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Madison (Wisconsin)

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Wisconsin Madison

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Introduction

Sun set at the Lakehouse in Wisconsin

Sun set at the Lakehouse in Wisconsin

© All Rights Reserved Sir Micah

Madison is considered one of the hippest and coolest towns in the midwest. This small town has lot more to offer then great nightlife and sports events. It is also a cultural center with amazing art, restaurants and events. For people more inclined for the outdoors there is great hiking, water sports and hunting nearby. Madison is one of those towns that anyone can find something.

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Weather

Summer is wonderful. Winter is cold and snowy. Fall is nice as it is beginning to get chilly. Spring brings everyone outside as they can finally take off their winter jackets.

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Getting There

By Plane

Madison's airport is very close to town so very easy to get to. It is more expensive to fly to and from there than Milwaukee or Chicago, so also consider bus trips to those cities as possible parts of your travel plans.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Bike

Madison is a very bike friendly city (except for the weather). Bike lanes and dedicated bike paths offer routes all over the city.

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Drink

  • Le Tigre Lounge is a funky bar out by the beltline with tigers of all sizes covering all the walls. They have live jazz sometimes along with the basic entertainment of staring at tigers. There is a no swearing policy, which actually does get people thrown out of the bar sometimes.
  • State Street Brats is the University's central "college bar." Weekend nights and other days where there is some type of drink deal you can find this place packed with 18-23 year olds (many of the students have good fake ids). It's also a great place to watch Wisconsin badger football and basketball games, but you should get there early as the seating gets snatched up very quickly. They have brats and lots more bar food, but I would say there are better options for eating in the immediate vicinity.

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Learn

  • University of Wisconsin is considered a great State school and is part of the big ten. When possible you should try to catch a football or basketball game. Remember to wear red and scream "Go Badgers!"

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

Madison (Wisconsin) Travel Helpers

This is version 14. Last edited at 12:46 on Jul 11, 13 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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