Bookended by the Capitol  on one end and the university  on the other, State Street is a quasi-pedestrian mall full of shops, boutiques, coffeehouses, restaurants, bookstores, museums, cultural centers, and much of the downtown’s character. People-watching along these seven blocks is a long-standing tradition.
The Madison Arts District takes up the 100 block of State Stree] along with a few blocks on either side of it for a zone of galleries, art spaces, museums, and performance venues. It was brought about by the amazingly generous donation of $50 million—later increased—by a local Madtown philanthropist.
This being Madison, it didn’t come without vocal opponents. Did Madison really need another arts venue for wine-sipping yuppies? The original plans had, quite unbelievably, planned on gutting the memorable Oscar Mayer Theater inside the Civic Center. The plans were later scaled back, but not enough for some.
Six museums and a couple of other highlights lie along State Street and Capitol Square, locally known as Museum Mile .