Go to A Room Of One's Own...
Go to A Room Of One's Own Feminist Bookstore & Coffeehouse!!! I may be biased because I work there, but it is the best thing in Madison that has happened to me. Seriously, I don't know where I would've ended up if I hadn't found that place and began to work there. It's such a welcoming, comfortable environment, we've got lots of selections, mainly women authors, a huge LGBT section, Women's Studies, Cultural Studies, Psychology, Health, Spirituality, Sociology, Politics, etc. They've also got t-shirts, coffee mugs, sticker, bumper stickers, postcards, journals, calendars. There aren't many feminist bookstores around, it's a struggle to keep them going. This place should definately be at the top or your list of things to see. Probably sitting outside on the balcony of my apartment, located downtown in the Mansion Hill District, on a nice warm summer evening, with a cup of coffee and a nice book. I loved looking down and watching people go by on the streets. There's always people out, especially downtown.
In Madison, the locals often refer to certain streets by their nicknames, which you will not find on any map. Some examples:
"Willy Street" = Williamson Street
"Jenny Street" = Jenifer Street
"East Wash" / "West Wash" = East and West Washington Avenue
"Fish Hatch" = Fish Hatchery Road
In addition, the 12/18 freeway that cuts across town is known as the Beltline.
Put on a pair of roller blades...
Put on a pair of roller blades and skate around downtown and Lake Monona (the best way to see Monona Terrace, as far as I'm concerned). Most of the lakefront near the city has great biking/running/walking paths, and where they end, it's fun to explore the neighboorhoods.
This is a little hole in the wall across the street from Camp Randall stadium. There isn't much of a place to sit, but the food is really good and very reasonably priced. There are lots of choices on the menu, including daily specials. And all the food is authentic. You have a choice of a full order (about $7-10) or a half order (about $3-6), with cornbread. It is a great place for lunch. Beware, the spicy food is really spicy. I really like the prawn dishes.
Food Paradise in the heart of Madison
Madison has often been referred to as having more restaurants per capita than any other American city. And State Street is noted not only for the large number of great restaurants but also for its eclectic range of ethnic restaurants. From Afghan, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean and Vietnamese to hamburgers and brats, deli, coffee shops, continental and gourmet dining, you can find whatever you're hungry for on State Street. With over 60 restaurants and over 20 outdoor sidewalk cafes to choose from, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at a different eatery every day of the week!