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enoksrd

Madison, WI

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Sooo...I'm going to Wisc this fall and looking to move in over the summer. I'm wondering if I should check out apartments when I visit campus in 1.5 weeks. Apparently most leases end in August, so IDK if moving in in summer puts me at an advantage or a disadvantage. Does anyone have thoughts on when/how to find apts in my case? Much appreciated smile.gif

First, welcome! Second, when are you planning to actually "move in"? Are we talking May, June, July? If that's the case, maybe you can find a subletter. The Badger Herald will be issuing their Subletter Guide soon, so keep an eye out for that. If you're moving in August, take a look around town and ask some of the faculty and current grads; they should be able to give you some good advice.

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So I'm considering UW-Madison for my PhD starting this Fall. (I'm really torn between Madison and U of Michigan)

I was in Madison for an interview weekend in Feb. but I'm not convinced I really got to see what the city was like.

I know about State st. and walked down it a couple of times, but is that it? Is State st the main/only place for a cluster of restaurants, coffee shops, stores and so on? Or is there more spread out throughout the city that I just didn't get a chance to see?

I'm coming from NYC and was born and raised here and I am a bit worried about going stir crazy... Any info would be greatly appreciated.

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So I'm considering UW-Madison for my PhD starting this Fall. (I'm really torn between Madison and U of Michigan)

I was in Madison for an interview weekend in Feb. but I'm not convinced I really got to see what the city was like.

I know about State st. and walked down it a couple of times, but is that it? Is State st the main/only place for a cluster of restaurants, coffee shops, stores and so on? Or is there more spread out throughout the city that I just didn't get a chance to see?

I'm coming from NYC and was born and raised here and I am a bit worried about going stir crazy... Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Well, there are some more places in a few side streets of Capitol, the big building at the end of state street.

Apart from that there aren't really any clusters I would say, though individual places definitely.

I don't want to be negative but if you are from NYC and you are already afraid now of going stir crazy then I wouldn't be surprised if you actually do.

I went to Madison only one semester as a foreign exchange student and I had that experience a little.

You will have a hard time finding trendy bars or places to get things like good sandwiches a la Carnegie Deli, John's Pizzeria, etc.

You can get quite a lot of ethnic food but I can prepare a better pasta than the Italian restaurants there. The positive side about bars is that you can get very cheap booze, expect zip in terms of style though.

And yeah, most people in Madison are really full of State Street and think it's truly amazing, so that might give you some perspective.

I hope I don't sound too negative, it's not that bad of a place either, but the threat has been a little too positive imo so far.

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There are more places than just State Street and the Capitol. I live in the Willy St neighborhood on the isthmus (east of the Capitol) where there are lots of coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. It's definitely more of a hippie neighborhood, with a big co-op grocery store, festivals in the spring and summer at the lakeside parks, lots of gardens. It's also home to a large number of grad students and young families. As you travel north up Williamson, you'll enter the Atwood neighborhood, which is another smaller cluster of bars and restaurants. It's about 4 miles from my house to my lab on the far west side of campus, takes about 15-20 minutes to get there by bike 20-30 by the bus. I moved here from Boston and I miss the huge variety a larger city offered, the subway, and a few other things, but I really like my new home in Madison and don't regret the move at all!

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I'm going to have to second willemvanoranje here. If you're already worried about going stir-crazy in Madison, it's not a good sign. I grew up in Madison, but went to Los Angeles for undergrad, and now I'm back in Madison while I wait to move on to a PhD. It's really hard to find good restaurants and things to do in Madison. If you put in the effort, there are places to go, but everything seems toned down for midwestern tastes, and if a restaurant closes (as happens often) it can have a pretty big effect on your options -- for example, we just recently lost the city's only decent Korean restaurant.

State Street isn't the only place in town for restaurants and shops. The Willy (Williamson) Street/Atwood Avenue area has the highest concentration of good restaurants, and there are a couple more on Monroe Street and the near west side. There are a few nice Mexican restaurants on Park Street and a handful of other good options, but you have to know where you're going and have a car, generally. You can't just stroll around and expect to find something interesting to eat here.

Entertainment options are somewhat limited as well. The local music scene is pretty good, as I understand it (though I have no direct experience or interest myself). There's a decently active theater community here, between the university, the APT in the summer, traveling shows, and various smaller groups that perform downtown. It's certainly not anywhere near as exciting as a bigger city, and here too, I think it's toned down for midwestern tastes. There are only two art museums and two history museums in town, all of which are smallish.

I can think of a number of ways to survive Madison:

-Have friends in Chicago you can stay with over the weekend. Getting out, even just to Milwaukee, helps, but being able to go to Chicago without paying for a hotel room would probably help satisfy a need for good restaurants and things to do. (It's about an hour and a half to drive to Milwaukee, and two and a half hours to Chicago.)

-Make a big effort to find new places to go in Madison. Weekly newspapers publish everything that's going on in the weekend. Plan to try one new restaurant or activity a week at least, instead of just going to the same places all the time. If you make a game of finding new places to try, it might stave off the boredom.

-Change your habits. Madison is a good city for quiet people. If you like reading in coffee shops, or might like to join a knitting group or something, Madison has tons of small groups of people who share an interest. Take up gardening or something instead of going out. Except for drinking, I don't think Madison has a huge 'going out' culture, but a lot of people seem to have hobbies they work on.

But if those options seem unpleasant, Ann Arbor might be the better choice (though I've never been there and can't say anything about it).

Edited by pangor-ban

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Hi, all--

I just visited Madison for the second time. My mission: to secure an apartment. Mission successful!

If anyone is wondering about housing, I might be able to help. I went to a number of showings on Friday and was able to find a place I loved.

Somewhere else on this thread (I think), it was advised that Madison Property Management should be avoided at all costs. I wish I had listened to the giver of this advice, for it is SO TRUE. I have come away with the impression that MPM rents primarily to undergraduates that have never lived on their own. Their properties are in *horrible* condition and often do not include any utilities or parking. Laundry on site is also very unusual. Their rent prices are *extremely* high. If you take a drive around Madison, you will see MPM's signs EVERYWHERE. It seems that they own half the city and don't have the time to provide even the most basic maintenance.

Example: I booked a showing for 2149 E. Washington (do not live here). The outside of the house was actually well maintained but the interior was downright scary. The carpet was the cheapest one could find, it was peeled back from the floor in many spots, and their were burn marks and holes all over the place. When I asked if the carpet would be replaced, I was told that this was still being decided. The paint was peeling throughout and I was told there were no plans to repaint. The kitchen was a mess and the linoleum floor was also raised/coming off. The rent on this place was insane and included no utilities. The other two properties I visited were in relatively the same condition and it was made clear that there were no immediate plans to fix anything.

Basically...stay away from Madison Property Management.

I did find a great apartment which I will be renting in the fall through Palisade Properties. From what I could see, their staff is very friendly and their properties are all very well maintained. The rent was extremely fair. Additionally, they allow their tenants to paint (personally, I hate white walls) and are *very* pet friendly. I have two small dogs and housing has proven a challenge--they had no problem with my puppies!

Another reliable landlord I found was Dobson Property Management. It seems that they list their apartments on craigslist, rather than online (they don't even have a website, as far as I know). I would highly recommend checking them out. Their apartments were *very* nice and fair in price.

Housing has been a major concern for me, especially since I have dogs, and I am so relieved to have it taken care of. If you can't visit and have to rent sight unseen, I would highly recommend having someone attend a showing and take pictures of the apartment for you. In Madison, it isn't safe to judge a property solely by how it looks from outside and in what neighborhood it is in. I hope this helps someone!

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In which neighborhoods do most grad students live? What areas should be avoided (either because they are sketchy, overrun with drunk undergrads, or some other reason I haven't thought of).

In theory I'd like to live in walking-distance to campus (specifically the physics department), but I know a lot of the areas very close to campus are really really overrun with loud undergrads and probably not the kind of environment I'm looking for. Of course I don't mind having some undergrads around, but I don't want to be in party-central, as it were. Any thoughts on where I should look?

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Bump

(come on, someone in forum-land must know stuff about Madison)

In which neighborhoods do most grad students live? What areas should be avoided (either because they are sketchy, overrun with drunk undergrads, or some other reason I haven't thought of).

In theory I'd like to live in walking-distance to campus (specifically the physics department), but I know a lot of the areas very close to campus are really really overrun with loud undergrads and probably not the kind of environment I'm looking for. Of course I don't mind having some undergrads around, but I don't want to be in party-central, as it were. Any thoughts on where I should look?

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Hey quark,

If you're looking for short walk then the Vilas neighborhood would probably be a great place to start for you. There are some undergrads but much of Vilas has a more grad student/young family feel. A little further away would be the willie/jennifer street area. It's a real quick bike ride and it's close some really great restaurants/bars/coffee shops. I also have several friends who have been happy living on East Johnson- though the closer you get to the capital on the near east side, the more undergrads you'll find.

If you want to avoid the undergrads stay away from Langdon/west gorham area as well as west Mifflin/west washington/parts of the basset neighborhood.

In which neighborhoods do most grad students live? What areas should be avoided (either because they are sketchy, overrun with drunk undergrads, or some other reason I haven't thought of).

In theory I'd like to live in walking-distance to campus (specifically the physics department), but I know a lot of the areas very close to campus are really really overrun with loud undergrads and probably not the kind of environment I'm looking for. Of course I don't mind having some undergrads around, but I don't want to be in party-central, as it were. Any thoughts on where I should look?

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Bump for 2011.

So im planning on going to UW-Madison for grad school, as long as everything goes well. So any ins and outs anyone want to share. Apartment hunting tips, ect.

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Bump for 2011.

So im planning on going to UW-Madison for grad school, as long as everything goes well. So any ins and outs anyone want to share. Apartment hunting tips, ect.

Yes, me too. I have only ever visited Madison once and I would like to know more about what it is like to live there.

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Me too! I'm waiting on two other schools but am convinced I will not hear good news from them. And even if I do, I doubt they will offer me enough $ to sway me from Madison. I am going to visit on the last weekend of March, but a weekend is definitely not enough time to get an impression of the town! I am especially curious to know how and when to search for an apartment there. Judging from last year's comments, the Williamson/Jenifer Street area seems to be popular among graduate students. I also want to know what's a fair rent - I studied in NorCal for undergraduate, so anything in the triple digits for an apartment seems amazing to me, but I know that's not right...

Also, could anyone offer some tips to find an apartment in Madison while in California? I don't think I can take the time off work to go over, look around, and sign a lease.

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I currently live in Madison, WI as a non-student and LOVE IT HERE! It is a great town. There is a lot to do, but it is not too crowded. Everyone here is super nice and there are lots of great neighborhoods and restaurants.

The Willy St/Jenifer St neighborhood is great to live in, although anywhere on the isthmus is nice. I lived on Brearly St last year and loved it. Lots of restaurants to walk to, downtown, and the willy st coop. This year I live on E Dayton St. (still on the isthmus). I am far enough away from the capitol that this is a quiet neighborhood- mostly families and grads. The Atwood neighborhood is really nice too. I love Madison and would be willing to answer any questions. I know it can be kinda overwhelming moving somewhere you've never been. As for reasonable price...I think you can pretty easily find a nice one bedroom for 700-800. My apt last year was 690 which included heat. Anything below 600 is probably a grungier apartment, particularly if you're looking at apts on the isthmus where prices are higher.

Me too! I'm waiting on two other schools but am convinced I will not hear good news from them. And even if I do, I doubt they will offer me enough $ to sway me from Madison. I am going to visit on the last weekend of March, but a weekend is definitely not enough time to get an impression of the town! I am especially curious to know how and when to search for an apartment there. Judging from last year's comments, the Williamson/Jenifer Street area seems to be popular among graduate students. I also want to know what's a fair rent - I studied in NorCal for undergraduate, so anything in the triple digits for an apartment seems amazing to me, but I know that's not right...

Also, could anyone offer some tips to find an apartment in Madison while in California? I don't think I can take the time off work to go over, look around, and sign a lease.

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I currently live in Madison, WI as a non-student and LOVE IT HERE! It is a great town. There is a lot to do, but it is not too crowded. Everyone here is super nice and there are lots of great neighborhoods and restaurants.

The Willy St/Jenifer St neighborhood is great to live in, although anywhere on the isthmus is nice. I lived on Brearly St last year and loved it. Lots of restaurants to walk to, downtown, and the willy st coop. This year I live on E Dayton St. (still on the isthmus). I am far enough away from the capitol that this is a quiet neighborhood- mostly families and grads. The Atwood neighborhood is really nice too. I love Madison and would be willing to answer any questions. I know it can be kinda overwhelming moving somewhere you've never been. As for reasonable price...I think you can pretty easily find a nice one bedroom for 700-800. My apt last year was 690 which included heat. Anything below 600 is probably a grungier apartment, particularly if you're looking at apts on the isthmus where prices are higher.

Thanks! When do you think I should start looking for an apartment? And what is the best method? I'm living on the west coast so it would be most convenient if I could somehow search here through online sources...but I know that Craigslist is not necessarily the most complete listing.

Also, as you are a non-student, would you happen to have any insight on the current job market there? My boyfriend wants to move there with me but I'm hesitant about this because I'm not sure what kind of job he could find there and how soon.

And one last question - it seems that the bus system within Madison is good enough to get around on for most occasions. Do you know if there are trains or buses that will take you to/from Milwaukee? Or Chicago?

Thanks very much :)

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Do you know if there are trains or buses that will take you to/from Milwaukee? Or Chicago?

Yes, there is the Badger Bus which runs between Madison and Milwaukee. It's a bit pricey (around $25 one way, I think). There is also bus service to Chicago (Val Galder) and Minneapolis (Megabus).

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I'd start looking for an apartment in the next couple of months although you could wait longer. My first apartment I found, I signed the lease in June. Last year I signed a lease in April. The majority of places to live on the isthmus are houses and I think craigslist is your best source. That's where I found both of mine.

I was able to find a job pretty easily, but both were pretty low-end jobs (ie daycare, retail, etc.). I've known people who were able to get jobs at restaurants pretty easily too. I'm not sure what the market is for 9-5 jobs. And there are buses to Milwaukee and Chicago. I mainly bike or walk around Madison. I took a class last semester and used the bus.

Thanks! When do you think I should start looking for an apartment? And what is the best method? I'm living on the west coast so it would be most convenient if I could somehow search here through online sources...but I know that Craigslist is not necessarily the most complete listing.

Also, as you are a non-student, would you happen to have any insight on the current job market there? My boyfriend wants to move there with me but I'm hesitant about this because I'm not sure what kind of job he could find there and how soon.

And one last question - it seems that the bus system within Madison is good enough to get around on for most occasions. Do you know if there are trains or buses that will take you to/from Milwaukee? Or Chicago?

Thanks very much :)

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Does anyone here know anything about "City Row Apartments"? After seeing someone on Craigslist looking for a roommate there I went to the website http://www.cityrowapts.com/index.html and it seems that they are for low-income earners. And there is a restriction on the proportion of students allowed in each apartment (so I guess that excludes me from a 1 bedroom). It's all so strange and yet it seems like it is an awesome place to live. I want to live there but with my graduate student stipend I would make too much money to be that lady's roommate. Weird? Yes.

So, anyone know anything? What is this mysterious, magical place?

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I am going to be visiting Madison on the last weekend of March. Can anyone tell me what kind of weather I can expect during my 3-day visit? Also, I have virtually a full day to explore on my own, sans car or bus pass, before school events start. Does anyone have any recommendations on what neighborhoods to explore? I am looking forward to walking around the city and getting lost :)

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I am going to be visiting Madison on the last weekend of March. Can anyone tell me what kind of weather I can expect during my 3-day visit? Also, I have virtually a full day to explore on my own, sans car or bus pass, before school events start. Does anyone have any recommendations on what neighborhoods to explore? I am looking forward to walking around the city and getting lost :)

weather is kind of a crap shoot - we had snow in may one year I was there.

It's a beautiful city and I think you'll enjoy walking around. I think the farmers market will have started by then - definitely worth visiting on a saturday morning. the best grad student neighborhoods are a little further away from campus. It's a little loud on the weekends downtown and in the undergrad ghettos. Good areas to check out are Willy Street, Marquette, Shenk-Atwood. The area along Gorham and Johnson Streets past James Madison Park is traditionally grad student territory

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weather is kind of a crap shoot - we had snow in may one year I was there.

It's a beautiful city and I think you'll enjoy walking around. I think the farmers market will have started by then - definitely worth visiting on a saturday morning. the best grad student neighborhoods are a little further away from campus. It's a little loud on the weekends downtown and in the undergrad ghettos. Good areas to check out are Willy Street, Marquette, Shenk-Atwood. The area along Gorham and Johnson Streets past James Madison Park is traditionally grad student territory

Thanks! I just checked on Google Maps and am wondering...is Willy Street walkable from campus? And the farmers market is a fantastic idea! Thanks for that one.

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Thanks! I just checked on Google Maps and am wondering...is Willy Street walkable from campus? And the farmers market is a fantastic idea! Thanks for that one.

it's a long walk - maybe 30-45 min, depending on where on campus. It's an easy bike ride (everybody bikes in Madison - there's a great bike system)

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Is it possible to find a reasonable (in terms of place and rent) housing on July? Because I could not be there before the beginning of July and I don't want to sign the lease without actually seeing the apartment.

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Is it possible to find a reasonable (in terms of place and rent) housing on July? Because I could not be there before the beginning of July and I don't want to sign the lease without actually seeing the apartment.

Hi Whitman,

I'm in the same pinch - I'm coming from out of state. I know what neighborhood I want to live in and I know (from other students' stories) that often the best places rent early. July may be too late to get a nice place. Check out the FAQs at http://campusareahousing.wisc.edu for guidelines of timing for your apartment search.

Before you pull your hair out and resign yourself to signing a lease sight-unseen (which is dangerous, though I know people do it), ponder this: a few nice students from the cohort a year ahead of me volunteered to look at apartments on my behalf - other students did that for them and they're happy to pay it forward. I look for the apartments on cragislist/Madison campus rentals (http://campusareahousing.wisc.edu), I email/call with my basic questions and ask for digital photos, and when I narrow it down, I ask my new friend to look at the apartment with a few of my 'must-haves' in mind. Obviously, I don't want to squander my social capital before you get to campus, so I'm trying to be very selective before I ask for a "personal" tour. Check with the head of your department or even the resources at http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/gsc/gradguide/index.html.

Good luck!

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Hey everyone,

Planning on going to UW-Madison next year, and am currently looking online for apartments. I'm going for the Chemistry Ph.D. program, and see a lot of people suggesting the Old University area for science people; but I'm not really sure what street area's this entails. Also, I'm finding a lot of promising-looking options in Middleton, is this a bikable/busable area to get to campus? Thanks!

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