Exploring Madison, Wisconsin

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is Part 3 of our trip to Wisconsin.


We were in Madison probably less than two whole days, but could have easily spent more if we only had the time to do it.

Still, I feel we covered quite a bit in the short amount of time allowed.

Rather than giving you a play by play of what we did and such, I think I’ll just break it down into three categories:
Madison Sites
Madison Restaurants and Food
Art Fair on the Square

Madison Sites

The Wisconsin State Capitol

Not only was the Capitol building beautiful on the outside…

…it was beautiful inside too…

…and you could admire it all while freely roaming the building…

…and climbing to the observatory deck…

…to get a closer look at the marble sculptures outside…

…while also taking in the beautiful city sites around you.

State Street

State Street connects Capitol Square to the University of Wisconsin and has plenty of ethnic restaurants, cool shops and more.

Mere seconds on State Street…

…brought us to this cool photo-op via L.L. Bean

…only for us to realize that they were actually inviting guests to roast marshmallows…

…and make s’mores.

Along State Street, we would also find badgers in the fountains…

…and badgers to smile with…

…but we wouldn’t fully understand the badger-Wisconsin connection…

…until we read it here, at the…

Henry Vilas Zoo

The Henry Vilas Zoo is free and worth a visit.

I mean, he really liked it with all the animals fairly close together…

…and he especially loved the carousel.

The Memorial Union

The Memorial Union is located along Lake Mendota…

…making it great to hang out and watch the boats…

…share a pitcher of beer with friends while enjoying live entertainment…

…or savor some Babcock ice cream from the Daily Scoop.

Madison Restaurants and Food

Here’s a quick run-down of things I got to enjoy in Madison…

The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned has some of best cheese curds around…

…but I tried to balance the decadence with a nice Number 20 Salad described as a salad with “Plump Door County cherries, Buttermilk Blue cheese and toasted almonds tossed with mixed greens and brandy vinaigrette.”

It was very refreshing and light.

But, even with the healthy food choices, I couldn’t resist when I noticed a bar snacks menu that read “pickled turkey gizzards.”

Everyone should try it once, right?

The Old Fashioned was nice and I still would like to go back at dinnertime for one of their Lazy Susan options (imagine an assortment of deliciousness).


Graze was our first cheese curd experience and I think I preferred these in the end…something about a buttery outer coating that brought the flavor home.

I got the Bibimbap with tofu, pockets of crispy rice (which was awesome since it’s not served in a clay pot), veggies, hot sauce, an egg and both the pork and tofu (nice that I didn’t have to choose either or).

My mom got the Graze burger which is described as “ground short ribs, brisket, bacon, caramelized onion-Cabernet jus, Hook’s Swiss Emmental compound butter, with fries & aioli,”

Everything was really delicious.

Marigold Kitchen

We ate at Marigold Kitchen for breakfast and I remember Luca got a kid’s breakfast with scrambled egg that came with some really delicious sausage and toast.

I went with the avocado toast with pepita, cotija cheese, pickled onion and cilantro. There was also lemon and orange zest that really made this dish.

It brought it to a new level.

Tip Top Tavern

We headed to Tip Top Tavern with some friends who lived in that neighborhood.

Being it was the weekend, they were serving brunch, so I went with the Vedge burger as it had a ton of great sounding foods – walnuts, almonds, roasted peppers, roasted mushrooms, carmelized onions and more.

Overall, it was really tasty, but I often forget that veggie burgers tend to be a little squishy/mashable.

Fortunately, I found and devoured all the pieces that broke and fell from the sandwich as I ate it.

Greenbush Bakery

Ah, Greenbush Bakery.

Unfortunately, the rabbis and fritters I hoped to experienced were already sold out when we stopped by.

Still, this little piece of heaven was worth the visit.

Art Fair on the Square

During this trip, we attended three festivals (2 in Madison and 1 in Milwaukee). But, while I took enough photos at the other two festivals to merit their own blog posts, I didn’t take many at Art Fair on the Square.

One of the reasons was the amount of people.

This was at 9:30 AM.

It can be really tedious to get a decent shot of the booth as hundreds of people are swarming in and around booths while browsing at various paces.

Another reason was that art festivals can be a little sensitive. Artists sometimes don’t want photos of their work and I respect that.

So when I considered the effort of asking the artist, plus working on the shot around the crowds, it just wasn’t worth it.

But what I can tell you is that there were many great and creative artists…

…and the festival covers halfway around Capitol Square.

Plus there is live entertainment at various stages…

…at least two sections of food vendors…

…which included stuffed arepas…

…and even an Art Fair OFF the Square to fit in even more artists.

Also I noticed a ton of beer and ice cream stands all throughout (even if you don’t see them in this particular pic)…

…because you can never have enough ice cream.