A Green City Guide to Madison

City: Madison, Wisconsin
Population: 220,000
Green Cred: Built around or near 5 lakes, and with more than 200 miles of biking and hiking trails, Madison has long been home to a progressive, outdoorsy, and green-minded community.

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Madison's credentials as a green town go way back. The state capital has been home to senator and former governor Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day. Aldo Leopold, often cited as the founder of wildlife ecology, taught at University of Wisconsin-Madison. And landscape architect John Nolen, who focused on preserving natural beauty while incorporating the needs of urban life, has fingerprints all over the town and its park system. Today, the city has ranked highly on lists of everything from "Best Places to Live," "Top 10 Greenest Cities," "Best Farmer's Market in the Nation," "Best Outdoor-Oriented Towns," and "Top Cities for Recycling."The green vein runs deep. In 2010, the highest LEED platinum rating for new construction in the U.S. went to nearby Holy Wisdom Monastery, run by an order of Benedictine nuns. In Madison, it's easy to find excellent independent restaurants that specialize in using locally grown ingredients—and vegans and vegetarians can usually find much more than just a salad to order. If you're here for a while, enroll in the Community Car program and share in a fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles. If you're just visiting, hop in a Green Cab or step out and explore; no matter what the season, there's something green to learn about or experience.

Places You Must Go

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