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.
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.
- Historical Travel
Stroll down State Street
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.
Otis Redding Memorial
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.
Music in a nice setting.
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
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.
- Arts and Culture
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! :) )
- Food and Dining
Tallest building in Madison
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
Frank Lloyd Wrights designed Convention Center
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/
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
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.
- Adventure Travel
- Family Travel
The State Capitol
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.
- Arts and Culture
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!
- Hiking and Walking
- Family Travel
A City Between Two Lakes
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.
- Sailing and Boating
- Water Sports
Henry Vilas Zoo
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
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),
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