The history and architecture in Madison and the surrounding area is truly spectacular. There is always something to see and an amazing story behind it. I am a firm believer that, when you know the history of the area where you live, you feel more connected and have a greater sense of pride for your hometown. It is never a bad idea to be a tourist in your own city. Which is why I have put together a list of some historic places in the Madison area that are sure to give you a profound appreciation for our city, our home.
The first, and most obvious, place to tour in Madison is our State Capitol. Filled with architectural detail and elegance, our Capital will literally take your breath away – no matter how many times you step inside. Completed in 1917, the building is the third capitol building to have been constructed in Madison. It is also the fourth largest dome, by volume, in the world.
The building is open 7 days a week and offers free tours on the hour most days. Be sure to stop on the fourth level and walk through the museum, view the rotunda from the Trumpeter’s Balcony, and step outside to see the city of Madison from the observation deck, the views of the city are spectacular.
For more details check out the link below:
Next on the list gets a little bit rowdy on football Saturdays, but the grounds of Camp Randall boast quite a bit of history. The stadium that we know and love today was completed in 1917, and is the 4th oldest college football stadium in the nation. You will want to make sure and see the view from Barry Alvarez’s box and check out the trophy room in the coach’s office on the guided tour of Camp Randall. If you are a sports enthusiast, this is one place in town you don’t want to miss.
To see when tours take place check out the link below:
The Overture Center
Whether you are new to Madison or have lived here for years, the Overture Center is definitely a place you do not want to miss. Most people go for a show or an event, but why not take their FREE guided tour on Saturdays? Explore the behind the scenes view of this stunning venue that was completed in 2004 for an estimated $204 million dollars. A true architectural wonder that is beautiful inside and out.
Learn more by checking out their website below:
The Wisconsin Executive Residence
Located on beautiful Lake Mendota, sits the beautiful neighborhood of Maple Bluff. Here is where you will find the Wisconsin Executive Residence. Construction for the official residence of Wisconsin’s Governor first began in 1921 and was almost never completed. The beautiful residence proudly features 7 fireplaces, 10 gardens, and 16,000 square feet filled with historic antiques. Join the dedicated, informative docents on a remarkable tour of the Wisconsin Executive Residence, you will not be disappointed.
To find out when tours are available click on the link below:
Architecture today would not be the same without the influence of the renowned Frank Lloyd Wright. Taliesin, an 800 acre campus that boasts buildings from almost every decade of his work, was the private residence of Wright for nearly 50 years. Located about an hour west of Madison, Taliesin Preservation offers tours and events for everyone. The beauty and simplicity of Wright’s designs still inspires many today.
To find a tour that fits your interests, check out their list at the link below:
House on the Rock
Since 1959, Alex Jordan’s “House on the Rock” has been attracting people to southern Wisconsin. In this exquisitely unique house, you will find a large variety of different collections, a carousel, and even automated musical instruments. Most impressive though, is the Infinity Room reaching out over 200 feet above the rock without any supports and over 3,000 windows for spectacular views of the Wisconsin countryside.
For more details check out the House on the Rock website below:
Last, and certainly not least, about a 45 minute minute drive southeast of Madison, you will find the Milton House. Listed as a National Historical Landmark, the Milton House is the last certified Underground Railroad Station in Wisconsin that can still be toured. Step back into the mid 1800’s and into a true piece of history.
To find out when tours operate check out the link below: