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9 unwritten rules of Madison, WI


Walking on the frozen lakes is a right of passage. | Photo by @behmtography

There’s a certain pride that comes with living or growing up in Madison. Often, that manifests itself in quirky ways, like specific city knowledge, trends, and colloquialisms. Think: Do you know what Willy Street’s proper name is? We’ll get into that.

While none of these rules are official or written down, they are undoubtedly absorbed by the community. If you’re lucky enough to call the City of Four Lakes home, here are a few unwritten rules that you may already know.

We’re a pretty thrifty crew

“Madisonians hate to see something good go to waste, so put old furniture and other usable items out on the curb several days before trash collection to give someone else a chance to reuse or repurpose them before they end up in the landfill.” - Julie Y.

And love to support local

“Get to the farmers market as soon as it opens to avoid heavy foot/stroller traffic.” - Joel and Leslie S.

Madison through and through is a college town

“Badgers pep song to the tune of ‘Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny’” - Frank M.

“Do not try and go to Trader Joe’s — or really anywhere on Monroe Street — on a game day. You won’t find any parking within 2 miles.” - Editor Audrey

Our city is pretty quirky at times

“Williamson street is always Willy street. Which messes up the GPS systems of out-of-town visitors.” - Betsy W.

“It’s easier to get a dental checkup than a bike tuneup.” - Editor Ryan

And is constantly developing

“East wash right after the capital is known as the Epic dorms.” - Matthew R.

Above all else, we embrace the seasons.

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

“No one uses sidewalks. I’ve witnessed this for the 18 years I’ve lived in Madison, and I still don’t understand for the life of me why I see folks of all ages walking, jogging, and even pushing baby strollers down the street, now dodging vehicles both parked and passing by, while only six feet away is a perfectly good, unused, and intentionally designed sidewalk.” - Timothy B.

Can you think of any other unwritten rules? Share them with us, and we might put your response in tomorrow’s Wrap!

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