Help me plan for fun weekend trip to Madison, WI
July 21, 2019 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Looking for new things to do and older things I might have forgotten.

Help me plan for fun weekend trip to Madison, WI

I am trying to take a quick weekend trip to Madison, WI with my fiance my next weekend. I used to live in Madison more than a decade ago so I know the general layout of the city but I am looking for ideas of new things to do or older things I might have forgotten about. We like doing things outdoors, art, music, unique events.

I am hoping to bring our bikes with us so any recommendations for some biking on Saturday or Sunday would be appreciated. Maybe the Capital City Trail (Is a fee still required) or some biking that can be integrated with eating. Are there better routes I don't know about?

My fiance is into swing dancing and I looked around but didn't see any events listed. Anything going on in that regard?

I am thinking about going to American Player's Theatre Saturday after maybe going to the farmer's market at the square in the morning. I see that MacBeth is playing in the afternoon and Twelfth Night is playing in the evening. Any recommendation with regards to either one? Is the evening show likely to be really buggy? If we go to the afternoon show any recommendations for places to grab picnic items?

Any breakfast place or other restaurant recommendations?

Ideas for Friday night, Sunday morning and afternoon would be appreciated: concerts, art, etc.?
posted by cycleback to Travel & Transportation around Madison, WI (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not actually Madison, but then again, neither is APT... have you been to House on the Rock? If not, you have to go. It’s a trip! I think there’s a Frank Lloyd Wright house around there somewhere, too.
posted by Weeping_angel at 10:58 PM on July 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

This was on the local news on Sunday (free for Kindle unlimited users):
100 things to do in Madison before you die, 2nd edition
posted by baegucb at 11:06 PM on July 21, 2019

Next weekend is Atwood Fest!
Here's the lineup.
More ideas as I think of 'em.
posted by Floydd at 11:38 PM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am also recommending House on the Rock. I've been twice, both times on sunday mornings, as close to opening as i could. The gardens and historical part at the beginning are cool, but if you go early and do those parts at the end, you can see the house and all the rest of the creepy, surreal brilliance without too many other people around.
posted by August Fury at 4:13 AM on July 22, 2019

For breakfast, I've heard wonderful things about Short Stack Eatery, both for their food and their community involvement.
posted by Floydd at 4:50 AM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Okay, Cambridge isn't Madison, but it's not far (although the opposite direction from Spring Green) - this weekend is the Midwest Fire Fest. I've never been, but it sounds pretty interesting.

If you plan to arrive by dinner on Friday, make reservations for Restaurant Week! A lot of restaurants do fixed price three course meals - 25-35 depending on the restaurant. Maybe try Sardine if you like fish?

Short Stack in downtown Madison is A+ for breakfast at any time of day. Don't worry too much about the line - you shouldn't be waiting too long for a table for two. Get the blind special if you are feeling indecisive or adventurous.
posted by esker at 4:58 AM on July 22, 2019

I think the bike trail pass is $5/day. Part of the cap city trail is being resurfaced this summer, so check the map before you go out.
posted by esker at 5:03 AM on July 22, 2019

Atwood Fest is a great idea! I like brunch at Mickey’s Tavern on Willy St.
If you’re driving to Spring Green, you could try to see a show at the Shitty Barn too. Go to the afternoon APT performance and the S Barn shows are at 7 pm. It’s very likely their weekend shows are sold out, but I think it’s worth checking into. This is by far my favorite thing to do in spring green, much more than even APT or house on the rock. Probably a long shot, but something to keep in mind. I wouldn’t worry too much about bugs with APT. Bring bug spray of course, but I think the “theater under the stars” factor outweighs the bug factor in the evening performances.
APT Picnic ideas: if you’re driving through Madison via University Avenue, you could stop at the Middleton Willy St. Coop. They have a good deli and that’s a pretty Madison thing to do.
Or if you’re staying in east Madison, you could get amazing sandwiches at the Underground Butcher on Williamson Street and pack them in a cooler.
posted by areaperson at 6:31 AM on July 22, 2019

Response by poster: Unfortunately, the Shitty Barn show is sold out. I had read about the Cambridge Fire Festival and was considering that. Any other recommendations for bike routes?
posted by cycleback at 9:16 AM on July 22, 2019

Our go-to bike ride for out-of-towners is Military Ridge Trail to Paoli for a beer at the Hop Garden, on the banks of the Sugar River.

If you like beer, there are some good new Breweries in the last few years, especially Giant Jones and Working Draft, both on the eat east side.

Oh, and the refurbished Garver Feed Mill is opening this weekend, and has a bunch of fun local food businesses! Right off the cap city trail near olbrich park.
posted by juliapangolin at 6:19 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

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