Madison, Wisconsin, is the largest city in the South Central region with a population of over 200,000. It is the state capital and the home of the University of Wisconsin. With the University comes a vibrant social atmosphere, students and researchers from all over the world, and a wide variety of collegiate sports.
Shoppers and festival goers will have plenty to keep them busy in downtown Madison. A stroll down State Street, the pedestrian and bus-only thoroughfare leading up to the Capitol building, will reveal restaurants, shops, and cafes of every kind. Every Saturday morning during the warm months, come to the Capitol Square and see the largest weekly farmer's market in the nation, where growers sell fresh produce and other foods from around the state. A number of other fairs, such as the Taste of Madison, a festival featuring local foods and restaurants, come to the Square each summer. On the 4th of July, everyone gathers to watch a thundering fireworks show over Lake Mendota.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the city has much to offer. The arboretum, which is dedicated to preserving Wisconsin's native trees and plants, is a popular attraction for bikers, joggers, and walkers alike. Bikers will also enjoy the many biking trails throughout the city, perfect for commuting and recreation. The isthmus of Madison lies between three beautiful lakes: Mendota to the north, and Monona and Wingra to the south. These lakes provide days of summer fun for boaters and sailors, and for the people who come to sit and sip a cold drink at the Memorial Union Terrace, the University's huge outdoor cafe with a view of Lake Mendota.
Just a little north of Madison you will find Wisconsin Dells. The 100-foot cliffs stretching along seven miles of the Wisconsin River make this an area not to be missed. The town has become one of the most popular vacation spots in Wisconsin. With the largest water parks in the world, championship golf courses, water skiing shows, and casinos, it has a variety of activities for people of all ages.