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Travel Log: Madison, WI

ALL ABOUT THAT CHEESE YOU SAY? Full of some yummy food & good drinks, Madison, WI is a fun & quirky weekend getaway destination!

At the end of March, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Madison, WI for a conference. The iSchool at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hosted a PowerUp conference for Librarians focused on youth services. I was super grateful for the opportunity to go free of charge courtesy of my workplace.

While I was attending the conference with some co-workers, we had some down time to explore a little bit of Madison and sample some of the restaurants near by! See a list below of the places I got to discover as well as some places bookmarked for any future visits!

The Sees

State Capitol Building – If you’re looking for a fun photo op then definitely checkout the State Capitol Building! We didn’t have time to take a tour or get too up-close, but the walk up State St. to the destination of this building is definitely worth the exercise! The downtown “main” streets are relatively easy and short walks, so it’s definitely doable multiple times during the day. So make sure you have your camera app ready & snag some photos in front of and leading up to this majestic looking building!

Madison Public Library – I’m a librarian, so I always make an effort to try and check out the local library of any town or city I’m visiting. Let me tell you, I was blown away by the Madison Public Library. Their resources, layout & programs were so awesome! I took a ton of photos that I will not bore you with here. But if you’re looking for a free to-do, then check out the library! It won’t disappoint! 🙂

The Lakes – Every year I get more convinced that I’m pretty close to an “outdoorsie” kind of person. While I still don’t know how to go “off the grid” and still don’t like peeing outside of some kind of bathroom, I do really enjoy being outdoors almost as much as I enjoy being indoors (which trust me is a whole lot lol). So when I woke up early Friday morning to attend a pre-conference yoga session, I had to stop and appreciate the beautiful Lake Mendota! I was fortunate enough that the conference was being held in a building build right on the lake and the views were spectacular. It was the end of March so there was still ice on the lake, but it was still stunning to see. I’m hoping to see Lake Monona during any future visit I take to Madison.

The Dos

Shopping on State St. – While Madison might seemed filled with more food places than shopping places, I was still able to find some cute places like Anthology which sells stationary, art prints, pins, and more. I literally wanted to buy the entire store! Of course, I somehow retrained myself and only ended up spending $40 lol. Other fun shops included Earthbound Trading Co., Soap Opera, A Room of One’s Own, & the Campus Street Sportswear store which sold all things UW-Madison.

Flamingo Wings and Hodag Claws & Horns – In need of an awesome IG photo? Say no more! These wall art installations on a side wall of the Wisconsin Historical Museum near the State Capitol Building are perfect for your IG-worthy shots! I had so much fun posing in front of the pretty flamingo wings & my co-worker had a shot of me barring some claws for the Hodag horns as well. Definitely worth a stop at this art installation courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Museum.

Bookmarked: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin Historical Museum, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Madison’s Children Museum The Orpheum Theater for a show, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Betty Lou Cruises, Kayaking to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve

The Eats

Graze ($$) – This restaurant is a MUST if you’re in Madison. My co-worker found it on yelp & we gave it a try & I fell in LOVE with the food. So, so, so GOOD guys! We ordered about 3 apps to split and then I also split my entree with one of my co-workers. We ordered the Sarvecchio Gnocchi which was one of the best gnocchi’s I’ve ever had! Delicious! We almost went back here the next day lol but ended up at another fun place.

Food Tip: Try the cheese curds, the cheese plate & the pork buns!

Restaurant Tip: This farm to table restaurant doesn’t take reservations so either try & get there early, go on a week night or be prepared for a wait. They have the ability to text you when your table is ready, so if it’s a longer wait you can leave the restaurant to explore more of Madison.

Tavernakaya ($$) – I loved the open feel of this restaurant. It’s casual, but has an upscale, IG worthy feel to it. I had been craving a good bowl of ramen & was excited to see one on the menu. Tavernakaya is a mix of asian foods, sushi and bar drinks. We ended up trying out their pork buns here as well as and then I filled up on the ramen which was super yummy & hit the spot!

Food Tip: Try the pork buns, the sushi & the ramen!

Rollicious Creamery (Madison) ($$) – Did anyone say dessert? I had never had rolled ice cream before, so obviously I wanted to try it! Luckily, my co-workers let me stop lol. I got a vanilla ice cream with reese cups, chocolate sauce & topped with banana and whipped cream. It was so fascinating the way they make it. I even took a photo. If you’re looking for an interesting desert try this place out! If you just have a sweet tooth or a love of ice cream than this place will be right up your ally!

Bookmarked: Graft, Pig in a Fur Coat, Heritage Tavern, The Tipsy Cow & Merchant

The Conference Outfit

Let me know what your must see in Madison or what you’d check out from my recs above! I hope this helped with any upcoming trips you have planned or are thinking of planning 🙂

Happy Traveling!

xx Nicole Lynn

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Kara
    May 20, 2019 at 6:02 PM

    I had no idea Madison Wisconsin had so much to see and the food looks so good!! The capital building is stunning and that must have been lovely to see that lake from the conference. And I love the outfit you wore to the conference! Thank you so much for sharing this and if I’m ever in Madison I’ll definitely be using this as a guide!

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