By Maureen Post Special to Published Jan 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

It's Madison Week at We sent our editorial staff to check out bars, restaurants, retail outlets and cultural venues in order to uncover some of the best of Wisconsin's second-largest city.

Where it is: Located on the west side of downtown; the intersection of University Avenue and Midvale Boulevard is the center of the neighborhood.

Reasons to go: Hilldale contains some of Madison's newest development. Thriving with blocks of retail and restaurants, you'll find an abundance of regional and national chains. Not to worry though, there are still plenty of locally owned establishments to blend in some local flair.

Reasons to eat there: Muramoto (Sushi), 546 N. Midvale Blvd.; Smoky's Club (steakhouse), 3005 University Ave.; Sa-Bai Thong (Thai), 2840 University Ave.

Best coffee shop or café: Ancora Coffee, 3310 University Ave.

Reasons to shop there: The newly renovated and redeveloped Hilldale Mall, 702 Midvale Blvd., is a small indoor / outdoor mall boasting specialties like North Face, Anthropologie, New Balance and L'Occitane.

Reasons to stop for drinks: The Great Dane, 357 Price Pl.; Bar Bistro 608, 430 N. Midvale Blvd.

Hidden gem: The United States' first Sundance Cinema, 430 N. Midvale Blvd., is located in the Hilldale Mall complex. Created by actor Robert Redford, Sundance Cinemas highlight prestigious independent films endorsed by the Sundance Institute.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.