Capitol Neighborhoods: The heart of the city

5 downtown neighborhoods rich with history
Capitol Neighborhoods: The heart of the city
Robert Farrel
Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center

Rich with history, the Capitol Neighborhoods encompass five districts in the downtown area, including the state Capitol: Bassett, Mifflin West, First Settlement, Mansion Hill and James Madison Park. It is an interesting confluence of old versus new, as the city’s oldest residential neighborhood has made room for trendy, modern high-rise apartment buildings.

The area attracts an eclectic mix of residents, too–from working professionals to students, and young families to retirees. The culinary scene is just as diverse. Enjoy fine dining at Graze or The Old Fashioned near Capitol Square, or grab a slice of pie at the legendary Ian’s Pizza by the Slice–the go-to place after midnight. The creative pizza flavors will amaze you, such as smoked brisket and tots and chipotle sweet potato.

Located in the heart of the city, Capitol Neighborhoods are flush with all kinds of goings-on. You won’t run out of things to do. Check out the Dane County Farmers’ Market on Capitol Square every Saturday morning from April through November; stroll down State Street (but remember not to drive down it) for some people-watching and window shopping; or attend a symphony, play or ballet at the Overture Center for the Arts.

A Must-See: Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Originally envisioned by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Monona Terrace opened in 1997 and has since become one of the focal points of Madison, extending 90 feet over Lake Monona. Great gift shop and unbeatable views of the city.


Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St.

Fire Station #1, 316 W. Dayton St.

Police stations: South District, 825 Hughes Place; Central District, 211 S. Carroll St.

Central Library, 201 W.Mifflin St.; Neighborhood Association meetings convene here the fourth Tuesday of each month

Neighborhood contact: Jeff Vercauteren, 608-445-9384, and Scott Kolar,

Neighborhood newsletter: Downtown Dialogue

Return to the Newcomers guide to Madison here.