Explore a fascinating variety of attractions in Madison and the surrounding communities. Every day, visitors are discovering all of the wonderful attractions that Madison has to offer. From the family-friendly Henry Vilas Zoo and Madison Children’s Museum to the historic University of Wisconsin – Madison campus to the natural beauty of Olbrich Botanical Gardens and the UW-Arboretum, there is something for everyone, right here in the city. But that’s only part of the picture!
Venture out in any direction from Madison and, amid the rolling green landscapes, you’ll encounter charming ethnic enclaves, fascinating artistic communities and some of the state’s most interesting tourist attractions.
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of WisconsinÃ¢â‚¬Madison.
View of Madison. From the Water Cure, South Side of Lake Monona, 1855.Madison was created in 1836 when former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres of swamp and forest land on the isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona within the Four Lakes region, with the intention of building a city on the site. The Wisconsin Territory had been created earlier that year and the territorial legislature had convened in Belmont, Wisconsin. One of the legislature’s tasks was to choose a permanent location for the territory’s capital. Doty lobbied aggressively for the legislature to select Madison as the new capital, offering buffalo robes to the freezing legislators and promising choice Madison lots at discount prices to undecided voters . He had James Slaughter plat two cities in the area, Madison and “The City of Four Lakes,” near present-day Middleton. Doty named the city Madison for James Madison, the 4th President of the U.S. who had died on June 28, 1836 and he named the streets for the other signers of the U.S. Constitution
During the American Civil War, Madison served as a center of the Union Army in Wisconsin. The intersection of Milwaukee, East Washington, Winnebago, and North Streets is known as Union Corners, as a tavern located there was the last stop for Union soldiers before heading to fight the Confederates. Camp Randall, on the west side of Madison, was built and used as a training camp, a military hospital, and a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. After the war ended, the Camp Randall site was absorbed into the University of Wisconsin- Camp Randall Stadium was built over the site in 1917. In 2004 the last vestige of active military training on the site was removed when the stadium renovation replaced a firing range used for ROTC training.
The City of Madison continued annexations from the Town almost from the date of the City’s incorporation, leaving the latter (by the end of the 20th century) a collection of discontinuous areas subject to annexation. In the wake of continued controversy and an effort in the state legislature to simply abolish the Town, an agreement was reached in 2003 to provide for the incorporation of the remaining portions of the Town into the City of Madison and the City of Fitchburg by October 30, 2022.