Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Thursday Thirteen 124: Things to See & Do in Madison, WI

Thirteen things to see and do in Madison:

* The Capitol, patterned after the Nation's Capitol in DC, but a few respectful inches shorter. It is the only state capitol built on an isthmus. Beautiful marble halls inside, with murals, statues and mosaics everywhere. The grounds host a ton of events in summer, including: Saturday farmer's market, Concerts on the Square, Art Fair on the Square and The Taste of Madison. If visiting in summer, make sure you make your way up to the observation deck for a panoramic view of the city!

* State Street. Trendy boutiques, over-priced cafes and restaurants, and plenty of opportunities to people watch.

* The University of Wisconsin -- Go Badgers! Stroll the grounds, follow a lakeside path up to Picnic Point, or relax and enjoy the sunset over Lake Mendota from the Memorial Union Terrace. Don't forget a juicy brat and ice cream from Babcock Dairy.

* Camp Randall. Originally a Civil War training ground and later a POW camp, Camp Randall is better known these days as home to the Wisconsin Badgers. There's no better place to be on game day!

* The lakes. Five of them. Not to mention a couple marshes, the Yahara River and a few streams and creeks. With all this water, there are plenty of opportunities for swimming, diving, fishing and boating -- not to mention ice skating in the winter.

* Vilas Zoo, one of the few completely free zoos in the country. Free as in no admission, and no parking. 

* Monona Terrace. Based on a design by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Monona Terrace sits on Lake Monona, where Otis Redding's plane went down. There's a memorial to him in the peaceful rooftop garden. Great place to sit and watch the boats out on the lake on a warm summer day.

* Olbrich Botanical Gardens on the east side. Includes the Bolz Conservatory, rose gardens, and a gorgeous Thai temple.

* Allen Centennial Gardens on the University campus. Features nearly 30 different gardens and serves as a horticultural classroom for the university. 

* UW Arboretum, west side. Like nature a bit more wild? Walk, cross country ski or ride your bike through the Arboretum. Includes shaded forests, a prairie, and wetlands.

* Museums. Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Children's Museum, Wisconsin Historical Museum, Wisconsin Veteran's Museum, UW Madison Geology Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art inside Overture Center for the Arts -- there's bound to be something for every taste.

* Forest Hill Cemetery, established 1858. It was laid out as a pleasure park, with lots of shade trees and winding paths--families used to picnic here on weekends, up until around WWII. Contains Union Lot (a Civil War graveyard), as well as the northern-most Confederate graveyard, Confederate Rest. One of my favorite events is coming up Oct 4, the annual Talking Spirits Tour. Despite being located on such a busy road, Forest Hill is quite peaceful; I love walking here!

* Ella's Deli & Ice Cream Parlor , East Washington Ave. Children of all ages will love the vintage toys and gadgets found throughout this hidden gem on Madison's east side, not to mention a ride on the carousel. Featured on the Food Network.

(Please leave your link if this is your first visit!)

Adelle Laudan * Stephanie Adkins * Alexia Reed * CM Torrens
Hailey Edwards * Shelley Munro * Ms Menozzi * David Bridger
Inez Kelley * Ella Drake * Sophia Parkwood * Elise Logan
Cambria Dillon * Paige Tyler * Janice Seagraves * Alice Audrey
Hootin' Anni * Rosetta Stone * BrendaND * Colleen
Calico Crazy * Americanising Desi * Nicholas * Annie * The Bumbles

You can find more Thursday Thirteen participants HERE.


chris said...

Happy Thursday 13! Great list of location spots. Nice.

Hailey Edwards said...

I love the idea of a free zoo. It's a foreign concept down here. lol

Shelley Munro said...

It sounds like a great place with lots of fun things to do.

Ms Menozzi said...

Wow! What a treasure trove of info! I might be working on something soon(ish)which will take place near there. Thanks for this - it'll give the piece a bit of authenticity! :)

Ciao for now!
Happy TT!

David Bridger said...

Looks like a lovely place!

I'm always torn about zoos. One one hand, I know the best of them look after animals well and do great conservation work. But on the other hand, I hate to see animals caged. As far as I'm concerned, the best kind of free zoo would be an empty one after all the animals had been freed into their natural habitats.

Sorry: soapbox.

Stephanie Adkins said...

Sounds like a great place to visit! Happy Thursday!

Inez Kelley said...

Great list of attractions!

Adelle Laudan said...

That ice cream parlor sounds like all kinds of awesome.
Great list. Happy T13!

Ella Drake said...

You seriously made me want to visit Madison. Especially "Ella's Deli & Ice Cream Parlor: :)

Anonymous said...

I think I am going to have to add Madison to my list of places to visit. First stop? State Street, I love to shop, even if I can't afford to buy. Great list. Happy Thursday!

Elise Logan said...

I can't say that Madison has ever topped my list of destinations, but you make me want to go.

It looks lovely.

Cambria Dillon said...

I had no idea there was that much to see in Madison. I know, shame on me. If I ever get a chance to venture that way, I'll have to check out some of those spots. Thanks for sharing!

Paige Tyler said...

We've been to Madison! Didn't get to the zoo, though, but we love them!


My TT is at

Hootin' Anni said...

I loved reading and viewing today for your 13. Wishing now, that our city had things like this. LOL

My 13 is posted if you'd like to stop's a list of 13 plays on words today.

Alice Audrey said...

I mention half of these in Moving In, which still doesn't have pub date yet but is getting closer. I also mention Woodmans, Dotty Dumplings, and Lake Manona.

Heather said...

Chris - Thank you, they truly are great places to visit.

Hailey - A foreign concept most places these days. Our zoo may be small by some standards, but it's nice, and they've been making a ton of improvements over the past decade through reZOOvenation efforts.

Shelley - You'll have to put it on your list, should you ever make it to the Midwest US. ;)

Ms M! Long time, no see! If you have any Qs or need any help with the writing, feel free to email or PM me!

Heather said...

David - I can understand your mixed feelings. There are some shady facilities out there that don't take proper care of animals, but thankfully ours does. Through reZOOvenation efforts, they've been trying to incorporate more natural habitats into our small space, and also work to protect and breed endangered species. The tiger cubs born here a few years ago were too cute. I wish they would do a savannah like the one at Dyreparken in Norway, where zebras, camels and giraffes shared a large grassy enclosure.

Heather said...

Stephanie - Not just to visit, but to live. Madison regularly makes top ten lists for living quality, jobs, biking,

Inez - Thank you!

Adelle - Ella's is WAY awesome. As kids, going to Ella's for ice cream was a HUGE treat. When my FL nieces and nephew came to visit my parents with their paternal g'parents, Grandpa Bob was as enthralled as the kids, taking tons of pics and video. As I said, kids of all ages love it. *VBG*

Ella - Gee...that wouldn't by any chance have something to do with your name, would it? LOL Ella's was actually featured on the food network a couple years ago, one of those shows that visits diners across the country.

Sophia - State St. on a Saturday afternoon can be fun and hectic. It's a pedestrian mall stretching from the Capitol to the University, only bikes and buses allowed, no cars. During the Saturday farmer's market the top block near the Capitol is completely blocked off to traffic, with vendors, street musicians and sidewalk cafes expanding out into the street.

Heather said...

Elise - It really is lovely. One of the comments I've heard from out-of-town friends many times is how green Madison is. There are trees and parks everywhere.

Cambria - Yup, we're a hidden gem here in the Midwest.

Paige - I didn't know you had visited Madison. You'll have to add the zoo to your list, should you ever get back here!

Anni - Thank you. We are definitely lucky our city has so much to offer. And I didn't even mention theater, local festivals or sporting events. *VBG*

Alice - You'll have to let us know when you get a pub date--I just hope you spelled "Monona" correctly in your book. You should know better! ;) As for Dotty's... *Sigh* I could do an entire post just on local eateries. Mickey's Dairy Bar would definitely make the list as well!

Brenda ND said...

You remind me I haven't been to Madison in a while. I should come and spend the weekend there, visit my aunt and see some of these sites. Happy TT!

Calico Crazy said...

I've never been to Wisconsin, thanks for a list of ideas should I ever make it there.

Calico Contemplations

Americanising Desi said...

Next stop Madison :D
really tempting! Happy TT

Click here for my Thursday 13

Heather said...

Brenda - No better time for a road trip than fall. The leaves are just starting to turn here!

Calico - I hope you have the chance to visit some day! There are a lot of great attractions in the area for daytrippers, as well.

Desi - You know me, always happy to lead others to temptation. ;)

Nicholas said...

Very interesting.

colleen said...

Never been anywhere close. The closest I've been is to Indiana.

shopannies said...

thanks for sharing the attractions

The Bumbles said...

I had no idea. None. Zip. Nada. I've always thought of WI as a chilly place to avoid. Seems like a perfectly lovely, fun place to visit in the summer.

Heather said...

Nicholas - Thanks!

Colleen - Come a bit further west next time. Wisconsin is waaaay better than Indiana. ;)

Annie - Hi, thank you for visiting!

Bumbles - ROFL...the tundra isn't frozen all the time, you know. We do thaw out at least three months out of the year--though with the last two record-setting winters, even those three months have been a bit iffy. And hey--it can be fun in winter, too. You just have to know how to dress for it. Three or four layers usually helps. ;)

Esan Man said...

After going through this article I have decided to bookmark this site found this really interesting & thanks a lot for keeping the blog Lively with such interesting blogs.

Janice said...

Madison looks like a great place to be. Great list.

Happy Belated TT.