Visiting Madison, WI’s sister city, Vilnius

Panorama of the Vilnius skyline at dusk.

Tour Vilnius from the comfort of your screen. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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Madison isn’t an only child. Vilnius is the 608’s sister city in Lithuania (one of eight worldwide). We’ve got all the details that will have you feeling the sisterly love.

What is a sister city?

Also known as twin cities or friendship cities, a sister city relationship is when two different places make an agreement to promote lasting cultural ties. The idea here is to form a fellowship that encourages trade, tourism, and even cultural exchanges + projects.

Get to know Vilnius

Vilnius is located on the Neris + Vilnia rivers in northeastern Europe — north of Ukraine, east of Sweden. It’s well-known for its street art, café culture, Jewish history, and architecture: from the historic Old Town, to the swanky Užupis district, to the centuries-old Vilnius Cathedral + Gediminas Tower.

It’s also a 2021 Global City of the Future, recognized for its foresight + economic potential.

Vilnius + Madison

Turns out the two cities have a lot in common. Our sisterhood began in 1989 as a grassroots movement, and the connection just made sense. We’re both capitals on the water, and we love getting around on two wheels (mountain biking, in Vilnius’s case).

Something else to bond over: those harsh winters help us appreciate a good brewery + a good bonspiel. As for the Lithuanian sauna experience… let’s just say we’re taking notes.

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