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Hotels near The Square or Beyond

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Level Contributor
196 posts
Hotels near The Square or Beyond

Thinking of going to Art Fair on The Square this summer for the first time. We will stay overnight so looking for a decent but not pricy hotel. I see La Quinta is #1 on TA. We don't mind the drive, but what kind of traffic can we expect on a Saturday going to and from the Art show? Or, are there any other hotels to recommend? Not looking to spend over a hundred bucks as we won't be in the room much.

Destination Expert
for Madison
Level Contributor
921 posts
24 reviews
1. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

Traffic is seldom an issue except early in the morning or after the vendors start to close down for the day. The Farmer's Market will be going on Saturday morning, which brings a lot of people downtown as well, so parking may be at a premium. Sunday, street parking will be free, so that gives you a lot more options for parking.

You can check with the hotel to see whether they will shuttle you back and forth, if you're not planning to buy any large items and don't need to have the car with you.

So far, there are quite a few hotels available on kayak.com for that weekend with rates around $100. Since your profile is not filled out, I can't tell what direction you will be coming from if you are driving, or what else you might want to do while you are here, so it's hard to recommend a specific area of town. The American Center is great on the weekend - it's a huge office park right off the Interstate and very quiet.

So if you're only going to sleep there, and not need restaurants or shops nearby, it is a great weekend hotel. They may even shuttle you back and forth,

If you want to be downtown so you can walk everywhere after the Art Fair, you will need to pay more than $100, as this is a premium hotel weekend. Since there are not a lot of rooms downtown, the rates go way up, because all of the vendors and some of the shoppers, like you, will all need a place to sleep.

If you give us a little more information, we can probably help you out with more advice. It's definitely a great fair and worth the time and trouble to get there and back!

Level Contributor
196 posts
2. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Yes, I am excited about the farmers market. Have heard great things about it.

And the parking situation; are there parking garages or do we need to feed a meter on Saturday?

As far as hotel shuttles, so far I have seen shuttles to the airport from some hotels. I think when I call the individual hotels I will ask about shuttles to The Square. Thanks, I didn't think about that.

I think a hotel within walking distance to everything downtown Has to offer

would be great, but I really don't care to pay a premium price since we will

have a car and don't mind driving from our hotel. I was just concerned about

traffic since I had read on an older post where someone had written about

Madison "traffic" being bad.

I have in fact looked into downtown hotels and the ones I was interested either had a 2 day minimum or were sold out.

I do not want to pre-pay and also want a hotel where if needed we can cancel with no penalty. That would leave hotels like La Quinta, Holiday inn (or Express) and the like. What are your thoughts on either of them?

I will look into the American Center. Is there any particular hotel there that you recommend?

As for what I like, I enjoy galleries, good food of course, a good coffee house meaning something besides star bucks, which I like but want something different- and I enjoy eating dinner in a restaurant that has live music. The list can go on, but these are things I will be looking for when in Madison this trip.

Destination Expert
for Madison
Level Contributor
921 posts
24 reviews
3. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

It sounds like we have similar feelings about travel. I don't mind driving and parking in a new town. We view it as an adventure rather than a chore! Coming downtown from any direction will get you to a parking ramp fairly easily. If they all end up being full, there is street parking, or you can park a few blocks away, down the hill from the Capitol, on the side streets on the east side in particular, for free, and then hike up the hill to the art fair.

The La Quinta, which is ranked very highly on TripAdvisor, is in the American Center area. That's what made me recommend it. There are other hotels out there, too. Weekend rates tend to be good, since they are office park hotels that need customers on the weekends.

It is also close enough that you can head back if you need a break from all the sensory overload that is our art fair.

The main traffic problem in Madison in the summer is always construction. That is the only traffic consideration when it is not rush hour. I grew up out East, so to me, Madison traffic is a minor nuisance sometimes. For the most part, you might hit a rough patch but it's usually an accident or something that is making people slow down and look. We are still a small city, and not like Milwaukee.

If you are from a small town, Madison may seem to have traffic problems, but for the most part, it moves pretty well, and the streets are easy to follow on a map or a Garmin, at least until you get to the downtown Capitol area. Then they circle the square and one-way streets are more common. Much of the central city is grid-like, so it's easy to go right or left and take a parallel street around any snarl you find in front of you.

You will have no problem finding good coffee downtown on State Street in particular. We have four or five locally owned shops there with various baked goods and simple breakfast or lunch items. The Memorial Union has a Peet's Coffee shop in it, if you are venturing down to the campus.

And you can find live music in restaurants on the weekend, too, especially in the summer when we have so many visitors from elsewhere. You can look at thedailypage.com to see what is going on the next weekend, and there is a restaurant guide there, too. It divides Madison into sections, and you can choose which meal you are looking for and what type of cuisine if you like ethnic restaurants.

There are galleries and art museums on State Street and the University campus, so if the weather is not to your liking, you can get out of the sun or rain and look at art at the Overture Center or Fannie Garver on State, or at the Chazen museum on University.

I'm sure you will enjoy your visit, and keep asking questions!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Madison
Level Contributor
1,235 posts
22 reviews
4. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

I always smile when I hear complaints about Madison traffic. I lived in Chicago for 8 years and in California, and now live in NYC. I've driven in LA, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, and even around Paris and Madison's traffic really is not that bad. I've driven down to the Art Fair on the Square, usually on Sundays, and never had trouble finding parking. There are so many garages! The Art Fair itself will be packed with people. So, if you can go early in the day, that would be a good idea. You'll enjoy it more.

One thing to consider would be to park closer to campus and enjoy a walk up State Street to the Art Fair. Look at the ramp on Lake Street. It's a very big ramp. Here's a link to a map of the parking ramps. cityofmadison.com/parkingutility/maps/downto…


Level Contributor
931 posts
27 reviews
5. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

We have been dealing with La Quinta at the American Center for blocking rooms for a wedding. The facility is nice, the employees have been great to work with. I don't think you would go wrong with them. There is an Erin's Snug Inn just a few blocks away with a bar and decent food. Otherwise, there are lots of chain restaurants around East Towne. The more unique restaurants are generally closer to downtown. If you are looking for anything specific, just mention it here and we will try to help. Traffic should be tolerable unless there is some kind of construction area (last summer got kind of crazy in some areas). Be sure to go out onto the roof of the Monona Convention Center - great place to watch all the boats on Lake Monona.

Level Contributor
196 posts
6. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

Thank you everyone, for the info and tips! I will be back with more questions, I am sure. For now I am going to research some of the places mentioned.

Oh, and as far as chain restaurants go-mostly no with a few exceptions.

I like trying locally owned recommended places. We like Thai, Mexican, Italian and I have no problem going to a really good vegetarian restaurant even though I am not a vegetarian. We also like a good deli -cafe- type place for lunch.

Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
416 posts
29 reviews
7. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

Should you decide to stay out on the east side/American Center area - you could take the 'scenic route' along Williamson St. and Atwood Avenue coming or going from the Square and find plenty of those kind of local restaurants to try.

Also, during the Art Fair, I've had luck parking in the Monona Terrace ramp. Then it's a simple walk up to the roof area - and you can start your shopping with the "off the Square" Wisconsin based vendors.

8. Re: Hotels near The Square or Beyond

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