Where to stay in Madison – A guide to the city of the four lakes
The city of Madison belongs to the county of Dane and is located in south-central Wisconsin.
Madison is known as the City of the Four Lakes, thanks to the Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa lakes.
The university atmosphere abounds in this city, thanks to the growing University of Wisconsin and its endless cafes, gastropubs and historical attractions that set the pace and leisure in Madison.
During the fall, there are many festivals in Madison, the most famous of which is the Isthmus Oktobeerfest, with over 40 craft brewers, cold meats and cheeses that attract tourists from all over the world.
Like all of southern Wisconsin, Madison has a cold and humid climate, with really low temperatures during the winter that cause snowfalls in the city. During the summer, temperatures range between 78ºF (26°C) and 89ºF (32°C).
Due to the low temperatures of the city, lovers of open skies and sunny days should visit Madison from mid-June to September.
The Downtown area is pedestrian and bike-friendly. However, buses are also an option.
Those who visit the visit can reach it through the Dane County Regional Airport, located 20 minutes from downtown.
The best area to stay in Madison is the Downtown because of its perfectly central location (See accommodation in Downtown Madison).
Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Madison.
The best areas to stay in Madison, Wisconsin
1. Our favorite area: Downtown Madison
Downtown Madison includes the historical attractions of the city, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art that exhibits works by Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Dalí and other renowned artists.
In Downtown Madison, you’ll find the Capitol of Wisconsin, an impressive structure made in the image of the Washington DC Capitol. The other buildings in this area also have a slight resemblance to the capital of the United States.
There are plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants in Downtown Madison, most of which are attended by young adults, giving the city the lively nightlife and entertainment for which it is known.
Several bus lines cover the Downtown area. You can find stops at Broom, Gorham, Henry, and State streets.
The Downtown is one of the best areas to stay in Madison for its wide offer in accommodation, good location and because it is close to the most important attractions, so you won’t need a car while staying here.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madison, WI:
- Connected by public transport
- Best area to stay without a car
- Best area for sightseeing
- Best area for nightlife
- Wide variety of accommodation
2. East Madison (Near the Olbrich Botanical Gardens)
East Madison is a green area with numerous parks for outdoor activities during the summer, including the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
The Olbrich Botanical Gardens are truly something to behold during your stay in Madison. Its roads and landscapes present some of the most exotic plants of the Midwest.
It is important to note that, in East Madison, you’ll find the Dane County Regional Airport, ideal for travelers staying for just a few days or for business reasons.
For those who love shopping, East Madison has large malls and department stores.
This large area is served by public bus services, with stations in Atwood, Oakridge, Fair Oaks, and Water Street.
The area around the Olbrich Botanical Gardens is one of the best areas to stay in Madison for those who enjoy the open spaces, tranquility and breathtaking views that a city like Madison has to offer.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madison WI:
- Green area
- Olbrich Botanical Gardens
- Dane Regional Airport
Accommodation in this area
- Top Choice
Howard Johnson Plaza by Wyndham Madison
This hotel is located 5 miles from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, and features a large indoor pool, a restaurant and a free breakfast.
The Rodeway Inn is 4 miles from the Dane County Regional Airport and 3 miles from the Olbrich Botanical Garden.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Madison
This pet-friendly hotel in Madison, Wisconsin offers 2 dining options and a free airport shuttle service. The State Capitol of Wisconsin is 5 miles from the hotel.
3. West Madison (Near the University of Wisconsin Arboretum)
The University of Wisconsin is located northwest of Madison, next to Lake Mendota, and the campus area offers accommodations with different services to meet the tastes of any traveler.
The environment in the west of Madison is mostly residential, thanks to the apartments and student houses. However, in this area, you can find a variety of cafes and shops, ideal to spend the afternoon.
Entertainment in the west side of Madison includes the Camp Randall Memorial Park, the Geology Museum, and, for those seeking to discover the nightlife, pubs and bars with the best craft beer in the area.
Buses can be found in Linden, Babcock, Observatory and University Ave.
There is also the Chazen Museum of Art, with a large art collection that displays impressive sculptures, paintings, and photographs by local and renowned artists.
West Madison is one of the best areas to stay in Madison because of its natural attractions, the University of Wisconsin and leisure that make it the ideal area for long or short trips.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madison, Wisconsin:
- Peaceful area
- University of Wisconsin
- Chazen Museum of Art
Accommodation in this area
- Top Choice
Clarion Suites at The Alliant Energy Center
This hotel is 10 minutes’ drive from downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin.
Super 8 by Wyndham Madison South
The hotel features an indoor pool and hot tub, in-room refrigerators and free Wi-Fi.
Sheraton Hotel Madison
This Madison hotel overlooks Lake Monona and features a restaurant and café bar.
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