1. My crappy, yet adorable apartment.
My apartment is old. It has cracks in the walls and more layers of paint then I would like to be aware of. Some of the windows do not open and the oven was most likely manufactured before my grandpa was even born. But it has character. It has an adorable hidden back patio where I can get some fresh air and read a book. A vine is growing over my bedroom window, which gives me privacy from the bustling street. The wood floors illuminate a beautiful contrast to the white walls, and when the sunlight hits it I feel like I am living in a castle. Within a week, this place has turned into my safe haven, my home and like a person, the imperfections is what makes it beautiful.
2. State Street.
One block away from my castle is State Street, a Madison favorite. Starting at the capital, it is a lane full of boutiques, restaurants, ice cream shops, and bars. This street is for walkers and bikers with only a few intersections for cars to pass through. This too, is full of character and flavor. As one strolls through State Street, they will most likely see college students doing tricks on skateboard, musical performers collecting tips in a hat, and a twelve person bike trolley with good old fashioned fun.
3. The bike friendly community.
There is something refreshing about the number of bikes in Madison. I am a Trek Bicycle daughter, as my dad has worked there for many years of his life. The unique part of this city is that it is difficult not to bike. Between the wide and safe bike lanes to the B-cycle program, which allows people to rent and return bikes at multiple different stations around the community, there is really no reason not to switch the car out and join the two-wheeled gang. In return, Madisonians get strong legs, gas money turned into beer money, and a healthier environment.
4. Union Terrace.
This is a place I have heard a lot about, and finally got the chance to experience the other night. Looking over Lake Mendota at the edge of University of Wisconsin, it is a place for studying, musical performances, hanging with friends, and sitting in the famous colorful Union chairs. It is a place that unites the Madison and University community, and showcases the overall culture of this city.
5. The shoes.
The majority of people in Madison wear Birkenstocks or Chacos, and even for this fashion enthused girl, there is something really laidback and refreshing about putting comfort before style.
6. Farmer’s Market.
Saturday mornings in Madison mean the Farmer’s Market and I cannot wait to lazily roll out of bed, throw on my comfortable shoes and buy fresh produce from local venders. Supporting local farmers is something the Midwest is really passionate about and Madison is no exception. Plus, the prices are very affordable for a cheap college student like me.
7. ‘Wisconsin’ Nice.
Before moving here, I lived in Minnesota for about 10 years of my life and loved every second of it. As many know, “Minnesota nice” is a popular phrase in the state because, like it says, they are known for being friendly and nice. Coming to Wisconsin, I felt the same genuine, small town, Midwest charm. People hold open doors for each other, they ask others about their day, smile to strangers on the street, and strike up conversation while waiting in line for the grocery check out. I am glad that this sense of community and friendliness doesn’t stop at the Mississippi River and I am intrigued to find out if all Midwest states share this same compassionate.
I am excited to dive deeper into this city and become more involved in the community. To call this place home means I can constantly enjoy its good vibes. This makes my soul happy; happy enough to dance all the way down State Street, in my Chacos of course.