Madison, Wisconsin isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of a weekend getaway. At least it wasn’t for me! However, after spending the weekend there with Vishnu, my sister, and her husband, I totally see why people would want to take a few days exploring the capital city and fun college town. We had a blast trying new restaurants, taking in the sights, and celebrating Vishnu and Aekta’s birthdays!
With that being said, here’s a ‘where we stayed, what we did, and what we ate’ guide to Madison.
WHERE WE STAYED
Before booking our hotel for the weekend, I consulted my friend Erin who went to school in Madison. She suggested a bunch of hotels, so I researched each one and ultimately settled on the Hyatt Place Madison Downtown.
This hotel was perfect for the four of us in terms of cost, location, and room size. It was also super clean, which is always the most important criteria for me. If you’re looking for a nice, no frills hotel in the heart of downtown Madison, the Hyatt Place is it!
WHAT WE DID
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate the way we wanted it to this weekend, so we had to be flexible with our plans. Vishnu wanted to go biking around the lake on Saturday, but because of the steady drizzle and cooler temps, we opted to walk around the lake for a bit and then down State Street (a fun shop and restaurant filled street that’s blocked off to cars).
We also spent some time Saturday morning exploring the Dane County Farmers Market, the largest producers only farmers market in the country (no resale allowed!). Erin highly recommended this, and I totally see why. There were literally hundreds of stalls – honey, cheese (so much cheese!), baked goods, breads, salsas, etc. This was truly a highlight of our trip!
The four of us agreed that we used our time to the best of our ability, however, next time we want to visit a dairy farm, go biking, and visit more fun bars.
WHAT WE ATE
The Old Fashioned – We ate at The Old Fashioned on Friday night per Erin’s recommendation, and it totally reminded me of an Athens, Georgia (where I went to school) kind of place. Because there was a bit of a wait, the hostess gave us four $1 off coupons to use at the bar. The beer selection was amazing – so many interesting beers to choose from – and CHEAP! $4/beer! That would get you like two sips in Chicago.
Upon being seated at our table, my sister and I ordered the cheese curds, the highlight of our meal. The slightly chewy cheese, the crispy beer battered exterior, and the delicious dipping sauces…party in my mouth! Aek and I also split a vegetarian sandwich. Adarsh ordered the cheeseburger, and Vishnu went for the fish special. It’s safe to say that no one left hungry!
Marigold Kitchen – After reading review after review for different brunch spots, I decided Marigold Kitchen would be the first one we tried. Thankfully, everyone loved the food/drinks they ordered. Once again, my sister and I split a dish – the chilaquiles. Vishnu ordered chili poached eggs, a slightly smaller dish but very satisfying according to him. Adarsh ordered a chorizo and corn relish omelette – he raved about it! We also ordered two carrot ginger pancakes for the table. The cream cheese topping was perfection!
Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream – Located on State Street, this fun little ice cream place offers TONS of unique flavors and serves up HUGE scoops. Being in the dairy capital of the US, my sister insisted we try some Wisconsin ice cream. You don’t have to twist my arm! Vishnu and I shared a cup of Espresso Oreo (coffee + Oreos) and Zanzibar Chocolate (3 different cocoas). YUM!
Cento – Cento is a trendy Italian restaurant with some seriously delicious food. Everything we ordered from the wine poached beets, to the boys’ pizza, to our pasta, to the drinks. to the Tiramisu dessert tasted fresh and flavorful. And we didn’t hold back at Cento because this was Aek and Vishnu’s birthday dinner! We had so much fun chowing down and chatting about ‘deep stuff!’
Eldorado Grill – Last but certainly not least is Eldorado Grill, our final Madison restaurant where we ate brunch and drank copious amounts of coffee before driving back to Chicago. The Tex Mex food at Eldorado is fun and inviting. With so many options, Aek and I decided to split two dishes, which then prompted Vishnu and Adarsh to do the same. Out of the two things we ordered, I LOVED the chilaquiles (yes, again!). The sauce, the cheese, the layered tortillas – it all came together perfectly. Every bite packed a flavorful punch!
And that, my friends, is our weekend getaway to Madison, Wisconsin in a blog post! I can’t wait to go back at some point and explore (and eat) some more. 🙂
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST HUSBAND AND SISTER A GIRL COULD EVER ASK FOR!!!
Your turn – when was the last time you took a road trip and where did you go?