The Vilas Neighborhood is centrally located on Madison’s near west side. Bounded by Monroe Street, Regent on the north, Lake Wingra on the South and Randal on the East, it would be hard to find a more walkable neighborhood on the west side.
The neighborhood includes Vilas park, and the renowned Vilas Park Zoo, and borders Edgewood college. It includes access to Lake Wingra, but the neighborhood is largely defined by Monroe St and its proximity to UW Madison. It is easy walking distance to the University, particularly Camp Randal. Cheers can be heard in the neighborhood on game days.
Many professors, both from UW and Edgewood college call Vilas home, for obvious reasons, and many homes in the neighborhood have been converted to multi-unit student housing, particularly in the areas bordering Randal and Monroe Streets. Homes nearer the park are much more likely to be owner occupied.
Architecturally the homes are, like many in the near west side, close to, or over 100 years old. Given the affluence of the neighborhood, a good number of those homes have been beautifully renovated while keeping many period details. The Vilas Neighborhood well represents typical turn of the century architectural styles for Madison – lots of Dutch Colonials vie for prominence among Greek revivals and colonial and federalist styles with a healthy number of craftsman bungalows thrown in. It would be hard, though not impossible to purchase a home in Vilas for under $200,000, and the prices climb steeply from there.
Vilas and neighboring Greenbush are often lumped together in the minds of a lot of Madisonian’s – but the neighborhoods are distinct, and the feeling in the Vilas neighborhood is more affluent than it’s neighbor, owing likely to its inclusion of Vilas Park and its proximity to other more affluent neighborhoods.
Monroe St is home to MANY beloved Madison businesses and restaurants. There is Orange Tree Imports, Brasserie V, Pizza Brutta, Capitol City Comics, Trader Joe’s, Barriques, Strictly Discs, The Wine and Hop Shop, Art Gecko, and the Madison Public Library – among many many more that all help to provide a feeling of very walkable community for neighborhood residents and envy for non-residents.