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VOL. 132 | NO. 198 | Thursday, October 5, 2017


Lance Wiedower

Jump Around With The Fans In Madison

Lance Wiedower

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Weather makes all the difference in making a destination a memorable or miserable experience. Chalk fall up as a fantastic time to visit Wisconsin.

I spent a long weekend to close out September in Madison, Wisconsin, with a quick stopover in Chicago. Specifically, I visited Madison and had a day in Chicago before flying home late Sunday night. I chose to fly direct to Chicago instead of making a connection to fly into Madison. It was cheaper and I also had friends driving up from Cincinnati. So we all drove on together from Chicago, about a two-hour drive.

You might ask why Madison? I ask why not?

Sure, it’s the Wisconsin state capital. And while we did see the exterior of the Capitol building several times while walking the compact and fun downtown, our visit to Madison was based on the University of Wisconsin, specifically its football team.

I go on random sports trips with a group of friends once or twice a year, and a college football game at historic Camp Randall Stadium has been on our list for years. In many ways, Madison is like many typical college towns where activity centers on the university and, specifically during the fall, its football team. I think that’s true about Madison. But it’s a fairly large mid-size city – more than a quarter-million people call it home – and as a state capital, the business of Wisconsin occurs here.

We spent about 48 hours in Madison, where temperatures ranging from around 50 at night to the upper 60s during the day made for a beautiful fall weekend getaway.

We detoured on our drive up from Chicago and visited New Glarus Brewery. This brewery is famous with beer connoisseurs, in part for its great beer but also because it’s not available outside Wisconsin. The large brewery offers tours and tastings in a German Disneyland-type setting.

Once we arrived in Madison late Friday afternoon and checked into our Airbnb, we visited another brewery; this city has more than 10 breweries and countless varieties from other Wisconsin brands available at its many bars.

Much of the action is Downtown, with restaurants, bars and even live music played on the street; it’s a college football weekend, after all. Walking the streets is a great activity, specifically State Street and those that intersect it.

The next day our game kicked off at 11 a.m., so it was an early start to get to the stadium. With a stadium in the heart of Downtown, much of the tailgating occurs in restaurants and bars nearby. The game experience is pretty cool, thanks to coordinated crowd waves, the traditional Jump Around to House of Pain’s song by the same name at the end of the third quarter and the entire stadium singing “Buttercup” in unison.

Our Uber driver that afternoon told us many of those fun traditions picked up when the team was terrible a few decades ago and they needed something to keep them entertained. Count me sold. Madison, Wisconsin, lives up to its reputation as a great college football weekend.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.

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