Marquette: One of the nations ’10 Great Neighborhoods’

'Keep Willy Street Weird' in this neighborhood
Marquette: One of the nations ’10 Great Neighborhoods’
Courtesy of La Fete de Marquette
La Fête de Marquette

History buffs adore the Marquette neighborhood, one of the oldest neighborhoods in town–and named one of the nation’s “10 Great Neighborhoods” in 2013 by the American Planning Association. Many homes date back to the early days of Madison in the 19th century. Even so, modern times have found a home here as well, in the form of contemporary condominiums and apartments. The most notable area of this neighborhood is Williamson Street, better known as “Willy Street,” and famous for its offbeat, hippie vibe. The locals have a slogan, “Keep Willy Street Weird.” It suits this eclectic neighborhood to a T, with its one-of-a-kind, locally owned shops and restaurants, including the very popular organic market Willy Street Co-Op. Home to many artists and creative folks, the Marquette area, no surprise, is practically the festival capital of Madison, hosting four every year–plus a chili dinner in March. In the spirit of oddness, you will find many unique eateries, such as Pig in a Fur Coat and Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar for fine dining, and Lazy Jane’s Cafe and Bakery for a more casual meal.

A Must-Do: La Fête de Marquette. The Marquette neighborhood hosts its fair share of festivals every year. One that draws a lot of attention is La Fête de Marquette, a four-day eating, drinking and music-playing extravaganza in Central Park. Festival lovers of all ages are welcome.


— Wil-Mar Community Center, 953 Jenifer St.

— Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St.

— Community Gardens, 2000 to 2100 blocks of E.Main St.

— Fire station #3, 1217 Williamson St.

— Police station: Central and East Districts, 211 S. Carroll St.

— Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St.; Hawthorne Branch, 2707 E. Washington Ave.

— Neighborhood contact: Lynn Lee, 608-512-6147

— Newsletter: Wil-Mar Gazette; contact Shelli Lawler, 608-256-3527

Return to the newcomers guide to Madison here.