What is on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin?

State Street is the heart of downtown Madison. It is anchored by the Wisconsin State Capitol and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and is home to hundreds of shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, pubs, and taverns. It also houses the Overture Center for the Arts, a museum, and a variety of performance venues.

About State Street in Madison

A thriving pedestrian mall since the 1970s, State Street is a popular spot for strolling and dining. Its sidewalks are wide and it has generous bicycle lanes that make the street ideal for walking, especially during the warmer months.

Some of the older businesses on State Street have been around for more than 120 years, including the University Bookstore and the University Theatre. These stores are still popular with locals and visitors.

Throughout the decades, State Street has changed as Madison has changed. It is no longer just a retail area with a few bars but a destination for both locals and tourists that features many high-end retailers.

It has become a hub for food and beverage, attracting a number of out-of-state restaurants that are making their first appearance in Wisconsin. It is a reflection of the changing demographics in Madison and nationwide.

Tourist Attraction with a Small-Town Feel

The street is also a tourist attraction because of its small-town appeal, street musicians, and jugglers. During Halloween, tens of thousands of people come to town to attend Freakfest to enjoy plenty of spooky fun.

A popular place for students to shop and eat, State Street is also a great place to watch a show. For instance, the Orpheum Theater is located on State Street and it often hosts special events and performances.

Shopping, Business, and Cultural District

State Street is a vibrant shopping, business, and cultural district with more than 300 retail, restaurant, and entertainment establishments that are mostly locally owned. It’s a pedestrian and transit mall is a perfect place to spend a few hours or the day exploring specialty foods, luxury gifts, trendy clothing, fair-trade goods, fine art, and jewelry.

State Street Dining

Paul’s Pel’meni has become an iconic fixture on the downtown bar scene, slinging Russian dumplings that are filled with ground beef or mashed potatoes and served with a variety of flavors like butter, curry powder, sweet chili sauce, and cilantro. Order them with sour cream to complete the experience. While not technically on State Street, it’s very close and a part of the State Street scene.

Ian’s Pizza on State Street is a popular destination for government workers, field trip kids, and college students seeking a fast and affordable lunch or quick after-work meal. Located in the historical neoclassical Wisconsin Building built in 1900, it’s a favorite meeting place for pizzaheads of all ages and backgrounds.

There are many great dining options, along with shopping and entertainment choices on State Street or near State Street in Madison. It’s a very popular spot to enjoy for an event or just for a night out on the town.

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