Madison brims with fun off-site venues and attractions for groups. Following are some of the very best, including some intriguing input from the savvy staffers at the Greater Madison CVB (GMCVB).
State Street Strolling
State Street, the heart of downtown Madison, is a colorful pedestrian mall linking the eye-catching Wisconsin State Capitol and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The Capitol Square and State Street are perfect spots for walking, talking and people-watching. Even when a festival isn’t taking place downtown, street performers, outdoor dining and people-watching make State Street one of the liveliest avenues in the city. Ben Young, development assistant for the GMCVB, loves walking along State Street and stopping in for a tasty treat like a frozen yogurt or ice cream cone.
Wander the Wisconsin Union
Experience UW-Madison at the Memorial Union Terrace. With views of the waterfront and Lake Mendota, check out a live performance on the outdoor stage. Don’t miss out on Madison’s trademark Babcock Dairy Ice Cream. Try a waffle cone or dish of ice cream served at the Daily Scoop, located on the main floor of the Union. Monday nights in the summertime feature outdoor movies—a favorite of Lauren Fletcher, GMCVB intern.
Bring your bicycle or rent one from one of the many local vendors, including the newest addition to downtown, B-cycle, and explore Madison’s miles and miles of bike paths. Keri Cavitt, director of operations at the GMCVB, loves to reserve a campsite at Picnic Point and host a lovely campfire and BBQ. Prefer an invigorating hike? Pack some comfortable shoes and explore Madison by foot. A number of walking tours that highlight historic landmarks and hidden neighborhoods offer a fascinating view of the city on foot. Check out www.madison-city-tours.com.
Break for the Lake
Rent a paddleboat, canoe or kayak and partake in the allure of Madison’s photogenic lakes. Judy Frankel, public relations and communications manager, loves to host friends on a Betty Lou Cruise, with its excellent mix of music and great food, for a very fun evening on the water. Or opt for a bicycle rental and tour the amazing paths and trails along the lakeshore.
The UW-Madison Arboretum is a top destination any time of year, but if you happen to be in town when they are giving one of their moonlight walks, do take advantage of the extensive information provided by their staff, which leads a charming early evening hike through the arboretum’s 1,200 acres. Ann Shea, convention sales manager at the GMCVB, loves to take in the natural beauty of Olbrich Gardens and often takes guests there to enjoy its gorgeous surroundings and great events, including its Tuesday evening concert series.