With vine fresh produce, arboretums, and kayaking trips on the lakes, summertime is the best time of year in Madison, WI. This fun capital city is home to a Big 10 school, tons of outdoor activities, flavorful restaurants, and perhaps the best farmers’ market I’ve ever visited in the U.S. Why is Madison’s market something to rave about? Continue reading to find out.
Information and tips
The Dane County Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday morning from April 8 until November 11 from 6:15 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. Capitol Square, where the market is held, is closed to traffic during these times, so it is suggested you walk from your accommodation or arrive via public bus. In addition, several parking garages are available in downtown Madison, but keep in mind that these will be full if a home Wisconsin Badgers Football game is happening on a Saturday (you’ll know this if you see a sea of people wearing red).
In true market fashion, be sure to bring your own reusable bags with you. Also, while perusing the market, be sure to walk counterclockwise around the Capitol, otherwise you’ll be fighting a massive crowd and you’ll certainly stand-out as a visitor since no one walks clockwise around the market. Keep in mind that pets are not allowed at the Saturday market.
If you miss the market in the winter, join the Dane County Farmers’ Market indoors from November 18 until December 16 from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the scenic Monona Terrace Community Center. Here you’ll find limited fresh produce, baked goods, and handicrafts.
What you’ll find here
Wisconsin is home to a number of regional delicacies like squeaky cheese curds, a huge selection of apples, ground cherries, and peculiar jellies. There is also fresh produce including bitter melon, Asian eggplants, peppers, pumpkins, beans, and a wide array of salad fixings. If you like honey, stop by the vendor wearing a beehive hat or pick up some of the best peaches you’ll ever taste from Door County Fruit Market. Another vendor also sells amazing scones in a ton of flavors. Whatever it is you purchase at the market, you know your taste buds will thank you.
Another wonderful treat about the Dane County Farmers’ Market is the affordable prices that are very similar to and sometimes less than those at the grocery store. Purchasing produce from the farmers’ market ensures that you are directly supporting local farmers, bakers, and artisans, while still not going over your weekly grocery budget. I’d say that is a win-win.
Visiting the Wisconsin State Capitol
While walking around the market, take time to observe the beautiful Wisconsin State Capitol from each angle. Either before or after making your purchases, feel free to visit the Wisconsin State Capitol, which is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are only available with pre-scheduling, but visitors can enter for free during the opening hours to see the stunning architecture of the Capitol, which was built in 1869.
The building itself is a large white structure with a massive rotunda and four wings coming off the rotunda like arms. Surrounding the building are small parks and benches, as well as the busy sidewalk, which on Saturdays is packed with farmers’ market customers. The streets surrounding the square are lined with excellent local cafes, restaurants, and bars.
A tasty Saturday
To make a complete day of your visit to Madison, Wisconsin, grab lunch or dinner at the Old Fashioned, which is an amazing restaurant located right on Capitol Square. The Old Fashioned serves up traditional Wisconsin fare including cheese curds, cheese plates, and bratwurst. If you’re of age, the Old Fashioned serves a wide selection of local beers on tap, and Wisconsin is very well known for its microbreweries that produce high-quality brews. The food and beer at the Old Fashioned is absolutely delicious and is a perfect way to end a day of shopping for fresh produce and learning about the Wisconsin State Capitol.
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