If you are thinking of going out of town for your Christmas vacation, Madison, WI is a great place to visit.
Madison is known as being the nicest place to live in Wisconsin. It is has an urban meets suburban vibe and it is a hotspot for bars, coffee shops, restaurants and parks. It is home to the gold domed state capitol, the Wisconsin Historical Museum and the Capitol city trail that runs past Monona Terrace, a lakefront convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
If Madison sounds like a great place for you to visit during the holidays, read on to find out about all the things you can see and do.
The Tree Lighting at the State Capitol Building
The State Capitol Building’s Tree Lighting Ceremony is a great way to kick off the holiday season. The stately tree is typically around 30 feet high and features 2000 LED lights as well as handmade ornaments crafted by local students. The ornaments represent the subjects the students are covering in school and carries on into the theme of the evening.
The tree is lit by the governor and his wife in the rotunda and remains there for public viewing throughout the holiday season.
Tour the Governor’s Mansion
The governor keeps the festivities going making tours of his mansion available to the public. The mansion is a Classical Revival style building with columns and a glorious fountain out front. It includes 34 rooms, 13 bathrooms and 7 bedrooms and fireplaces.
During the Christmas season, the mansion is decked out in all its holiday glory and free tours are available on select dates throughout December.
Must see sights include a “Tribute to our Troops” holiday tree. Wisconsin military families are invited to send an ornament dedicated to a family member in the military which will be displayed on the tree.
Trolley and Carolers Downtown
The downtown Madison area is decked out for the holiday season. You can get from destination to destination by riding on the holiday trolley that is decorated for Christmas. Volunteer Downtown Information Ambassadors are on hand to greet riders, hand out treats for children and provide advice on where to shop and how to get to various locations.
Riders are also given Welcome Bags with promotions, coupons and special offers from local businesses.
Choral groups and dancers can also be found in area near State St. and Capitol Square. They perform for local visitors and may even hop on the trolley. Formal performances are scheduled on select dates at the Madison Children’s Museum and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts.
While in the downtown area, be sure to check out the Winter Snowflake Lights Display. The snowflakes decorate State St. and Capital Square and include thousands of energy saving LEDs.
Olbrich Holiday Express
Obrich Holiday Express is an event brought to you by Obrich Botanical Gardens which features 16 acres of outdoor specialty gardens including a sunken garden with an eight-foot reflecting pool and a perennial garden with a meandering stream. The garden’s glorious aesthetic earned it the Garden of Excellence Award.
The Holiday Express allows you to escape to enjoy a Holiday in the Tropics experience. Poinsettias are displayed throughout the gardens. Gingerbread houses are erected. Wreaths are hung. A line of Christmas trees is on display with a surrounding fence that doubles as the track for a toy train.
The gardens are truly magnificent at this time of year and they are a site worth checking out.
Holiday Fantasy in Lights at Olin Park
Olin Park is a green oasis located next to Lake Monona. It is full of walking trails, a beach, picnic tables and sports fields. During the holidays, it lights up for a drive through holiday event that includes LED lights and life-sized displays. Pack your family into the car for some holiday fun.
Annual Tree Lighting at the Edgewater Hotel
The Edgewater Hotel is a historic hotel resort in downtown Wisconsin. The staff kicks off the holiday season with a tree lighting event that includes a Christmas Village, holiday performances, holiday story readings and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The evening ends with holiday classic movies in the Grand Ballroom.
Madison Symphony Orchestra Christmas Extravaganza
Every year, the Madison Symphony Orchestra gets together for a holiday performance that can’t be missed. This includes great seasonal tunes, solo performances from the most talented musicians in the area and a carol singalong. The Symphony typically books a weekend of dates and performs at Overture Center.
Hilldale Mall Holiday Hop
The Hilldale Mall is a great place to get holiday shopping done and the Holiday Hop provides a festive air that is sure to make for a fun experience.
Families will be able to visit with Santa and his reindeer on the Green. Select stores will be serving hot chocolate. A musical performance will take place at the big tree in the Plaza. Then the tree lighting ceremony will take place.,
The tree will remain lit for the holiday season making it a terrific stop when you are out and about.
Stop by the Daisy Café and Cupcakery for Seasonal Treats
The Daisy Café and Cupcakery has 20 flavors of cupcakes each day all made form scratch. During the Christmas season, they bust out with eight festive selections inspired by holiday songs.
Fleece Navidad Stout Ale incorporates brew in the cake filling and frosting. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire features a gluten free flourless chestnut chocolate cake topped with cinnamon meringue cookie and chestnut buttercream dusted with cocoa. A Partridge in a Pear Tree is a sophisticated mix of gingerbread and pear….and there are plenty more in store.
Mmmm….my mouth is watering already.
With so many fun things to do, Madison is sure to be a terrific Christmas destination. Its rural meets urban vibe makes it a favorite for just about any visitor. What will you be doing on your trip?