When on the road with no visible means of support, it’s nice to run into a city where you can do a lot without spending a lot, Madison fit the bill.  The town has free museums, a free zoo, free gardens, free parks, street fares and cheap eats.  A great place to have a good time without putting much of a dent in the pocket book.

The Chazen art museum building without any art would be worth a visit, with the art it’s a must see (and free):

The capitol building in Madison is a designated national landmark and it deserves to be. It’s a majestic building and you get a beautiful view of the city from the outside deck circling the rotunda.  Inside the rotunda has displays of the local history and you can peek from an overlook down to the ground floor.  Our tour guide was fantastic, sharing facts about the building and the history of it’s occupants.  It was a great tour and worth more than the price of admission (you guessed it – free).

There is also plenty to do outside.  It’s really bike-friendly with lots of paths and they even provide bike stations with tools and air pumps incase you have mechanical problems:

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While we were here five days, we went to two street festivals downtown and the farmer’s market. Lot’s of food, music, and vendors, including a seven-year-old violinist. One place we ate was Paul’s Pel’meni. Their Russian dumplings are delicious!

The Dane County Farmers’ Market is America’s largest producers-only farmers’ market with over 150 vendors that surround the capitol building on Saturday morning.

Of course we had to visit the Olbrich Botanical Garden (also free). They have an outdoor kaleidoscope pointed to a small succulent garden that was fun to look through and see all the colors and shapes.

And we’re always up for a zoo, so we visited the Henry Vilas Zoo (again free). Do you know the history of Wisconsin’s nickname The Badger State? Read the sign below to find out.

Another interesting (and free) museum, which is part of the University of Wisconsin college, is the Geology Museum.

As an added bonus we had friends in town, Dan and Faith Senie, fellow Stratus’ alumn, techies, and folk musicians.  They tour in their Winnebago Travato to different gigs around the country. Check them out at https://www.danandfaith.com.

It was great catching up with you guys and seeing you perform at The Brink Lounge. I hope our paths cross again soon!