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Old 01-30-2011, 08:57 AM
7 posts, read 18,766 times
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Wife and I are going to visit Madison for one night/two days. Looking for some recommendations for places to eat, neighborhoods to visit, points of interest, etc. We are driving in from Chicago and staying at a Marriott. Haven't chosen which one yet, any recommendations would be appreciated.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:01 PM
Location: Downtown Middleton
95 posts, read 245,488 times
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All of the Marriotts in town are not "in" town. But the Marriott in Middleton is nice and it is very close to the Beltline/Hwy 12/18 which will take you everywhere you need to go.
If you are just going to be in Madison for a couple of days I would spend time near the Capitol Square. There is lots of live music venues, good restaurants and places to shop, there are also a number of museums nearby.
Monroe Street is also a nice area to visit for shopping, dining and gallerys.
If you are on State Street you can eat and shop and see a performance at the Overture Center.
Overture Center for the Arts | Madison, Wisconsin
Great restaurants if you don't have to worry about budget are L'Etoile, Tornado Room, Lombardino's and Louisianne's.
If you are looking for a more "funky" area go a little east of the square to the Willy (Williamson) Street neighborhood. It's a bit more "berkley of the midwest".
If you like sports it's always fun to catch a Badger Game and stop at the Nitty Gritty or Dotty Dumpling's Dowry for a burger before or after the game.
You didn't mention what kind of food you like, what type of budget you have or what kinds of activities you are interested in.
Hope this helps a little.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:55 PM
Location: Madison, WI
1,734 posts, read 4,549,545 times
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It's funny if you live here long enough, you kind of forget what makes it special to someone new to the city. What kinds of things do you like to do at home or when visiting other cities?

Music - not sure what you like, but I like the following:

A good venue for live music is a bar called the High Noon Saloon/ Brink Lounge. The Brink lounge is more Folksie/alternative/jazz type music. High Noon is more young and hip. There is usually something good musically at the Barrymore Theater on Atwood. The Majestic Theater has a nice variety as well.


I've never been to Sardine on the East side, but I hear it is wonderful (pricey however...).

Amy gave you the names of some great restaurants. All of very high quality - great service, organic and locally grown food sources, nice atmosphere. I believe they are all locally owned, too.

For more moderately priced restaurants.... I like the Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery from breakfast. Bunkies is nice for dinner. Weary Traveler on Williamson is also a fun night out. A lot of people like Lazy Jane's for breakfast - me, I could take it or leave it. The food it good, it isn't earth shatteringly good. I don't feel it is worth battling the crowds that go there. Clearly, I'm in the minority there though. I do like Blue Plate for almost any meal even though like Lazy Jane's, it is incredibly popular and very crowded all the time.

Shopping - coming from Chicago you probably won't want to waste a lot of time shopping, but State Street pedestrian mall is always fun if you like shopping in unique little stores. Pick this if it is a warmer day because it is what it sounds like - stores along an open street where cars aren't allowed. Buses are however, and they don't seem to value human life all that highly, so keep your wits about you.

Monroe street is also fun for shopping, but it is a little spread out. There is a great kitchen store called, Orange Tree Imports, a nice yarn store called, The Kitting Tree, a nice pet supply store called, Mad Cat and a bunch of other clothing, art gallery, misc stores. You will have to drive from one commercial section of the street to the next as there are a considerable number of private homes along the street - breaking up the commercial areas.

I would stay at the Marriott in Middleton on John Q. Hammon's drive. Convenient to the belt line (hwy 12/18) which makes it easy to get to the west and east sides.

Bring a GPS unit as Madison is a bit complicated to navigate - lots of narrow one way streets that change names for no apparent reason and snake around the lakes in anything but a grid like manner.
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