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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Madison, WI

We're going to be visiting Madison, WI in two weeks. Any fun ideas? Pat is giving a talk at the University, so two days I have amuse myself during the day...
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 02:35 AM
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I would highly recommend visiting State street and the downtown area. There are tons of neat little shops and galleries on State Street, as well as several smaller museums and just about any kind of food you could possibly want to eat. Not to mention that many of the people you'll see there are a sight in themselves. The capital building is amazing, and is open to visitors during the day. There's an observation deck around the rotunda that may be open that gives a great view of the lakes and city.

It doesn't sound like you'll be here on the weekend, but if you are, I'd suggest checking out the saturday morning Farmer's market around the capital square. Its one of the largest outdoor markets in the country. Its a pretty neat experience even if you don't intend to buy much of anything.

If you like plants and flowers, you'd enjoy Olbrich Gardens on the east side of town. The outdoor gardens are free, and the tulips, daffodils and other spring flowers should be blooming at that time. The tropical conservatory is absolutely beautiful and only costs $1. Its one of my favorite places to visit (and to take pictures!)

I'm not too familiar with the university area. I've heard the main union is a neat place to be. There are some nice walking trails around the lake or within the UW Arboretum if the weather is nice. The Hilldale mall is right on University Ave, and West Towne is not too far away.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 08:39 AM
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My sister lives in Madison, so I've been there a few times to see her. I've been to the Farmers Market and the Student Union building you're talking about. It's just a great city, with water everywhere you look. Even just a walk around the University would be a good time. This is Mad-town, the hippie capital of the U.S., with a street lined with drug paraphenalia shops and incense-burning jewelry shops. It's really like a step back in time.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 09:04 AM
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Spring Green isn't too far away ... I'd suggest House on the Rock and Taliesin (if they're open this time of year.)

Oh, and don't forget Mt. Horeb and the mustard museum:

(OK, that last was kind of a joke, but the mustard museum is real)
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 01:14 AM
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Yes make the effort to see the house on the rock. Its very unique.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 01:48 AM
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Just a small caveat about the restaurants - I've learned to stay far away from any restaurant outside of New Orleans that calls their food "Creole" or "Cajun".

Unless, by some off chance, it happens to be run by someone from New Orleans.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 01:56 AM
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Ya, and you can't find decent biscuits and red-eye gravy outside of the deep south, either. Or grits. No matter where the chef is from. Blah. I wonder why that is. You'd think the ingredients should be available anywhere. And with people moving around all over the country these days.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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So I think that this is the game plan... April 29 - fly into Chicago (from Kansas City) drive 2 1/2 hrs to Madison for the conference (three days) and then drive back to Chicago and spend 2 days there.... Now does anyone know how accurate MapQuest is about those 2 1/2 hours....

I'm really excited, as we've never been to WI and only briefly spent time in Chi-town....!! Thanks for the advice....
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 02:46 AM
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DO NOT TRUST MAPQUEST!!! Everytime I've used them, the directions were always bassackwards. For really accurate directions, try this site:

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 12:09 AM
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I find it hard to believe it takes 2 1/2 hours to drive from O'Hare to Madison. It's interstate all the way. Just jump on I-90 and put the pedal to the metal. Everyone else will be going 75; you might as well, too. That'll get you there in under 2 hrs.
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