SAFETY:  First, you have to understand that this is a college town at heart.  So if your Fifth Reunion is somewhere in your past, be careful of the "when in Rome" mentality.  These are college kids - they're professionals.  Fun to watch, but stay off the dance floor!  And as fun as it looks, you should probably also tuck yourself in bed sometime before midnight.  That's really all you need to know about safety in Madison.

Recently, on the first night of the 2007 Fall semester, the Madison Police put 15 uniforms downtown.  They were very visable and the students felt pretty secure. Regardless, there was still a good share of intoxication, but overall everyone just kept in line.  Throughout the night the police were very friendly and gave respect were respect was due.  The students felt this, and returned that respect.  Madison is working hard to keep all those uniforms downtown and ensure that the fun parts of Madison (State Street) continue being what they should be - fun.  Madison isn't alone in being a place that, late at night, after bars have closed down, you should ensure that you stay with a group and take a cab.  And speaking of cabs - they're generally clean, cheap, and driven by a Masters candidate or incredibly talented musician or artist.  So why wouldn't you take a cab?

HEALTH:  Madison is an absolute oasis!  Yes, it's located firmly in the Heartland, and in the land of cheese, beer, and bratwurst.  But I've never seen a more fit city.  The city and surrounding area is Cris-crossed with biking trails and running routes.  Madison has fitness centers everywhere - including a mammoth one on the west side.  It's the home to the Ford Ironman Wisconsin (say no more!).   In the past few years several stores have opened for running shoes and apparel, several high-end and specialty bike shops and some very cool larger bike stores (headquarters for Trek Bikes and Pacific Cycle are located in and near Madison).  Finally, the University of Wisconsin pumps out world class athletes like the rest of the state pumps out dairy!   There always seems to be an Olympian walking by (two from the 1980 Gold Medal Hockey Team live in town), not to mention a couple of PGA Tour pros.

Aside from exercise, Madison is also a culinary dream.  Sure, everywhere you look they have fantastic Brats, deep fried cheese curds, and a regional fast food chain who's mainstay is called the "Butter Burger" (it's awesome!).  And whether you're in training or not, the Friday Night Fish Frys are not to be missed.  That said, there are several restaurants that specialize in organically grown local fare.  They grow some fantastic crops in Wisconsin, and people have figured out how to make some wonderfully healthy and gourmet meals with them.  For that matter, some local brewers are using that readily available produce to make some award winning micro-beers.  But that's not surprising.