, the official seat of the county of Dane, is also the capital city of the state of Wisconsin
, United States of America. It is the second most populated city in Wisconsin and among the top most populated cities in the United States. Its Metropolitan area includes Iowa, Columbia, and Green, and it forms a moderately populated area.
Madison is located conveniently between the lakes of Mendota and Monona on an isthmus, with two other lakes in its proximity; lakes Waubesa and Kegonsa. It is at the heart of Dane County and is known as 'the City of Four Lakes' because of the lakes surrounding it.
Madison was named after the founding father of the US, James Madison. It has the most fantastic history, crowned with the world's renowned historic landmarks. It has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is home to some of the financial giants of the world.
Its environs are home to the most scenic spots, including beautiful natural parks, planted forests, well-manicured park fields, and fantastic biking and hiking trails. Picnicking and photography are some of the most common activities in the city, as visitors take to the best sightseeing spots like the famed Picnic Point, from where the entire downtown Madison and its isthmus can be seen. Apart from its eight National Historic Landmarks, the scenic surroundings are what attract visitors into the city.
The most outstanding landmark is the Wisconsin State Capitol building, standing mighty with its iconic dome. Numerous other buildings depicting both ancient architectural designs and modern ones crown the magnificent cityscape of the city, as can be seen from the many sightseeing spots around Madison.
Lakefront spots provide for many shopping stalls and malls, as well as many eating joints and restaurants. Many clubs and discos dot the waterfront promenades, making a considerable aspect of the vibrant nightlife of Madison.
There are many zoos around Madison, including the famous Henry Vilas Zoo, where families can visit for more outdoor fun activities. The Madison Arboretum, the scenic Leopold Nature Center, and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens are some of the other spots for outdoor fun.
Madison experiences a humid continental climate of Köppen Dfa, with a slight border on Köppen Dfb. Winter is cold, with temperatures mostly below freezing, hence the heavy snowfall. Summer, on the other hand, is warm and pleasant throughout, with ample sunshine hours per day.
Summer highs average 83.3°F (28.5°C), although there are periodic episodes of the temperature rising to as high as 92.3°F (33.5°C). Much of the rainfall is received during the season, with June
receiving the highest amount, albeit minimal at 4.5" (114.3mm) approximately.
Winter highs average 26.4°F (-3.1°C) with lows in the zone of -12.3°F (-24.6°C). Most days are dry, and because of the high snowfall, outdoor activities like skating and skiing are prevalent.
Madison is a year-round travel destination, featuring both weather extremes and, as such, all year round outdoor activities. The lakeside beaches are busy all summer long, as are the skiing and snowshoeing spots during winter. Both seasons have public events that attract attendance from both locally and internationally.
The most popular winter event is the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Festival, held annually in January
. Another beer festival, the Great Taste of the Midwest, is held over summer in August
amid tasting and drinking of the majority of local beers. During summer, Madison gathers to celebrate the Make Music Madison, when many music shows are put up in many venues in the city.