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Bike at Wisconsin State Capitol | © Brandon O'Connor / Flickr
Bike at Wisconsin State Capitol | © Brandon O'Connor / Flickr

How to Get Around Madison, Wisconsin

Picture of Victoria Borisch
Updated: 1 March 2018

Whether it be during beautiful summer days or frigidly cold winter nights, it’s relatively easy to get around Wisconsin’s capital. Madison’s large student population means that the areas surrounding the university are particularly pedestrian- and bike-friendly, and the city’s bus system is not difficult to navigate. In order to avoid confusing parking regulations, it’s best to leave your car and take advantage of Madison’s easy accessibility. 


For those in a hurry, traveling a farther distance, or who simply prefer a comfortable, direct route, hiring a taxi is the way to go. Madison’s licensed taxicabs can be called for pick up at one of the taxi stands around the city. Unofficial taxi apps, such as Uber and Lyft, are also popular options to help get you where you need to go.

Hopper Rides

The Hopper Rides, also known as the “Madtown Hopper,” keeps the party rolling. This rideshare service is known for its loud music and flashy lights. It aims to make commutes more fun with friendly drivers who encourage conversation and the opportunity for passengers to synch their own music so that they can enjoy it blaring through the speakers on the way home. From city tours to pub crawls and weddings, Hopper Rides is a fun way to get around town.

Madison, Wisconsin | © BobbbyLight/flickr

Madison, Wisconsin | © BobbbyLight / Flickr


Taking the city bus is one of the most cost-effective ways of getting around town, with a day ticket costing only $5. Metro Transit, Madison’s bus company, offers a range of ticket options and a plethora of stops around town, ensuring that your destination is never too far away.


Not just Madison, but all of Dane County offers an extensive network of bike routes for cyclists. Trip planning is simple with the city’s bike route planner, and the Madison B-cycle bike-sharing program makes it easy to grab a bike and go. For those with long commutes, the city offers the option of combining cycling and public transportation by including bike racks on the city’s buses.

Madison B-cycle | © Phil Roeder/flickr

Madison B-cycle | © Phil Roeder / Flickr


Walking is always a great transportation option, and Madison is an ideal city to explore on foot. State Street even has extra wide sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians. Not only is this a healthy activity, but it will also give you the opportunity to pop in and out of shops easily and discover off-the-beaten-path treasures.

Trolley Pub

Why wait until you get to the bar to have a drink when you could have one on the way? Madison’s Trolley Pub is a bring-your-own-beer bar on wheels. Fourteen people work together to pedal this pub-crawling machine around the capital, making three to four stops along the way. As an added bonus, the trolley pub’s loading location, Buckingham’s Bar & Grill, offers Happy Hour prices to riders all day long.

State Street in Madison | © Richard Hurd/flickr

State Street in Madison | © Richard Hurd / Flickr