The Near East Side: A Hotspot With Heart

Tucked in the Isthmus sits Madison’s Near East Side neighborhood — a treasured pocket of deeply-rooted, revitalized living. Hugging our scenic lakes, its streets are dotted with hip-and-cool meetspots for coffee, cuisine + creativity; gorgeous, mature trees; and a range of homes from quaint cozy to lakeside luxe. Holding dear to neighborhood events, independent shopkeeps and unrivaled access to beautiful paths + waterways, it has an elevated trendy, yet homegrown vibe. The standout for us? Its steadfast dedication to building community. With iconic spaces for engagement + connection, the Near East Side offers unbeatable urban authenticity.


Breese Stevens Field

Established 1926, Breese Stevens Field is a fixture of the East Washington Avenue corridor. With impressive masonry grandstands + iron gates, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places — yet far from just a page in history. A full schedule of open-air festivals, concerts, sporting events + markets means ‘“Breese” (as locals say) is the place to be. It hosts nationally-known bands, local artisan bodegas, family movie nights + fireworks, and an enviable range of food + drink fetes. For rousing games + fanfare, it’s also the stomping grounds of professional sports teams Forward Madison FC Soccer + Madison Radicals Ultimate. And with fellow A-list concert venue The Sylvee nearby, it’s the entertainment hub of the Near East Side.


Madison Public Market

Coming soon to the corner of North First + East Johnson Streets, Madison Public Market has everyone a buzz! Highly-anticipated, our first brick-and-mortar public market promises to be a year-round epicenter for locally grown and prepared food + beverages, handcrafted artwork, jewelry, wearables + collectibles. Slating over 130 local vendors, it will be a growth enterprise for small business entrepreneurship + community engagement. Myriad green space + gathering spots will include outdoor patios + lounge areas with food carts, B-cycle rentals + public art. With Burr Jones Park on the Yahara River + Tenney Park on Lake Mendota just a hop skip away, options will be endless for picnicking, biking + boating.


Foodie Favorites

Down-to-earth style that doesn’t sacrifice the details, there’s a nook for every nosh on the Near East Side. We could spend all day listing favorites, but here are a few top picks: 


A PIG IN A FUR COAT — with warm planked tables + soft glow of Edison bulbs, this intimate eatery offers delectable Mediterranean comfort food in an inviting, communal atmosphere. Featuring influences of Spain, France + Italy, the menu showcases locally-sourced, seasonal products and evolving beer, wine + handcrafted cocktail selection. If you’re craving more, stop by Alimentari — a European deli + market from the same ownership, featuring freshly-made pasta, charcuterie + sandwiches with bread from fellow Near Eastsider, Madison Sourdough.


BATCH BAKEHOUSE nestled into dynamic Williamson Street (Willy Street if you’re in the know), this delightful bakery features made-from-scratch goodies perfect for any palette. With old-fashioned quality, its case is filled with golden, crusty breads like baguettes, focaccia + sweet-and-savory croissants, and delicate treats like tarts, cookies + cakes. Can’t decide? A fresh weekly menu + friendly counter staff always make the perfect recommendation. A sweet stop after shopping at Hazel General Store or Stillgoods, it never disappoints.

SARDINE — our go-to weekend brunch spot, this classic French bistro offers a comfortable, upscale experience befitting the streets of SoHo — but with sweeping lake views. Highlighting fresh white subway tile, dark wood accents, open-backed bistro chairs + trademark café floors, our brunch bestie features a menu of petite plates, pastries, omelettes, salads + entrées. Complete with fresh cocktails + choices for the younger set, it’s a perennial favorite to peruse the paper, stop off the Monona Lake Loop, or recharge after the Farmer’s Market. Bon appétit!

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