Shopping Malls and Centers

Go for convenience, accessibility, and selection. Those are the perks of Madison's best malls and shopping centers. You can get in and out quickly and see a ton of things. Loads of local shopping options include high-brow and low-brow stores, along with food offerings should you need a drink or a bite along the way. Check out the wide variety at places like Hilldale Mall or Downtown. Indoors or outdoors, there's a bounty to be had.


A somewhat small shopping center in Madison, East Pointe Plaza is incredibly diverse in its offerings. You'll find a few salons, dealers of tactical gear and vintage toys, a thrift store, Fraggin' Dragon (video gaming center) and Erik's Bikes, among other things. If you're looking for a place to shop that's a bit more off-the-beaten-path, then look no further.

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This street, which locals refer to fondly as "Willy Street," is the most prominent street in the Marquette neighborhood, a district which has lately seen an improvement in its fortunes and its prestige. Long known as a haven for alternative folks, Willy Street offers some off-beat shops and fascinating shops and an increasingly gentrified restaurant scene. The Willy Street Co-op, an organic food store, is a prominent resident, and in September the neighborhood hosts the Willy Street Fair, a fun outdoor festival.

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A veritable haven for bargain shoppers, this outlet center is packed with name-brand retailers. The prices may be low, but quality is high. With stores like Columbia Sportswear, Banana Republic Factory Store, Coach and Bose, even the most stubborn penny-pincher will be opening their wallet. From clothing to gifts to items for the home, this extensive collection of outlet stores will have you grinning from ear to ear as you leave with handfuls of shopping bags, still with plenty of cash to burn.

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Home to several shops, hotels and restaurants, one could easily find everything they want and more at Madison's Greenway Station. This outdoor shopping complex houses over 35 diverse stores, national and locally-owned, which carry everything from home goods to clothing, shoes and accessories for everyone in the family. With names like Ann Taylor LOFT, Marshall's, Claire's, World Market and more, you can bounce from shop to shop all day long, while enjoying the gorgeous surroundings offered by Greenway Station.

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Year-round, but especially during the summer, this fantastic local market plies Madison residents with incredible foodstuffs. Farmers from all over bring in produce, cheese, preserves, baked goods, meats, herbs, and bedding plants. For thirty years, the market has been one of the region's best, and local restaurateurs often scour it for daily specials. The turn-out for the market is huge, so make sure to get there early. The Wednesday market is held at the 200 block of MLK, Jr Boulevard. The Saturday market is held at different locations throughout the year: January-April at the Madison Senior Center 330 West Mifflin Street, May-October at Capitol Square, and November-December at Monona Terrace.

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State Street

Perhaps Madison's most well-known thoroughfare, State Street stretches from UW-Madison to the State Capitol. The six-block pedestrian mall is chock-a-block with businesses, from ethnic restaurants and book stores to apparel boutiques and art galleries, jewelry shops and coffee houses to nightclubs and theaters. Also in the area are a number of museums, including the Madison Children's Museum. Depending on when you're around, you may also encounter some sort of festivity or event at Capitol Square.

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Folks on Madison's west side favor this convenient mall, which offers one-stop shopping for practically any need. Anchor stores include the Boston Store, Dick's Sporting Goods, Sears, and JCPenney. You'll also find Pottery Barn, H&M, Williams-Sonoma, The Limited, Aeropostale, Ann Taylor, and Buckle. A food court inside and a cluster of sit-down restaurants outside are well-equipped to handle your munchies, and a children's play area is available, too.

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One of the area's largest malls, popular East Towne Mall is anchored by JCPenney, Sears, and Boston Store. Other prominent shops include The Gap, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, Barnes & Noble, and Children's Place. Several sit-down restaurants are in the vicinity, and a cluster of to-go places can be found inside, along with a food court. The area around the mall also offers plenty of large chain stores.

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If you prefer local enterprises to ubiquitous chain stores, Hilldale is just your kind of mall. Anchored by Macy's and Metcalfe's Sentry Foods, the upscale complex offers a selection of specialty shops, including ones devoted to clothing, jewelry, music, shoes, and specific services. You'll also find a frame shop, movie theater, hardware store, ice cream shop, and candy shop.

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This charming neighborhood lies near the university and several city greenspaces and boasts a wealth of intriguing shops and restaurants in which to browse. Spread across more than a mile, the district offers practically any sort of independent enterprise you could imagine. Clothing boutiques, interior design shops, art galleries, delightful restaurants, antique stores, and domestic goods venues simply hint at the breadth of possibility. If time's short, concentrate on the blocks between 1500-1900 and 2400-2800.

Read more about Monroe Street →