If you are a traveler by heart, then you should know that there is nothing better than having to visit and travel around the world’s best spots with your family. Truth be told, not all tourist destinations are family-friendly and there are some places that are more family-friendly than others. If you are looking for the latter, then you may want to visit Madison Wisconsin.
Madison is the capital of the state of Wisconsin and it is also the county seat of Dane County. It is located between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. It is also the home of numerous travel destinations such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Henry Vilas Zoo, and network of parks and bike trails just to name a few. It is also one of the most family-friendly tourist destinations in the world but we’ll get to that later. We’re sure you are eager to visit this great city in Wisconsin so without further ado, let’s kick start this short guide.
- 1 How To Get To Madison, Wisconsin
- 2 Getting Around Madison, Wisconsin
- 3 Budget For Madison, Wisconsin
- 4 Best Time To Visit Wisconsin
- 5 Fun, Weird and Unique Things to Do in Madison, Wisconsin
- 5.1 Remember Elvis with his Karate fight plaque
- 5.2 Find the Duckmobile
- 5.3 Listen to Art Paul Schlosser
- 5.4 Know your wood
- 5.5 See weird art
- 5.6 See the Wienermobile
- 5.7 Search for the Loch Ness Monster
- 5.8 Witness or be a part of the world Naked Bike Ride
- 5.9 Marvel at John Muir’s inventions
- 5.10 Be in awe at L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum
- 5.11 Visit the Olbrich Botanical Garden
- 5.12 Taste exotic chocolates
How To Get To Madison, Wisconsin
There are numerous ways to get to Madison, Wisconsin so even if you are traveling by plane, you’ll easily get here. For this guide, your goal is to reach the University of Wisconsin-Madison as from there, you’ll have access to an extensive network of public transportation options that will get you around the key spots in the city.
Ideally, you will want to land on the Dane County Regional Airport which is located just a short drive from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It offers flights from a number of airlines and it services to most of the major cities in the U.S. If you are coming from somewhere far off, then you may have to book connecting flights instead.
You can also easily get to the city if you are traveling on your own car. The main campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is approximately 90 miles from Dubuque, 150 miles from Chicago, 140 miles from the Green Bay and La Crosse area and 270 miles from Minneapolis. There are several major freeways that will lead you to the city and you should keep an eye out for I-39, I-90 and I-94.
Getting Around Madison, Wisconsin
Like getting here, getting around Madison, Wisconsin is fairly easy as the city is well-developed and it is not easy to get lost in its roads and freeways. We recommend getting a car from rental services around the city. This is the more convenient and cheaper choice for anyone. You can book your cars ahead of the trip so that it will be ready upon arrival.
Another cheap and convenient alternative is renting a bike. As we’ve said, the city is biker friendly so you can find trails all throughout the city. There are also standard public transportation options such as taxis, busses and trains but if you want to experience the city and its culture, you may want to try out some of its unique traveling options.
- Hopper Rides – Also known as Madtown Hopper, is a rideshare service that includes flashy lights and music. The service hopes to make daily commute fun and that’s what it does exactly. Aside from its lights and music, the rides are handled by friendly drivers as well.
- Trolley Pub – If you can’t wait to get to a bar for a drink, then you can have one on the way if you choose to ride the famous Trolley Pub. The city’s Trolley Pub is a bar on wheels that is driven by up to fourteen people. It can make up to four stops per trip and the loading station is at the Buckingham’s Bar & Grill.
Budget For Madison, Wisconsin
As we’ve said, Madison, Wisconsin is a family-friendly place. Aside from its attractions and friendly citizens, one of the reasons why that is is because it is budget friendly. If you want to go on a trip with your entire family without having to burn through your entire savings, then Madison is the way to go. For this trip, you can have fun around the city for at least $75 per head.
If you choose to rent a car, you’ll be saving a lot of money as you can get one for at least $15 per day including gas. There are also numerous hostels and B&B’s around the city which will make your accommodation more pleasant. Ideally, you should set aside at least $50 per day on the room. This will bag you a spacious room that’s good for four.
The rest of you money should be spent on food, tickets to attractions, and of course, souvenirs. There are a lot of places to visit in Madison, Wisconsin so be sure to plan your trip ahead so you know which attractions you are going to visit. Be sure to bring extra money as you may want to indulge yourselves in souvenirs.
Best Time To Visit Wisconsin
According to travelers, the best time to visit Madison is during the early fall as the temperatures are relatively pleasant and the room rates are fair as well. At around this season, the temperatures could plays around the low 70s. What’s great about this season is that there aren’t too many tourists so you aren’t going to have to wait in long lines at the attractions.
If you are traveling with your family, then you may want to avoid visiting during the summer. At around this season, the tourist count is at its peak. Aside from the long lines and congested roads, you’ll also have to contest with high room and rental rates. You should definitely void the President’s Weekend, MLK Weekend, as well as Christmas week as these are the busiest of them all. But regardless of the time of your visit, Madison, Wisconsin sure has a lot of activities and attractions waiting for you.
Fun, Weird and Unique Things to Do in Madison, Wisconsin
Wisconsin is known as the nation’s leading producer of dairy products and ginseng. But aside from these, it also talks big about its tourist attractions. In fact, tourism is also one of the major contributors to its economy. It’s no surprise, though, as the tourist spots that it has to offer are worth talking about. You can find the perfect place no matter what type of vacation you’re looking for. It even has some odd but fun attractions and activities to offer and here are some of them if you want to check them out. We’re sure that even if these attractions and activities are unique and weird, you’ll still enjoy it. So without further ado, here are the most fun but weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi.
1Remember Elvis with his Karate fight plaque
Elvis Presley is sure known for his singing voice but never as a karate fighter. So what’s with the karate fight plaque? Apparently, the plaque wasn’t made to memorialize how great he is as a karate fighter in Wisconsin. Rather, it was made to memorialize the moment when he broke up a street fight.
Reports say that back in June 24, 1977, Presley noticed a street fight in progress on his way to Madison from the airport. The incident happened in what was then a Skyland service station. Instead of ignoring it, he decided to stop by and threatened the combatants with a karate stance. The men recognized him and stopped fighting in favor of shaking hands with the King of Pop. The word says that he only left after making sure that everything was settled. He even took his time to shake hands with onlookers. He died 52 days after the incident. To commemorate what he did, a plaque was made with an image of him doing the classic karate stance describing the incident.
While it’s a mere stone marker, seeing it is still one of the weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi. You won’t get to see it anywhere so take a chance and head to the FCC Antenna building as the plaque is not far away from it.
2Find the Duckmobile
If you feel down or if you want to make your day even brighter, looking for the Duckmobile is one of the weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi but it is also fun. With over 300 rubber ducks of different sizes and styles displayed outside the car, it’s in deed a sight to be seen. Its owner, Jen Mulder created it with a simple goal in mind – and that is to make people smile as it makes her smile as well. Apparently, it’s really effective as according to her, she often gets plenty of notes from a lot of people saying that her car made her day.
3Listen to Art Paul Schlosser
Art Paul Schlosser is neither an A list singer nor an actor. He’s not even a rising social media influencer either. But listening to him will make your day. Apparently, he is Madison’s prince of musical parody. For over 30 years, Schlosser has been serenading the streets of Madison with his guitar and kazoo. But what makes listening to him counted on this list is that de doesn’t just sing songs that you can hear on the radio but he has folksy funny tracks that will surely make your day. His songs aren’t the only that you should anticipate but his outfits too. He always wears funky hats, bright shirts, and sometimes even a chicken suit.
4Know your wood
Madison has its own laboratory, known as the Forest Products Laboratory, solely dedicated to researching and experimenting anything about wood that will help you get to understand more of it and how the society can utilize it better You can call their hotline at 608-231-9200 and they can answer all your queries about anything related to wood. It may be one of the weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi but wouldn’t it be nice to know more about woods and how to utilize it even more? When not answering the public’s queries, this place is a repository of odd things. They have a piece of Leadwood, the hardest and the heaviest type of wood that weighs more than 80 lbs. per cubic foot. They also have an African Crossfire Mahogany veneer that was used on the Pontiac automobiles’ interior during the 1970s.
5See weird art
There’s also no shortage of odd artworks in Madison either; and seeing them is definitely one of the weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi that you shouldn’t miss. Here are some of them and some info as to where you can see them up-close.
This work of art seems like steampunk metal birds. This is because it is made by artist Doc Evermore using the remnants of a heating and air conditioning company. You’ll see these unique display outside an office building right off Willy Street. These displays are a bit huge so you won’t have a hard time finding them.
You might see it as a mere giant piece of a slender eroding limestone but if you will look closer, it’s actually a more brilliant work of art than that. This 50-foot-tall pillar is apparently made by artist Donald Lipski and it is apparently made out of gel-coated fiberglass. If you want to get a closer look, it is located at Camp Randall stadium’s entrance.
You might feel as if it’s just a Halloween display but this actually has more value than the plastic Halloween displays. Apparently, this weighs 1,500 pounds and the skull is made of bronze. This work of art was made by artist Jim Dine as a part of the 67-piece skull-themed collection that was contributed to the Chazen Museum of Art on University Avenue.
6See the Wienermobile
In Madison, you can also get to the (probably) most unique and cutest hotdog stand. Though it’s just a mere hotdog stand, it has a different look that started out as a bizarre marketing gimmick and you will not get to see this anywhere else in the world. For starters, it’s just a mobile shaped like a hotdog but it is totally recognizable even form a distance, especially with its orange and yellow color. And, of course, it’s not just a sight to see but the hotdogs are a must-try too.
7Search for the Loch Ness Monster
Madison is also known for the rumors about the loch ness monster. Reports say that it is a 25-foot monster that has a broad and flat-topped head and a body that resembles a snake but with spikes. The tittle-tattle apparently started out in 1917 when a sunbather dangled her feet into Lake Mendota and felt something in the water. The word says that when she turned around, she saw the head and neck of a big snake that extended above the surface. Today, it remains a mystery if there was a real loch ness monster in spite of searches. See it for yourself but be careful; to this day, there’s still no proof of its existence nor has been officially debunked.
8Witness or be a part of the world Naked Bike Ride
Witnessing or being a part of the World Naked Bike Ride is also one of the weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi. As its name suggests, participants ride bikes and other human-powered types of transport while naked. This isn’t some festival, though. Rather this aims to raise awareness about our reliance on fossil fuels. If you want to see it or take part in it, be sure to check the schedule for this event as it only happens semi-annually.
9Marvel at John Muir’s inventions
John Muir is most famously known as the country’s most influential naturalist. But did you know that he was an inventor too? Seeing some of his works are some of the weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi too. One of the coolest and unique inventions that he made was the alarm clock desk displayed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the collection of Wisconsin Historical Society. This is actually a hybrid alarm clock and a study desk that literally chucked Muir out of his bed every morning. This is because the contraption consisted of a clockwork desk that is attached to a collapsing bed. It’s a cool invention that is not to be missed when visiting Madison so be sure to include this in your itinerary.
10Be in awe at L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum
Built in 1918, the L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum was one of the first collections of its kind. As its name suggests, it is filled to the brim with experiments and toys that help bring life to science. You might find some of the things here familiar such as the large Newton’s Cradle on display but it also has plenty of unfamiliar but equally interesting ones and seeing them is also one of the weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi that will make your trip even more memorable. Located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Chamberlin Hall, you can take your time and explore the marvels of our universe as you visit this museum from Mondays through Fridays between 8 AM and 4 PM.
11Visit the Olbrich Botanical Garden
This garden boasts of 16 acres of land that is a feast for your senses. It’s a very relaxing place to be and depending on the time of your visit, you can get to see a variety of plants and flowers in full bloom. There are exotic ones too. But what makes visiting it as one of the top weird and unique things to do in Madison Wi is its elaborate pavilion donated by the government of Thailand called the Sala. It is only one of the four buildings of its kind outside Asia so don’t miss a chance to see it. And the best part of it is that it is free to the public.
12Taste exotic chocolates
Madison also has some exotic deserts to talk big of too. One of which is the Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier. Just by looking at its name, you’ll know that it is where you can get chocolates for dessert. But these aren’t your ordinary chocolates, though. Rather, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier is home to exotic handcrafted fine and dark chocolates. Inspired by single-origin chocolates this place only uses the freshest ingredients such as spices, teas, fruits, etc. and it’s really a must-try whether you are a chocolate lover or not. Head on to Atwood Avenue to have a taste of its world-class chocolates and truffles.