Madison is the capital of the State of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2013, Madison had an estimated population of 243,344, making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 83rd largest in the United States.
In 1996 Money Magazine identified Madison as the best place to live in the United States. It has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places list in subsequent years, with the city’s low unemployment rate a major contributor.
Madison has a vibrant music scene covering a wide spectrum of musical culture, numerous nationally renown restaurants, and is a destination for beer drinkers the world over. Every Saturday morning in the summer, the largest producer-only farmers market in the country is hosted in the Capital Square.
The main downtown thoroughfare is State Street, which links the University of Wisconsin campus with the Capitol Square, and is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes and shops. Only pedestrians, buses, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles and bikes are allowed on State Street.
The Great Taste of the Midwest craft beer festival, established in 1987 and the second longest running such event in North America, is held the second Saturday in August. The highly coveted tickets sell out within an hour of going on sale in May.
During the winter months, sports enthusiasts enjoy ice-boating, ice skating, ice hockey, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowkiting. During the rest of the year, outdoor recreation includes sailing on the local lakes, bicycling, and hiking.
Also in 2009, Madison ranked No. 2 on Newsmax magazine’s list of the “Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns,” a piece written by currentCBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg.
Every April, the Wisconsin Film Festival is held in Madison. This five day event features a films from a variety of genres shown in theaters across the city. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arts Institute sponsors the Film Festival.
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