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Situated along Northern Alabama's I-565 corridor, Madison serves as a suburb and bedroom community to neighboring Huntsville while maintaining its own unique identity and charm. The housing stock in Madison runs a wide gamut, from older homes in the historic part of town built in the early 1900s and before to a wide selection of developments from the 1990s and later, when the city saw tremendous population growth. Madison's low crime rate, excellent schools, small-town charm and proximity to the employment and recreation options of Huntsville make it a big draw for young professionals and families.
Explore the City
As of March 2018, the average apartment rent in Madison, AL is $667 for a studio, $738 for one bedroom, $817 for two bedrooms, and $1,069 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Madison has increased by 2.2% in the past year.
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Living in Madison
Madison's walkable historic district contains numerous local restaurants, while a diverse mix of chains and local haunts sit scattered around the remainder of the city. Locals rarely get bored with their choices for dinner fare, as Madison provides everything from Japanese and Thai, burgers and wings, and authentic Italian.
Casa Blanca, located in the historic district, serves as a local favorite for Mexican food, margaritas and a festive, south-of-the-border ambiance. Regulars show up with a big appetite and leave satiated, having chowed down on belly-filling entrées such as five spicy beef tacos and a side of Spanish rice. Fajitas and quesadillas also show up regularly on locals' lists of dishes to try at Casa Blanca. It is recommended to sip on your frozen margarita slowly, as it comes in a big glass and packs a punch.
Also in the historic district, Sam and Greg's Pizzeria bakes up scrumptious pies crafted from a diverse selection of family recipes. The meat lovers' pizza is inundated with piles of sausage, ground beef, ham and bacon, while the Southwestern and Cajun specialty pizzas receive rave reviews from regulars and first-time diners alike. A meal at Sam and Greg's isn't complete without sticking around for a serving of homemade gelato, a smoother, lighter and (sometimes) healthier alternative to ice cream.
Right off Interstate 565 sits Fresh Traditions — Port of Madison, a Southern diner that focuses on fresh, locally grown ingredients. Sometimes overlooked by newcomers, as it sits inside the Best Western Plus Hotel, Fresh Traditions should earn a spot on the to-do list for anyone who finds himself in the Madison area. The blackened chicken breast ranks as a favorite menu item among locals, as does the chicken and Andouille pasta.
Subdued yet sufficiently festive for young folks and families alike, the nightlife in Madison consist of a smattering of sports bars, local dives and karaoke bars. Downtown Huntsville, only a few miles down the road, features a greater volume of bars as well as a few nightclubs. Madison Station Bar and Grill offers happy hour specials, karaoke, and a variety of sporting events on large flat-screen televisions. The bar opens at 4 p.m. and stays open until 2 a.m. for the night owls.
Settled in 1818 by John Cartwright and originally named Madison Station, the city of Madison began growing in the mid-19th century, when it served as an important stop along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. During the Civil War, Madison was the site of a battle in which local Confederate soldiers drove a Union battalion from Illinois out of town, the latter tearing up the railroad tracks in Madison before retreating.
Madison continued to serve as a small suburb of Huntsville throughout most of the 20th century. As Huntsville flourished as a technology hub in the 1990s and into the 21st century, Madison established itself as a popular relocation spot for newcomers to the area, and its population exploded.
The city features multiple art galleries, such as 16 Main Gallery, and nearby Huntsville houses a world-famous museum, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Annual events include Halloween on Main and the Madison Street Festival.
Most Madison residents drive to their destinations, although certain individual neighborhoods are walkable, and select roads contain bike lanes. Free parking is abundant in Madison, and the city's close proximity to I-565 permits easy access to Huntsville and other points of interest in northern Alabama.
You cannot hail a cab in Madison, but numerous taxi companies operate in the area, and you can summon them with a phone call. Uber does not maintain a presence in Madison, though the company reports that its eye is on the Huntsville area.
Madison supplies limited public transportation options, but the Madison Assisted Ride System (MARS) exists for local residents who qualify for transportation assistance under the guidelines of the American Disabilities Act.
The cost of living in Madison sits slightly higher than the average cost of living for the Huntsville metro area. A one-bedroom apartment rents for $714 on average, while a beer costs $3 at a typical local pub. Gas prices in the area hover at 9 percent lower than the national average.
Abundant shopping characterizes Madison and the surrounding area. Popular destinations include the Colonial Promenade outdoor shopping center and the Madison Square Mall, located a few miles outside the city limits on Madison Avenue in Huntsville and featuring several big box retailers and high-end stores. Madison also houses numerous boutiques and specialty shops.
Twiggie's Boutique carries the latest items in fashion and accessories for ladies and girls. Staffed by style experts who enjoy helping customers put together ensembles that capture their desired look, this local gem is a favorite among local residents for great prices and great service.
The Asbury Community Thrift Store provides a convenient location for residents to procure great deals on quality used clothing and home goods, and also to help out their community by donating old items for which they no longer have a need.
Madison residents shop at Publix and Aldi locations in town for large grocery trips, while niche supermarkets such as Thanh Hung carry international fare such as Asian foods. The Madison City Farmers Market, located at Trinity Baptist Church, operates from April until early autumn and carries fresh local produce and farm products.
Dublin Memorial Park serves as the largest city park in Madison. It features a recreation center with limited exercise facilities, tennis courts, numerous athletic fields, walking tracks and a pool. Organized sports leagues both for kids and adults operate out of Dublin Memorial Park, which offers free parking but costs $3 for daily admission, with discounts for senior citizens and children under 11.
Four-legged family members have a blast at Mill Creek Dog Park, a vast canine playground separated into play areas for dogs over and under 25 pounds. The park even provides complimentary drinking water both for dogs and humans, along with waste bags to pick up anything your dog might deposit on the ground.
Skateboarders carve it up at Insanity Skate Park, which also serves as the starting and ending spot for Madison's annual Home for the Holidays Christmas Parade.
Apartments for Rent Under $400 in Madison, AL
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