LGBTQ Madison : What to Know When Moving to Madtown

Madison, or “Madtown” as it is affectionately called by residents is located in south central Wisconsin, on an isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona. It is very gay-friendly university town, and a well-educated and progressive community. It has a quirky and unique personality, and offers residents a perfect balance of outdoor recreational opportunities for enjoying nature’s beauty, plenty of arts and entertainment options, and boundless opportunity to grow and thrive. Truly, it would be a wonderful place to call home.

A Look at Madison’s History

For thousands of years prior to the time that white settlers arrived, the area that is now Madison was occupied by Native American peoples, many of whom continued to live in the area until as recently as the 1940s. In the early 1800s, a judge and land speculator named James Doty discovered the isthmus, and liked it so much that he purchased much of the area. In 1836, Doty convinced the legislature at the time to make the area the state capitol, and it was officially named after James Madison, the 4th president of the United States. Madison has continued growing since that time, and today it remains the state capitol, and it is also home to the state’s largest university campus. Madison has long been a center of the state’s culture and intellectual life, and to this day, it is known as being a very progressive and eclectic place that many diverse groups are proud to call home.

A Few Fun Facts About Madison

  • Madison is the capitol of Wisconsin. The capitol building was constructed in 1917, and was created with 43 types of stone from six countries and eight states. A city ordinance prevents any new building from being taller than the capitol dome.
  • Madison is a city of lakes – five beautiful lakes in fact - Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa, and Kegonsa.
  • Madison is a city with a rich history – in fact, Madison has 140 properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Camp Randall, the Gates of Heaven Synagogue and several houses.

Find more fun facts about Madison here.


The LGBTQ Community in Madison

Madison has a thriving, warm, and welcoming LGBTQ community that it well supported by various resources and community centers in the city. Some of those centers include:

Outreach Madison

Outreach Madison is an LGBTQ community center located in the heart of Madison. The center has a mission to advance equity and quality of life for all LGBTQ+ people, and to create a community in Madison where all LGBTQ people feel welcomed and celebrated, and where intolerance is challenged and defeated. The center accomplishes this mission through community building, providing health and other human services, as well as economic, social, and racial justice advocacy.

PFLAG Madison

PFLAG Madison is the local chapter of the national grassroots PFLAG organization, which is the largest of its kind in the country supporting LGBTQ people, friends, family, and allies. With 500 chapters and more than 200,000 members nationally, PFLAG is a leader nationally in providing advocacy, support, and resources to the LGBTQ community.


What’s the Weather Like in Madison?

Those who live in Madison can count on experiencing four distinct seasons. While winters are generally cold and snowy, most other seasons tend to have fairly pleasant temperatures. The average high in July is 82°, and the average low in January is 10°. Madison gets an average of 36 inches of rain per year, and an average of 42 inches of snowfall.


The Best Events in Madison

Outreach Magic Pride

Outreach Magic Pride is Madison’s annual pride festival to celebrate the LGBTQ community, its friends and allies, and the unique diversity that they contribute to the city. The pride festival has been held for decades, and includes parades, festivities, educational programs, opportunities to join and participate in advocacy groups, and more. You won’t want to miss it!


Madison’s Most LGBTQ-Friendly Neighborhoods

Madison generally is a very progressive city full of unique neighborhoods and welcoming residents. Of those neighborhoods, a couple are particularly popular with the LGBTQ community:


Middleton is an eclectic neighborhood located about six miles west of downtown. It has the highest concentration of gay residents in the city, and it has what’s known as an “urban-suburban” feel with a balanced blend of restaurants, shops, parks, and businesses. The median price of homes currently listed in Middleton is approximately $429,000.

East Side

The East Side of Madison is a very popular LGBTQ neighborhood with a bustling arts scene and plenty to see and do. It offers a unique blend of housing options, and welcoming, easily walkable areas. The median price of homes currently listed in East Side is approximately $429,000.


Arts and Entertainment

Stage Q

Founded in 2001, Stage Q is Madison’s queer theater, which seeks to celebrate and advance representation of the LGBTQ community through theatre written by and about the LGBTQ community.

Chazen Museum of Art

The Chazen Museum of Art is art museum located at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It is home to the second-largest collection of art in Wisconsin, including more than 22,0000 works for visitors to enjoy.


Parks and Recreation

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

The Olbrich Botanical Gardens, which include 16 acres of amazing natural botanical beauty, were recently named as one of the top ten most inspiring gardens in North America by horticulture magazine. Truly, it is a wonderful place to spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying the wonders of nature.

Tenney Park

Tenney Park is a beautiful green space in Madison that serves as a place to walk, jog, play recreational sports, socialize with friends, or just watch boats launch onto the lake, watch your children play, or enjoy a good book. 


Madison Nightlife

The Shamrock Bar and Grille

The Shamrock Bar and Grille is Madison’s oldest gay club. Located only a couple of blocks from the capitol, it is a fun dive bar with a jukebox, dartboards, and great happy hour specials. On the weekends, it offers brunch, which is a community favorite. It’s a great place for a fun, low key time with friends.


Woof’s has a friendly crowd that often tends toward the older-side. It has what is known as a “fetish-friendly” atmosphere. Woof’s offers multiple television screens, a patio, darts, and billiards. Know before you go – Woof’s is a cash-only bar.

Five Nightclub

Five is club that offers big open spaces, a lively dance floor, and cheap but strong drinks. It holds many events, including great drag shows and other themed nights. Five is a ten-minute drive from downtown, but well worth the trip. 


Contact a Madison Realtor Today

If you are interested in finding your next home in a Madison neighborhood that’s a perfect fit for you, there’s no time like today to get started. Contact a Madison gay realtor for a free no-obligation consultation today!