Perfect Fall Day

October 10, 2019

Fall in love with Downtown Madison this autumn

With crisp air, an explosion of color and the excitement of an array of events, autumn brings a bevy of activity to Downtown Madison. While the days may be getting shorter — and cooler — now is the best time to plan an excursion in Downtown Madison. Here, three individuals with roots in Downtown Madison share what’s on their respective itineraries for a perfect fall day in downtown.

Ken Monteleone: Savor every moment of fall downtown
When Ken Monteleone moved to Madison in 1993, he fell in love with the local scene. Fourteen years later, he decided to leave the corporate world and open up a cheese shop — Fromagination — in Downtown Madison, specifically on the Capitol Square.
“Madisonians will go out of their way to help support a locally owned businesses,” he says, “and it is exciting to see how downtown has changed and, in some cases, stayed the same over the years.”

What is your favorite thing about downtown Madison in the fall?
Monteleone: The outdoor cafes, the fall Night Market , the fall farmers’ market , local food carts, and the smells, colors of fall and the vibe and energy of the city.

What would be on your itinerary for a perfect fall day downtown?
Monteleone: Take in the local scene. Get up early on a Saturday and start at the farmers’ market. Complement your market basket with a stop in Fromagination. Grab a cup of coffee at the many local coffee shops around the Square — Colectivo , Ancora , Barriques — people watch for a while before heading for breakfast at the many local cafes like Marigold Kitchen , Shortstack Eatery and Graze . Walk through the Capitol , lay down on the Capitol Rotunda floor and take in the beauty and history of the building before renting a BCycle and heading to State Street to shop the many locally owned business from Little Luxuries , The Soap Opera , Fontana Sports , University Book Store , August Shop and Karen & Co. Walk Bascom Hill and take in the view, rest at the Memorial Union before heading to dinner at the many local restaurants, from The Old Fashioned to Himal Chuli to Graft Madison to name of few, or to the many local venues such as Majestic Theatre or The Orpheum , for the evening. End with a drink at the AC Hotel overlooking the Capitol or The Edgewater overlooking the lake.

Why visit Downtown Madison in the fall?
Monteleone: It gives you a taste of Madison. Savor every fall minute before winter sets in … the smells, the colors, the music, the food and nature at its peak.

Heather Ewing: Fall is a great time to be active downtown
Heather Ewing, vice president of commercial real estate for White Box Commercial Property Group , grew up near Madison, and for the last five years, she’s lived and worked in Downtown Madison.
“It speaks to my soul as it offers a unique energy and a tremendous variety of both indoor and outdoor activities,” she says. An avid runner, Ewing loves running through the downtown, where she can catch various trails or run around the lake.
What is your favorite thing about Downtown Madison in the fall?
Ewing: Finishing a run with a rewarding latte in hand at a nearby café while taking in the beauty of the Capitol and the city in general, all with the warmth of a small community.

What are some of your favorite fall activities in Downtown Madison?
Ewing: Cooler weather and the fall colors are ideal for running and outdoor sports, including Badger games , the Madison Marathon or strolling through the farmers’ market. Other highlights include Overture shows, MMOCA Fall Gallery Night , Comedy on State , Karen & Co. Fall Fashion Show, the annual holiday tree lighting at Shine On Madison and more. It really just depends on your mood and go from there!

What would be on your itinerary for a perfect fall day in Downtown Madison?
Ewing: That’s a tough question as there are so many options … but I highly suggest the farmers’ market, cheering on the Badgers at a home game and renting an e-bike so you can explore the downtown and experience the various restaurants, bars and shops.

Why should people visit Downtown Madison in the fall?
Ewing: It’s a great way to reinvigorate your health and senses.

Teresa Werhane: There’s great energy downtown in the fall
For more than 10 years, Teresa Werhane, an instructor at Madison College and a member of the Central BID board, has called Downtown Madison home, living just three blocks off the Capitol Square.
“I love being able to walk to restaurants, shops, theaters and museums” she says. “There is so much to see and do throughout the year.”

What is your favorite thing about downtown Madison in the fall?
Werhane: Farmers’ market … there is such an amazing and beautifully abundant array of fruits and vegetables, canned goods, bakery, cheese, etc. This is the time of year when everything is ripe and delicious.

What are some of your favorite fall activities in Downtown Madison?
Werhane: Enjoying the last days of warm weather by sitting at a sidewalk cafe or restaurant space. The cooler, clear nights make spending time outside very special, enjoying some food and drink while admiring the Capitol.

What would be on your itinerary for a perfect fall day in Downtown Madison?
Werhane: Checking out an exhibit at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art or the Madison Children's Museum , visiting the farmers’ market while sipping hot chocolate or a latte, shopping on State Street for a special gift. Little Luxuries and The Soap Opera are two of my favorites. I also recommend the variety of shows at Overture.

Why should people visit downtown Madison in the fall?
Werhane: There's a great energy downtown with the students back in town. The cooler weather is great for walking around the Capitol Square and along the lakefront.

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