Down State Street in Madison, Wisconsin

While I recognize the city of Madison might not be considered to be a traditional touristy hot-spot, it is the home to the University of Wisconsin and the state capital with plenty of sights to take in. The city is flanked by two large lakes, with several smaller bodies of water nearby, so the area almost feels coastal even though it is really landlocked.

My daughter and I visited Madison for the first time last weekend, as her best friend from high school is a student there and they both had a weekend free of college obligations. She stayed in the dorm with her friend, while I opted for a less communal hotel room (taking one for the team). The weather was unseasonably warm for November (normally there's snow on the ground) which allowed me to wander around the city and take in the sights. There's plenty to see and do in this college town / capital city:

1. The Wisconsin State Capitol House:
This impressive structure anchors the city, and with the city ordinance that no building (within a mile) shall be built taller than its 285 feet, it clearly gets your attention upon any approach.

Served on a Platter

2. Monona Terrace - Community and Convention Center
Too Late for Picnics
Even though the sun was shining, I was the only soul on the top of this Frank Lloyd Wright designed building that stands on the shore of Lake Monona. Inside, the convention center was bustling due to the Saturday morning Dane County Farmer's Market (I bought cheese of course!). The second photo of the State House above was taken from the top of the terrace. Based on the web site, the outside areas are heavily used during the summer months - its proximity to the water makes it ideal - just not so much on a crisp, breezy November day.

3. The Madison Contemporary Museum of Art
Glass Tower
I didn't have time to visit the museum exhibits, but loved its modern and open atrium architecture.

4. The Overture Center for the Arts
Glitters Gold
The Overture Center houses several performance venues and performance companies. From dance to music to theatre, the Art Center provides vibrant, cultural experiences for all. There were performances scheduled over the weekend and the energy from the center was palpable.

5. The University of Wisconsin
Well, that's embarrassing - I didn't take any photos of the European themed, brick facade buildings of The University of Wisconsin.
Here is one of the famous Bascom Hall, taken by Randy Scherkenbach

Bascom Hall.jpg
The photo doesn't show that this hall sits atop a HUGE hill - a 100 foot incline to climb. But worth the views at the top as you are gasping for air!

I was quite impressed by the University and the city - the people were friendly, the streets were clean with a young, urban vibe. The city's mix of buildings makes the walk down State Street from Bascom Hall down to Monona Terrace interesting from an architectural view. These eclectic elements, coupled with the presence of college students really drive that young-but-old city feel. I will definitely visit again.

Shared with Five on Friday

mamasmercantile  – (November 20, 2015 at 12:31 PM)  

Great photos of some wonderful architecture, sounds like a great visit.

Amy at love made my home  – (November 20, 2015 at 2:32 PM)  

It sounds like a really great city to visit, especially the Frank Lloyd Wright building, I love his architecture. Glad that you had a great visit! Thank you for joining Five On Friday. I hope that you have a great weekend! xx

Crimson Kettle  – (November 20, 2015 at 2:34 PM)  

I found your post very interesting, it looks a lovely place. :-)

Nicki  – (November 21, 2015 at 7:04 PM)  

Gorgeous location with amazing architectural bones. Great set of images.

tinajo  – (November 22, 2015 at 7:46 AM)  

Thanks for the tour, loved the pics :-)

A Colorful World  – (November 22, 2015 at 7:07 PM)  

It's a very interesting and impressive city!

Anita Johnson  – (November 22, 2015 at 9:56 PM)  

We have lived in Wisconsin for 25 years now. I'm still not as familiar with Madison as I would like to be. I have seen the Department of Agriculture many times because of our business. These were great photos and I learned a few things too. When I think of a city, I still think of Chicago as home sweet home.

Coastal Ripples  – (November 23, 2015 at 2:49 AM)  

I really enjoyed your's lovely to read about a place from the comfort of your home...I definitely would like to visit thanks to your blog. Barbara

Liz  – (November 24, 2015 at 9:07 PM)  

You have captured some great architecture for this informative post!

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