Best Of Chicago

Guide To A Three-Day Weekend In Madison, WI

January 25, 2014 7:00 AM

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(Credit: downtown.greatdanepub.com)

(Credit: downtown.greatdanepub.com)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ah, Madison, Wisconsin. It’s the perfect distance for a weekend getaway; it’s far enough away that you feel you’ve gotten away from the daily stress at home, but not so far that you spend most of the weekend just driving to get there. Where should you go and what should you do? Consider checking out the following guide so you can start planning your three-day weekend in Wisconsin’s capital.

How To Get There

A 2.5-hour drive from downtown Chicago, Madison is an easy trip. But how should you get there? Let’s first talk about the kind of driver you are. If time is of the essence, then you might want to take I-90 West basically straight to Madison. If you are the type of person who likes to stop and check out the sites along the way, then consider picking up U.S. Route 12 in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. It adds a bit of time to your trip, but you’ll be able to pass through scenic towns and see gorgeous farmland and rolling hillside as you travel. There are also plenty of stops along the way so you can refuel and grab coffee or a bite to eat. You can also pick up a bus and hop aboard for a completely scenic ride from Chicago to Madison.

What To Do

Chazen Museum Of Art
750 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-2246
www.chazen.wisc.edu

With more than 20,000 sculptures, paintings and other forms of art spanning thousands of years, the Chazen Museum of Art is a delightful way to spend an afternoon during your stay at Madison. If you’d like to learn more about the Chazen’s collection, then make sure to take part in the Docent Tours, which take place on Sundays and Thursdays. Fr more information, check out the museum’s website. Other programs include lectures, kid-friendly events, film screenings and live musical performances. The Chazen also hosts a number of exhibits; for example, starting Feb. 7, 2014, you can see “Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3” focusing on works from Native artists.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Attend A Game At University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kellner Hall at Camp Randall Stadium
1440 Monroe St.
Madison, WI 53711
(608) 262-1866
www.uwbadgers.com

What’s a trip to Madison without catching a game at the University of Wisconsin-Madison? From basketball to volleyball and wrestling, you can see the Badgers in action at a number of events. You can purchase tickets in advance by phone, online or in person at the Athletic Ticket Office at Kellner Hall. Before you head to the game, make sure to pick up some official school apparel to show your team spirit. To find a store, check out the Bucky’s Locker Room website.

Related: Getaway Guide: One-Tank Trip To Kenosha, WI

Where To Eat

Sardine
617 Williamson St.
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 441-1600
www.sardinemadison.com

Whether you want brunch or dinner, consider stopping in at Sardine. The restaurant overlooks Lake Monona and is close to the State Capitol building. Sardine offers a selection of dishes for dinner, including steamed mussels and grilled salmon. If you’re not a fish person, never fear; the restaurant’s menu also includes meat and poultry selections, including grilled pork chops and lamb chops. The restaurant also features a children’s menu for brunch, with dishes that include scrambled eggs and yogurt with fruit. The restaurant has also been recognized for excellence as its chefs and owners, John Gadau and Phillip Hurley, were named semifinalists for “Best Chef: Midwest” by the James Beard Foundation in 2013.

(Credit: downtown.greatdanepub.com)

(Credit: downtown.greatdanepub.com)

The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
123 E. Doty St.
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 284-0000
www.downtown.greatdanepub.com

Located in Madison’s downtown, The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. offers a varied menu, making it the perfect place for lunch or dinner with a group. Great Dane also offers a gluten-free menu with options that include grilled cheeseburgers, Thai pasta and chocolate nut torte, and its children’s menu includes grilled cheese sandwiches and grilled chicken. The pub offers a dizzying array of beer, including Landmark Lite Lager, Peck’s Pilsner and an assortment of specialty brews. Not sure which one to try? The pub offers a sampler pack, so you can try a few glasses of beer with your meal (non-alcoholic beverages are also available).

Where To Stay

The Madison Concourse Hotel And Governor’s Club
1 W. Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53703
(800) 356-8293
www.concoursehotel.com

If you’re looking for a hotel that’s right in the middle of things, then consider staying at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club. The hotel is the perfect spot for a quick getaway, and offers numerous amenities, including a fitness center, in-room flat screen TVs, refrigerators and coffeemakers. The hotel is located just steps from a number of must-see spots, including the Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison Children’s Museum, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus, Orpheum Theatre and a number of restaurants.

Related: Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Milwaukee, WI

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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