Square near Lake Mendota. The upscale Marquette neighborhood is east of the Square.

Consistently ranked among the best places to live in the U.S. by national magazines, Madison's population is growing about twice as fast as the rest of the US. Madison is a great area for bicycling, cross-country skiing and other outdoor activities. It is a lively city with a progressive attitude and a deep respect for culture and education. Many who come to Madison to study at the University never leave.

A visit to Madison in the summer is delightful. The weather is balmy and the Farmers Market has a wonderful collection of colors, smells and tastes. Capitol Square, where hundreds of vendors set up stalls every Saturday, is really the center of town and a good place to start a tour. The white-domed capitol building contains delicately crafted glass mosaics and is surrounded by well-tended gardens. Moving along State Street toward the UW campus, there is the Veterans Museum, and also the Children's Museum with hands-on activities for the whole family. The Madison Art Center displays the latest in modern art.

Other fine museums nearby include the Elvehjem Museum of Art and the Geology Museum, which displays the skeleton of a mastodon that roamed Wisconsin during the Ice Age. The Babcock Hall Dairy on campus has demonstrations of cheese and ice cream preparation (and samples of the products.) The university's arboretum has more than 20 miles of marked trails that are open year-round for biking, walking and cross-country skiing. A walk or drive around the campus area always rewards you with its beautiful views.

Away from campus, visit the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and stroll through the specialty gardens, as well as a conservatory that contains a rain-forest habitat. Another interesting stop, especially for children, is the Henry Vilas Zoo. Children can ride a camel there on Sunday morning.

Madison has several buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright including Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, which is called a new Wright building because the exterior was designed by Wright in 1938 but wasn't built until 1997. Wright's Unitarian Meeting House, built between 1947 and 1951 under his direct supervision, is open for tours in season.

Madison summers are short but are exceptionally beautiful. Weekly outdoor performances by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Mad City Water Ski Team, along with a full roster of festivals celebrating everything from art to beer, make summer the busiest season on the city's calendar. Performing-arts groups and University of Wisconsin athletics provide outstanding entertainment the rest of the year.

Madison is truly a place for all seasons.
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