Thursday, November 10, 2011
housing guide 2011
Photos by Grace liu and lorenzo zemella
You’ve gotten to know the people you want to live with and now you’re all scheming about your sweet new place for next year. But before you pick out a house or apartment, you’ve got to ask yourselves:
Where should we live? By the Daily Cardinal staff
This city not only presents plenty of housing options, from residence halls to sparkling high-rise apartments to falling-down houses, but also a plethora of neighborhoods to choose from. Loosely defined by streets, landmarks and their inhabitants, these are some of the most common areas undergrads choose to live, our editors among them. So, from the people who live there, the Cardinal presents a guide to Madison’s neighborhoods:
The Sophomore Slums (Spring Street, between North Park Street and Mills Street)
While the “Sophomore Slums” may not live up to the luxury of other campus housing options, the Spring Street location cannot be beat. A reasonable distance from classes, the SERF, Regent Liquor and McDonald’s (think drunk-thru), the slums arguably offer the most convenient living spot on campus. While the pregame party scene is great in the slums, it almost never gets too rowdy. So when you have that exam Friday morning, you can expect a good night’s sleep Thursday and not to wake up to drunk girls shouting (unless it’s your roommate—can’t help you there). Plus, it is more than just sophomores. How do you think underage slum residents get all that beer to play copious amounts of flip cup together in their respective courtyards on game days? Their awesome 21-year-old neighbors. Duh. So while residents may be slummin’, they’re livin’ just fine.
Camp Randall (by that big thing with the people in it)
Looking for that off campus feel but still want to be close to all the action? The Camp Randall neighborhood offers just that. Away from the hustle of Johnson Street and University Avenue, the Camp Randall neighborhood is still within a short walking distance of many main campus buildings and meeting places. A stone’s throw from Union South and within earshot of the stadium that gives the neighborhood its name, this is one of Madison’s more popular areas. As hosts of the Badger game day festivities, be ready to awake to the sounds of bean bags and the marching band on Saturday mornings if you move here. Also, get used to walking, or buy a bike, since places like State Street and the Memorial Union are across the campus from you. But don’t let that stop you from joining the party that is the Camp Randall neighborhood.
The High-Rise Apartments (all up and down University Avenue and Johnson Street)
The many high-rise apartment buildings on campus promise residents fancy amenities and luxurious living quarters, but you’ve got to be willing to pay for it. If you and your friends are exploring the idea of living in a high-rise apartment building, make sure you know what you’re getting for that higher-than-average rent. I lived in Grand Central last year, paid a decent sum of money for rent each month and in return I lived in a small, cramped apartment where my bedroom didn’t have any windows. In a high-rise, you are also very close to your neighbors thanks largely in part to paper-thin walls, so if you are the type of person who enjoys bumping beats (or uglies) on a Tuesday afternoon, high-rises probably aren’t the place for you. My apartment was fully furnished, a convenient feature, and was located right in the middle of campus, making for very manageable walks to classes and State Street. Do those advantages make up for a lack of actu-
al living s p a c e , though? That’s up to you to decide.
Mifflin/Bassett (West Dayton Street to West Wilson Street)
I moved to West Washington Avenue, the main thoroughfare of this quintessential college neighborhood, my sophomore year. Along with five other friends, we shared an 80-year old brick duplex that was (and there’s no nice way of saying this) a piece of crap. Since then, though, we’ve moved across the street and next door—that’s how much we love the neighborhood. Up and down Dayton, Mifflin, Washington, Main, Doty and Wilson, you’ll find nothing but great student houses. Many of them are more than a century old, so when it comes to places like that you’re playing a lottery to see if you’ll get something that’s falling down or one that has aged with dignity. Still, the neighborhood is great all year round. It’s fun on the weekends, quiet during the week and, on that glorious first Saturday in May, the place to be for the Mifflin Street Block Party. You can probably find a great deal there, too. Despite the recent trend of new apartments in the area, there are tons of great flats and houses available for much cheaper than you would find in other parts of campus. Find the right place and you’ll never want to leave.
124 West Gilman Well kept 6-7 BR, 2 BA Victorian House w/ porch Available Aug. 2012 $2,995 plus utilites SHOWINGS: This FRIDAY and SATURDAY ONLY Jane: (978) 335-1573
Langdon and State Street
The best part about living on Langdon is the location, since the neighborhood is close to bars and restaurants on State Street. Many of the apartments and houses are filled with fraternity and sorority members. If you’re like me and not involved in Greek life, don’t worry: They won’t bite. I’m not the partying type, and I haven’t had any problems with noise or rowdiness in the buildings or outside. My neighbors have been considerate. If you plan on staying for the summer, Langdon is the best neighborhood for access to Lake Mendota. Some of the apartment buildings have private docks and lakeside backyards. The view is not bad, either.
The Residence Halls
When people think of living in UW Housing after their freshman year, they tend to shudder in fear. Why would anyone consent to staying cooped up in a small room under the watch of some fascist house fellow? Why would people stay on campus when you could go to the freedom that is off-campus? There are plenty of reasons to stay in the dorms, though, especially in the Lakeshore area. It’s quieter than the rest of campus and can be closer to many classes, plus you don’t need to make all your own food or clean your bathroom. So don’t rule the dorms out—they aren’t as bad as they might seem.
Greenbush (South of Regent Street)
If you need to move more than 100 feet from Smith hall, you’ll probably end up in Madison’s historic “Greenbush” Neighborhood. Being a little removed from campus and the Capitol makes this a fairly quiet area, with family homes sprinkled in among the houses rented by college students. One of the main benefits of this neighborhood: the houses. No more stumbling up five flights of steps to your apartment, only to be woken up by banging on the wall from next door. You’re ground level! Unfortunately, if the place you rent isn’t about to be condemned by the city, it can also get expensive. Shop around long enough, though, and you’ll find a few nice places with even nicer deals.
graphics by natasha soglin
Published on Feb 23, 2012
In our two-page feature explaining the pros and cons of the various UW-Madison campus neighborhoods, I wanted to use the text as its own vis...