Madison Things to Do Tips by Tom_In_Madison Top 5 Page for this destination
Madison Things to Do: 93 reviews and 153 photos
'Nasty Habits' playing this past July
Tuesdays from June to August there are free concerts over the lunch hour on the Captiol grounds.
They cover most types of music, but obviously nothing too obnoxious since it's lunchtime. They start about noon and run until 1pm. People will get a lunch, and go sit on the lawn and listen. Nice way to escape your boss or cube.
Directions: SE corner of the State Capitol grounds
Not Cannes, but cheaper & easier to get to.
Seems to fluctuate when it starts...this year it was the middle of April--check the website for teh real dates...starts on a thursday and runs to a sunday.
1 ticket is about $7.50, but buying a packet of tickets bring it down to about $5/ticket. Students are $4 at maximum.
Film festival showing about 150 films throughout the city from Thurs-Sunday. No 'King Kong' or 'Star Wars' here. About 1/4 of them are shown twice, all others just once. Also some of the directors and actors show up--Debra Winger was here last year, Roger Ebert every other year. They'll have talks after the movies, workshops, etc...
If you want to go, check the website and get your tickets for the big ones early. You can get tickets day of the show, but the popular ones will sell out. You might be able to get them though if the person who bought the ticket doesn't show up, so just wait around and maybe you'll get lucky.
Address: Various theatres in downtown Madison
Directions: On campus, and down State St are about 10 venues that show all films. Also some parties are at a club, the High Noon Saloon which is about 6 blocks down E Washington Ave.
Blown glass designs
You might be able to get into the Kohl Center for free 45 minute tours(tuesdays and thursdays at noon), about 3 blocks SE of
State St where the men & womens UW basketball & hockey teams play.
Dale Chihuly, famous glass-blower and UW grad, installed about 2000 blown glass things and made a creation that's really cool. You can probably look at it thru the many windows, it's all the way around the buidling, if you can't get in for a tour.
The first event held here was......a speech by the Dalai Lama. His boyhood friend lives in a Buddhist place here so he visits often. Not too bad.
Address: 601 W Dayton St
Directions: Downtown, 3 blocks south of State St on Dayton & Frances St
Phone: 263-5645/ 263-KOHL
east side of the terrace, looking out over lake
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.
Directions: From the capitol, walk 2 blocks south towards the Convention Center. When you get to it, walk up the walkway on the left to the top. On top, stay to the left, toward the east. It's about 3 feet off the railing, behind a little place to sit and some trees.
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
Address: State Capitol
Directions: Capitol lawn
The pavilion from afar
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.
Address: 3330 Atwood Ave
Directions: You get to it by going thru the Ohlbrich Gardens, then walking out into the gardens, and keep walking back and to the right. Cross the river and you'll find it.
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! :) )
Address: Capitol square
Directions: just look for the Capitol building, you can't miss it.
From the east on a cold February day.
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/
Address: 1 John Nolen Dr
Directions: 2 blocks south of the Capitol. They have parking, but it's easier walking there from the Capitol or State St.
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
Address: 702 S. Randall Ave.
Directions: About 6 blocks south of Camp Randall Stadium, about a mile SW of State St.
Memorial Union (campus student union, but open to everyone)
Best place to be on a sunny, warm day in Madison. Situated right on Lake Mendota, with a huge terrace to have a soda, beer, lunch or dinner, ice cream, read, see a band, watch the sailboats cruise by or people watch.
Free movies on wed(?), lectures, travel center, music, ice cream made on campus, etc...
Two cafeterias and Babcock ice cream right here to get food and go out on the terrace on the lake to eat. It's right next to the Red Gym, a huge old gym that looks like a castle sort of which is used for offices now. There's a little art gallery on the 2nd or 3rd floor of the Memorial Union that's pretty cool too. The Lakeshore path starts at the Union next to the lake, and goes along the lake for about 4 miles out to Picnic Point. Very walkable or bring/rent a bike and go out there. Real nice out there.
Friday afternoon, friday evening & saturday evenings there's music. In the summer it's on the terrace, in the winter inside. Free. In the summer this is great. I've seen the Indigo Girls here among others.
Address: 800 Langdon St
Directions: From State St walk to the end, thru the Library Mall, past the fountain, and you'll see it on the lake next to the Huge Red Gym.
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