I Heart My City: Sonia’s Madison

pancake ice on lake Mendota.jpg

Pancake Ice forms on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin

Thumbnail image for MyCityBug2.gifTo mark the release of our March issue (now on newsstands), we’re celebrating cities over the next few weeks, and we’ve asked our readers to share what they love most about their towns.

Still haven’t submitted? Here’s your chance. We’ve put together a list of fill-in-the-blank questions that should help get you started and we’d love it if you would copy and paste the list into an email, fill in your answers (as many as you like) and send your responses to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org. Declare your love for that special city in your heart!

Today, Sonia D. of Madison Wisconsin shares what she loves about her city. Sonia is a transportation planner currently living in Waukesha, Wisconsin. It’s only an hour’s drive from Madison (her hometown) but a world apart in politics, culture, and attitude.

Madison is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is the State Capitol dome.

When I crave frozen custard I always go to Michael’s Frozen Custard on Monroe.

To escape the bustle I head to the Arboretum.

For complete quiet, I can hide away in Shakespeare’s Books on the Capitol square.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from any local bar it has to be fried cheese curds.

Brennan’s is my one-stop shop for great cheeses.

Locals know to skip the downtown Farmers’ Market and check out their neighborhood farmers’ markets instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go grocery shopping at the Asian Midway.

For a huge splurge I go grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

Photo ops in my city include the Monona Terrace and the best vantage point to look at it is from the Lake Monona bike path.

My city has the most sensitive, new-age guys.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves biking.

My city’s best museum is the Overture Center for the Arts.

My favorite jogging/walking route is the Lake Mendota bike path on UW-Madison campus.

For a night of dancing, go to the Cardinal Bar. Or, for live music, check out the High-Noon Saloon.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read The Isthmus.

You can tell a lot about my city from the farmers’ markets.

In the spring you should visit Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

In the summer you should spend Friday nights on the UW Memorial Union Terrace.

In the winter you should go sledding at Elver Park.

A hidden gem in my city is Burnie’s Rock Shop (ha, ha).

For a great breakfast joint try Lazy Jane’s cafe.

The best way to see my city is by bicycle.

The best book about my city is Moo by Jane Smiley (which isn’t specifically about Madison, but it could be).

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Madison Children’s Museum.

The Paddle & Portage race could only happen in my city.

Thanks to Sonia for sharing her picks! Share your own by getting our fill-in-the-blank list and emailing it to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org!

Photo: Peter Essick via National Geographic.com


  1. Jeff Ingente
    July 29, 2011, 1:21 am

    Traveling to different places around the world is very fun. You will meet lots of people with different cultures and beliefs. The most exciting part is to eat different delicacies.

    Jeff India Travel Guru

  2. potter
    July 23, 2010, 12:45 am

    Wonderful!!We have all kinds of Tiffany Jewellery, such as Tiffany Necklaces, Tiffany Rings Tiffany Necklaces

  3. Angela
    December 9, 2009, 7:25 pm

    I grew up in Madison and it is truly a jem. Once you go there, you never want to leave.

  4. Wonderful City

  5. Sally Polzin
    February 26, 2009, 9:43 pm

    I went to school there (BA and MA) and lived there ten years. Wonderful city. Having a beer on the Memorial Union terrace as the sun went down…sheer heaven!

  6. Marilyn_Res
    February 13, 2009, 9:48 pm

    Thanks Sonia, you make me want to visit Madison and have breakfast at Lazy Jane’s!