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enoksrd

Madison, WI

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This was incredibly helpful! Thank you so much!

 

I agree about the cold weather clothing. I only have a few coats I used during a trip to New York and they pretty much suck. I probably won't buy a car there. I read through earlier posts that this was a bike-friendly city. Any true to that? And, is the bus system reliable?

 

Thanks!

 

I would upvote you, but I'm out of upvotes for today. :(

 

Madison is SUPER bike friendly. There are bike paths all through the city and around the lakes, makes it very easy to get around...in summer. The bus system is pretty good- it covers most of the city and like someone mentioned, it's free. However, on very busy days (i.e. when it's snowing and frigid) the buses tend to run late. At those times, get to your stop early. I lived in India, Bahrain and San Diego before coming to madison 14 years ago, so the temperature was a big shift for me as well. As Canator said, invest in good winterwear! And not Uggs. You'll get used to winter in about 2 months :)

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I'm headed to Madison in a week and I will be there for a few days. I'd love to visit some local galleries. Any recommendations?

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Thankfully the galleries in town are either on campus or within a few blocks of campus.  The major one on campus is the Chazen and the Overture Center which houses the Madison Museum of Art is about 5 blocks from campus on State St.

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Are there zip-cars on campus?

I'm visiting next week. I have lots of meetings, but what are some fun evening activities? I know about The Daily Page, but I'd like to know some specific places that tend to be great (and especially queer friendly)

Also, what is queer culture like in Madison?

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Randall/Regent St area is really noisy and full of undergrads. I'm thinking of renting an apartment in that area, maybe on Orchard St. I really like that it's close to everything I need and a bus stop, but I'm not sure if it's worth putting up with partying undergrads.

Thanks!

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Randall/Regent St area is really noisy and full of undergrads. I'm thinking of renting an apartment in that area, maybe on Orchard St. I really like that it's close to everything I need and a bus stop, but I'm not sure if it's worth putting up with partying undergrads.

Thanks!

There are some undergrads that live out there and it will definitely be loud on football Saturdays as you will be near the stadium.  If you live a couple miles farther west off campus you will probably find quieter and nicer places for about the same amount of money.

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Randall/Regent St area is really noisy and full of undergrads. I'm thinking of renting an apartment in that area, maybe on Orchard St. I really like that it's close to everything I need and a bus stop, but I'm not sure if it's worth putting up with partying undergrads.

Thanks!

 

Orchard Street is part of what is called the "Sophomore Slums" or "Sophomore Dorms." Tons of undergrads and parties. Look closer to the Trader Joe's area on Monroe Street if you're interested in that area.

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Randall/Regent St area is really noisy and full of undergrads. I'm thinking of renting an apartment in that area, maybe on Orchard St. I really like that it's close to everything I need and a bus stop, but I'm not sure if it's worth putting up with partying undergrads.

Thanks!

I live near Mound/Adams area (~2 blocks south of Regent) and it's a great area. It's little west of the "Sophomore Slums" as someone mentioned and it's fairly quiet. Though football weekends can get a little rowdy, it's nothing like the rest of that area. And it's only for a handful of days in the fall. It's close to the bus line and apartments are fairly cheap and much nicer if you look at the right places. 

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Does anyone know what the graduate housing looks like or do you have any pictures?

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I would recommend the Regent/ South Randall Area for living, or the west part of campus. I lived there for 3 years of undergrad and lived in the Regent/South Randall area, the farther south you go, the more residential and quiet it gets. There is a trader joes close by, athletic facilities, the Union and many libraries. Monroe street isn't bad either

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Graduate student housing is okay. There are some apartments that are really well kept up, and others that aren't. They are very small though, especially if you have a family. Though I've seen families with 2-3 kids live in the two bedroom apartments so it's still doable. There is usually a pretty long waiting list for the apartments though, and I believe priority is given to grad students with families. There are some great apartments off campus so I would recommend looking into that. I would look in the Willy Street area or in the Monroe st area if you are looking to get away from undergrads!

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Hi all,

Please see the thread of comments going on over here: 


I would say it depends what program you're entering into that largely shapes what neighborhood you move to, since campus is so large. The humanities majors tend to live on the east side of the capitol, like by james madison park, Burnie's Rock Shop, over by Willy Street, etc. anything within a quarter or half mile of campus is dominated by undergrads. The grad students tend to live on average more like a half-mile to 1.5 miles out from campus. Quieter neighborhoods, less undergrads puking underfoot, and (somewhat) better housing conditions & rents. 

I'm from Madison, went to college at UW, and am now leaving to go to Carnegie Mellon. If you have any other questions about Madison that these two threads don't answer, post it, and I'll try to respond. Especially look at my "Renting in Madison 101" post... (hint: renting's not simple. be prepared..)

Edited by punkrockindem

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Are there any grad students who live in Lucky? 

No. Not really. It's going to be party-central on the weekends with kids who are cool trashing apartments that start at $1000 a month. 

Edited by punkrockindem

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Does anyone know what the graduate housing looks like or do you have any pictures?

It is very secluded and remote, away from any businesses. Is geared towards families and situated in a nature preserve. it is connected to a campus bus that runs frequently.

 

Take a look here: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Eagle+Heights,+Madison,+WI&hl=en&ll=43.083433,-89.429569&spn=0.032848,0.084543&sll=40.43204,-79.928715&sspn=0.008559,0.021136&oq=eagle+heights,+madison&gl=us&hnear=Eagle+Heights,+Madison,+Dane,+Wisconsin+53705&t=m&z=14

 

it's far away from everything.

Edited by punkrockindem

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Randall/Regent St area is really noisy and full of undergrads. I'm thinking of renting an apartment in that area, maybe on Orchard St. I really like that it's close to everything I need and a bus stop, but I'm not sure if it's worth putting up with partying undergrads.

Thanks!

The buses don't run very efficiently north to south, especially over by orchard.... you'll notice the routes mostly run east to west. That's why a lot of grad students live on Johnson and Gorham or Willy Street. Monroe Street is served by fewer routes, but also connects into the transit grid. 

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Does anyone know about the co-ops in Madison? I currently live in one that's affiliated with my university and love the lifestyle and community there and would like to live in one as a grad student as well. I've heard that Madison also has many co-ops and was wondering if anyone had any general information or insights on them.

The Co-ops that are part of the Madison Community Cooperative are more organized and put-together. http://madisoncommunity.coop/

There are a number of coops that are not part of MCC, but I'd start there. 

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Are there zip-cars on campus?

I'm visiting next week. I have lots of meetings, but what are some fun evening activities? I know about The Daily Page, but I'd like to know some specific places that tend to be great (and especially queer friendly)

Also, what is queer culture like in Madison?

There's a local version called community cars: http://www.communitycar.com/rates/

If you're just looking for a car in the short-term while you're visiting, you're better off renting a car.

Trek has a bike-kiosk rental program called B-Cycle that's about to open back up for the season (it's still cold and icy..) http://madison.bcycle.com/

The bikes are meant for short-distance, errand-based rentals, not daily check outs. 

If you want to rent a bike check out:

Budget Bicycle: http://budgetbicyclectr.com/Bicycle-Road-Mountain-Bike-Rentals-Madison

Machinery Row Bicycles: http://www.machineryrowbicycles.com/index.php/rentals

On Queer culture, check this out: 

It's really strong. The Shamrock- dive bar for all-ages. Woofs- Sports bar/BMSD videos on the tvs, where the bears hang out. Plan B- dance club frequented by all, gay & straight (to the annoyance of some in the LGBT community..) are the three most-known "gay bars"

But unless you're going to the undergraduate bro-bars that are a disaster (the KK, Red Shed, Wandos, etc) everyone/everywhere else should be cool with you. 

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the Randall/Regent St area is really noisy and full of undergrads. I'm thinking of renting an apartment in that area, maybe on Orchard St. I really like that it's close to everything I need and a bus stop, but I'm not sure if it's worth putting up with partying undergrads.

Thanks!

 

I wouldn't want to live right on Regent Street if I were you- it does seem to be pretty noisy and full of undergrads. But, there are neighborhoods around that area that are just fine. I live south of Regent St., in a neighborhood near St. Mary's hospital (kind of between the Monona Bay and Lake Wingra) and my neighbors are a combination of grad students, Chinese restaurant owners, and old retired couples. It's probably a half-mile or so from Regent St. but much quieter, and pretty close to the UW Arboretum, bike path, and lots of ethnic restaurants. I have one roommate and we were able to rent an entire 2-story, 2-bedroom house for $1100/month, which is not bad at all, plus we have our own washer and dryer and a large kitchen with tons of storage. My first choice in terms of a neighborhood would have been the Near East side (Atwood neighborhood) because I lived over there for years and really liked it- feels very residential and very much like a small community even though you're only 2 miles from the Capitol square, plus you have Lake Monona right there. BUT when searching for rentals, apartments on the east side (Jenifer St., Oakridge, Spaight, etc.) were $1200+ per month, so we decided to just rent a whole house and not have to worry about having upstairs or downstairs neighbors. This was just my personal experience!

 

Also, in terms of public transit... I rode my bike up until about December. I like to bike as much as possible and yes, it's pretty easy to get around on our fantastic bike paths! BUT I am not one of those hardcore cyclists that will ride in 12 inches of snow when it's 10 degrees out. Anyhow, I've lived in Madison for about 10 years and I only had a car for about 2 of those years, and I didn't use it very much. I take the bus everywhere. It is true what someone said about the buses tending to run east to west. For example, to get to my job (Near West side) to my house (Near South side) I have to take 2 buses. But just about every bus goes down University Ave. and W. Johnson Street, so if you live in the area and are traveling around campus, you should have no problem getting around. If you live in the Willy St. or Atwood neighborhoods, you can get to campus in 20 minutes or so. 

 

Madison proper isn't very spread out and it's easy to get around- especially if you're living just east or west of the Isthmus. Avoid renting an apartment right near the Capitol square because they are expensive. Areas slightly away from the Isthmus tend to be more affordable and less densely populated. I just wouldn't recommend living out in Fitchburg, Monona, or another small city outside of Madison, as it could be isolating, and wouldn't give you a very good idea of what the city of Madison is actually like.

 

Nice areas I would recommend: Atwood neighborhood, Willy St. neighborhood, Monroe St. area, Bay Creek neighborhood (a little further out, on Monona Bay, but very nice), East Johnson St. neighborhood.

 

I will also add that I lived in the East Johnson neighborhood last year and was able to rent a 3-bedroom house with 2 roommates for $1050, and we were a short walk from Tenney Park, Lake Mendota, pizza, really good coffee at Johnson Public House, and a 15-minute walk from downtown.

 

Also...winter does kind of suck. I wouldn't gripe about it, but our winters just drag on and on here. I would like to say that you get used to it (I've lived in Wisconsin my whole life), but it never really stops sucking. I suppose you just have to have a good attitude about it and find things to do, or take up a winter sport or two. I think the general consensus on Madison is..."It's a great university city with a lot to offer... beautiful spring, summer and fall seasons...but the winter sucks."

 

Anyway, if anyone has more questions about Madison, I could try to be of some service!

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I have been monitoring this thread and thank all you guys who have contributed so far! I have also decided to attend the UW-Madison as a PhD student in the upcoming fall. I have used the university's apartement located and have been quietly trolling Craigslist lol. Frankly, I am still a bit nervous about reaching out to some of the folks on the internet. I am currently waiting for another current graduate student to respond to me plea for help lol

 

I am wondering how people here have found their roommates? I would only consider one other person to live with or to rent out a studio. I am a private person who keeps to myself...but once and a while, it is nice to come home to a NOT empty home. I am sort of dreading this entire renting/looking for shelter in a different state sort of thing. :T

 

I hate winter weather, but I am gonna be a big girl and suck it up.

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Hi, iampheng. I am attending UW in the fall to pursue an MFA. I was really interested in cooperative housing, so I looked on the Madison Community Cooperative website to find openings. I applied to Phoenix and was accepted! Cooperative living isn't for everyone though. In previous places I've lived, I just used Craigslist. 

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Does anyone have a ballpark idea of how long the waitlist could be for university housing? I am waiting as a single student with no dependents while simultaneously trying to secure housing in other ways. I've never been a renter (in the USA), so it kind of sucks to be doing it out of state. I still have to hold down a job lol but at least I have no dependents, right?

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I just wanted to write that I've been looking into apartments online and all I've read have been horrible things.

 

I chose to look for a small studio/efficiency instead of university housing. :/

 

I seriously don't even know what would be an appropriate place to live. Not location-wise, but apartment complex-wise.

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^ hahaha I am in the same boat as you are. I am looking at small studios/efficiencies online since I am not in the immediate Madison area either. I am supposed to send what I think is feasible to a nice senior member of the program I am in, but I am at a loss as of what to send her---can't overload her either because that would be impolite. I am more interested in living in the near East downtown area, but I am not wed to this location. I am avoiding the bigger complexes and management properties and choosing to send out emails to smaller complexes/owner managed properties from craigslist. But so far, no one has been able to send me pictures :T

 

yellow.wallpaper, I've been reading about the ratings too---well, I haven't been taking them exceptionally seriously since it is mostly people who are disgruntled that have the most energy to vent online---that's not to say I would poo poo completely negative ratings. If something sound serious, I'd avoid them too. I applied for university housing because of the potential freebies, and I have a car...so it has been a pretty major bump to get over in looking for housing---could cost me potentially around $50-95 just to park my car! 

 

I've emailed just one person from craigslist as a potential roommate, but alas, no response. I am wondering if my budget of $700 is too LOW.

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I lived in Madison for seven years.  Madison is full of smart people, and most are very politically involved and concerned.  It's a huge hippie town, and party town as well, so you'll have to get used to that if it's new for you.  It's very liberal - obnoxiously so.  It's also pretty reasonable in terms of cost of living, but certainly not cheap.  Schools are very good there if you have a family.  

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