Last weekend Nic and I flew to Wisconsin for the first time to attend our friends' beautiful country wedding (more later!) and had the pleasure of exploring Madison. Our visit was wedding centric but we had a lot of free time to check out some local hot spots and make a little vay-cay out of it. Here are some tips if you're ever headed that way, it really was worth the trip!
How to Get There?
We flew into Milwaukee (like in Wayne's World with Alice Cooper) so we could get a direct flight and it was about an hour and 35 minute drive to Madison. You can also fly to Madison of course, or Chicago is a 3 hour drive away.
Where to Stay?
The Dahlmann Campus Inn: This cute little college inn had nice clean rooms and old-timey decor, great service, decent continental breakfast and a perfect location smack right by the lake, off state street and near frat row (WOOT WOOT!) The ONLY set back to watch out for is on Saturday mornings during football season the marching band starts their 6:30am pep rallies RIGHT outside the hotel, we were certainly surprised but what can you do? Go Badgers!
Things to Do
Madison has an awesome public bike program with B cycle stations all over town. Just slide in your credit card and pay about $5 for a 24 hour pass. You can bike around and return the bikes whenever, to your station or one across town. We had fun exploring the town and trying out breakfast spots via bike. The best part is that if you don't feel like biking BACK from somewhere you can just return the bikes to the nearest pods!
Hit the Farmers Market:
Wisconsin = the heartland and Madison has a pretty amazing Farmer's Market. Head to the capitol building on Saturday mornings for a beautiful and huge farmers market with everything from fruit, flowers, cheese curds and veggies to delicious looking baked goods.
Shop on State Street:
Walk along state street (no cars allowed) and check out the numerous and cute boutiques, coffee shops and occasional chain stores (gap, Urban.) We found lots of boutiques with cool t-shirts, clothes, home goods and various other stuff. There are also tons of restaurants and snack places.
Where to Eat:
Fresco: Nice spot for dinner with a farm fresh menu, yummy cocktails and a beautiful rooftop location right on State Street. Go to their website, here, for all the hot deets.
Campus Candy: If you have a sweet tooth like me then GO to this place, or actually don't... 2 days in Madison and me and Campus Candy had a total Love-Hate relationship. This is a mecca for fro-yo fans. It's a scoop your own candy shop with chocolate, sweets, gummies galore AND it's a serve your own fro-yo place, all in one!! But wait, I haven't even gotten to the craziest part, the WHOLE store is your toppings bar. That's right, you serve your own fro yo and then can top it with any candies in the store or any combo. I went B-A-N-A-N-A-S with peanut butter fro yo and a very UN-ladylike amount of dark chocolate covered raisins and yogurt covered almonds. This place is amazing, unleash your inner fat kid.
Marigold Kitchen: Super cute breakfast place with yummy scones, special omelets and mimosas right off of the capital square. Check it out here.
Sunroom Cafe: This state street spot is a casual breakfast and lunch cafe with delicious sandwiches, salads, muffins and lots of healthy options. Not super atmospheric but fast, cheap and yummy.
Next time you're in the Midwest I would definitely recommend hitting up Madison. It was delightful!