Monroe Street: something different from the usual mall experience
Over 1 1/2 miles of locally-owned and diverse specialty shops and businesses make this street one of Madison's best-known and distinctive shopping districts.
Located on the near west side of Madison, the Monroe Street shops are bordered by a beautiful historic neighborhood and conveniently located near UW Madison's Camp Randall Stadium, Henry Vilas Zoo, Edgewood School and College campuses, Vilas Park and the UW Arboretum.
Specialty shops include gourmet cookware, specialty foods, women's and children's apparel, sporting apparel and equipment, jewelry and gifts. Many stores feature items from other cultures and countries, such as oriental rugs; native American Indian jewelry, crafts and gifts; English and Amish furnishings and accessories.
Monroe Street is also well-known for art galleries, antiques and interior design studios. Several galleries offer fine art, ceramics, glass, jewelry, crafts and custom-made pieces as well as framing and design services. Works by artists from all over the country are often featured.
- Family Travel
City-wide moving day: Hippies Christmas
Also known as Curb Shopping, or Trash Pickers Paradise, happens the few days before and after Aug 14/15.
Most leases around here end on the 14th, and start on the 15th. With a large student population, and a lot of renters you pretty much have chaos at that time. People get lazy, and don't want to move their stuff, so they toss it out on the front grass near the street. If it's out there, and it catches your eye--pick it up. Thus...you have curb shopping.
Even better, other spots spring up around town where you drop your stuff off you don't want anymore. Enough people do this and you have a little market going. Drop off a few things, look around and grab what you want or need. It all works smoothly. Then about August 18th or so, the St Vinnies and Goodwills of the city come by and pick up anything left over not taken. The best one is on the corner of E Wilson & Patterson St.
It gives you something to talk about at the corner tavern afterwards too. Admire, envy or laugh at some of the things people got.
The good stuff goes fast obviously. You don't find all that much nice, but it's a nice thing to use and reuse stuff you'd normally throw out. It's estimated that over 800 tons of stuff gets thrown out this week in the downtown area alone, so every little bit helps. Save that landfill space!
What to buy: Household items, pots & pans, clothes, shoes, furniture are in abundance.
What to pay: Nuthin'
Maxwell St Days
3rd friday, saturday & sunday in July.
State St is closed down and all the stores put their junk...err, stuff on sale and in the street. Some real bargains, some not so much. Bands, lemonade, and many people trying to beat the heat.
What to buy: Best place to buy U of Wisconsin gear. at least 10 different stores selling UW stuff.
Another stores was selling used dvd's for $5.
What to pay: not much. $4 for a UW shirt.
Wisconsin Cheese Store: Good place to get CHEESE!
Lots of different types of cheese! They also have souveniers and Wisconsin T-shirt's and hats.
What to buy: At the cheese shop I bought onion cheese, tomatoe and basil cheddar cheese, cheddar cheese with blue cheese chunks in it and smoked cheddar cheese. They taste fantastic!
What to pay: The cheese varies on what type of cheese it is and how large the block of cheese is. For instance, I got a pretty large chunk of blue cheese and cheddar for $10.50 and my large block of onion cheese was $6.50.
T-shirts seemed kind of pricey, $15.00-$20.00.
State Street: An eclectic mix of unique shops
We walked from near the capitol building down to State Street Brats on state street when I was in Madison. It was fairly late then, so most stores weren't open, but we really wanted to go back during the daytime, because the shops that were there were fascinating! Definitely an interesting area to check out if you're in Madison and interested in a unique shopping experience. There are plenty of restaurants there as well, and the whole area is pretty cool and vibrant, lots of college students at some of the bars along there.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
State Street Eclectic Shopping for All Tastes
I love State Street. There are over 200 eclectic shops and specialty stores featuring books, CD's, jewelry, gifts, arts, crafts, college apparel, sporting goods, women's fashions, specialty foods, bicycles, army gear, hats, eyeglasses, cigars, and of course tons of ethnic places to eat. The only street that i know of where you can buy genuine army boots and blueberry bath bubbles within walking distance of each other.
What to buy: Something for all tastes here
West Towne Mall: Madison's best shopping mall
While not as big as its sister, the East Towne Mall, this mall is arguably the best in Madison. Recently renovated and sligthly more upscale than East Towne, the mall is also the closer one to UW Campus. It has over 100 stores with 17 eateries. Anchored by Boston Store, JC Penney, and Sears, West Towne also houses Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, Bath and Body Works, Victoria's Secrets, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and The Gap to name a few. In the same vicinity as the main mall, there are also a few chain restaurants (Olive Garden, Smoky Bones), a Blockbuster, Toys R Us, a Barnes and Noble store, and a Cub Foods grocery store. The mall also have extended holiday shopping hours.
- Family Travel
A Room of One's Own: A warm and cozy place for books
A feminist bookstore with both new and used selections - many shevles devoted to literature, history and travel - something to interest all book lovers. A Room of One's Own has also taken over the stock of Avol's Books, another one of Madison's former used book stores, so there is some great browsing to be had here. I noticed that - when I was here in December 2012 - the books from the old used book store had not yet been integrated into the existing stock, so there was still a certain amount of disorganization. But I love disorganization in a book store! It always makes me pleased to find books that I didn't know I was looking for.
(If you aren't a book-lover, you can have no idea of what I mean.)
Burnie's Rock Shop: Jewelry & Semi-Precious Stones
This is a wonderful shop full of rocks, stones,jewelry making materials
Semi-precious stone beads, Austrian crystal, findings, pipestone, fossils, shells, carvings, Finished goods, great raw material, decent prices. I was awed by this shop as a small kid and still loved going as I grew older. Not a fancy store, just a buried treasure in downtown Madison.
Eastown Mall: Shopping Malls
This mall is the older of the two shopping malls. This mall is more for the true blue collar working class. The prices are resonable and do not boast of "designer shops". Even the surrounding strip malls have the same appeal. I shop at these shops rather than the ones on the west side or in Westown Mall because it is not "trenddy" and over priced. You are most likely to find a bargin in this area of town.
What to pay: Reasonable area, not over stated, tready, not designer-over priced, clerks are more helpful and not snotty.
- Study Abroad
- Family Travel
Greenway Station: New upscale, outdoor shopping center
This new outdoor shopping center is located on Madison's far west side, in the upper crust suburb of Middleton. It was opened in September 2003 and houses brand new stores and eateries that were previously unavailable in Madison, like Sharper Image, Bombay, Ann Taylor Loft, Christopher & Banks, Linens and Things, and many more.
The new Greenway Station is intended to become a lifestyle center, offering a more upscale ambiance than regular malls. Each building in the center has its own individual design and each store has its own outside entrance. Parkings are laid out in such a way that shoppers can park closer to each store than that they could do at regular malls. The cobblestone streets, benches on which to park shopping-impaired spouses and the landscaping lend an ambiance to the center unrivaled anywhere else in Madison. A Hilton Hotel was also proposed to be built on the center.
During the last holiday season, the center was brightly lit by Christmas lights and decorated with a huge Christmas tree. Horse-drawn carriage rides were also offered for free. At the time I left Madison for good, there were many stores that hadn't been opened yet. So, whether the center is going to really become the premier shopping destination in Madison remains to be seen.
- Family Travel
Hilldale Mall: Madison's boutique mall
The smallish mall is home to over 50 specialty stores, many of them locally or regionally owned. The mall's anchor tenant is Marshall's Fields, the Chicago-based department store chain that is also Madison's most upscale department store. The mall also houses the University Bookstore, Bath and Body Works, a food court, and Sentry a popular Wisconsin-based grocery store with its annual BratFest held on Hilldale's parking lot. Nicely decorated during the holiday seasons, with nightly caroling performances and free gift wrap at the customer service desk.
- Family Travel
State Street: A shopper's paradise in the heart of Madison
Linking the Capitol Square with the University of Wisconsin campus, State Street is a shopper's paradise. State Street is a pedestrian mall lined with over 200 unique shops and specialty stores featuring books, CD's, jewelry, gifts, arts, crafts, college apparel, sporting goods, women's fashions, specialty foods and much more. You can even find bicycles, army gear, hats, eyeglasses, cigars, chocolate and ice cream.
Notable stores include Urban Outfitters, Steve & Barry's for cheap UW t-shirts and other paraphernalia, Ragstock for funky vintage clothing, Jazzman and Soulman for men's wardrobe and shoes, as well as BOP for women's trendy urban wear. For the fun little gift or that really special item, there really is something for everyone on State Street!
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel