Visitors to Outer Maple Bluff/Sun Prairie find a charming community filled with shops, restaurants and activities. The cities lie just 10 minutes northeast of Madison.
The close proximity allows locals to embrace small-town living while enjoying the convenience of a nearby major city. Residents flock to local bars and restaurants on the weekends and take advantage of the beautiful parks year round.
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Restaurants & Nightlife
Several restaurants line the nightlife hub of East Main Street in Sun Prairie. Pedestrians can browse menus from the street and decide which of the several options strike their fancy. Can't decide? That's okay -- once you are living in an East Madison
apartment, you'll have ample opportunity to try them all.
Eddie's Alehouse and Eatery has the most extensive beer selection in the area, with over 100 beers available. Beer aficionados like to order a flight to try several beers on the rotating menu. Eddie's serves hearty bar food to accompany the pints. Sample the gooey, toasted-to-perfection mac-n-cheese bites or some famous Wisconsin cheese curds.
Head over to Buck and Honey's Restaurant for a lovely fine-dining experience. The locally-owned eatery features historically-themed decor and a made-from-scratch menu. The traditional Friday Night Fish Fry, reputed to be the best in the vicinity, presents crispy cod and walleye bites. If you can make it for brunch, be sure to get the popular Crab Cake Benedict. Fresh crab cakes and poached eggs rest on a bed of crispy hash browns. The delicious dish is topped with a tangy remoulade sauce. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, Buck's presents live music on the large dining room stage. Locals like to cut a rug or simply enjoy from the bar.
The Watertower Chop House has become a popular stop for visitors. Begin with the Tuna Ponzu appetizer. The seared rare ahi tuna melts in your mouth, and the wasabi sauce provides a perfect amount of spice. Two can easily split one of the impeccably plated dinner entrees. If you prefer not to share, try the steak dinner. For $4, spring for a steak enhancement such as the peppercorn crust. Cooked to perfection, the steaks don't disappoint. For a nightcap, order one of the signature cocktails. The establishment is rumored to have the best Sidecar and Tom Collins in the neighborhood.
History & Culture
Originally settled by Native Americans, once the European settlers arrived the area began to boom economically. The lumber industry to the north made the region attractive to settlers, and the area slowly changed from farmland into an urbanized area.
As the birthplace of Georgia O'Keefe, the area has a predictably strong arts scene. The Taste of the Arts Fair, in conjunction with the Georgia O'Keefe celebration, is held annually. Local artists display their work, and instructional classes allow novices to try their hand at arts and crafts.
The Sun Prairie Historical Library and Museum has free admission. Visitors can see exhibits with an emphasis on local history, such as Native American Settlements or Medical History. The exhibits rotate, so you'll rarely see the same display twice.
Visitors find driving to be the most popular method of transportation. Interstate 94 runs directly through the area and is easily accessible from any location within the vicinity. Unless you're in downtown Sun Prairie, businesses have free parking available to patrons. In the downtown district, public parking lots won't cost you more than $5.
Although Uber does not serve this area, several taxi companies exist. You may be able to hail one from the entertainment district, but locals prefer to call ahead to guarantee a cab.
The neighborhood does not have a public transit system but instead offers a Shared Ride Taxi Service. Residents can travel throughout the city for a low charge, sometimes sharing the cab with other passengers. The city-subsidized service sends shuttles three times a day to the Madison mall, and from there you have access to the public transportation system of Madison.
Cyclists enjoy traveling the local streets. The rolling hills and plains of the area make for a fun ride, although no bike lanes exist. Walkers also appreciate the quiet, safe neighborhood.
Residents will tell you that a cost of living slightly higher than the Madison area is worth it for the safe neighborhood and small-town atmosphere. The average cost of a one-bedroom
rental lists at $872. Getting to the city center costs around $10 and gas prices run 2 percent lower than the national average. A pint at a typical neighborhood pub costs around $6, with terrific happy hour deals on domestics at many establishments.
The major shopping area of East Main Street in downtown Sun Prairie provides shoppers with a variety of stores, as cheap or as expensive as your budget allows. Take a stroll down the historic street and pop into whichever store catches your eye.
JJ Stitches has the reputation locally for being a quilter's paradise. Supplies such as wool, thread, patterns, and pin cushions make excellent gifts. Customers marvel at the intricate quilts. Although they can be pricey, shoppers find it difficult not to purchase one of these gorgeous pieces.
Although chain grocery stores such as Copps and Costco populate the neighborhood, residents prefer to shop at one of the local stores. Woodman's Market has an excellent array of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the deli department has a variety of pasta salads and cheeses. This high-value grocery store has an attached liquor store, making it a convenient one-stop shop.
The Sun Prairie Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays from May to October. Vendors sell locally grown produce, along with poultry, meats, preserves, and jellies.
Patrons of all ages enjoy frequenting the many parks available in the area. Free to the public and child-friendly, the parks provide year-round activities. Unlike nearby Madison, your dog can join you at these public parks.
A favorite of exercise enthusiasts, Renstone Park has walking paths, softball fields and tennis courts. During the winter, the fields convert to lighted ice skating and hockey rinks. Families like to pack a lunch and make use of the picnic shelters. Head to nearby Sheehan Park for more walking trails and a skate park, a local teenagers' hangout.
The neighborhood presents an annual Concert in the Park event. Three concerts at different parks over the course of the year feature local groups and talent.