Much of the activity in Madison centers on the 18,000 acres of lake within or just outside the city limits. Madison is built on an isthmus dividing Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. The state capitol is surrounded by a huge plaza called Capitol Square where hundreds of vendors set up stalls every Saturday. The white-domed capitol building contains delicate glass mosaics and is surrounded by well-tended gardens. State Street, closed to traffic, is home to many of the city's best museums, shops and restaurants. Consistently ranked among the best places to live in the U.S., Madison's population is growing twice as fast as the rest of the US.
Madison is a city with a progressive attitude and a deep respect for culture and education. Many who come to study here never leave. Madison has several Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Wright's Unitarian Meeting House is open for tours in season. In the summer the weather is balmy and the Farmers Market bursts with colors, smells and tastes. Weekly outdoor performances by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Mad City Water Ski Team, plus a roster of festivals celebrating everything from art to beer, make summer the city’s busiest season.