608today City Guide Live

Unwritten rules of Madison

Tell us you’re from Madison without telling us you’re from Madison.

Madison's skyline at dusk or dawn with the moon directly above the capital

Moon over Madison | Photo submitted by Melissa P.

Whether you’re a Mad City native or a newcomer, there are just some things every Madisonian understands to be true.

We asked our readers and followers to share some of Madison’s unwritten rules, from common city knowledge to relatable trends and local lingo. You won’t find these rules in a handbook, but they are undoubtedly absorbed by the community.

Road rules

“Walk and jog against traffic.” - 608today reader

“East Wash = East Washington Avenue and Willy = Williamson Street.” - @rmschreib

“Nearly every other street downtown is a one-way, so be attentive.” - 608today reader

“Avoid turning left into the Willy Street Co-op downtown.” - 608today reader

Seasonal reminders


If there’s one thing Madisonians know, it’s snow. | Photo by @izzy.larini

“There is no such thing as a bad winter, only bad preparation.” - @nkloconte

“If you have plans downtown on game day that don’t involve tailgating, consider rescheduling.” - 608today reader

“If you can’t handle Madison at its polar vortex, you don’t deserve it at its 80° boat days.” - 608today team

Social etiquette

A crowd of people, in the distance, waking around the farmers market on the square

Don’t get caught walking the wrong way at the farmers’ market. | Photo by 608today

“Walk counter-clockwise at the farmers’ market.” - 608today reader

“You can’t leave the farmers’ market without a loaf of cheese bread.” -@nel_hanson

“You’re more likely to see a dog at a brewery than a kid.” - 608today reader

“Wherever you are, if you hear “Jump Around” you’d better, well, jump around.” - @rileymayl

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