Madison Things to Do

  • Sunset
    Sunset
    by bladedragon
  • Red Gym
    Red Gym
    by bladedragon
  • State Capitol
    State Capitol
    by bladedragon

Most Recent Things to Do in Madison

  • bladedragon's Profile Photo

    State Street

    by bladedragon Written Aug 5, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Construction on state street

    State Street is the downtown of Madison.
    Lots of restaurants, bars, pharmacy, mini mart, souvenir, book and retail shops.
    It is a must visit during normal days, but when I was here, there was a major construction going on.
    The construction stretches more than half of State Street.
    Oh this street is dead on Sunday.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Babzz's Profile Photo

    Capitol

    by Babzz Written Jan 8, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    The Capitol building is the star of Madison. Make sure to take a tour of the interior; if you walk through it on your own you will miss a lot of interesting details of its history and design. Tours are free and run on the hour throughout the day.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Babzz's Profile Photo

    Stroll down State Street

    by Babzz Written Jan 8, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    State Street is the main street in Madison, with lots of little shops and restaurants to explore. We visited in the winter, but from my understanding, in the summer there are a lot of kiosks set up outside storefronts as well.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo

    Otis Redding Memorial

    by Tom_In_Madison Updated Dec 4, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    east side of the terrace, looking out over lake
    2 more images

    There is a small memorial to Otis Redding on the terrace on top of the Overture Center 2 blocks south of the State Capitol. It's on the far east side of the terrace, the wide open garden spot on top of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace Convention Center.

    Otis Redding was scheduled to play in a little bar in madison on the evening of Dec 10, 1967. (Scheduled to open for him was a new group made up of near-area residents, The Grim Reapers, later renamed to Cheap Trick).

    His small plane carrying him, and a few members of the Bar-Kays backing him up crashed into the freezing cold water of Lake Monona, the lake that makes the south end of the isthmus Madison lies on. It went under and didn't surface. There was 1 survivor, trumpet player Ray McCauley.

    3 days prior his only #1 single, "(Sitting on) the Dock of the Bay" was recorded.

    Related to:
    • Music

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo

    Music in a nice setting.

    by Tom_In_Madison Updated Aug 6, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    blankets holding a spot

    Concerts on the Square

    6 times on wed evenings in Mid June to early Aug. Madison Symphony Orchestra or a portion thereof does free concerts on the Capitol lawn. People put blankets out, bring (or buy there) picnic lunches, drink wine and listen to, or at least pretend to listen to the music. They all seem to enjoy it.

    I'd suggest getting there by 4, putting down a blanket. You can still hear it if you get there later, but it's nicer to see the musicians too.

    Rules: Don't dump alcohol on the lawn. Don't put your blanket out before 3pm-though some people start puytting them out by 1pm

    Related to:
    • Music

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo

    Thai Pavilion

    by Tom_In_Madison Updated Aug 6, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The pavilion from afar
    4 more images

    The people of Thailand gave the U of Wisconsin a gift of a Thai Pavilion, the only one now in the US. It's mainly a little pavilion in a natural setting, in a Thai tropical gaden, with water gardens. Very peaceful.

    The cool thing about the struture is it has no nails. It's built so it just fits together naturally. It's been stadning for years.

    You get to it by going thru a tropical garden made to resemble something in Thailand.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo

    Farmers market

    by Tom_In_Madison Updated Aug 6, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sunflowers.........
    4 more images

    We've got one of the biggest markets in the country, meets saturday from late April until first weekend in Nov. Have everything from apples to pumpkins to flowers and of course cheese.

    Takes place around the Capitol. Smaller one on wednesdays on Martin Luther King Blvd, and smaller ones yet at various locations around town. Prices are ok, about the same or higher than other spots but most of it is fresher and locally produced.

    I suggest getting there before 8am or after noon, really crowded otherwise, and it takes forever to get around it. If you get there betwen 8 & noon, don't be in a hurry, otherwise you'll be frustrated.

    In addition to the market, it's spreading down State St with vendors selling jewelry, art, coffee carts galore, and other things.

    On the other hand it's so sad markets like this are few and far between. I've been to so many in Paris, Montreal, and all over Europe. I wish we could have more like this, it would be so much healthier, even if 98% of the city does drive a car to it, unilke the rest of the world (and this one wouldn't be so dman crowded! :) )

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • simcard's Profile Photo

    Tallest building in Madison

    by simcard Written May 28, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    No building can be taller than the capitol in Madison. Standing at 285.9ft, the State Capitol is something you can see from distant pretty much from everywhere in town. My favorite view is the lake scene with the capitol building in it. Gorgeous gorgeous!!

    Tour info: http://www.wisconsin.gov/state/core/wisconsin_state_capitol_tour.html

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo

    Frank Lloyd Wrights designed Convention Center

    by Tom_In_Madison Updated Nov 14, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    From the east on a cold February day.
    2 more images

    Monona Terrace Convention Center
    New convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Nice location, futuristic looking or something like that. Lots of photos inside too of Wright and his buildings, homes, etc. Some think the orange carpet is a bit ugly though, but he wanted that orange color....Bike path around Lake Monona (13 mile trip) goes right outside.

    On top of the center is a real nice, huge terrace area for relaxing, free group tai chi in the summer, great place for a quiet lunch, great view of the lake, free concerts on fridays after work, and a plaque memorializing Otis Redding (Sitting on the Dock of the Bay), see other tip about it.

    Michael Feldman's "Whad'ya Know" on National Public Radio is taped here almost every saturday--tix are $8, show up at 9am on saturday for the 10am show, or get them in advance. http://www.notmuch.com/

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    Olbrich Botanical Gardens

    by AVG2319 Updated Oct 5, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Fun place to visit in the spring or summer when the flowers are in bloom. I love gardens, so any spot with flowers is great to me. A beautiful and popular place for weddings as well. It isn't that big, but it is free.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    The State Capitol

    by AVG2319 Written Oct 2, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You cannot come to Madison and not see this building . It resembles Washington DC's Capitol Hill building . The State Capitol is 284 feet high-It is an impressive sight and just recently became a national historic building. The grounds are beautiful anytime of year, but especially in Spring/Summer when the flowers are in bloom. You can tour the building for free or you can drive around in circles like some tourists do until they finally decide to turn down a road :-)
    The exterior of the building is made entirely of White Bethel Vermont granite, which really just looks like marble to most people.
    The dome is the focal point of the Capitol building. It is 162 feet tall. Three observation decks encircle the outer dome. The lowest observation deck is open to the public during the summer. The four wings of the Capitol face the four diagonal streets of the City of Madison. Each wing is one hundred and twenty-five feet wide, eighty-four feet high and one hundred and eighty-seven feet long.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    Cherokee Marsh

    by AVG2319 Updated Sep 15, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Want to be close to nature? Visit Cherokee marsh the largest wetland in the county. (4,000 acres)
    This is where they like to take kids on field trips for school.
    Walk in the midst of a cattail marsh - one which is part of a wetland created by former glacial Lake Mendota. Or, follow the Yahara River boardwalk through a meadow. The park contains two observation platforms for wildlife viewing and several belly boards to encourage exploration of pond ecosystems. Other trails lead through prairie restorations, old field habitat, edge habitat, oak savannah, typical southern Wisconsin woods, over a glacial drumlin and to a glacial kettle pond.
    Bring some bug spray and enjoy the nature walk!

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    A City Between Two Lakes

    by Stephen-KarenConn Written Sep 1, 2006

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Water Skiers on Lake Monona

    Madison is in a very picturesque setting with the major downtown section being on a narrow stretch of land between two large lakes. Lake Mendota to the Northwest and Lake Monona to the Southeast. There are parks and trails along the shores of each lake.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Water Sports

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo

    Henry Vilas Zoo

    by Tom_In_Madison Updated Jul 29, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Carousel, $1/ride
    4 more images

    Free. You know what to expect there. These photos were taken on a day when it was 90+ and humid. Animals weren't out, or laying about. Not sure why the polar bear was even out, poor bear. The giraffes were just fine.

    In the large Vilas Park which has a beach, kids area, tennis courts, big area where people play Ultimate Frisbee, bike path, and next to the Arboretum

    Related to:
    • Zoo

    Was this review helpful?

  • saw50st8's Profile Photo

    State Capitol

    by saw50st8 Written Jul 13, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Explore the state capitol building. The building is beautiful and has a wonderful sense of history. This is the 3rd capitol building in the state history; the first was too small and the 2nd burnt down. A beautiful statue is on the top of the 200 ft dome and there are beautiful murals inside. Learn about the history of Wisconsin from this one building!

    Tours: Monday through Saturday at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 p.m. A 4:00 p.m. tour is offered weekdays (Monday - Friday),

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Madison

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

88 travelers online now

Comments

Madison Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Madison things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Madison sightseeing.

View all Madison hotels