City Life

Words of wisdom from 4 new Madisonians

Great advice from local residents

Laura Doolin
Policy initiatives adviser, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
“I accepted a new job in Madison and moved from Chicago in May of 2016.”
First impression: “Madison is such an active city: student activity, political activity, cultural activity, outdoor activity—even in the winter!”
Favorite restaurant: Graze
Best view: From a kayak out in the middle of Lake Monona
Favorite thing: “The walkability. I love walking through the farmers’ market and checking out nearby hiking trails.”
Least favorite thing: Very limited parking and inconsistent parking rules throughout the city.
Advice to other newcomers: “Invest in a nice, long winter coat. Be prepared for the city to get louder and busier when school starts up.”
Jen McElroy
Business analyst, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
“I moved to Madison from Chicago at the beginning of December 2016 to be closer to my family.”
First impression: “Pure love! I love that I can ride my bike, walk or run everywhere I go.”
Favorite restaurants: Next Door Brewing Co. and Monty’s Blue Plate Diner
Best view: “Looking across the lake to the Capitol at dusk. It is magical and shocks me anytime I see it.”
Favorite thing: The history and the architecture.
Least favorite thing: Still unfamiliar with how to navigate the city.
Advice to newcomers: “Parking near the Capitol is expensive. Ride your bike, rent one or take a bus. Also, check into bike benefits. You get a sticker for your helmet that gets you discounts at coffee shops, bars, salons and more.”
Bob Roberts
Web developer at Getty Images
“My wife and I moved from Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2016. My daughter is working on her Ph.D. here, and when we visited, we liked the town.”
First impression: “Nice little city.”
Favorite restaurant: Great Dane for overall great beer and food; Nitty Gritty for burgers.
Best view: The view across the lake toward downtown.
Favorite thing: “The city is the perfect size. Big enough for movie theaters and malls, but not too big.”
Least favorite thing: Bad drivers and not enough snow.
Advice to other newcomers: “The buses are great here, but maddening. I found that using Google Maps for directions and then selecting by bus worked the best to find bus stops and departure times.”
Kerry Kelly
Senior human resources specialist, Fabick Cat
“I lived in Dubuque, Iowa, and decided to move back to Wisconsin, where I am from originally, in December 2015.”
First impression: “Lots to do, easy to get around, great shopping and restaurants. It’s a beautiful city that has a lot to offer people with all kinds of interests.”
Favorite restaurant: The Great Dane
Best view:  Memorial Union facing Lake Mendota; John Nolen Drive in the evening along Lake Monona
Favorite thing: Tailgating for Badgers football games
Least favorite thing: Driving the Beltline.
Advice to other newcomers: “Try to experience all areas of Madison. It is a good idea to venture out to the east and north sides, too, because they have a lot going on as well.”

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