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Okay so my grams is coming from Puerto Rico in a few weeks, and my mother and I want to take her to Madison. My mother hasnt been there in like 10 years, and the last time I was there I was only there for a few hours so I really didnt see much. It will most likely be a day trip. Also my grandma is an 86 year old (more like 70, trust me should could hold her own and can walk anywhere) and was a high school history teacher so she loves history. So this is what I have planned:

1) State Capitol
2) State Street
3) University of Wisconsin
then this is where I get lost. Are there any museums, or intersting historical places? Also when is the farmer's market? Some good places to eat? Beautiful neighborhood to drive? Please let me know, because if those are the only three opitions I think we might end up going to Milwaukee, and I don't mean that in a bad way, but its beacuse cause she has been to Milwaukee before.
 

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Good places to eat depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you like Frank Lloyd Wright, there is plenty of his stuff in the area. Farmers Market is Saturday and Sunday mornings, I believe- it ends around noon I think. I recommend it. You could go to the Arboretum (spelling?) which is neat, since it's like right in the middle of urban-ness.
 

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Check out the Wis Historical Society:
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/about/
The main building is at the foot of State Street on the campus and the museum is on the corner of Carroll & Mifflin streets on the Capitol Square.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is kitty-corner from the museum at 30 W Mifflin:
http://museum.dva.state.wi.us/

Chazen Museum of Art:
http://chazen.wisc.edu/home.htm

Don't miss Monona Terrace:
http://www.mononaterrace.com/

The Farmer's Market on the Square is only on Saturdays, not Sundays:
http://www.madfarmmkt.org/mktcal.asp
The Wednesday market is on Martin Luther King Blvd and is much smaller.

Olbrich Gardens is lovely:
http://www.olbrich.org/

You can't miss the Overture Center when you're on State Street, but Phase II that houses the Museum of Contemporary Art just opened this month. I haven't been there yet, but the pictures I've seen look fantastic.
 

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muted
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1) The Memorial Union Terrace is a great spot. You can sit on Lake Mendota and enjoy the people-watching and the weather.



2) Restaurants. If you walk down State Street from top-to-bottom, I'm sure you'll see a place that catches your eye. Madison is packed with restaurants. Also, The Great Dane has fairly cheap but decent food and one of the best beer gardens I've ever encountered. Or, if you're looking for something more formal or expensive, try Magnus,L'Etoile, or Fyfe's Bistro (great food for the price). All three are either on the Capitol Square or very close thereto.

3) Interesting neighborhoods. Langdon Street has all the fraternity and sorority houses on it. And even though I'm not a fan of either, a lot of the houses are pretty interesting. The Mansion Hill area around Gilman/Pickney is fun to explore. There is also a neighborhood around Lathrop Street west of Camp Randall Stadium that I can't quite remember the name of that would be worth a visit as well. Maybe Pigboy knows the name.

Mansion Hill


Click here for a map of the area.
 

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hydrogen said:
There is also a neighborhood around Lathrop Street west of Camp Randall Stadium that I can't quite remember the name of that would be worth a visit as well. Maybe Pigboy knows the name.
You're talking about the Regent neighborhood, which is also where Frank Lloyd Wright's "Airplane House" (The E.A. Gilmore House) is located. I know some people who live around that neighborhood, and they've even gone as far as dividing it between the "highlanders" and the "flatlanders" because of the obvious division of the hilly part of the neighborhood, and the flat part. It is indeed an interesting neighborhood.
 

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If you're looking at spending a day kicking around Madison, I can't think of a better itinerary than starting at Capitol Square, touring the Capitol building, and perhaps Monona Terrace (FLW-designed), then walking down State Street toward the campus. There's a new building for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art on State Street, the building looks great but I don't know much about the collection. State Street is a good stroll, with a nice mix of stores and restaurants, although the mix is decidely collegiate as you get nearer the UW campus. Cap it off with a visit to the Union Terrace, which to me is one of the most serene spots in the entire Midwest. Absoultely beautiful place to hang out and chill on a nice day.
 

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Live from red brick mama
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The Mifflin Street Block Party is this weekend-- be sure to check out St. Louis's own Team Tomato performing at 2:00pm!~
 

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Not much to add that hasn't already been said...

The museums were already mentioned, and I would second those since you said your grandmother likes history. I've only been to the Historical Society Museum- certainly interesting with a lot of history covered, but of course it's all about Wisconsin so it's not necessarily the most interesting to everyone. But admission is by donation and they only ask like $4 a person, so it's not like you'd be blowing a lot of money on it.

Also, if you check out Mansion Hill as hydrogren suggested, be sure to look for the plaques on the ground in front of most of the historic houses. (Just being mindful of the history fan again. :))

And if anyone in the party is interested in just taking in a sunset, a great spot at this time of year is a tiny little park in the city of Monona, across the lake from Madison. It's called Wyldhaven Park and is at the intersection of Tonyawatha Trl and Wyldhaven Ave (you can Google map that... the park won't show up, but it is there). For the next few weeks the sun will be setting over Madison's little skyline as viewed from there.
 

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Your grams might appreciate a drive to Spring Green, about an hour west of Madison on hwy 14. It's FLW's hometown and the site of Taliesen, his sprawling school and workshop complex. It costs a lot to tour Taliesen, but Spring Green and environs is just so damn pretty you don't even need to enter Taliesen to have a great time just soaking in the scenery. If you or your grams likes Shakespeare or other classical theater there's a theater troupe in Spring Green called American Players Theater. They put plays on in an outdoor ampitheater nestled into a wooded hillside. It's awesome.
 

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I'll definately second the motion on L'Etoile. It's one of the best restaurants in the country and could easily hold its own in NY, Chicago or SF.
 

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I haven't been on a Madison trip that didn't include a whole lot of potsmoking, loud live music, pretentious bohemian college chicks, (God, I love them so) and a visit to that sad little zoo to see the orangatans.. I wasn't aware that there was anything else to do in Madison...
 
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