TheMadison ConcourseHotel
And Governor's Club


#ThingsToDo: Top 5 Outdoor Madison Activities | Warm Weather Edition

With temperatures in the 70s and possibly 80s (fingers crossed!) this week, we're kicking off our #ThingsToDo section of the blog with our Top 5 FAVORITE outdoor Madison activities for spring and summer (at the moment, anyway - we're always changing our minds)!

5 - Henry Vilas Zoo

Although there's never a bad time to visit Henry Vilas Zoo, the warm weather really gets us in the mood to put on our walking shoes and take the family to our favorite local zoo! The best part about Henry Vilas Zoo? Admission is FREE! That means you can add your weekly dose of cuteness overload for no cost (aside from a donation, if you feel so inclined). You'll definitely want to check out The Red Panda exhibit (and maybe even become a Red Panda Ranger), The Tropical Rainforest Aviary, and The Glacier Grill (where the hot dogs are so COOL, they sometimes sell out). 

4 - Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Take a stroll through Madison's award-winning Olbrich Botanical Gardens this weekend, where you can take in the sites and smells of their "stunning landscapes" and florals. Again, admission to the gardens is FREE (except for the $2.00 entry fee if you'd like to wander through the Bolz Conservatory - which you should)! It's one of the classic Madison staples for spring and summertime, and is a great way to experience nature while getting that Vitamin D from the warm sunshine. One of our favorite spots at Olbrich is the Thai Pavilion and Garden - where you can take a look at and learn about one of only four Thai pavillions located outside of Thailand. It's truly awe-inspiring. 

3 - Isthmus Food Cart Fest

Coming up this weekend, Isthmus Food Cart Fest offers you a chance to get a taste of what makes this city so great (and delicious)! Sponsored by Isthmus, this festival in Madison's Central Park features over 30 of Madison's favorite food carts, from the Meditterranean flavors of Banzo to the ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwiches from Melted. Be sure to stop by the Cadence Cold Brew cart for some liquid energy to power through the day. Tickets for this May 21st event are still available. Click here to purchase yours today!

2 - Memorial Union Terrace

No warm weather list would be complete without the Memorial Union Terrace, a local hot-spot for summer time activities and outdoor gatherings! The best thing about the terrace (apart from the notoriously instagram-worthy union chairs) is that the summer schedule is full of fun events. Our favorite this year has to be their Lakeside Cinema Series, which takes place on Monday evenings at 9:00pm from May 29th through September 4th. You can watch some of the best new and classic films while enjoying snacks and beverages from the various Memorial Union Food stands. No terrace visit would be complete without a pitcher (for those 21 and over), so be sure to have your ID and a few close friends at the ready! The schedule of films is available here

1 - Dane County Farmers' Market

And, of course (we can hear the collective sighs of "duh" from our readers), number one on our list is none other than the Dane County Farmers' Market. Although each of us has our own favorite stands (*cough STELLA'S cough*), this market has so much to offer as the nation's largest producer-only farmers' market! From fresh produce, to fresh flowers, to fresh spicy cheese bread, you'll never get tired of this Saturday morning stroll around the square. The best part for our guests - the Farmers' Market is just footsteps away from the hotel (that's 93 marketing-coordinator sized footsteps from our Wisconsin Avenue entrance, to be exact). 

Check back in for more blog posts throughout the summer. As always, thanks for being our guest!

Written By: Kelsey Schaid, Marketing Coordinator at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club

Photo Sources: The Badger Herald (Red Panda), Planetware (Thai Pavillion), The Weekly - (FoodCarts), The Daily Cardinal (Terrace Chairs), Madison Dining Online (Farmer's Market)


Weddings: Kelsey & Hythem | A Match Made in Madison

Hi! Chastity here - your Wedding Sales Manager at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club. I have roughly thirteen years of experience in wedding and event planning, and I have loved every minute of it. I work with couples during every aspect of their wedding planning - from the initial tour, to the menu tastings, to being on site the day of the wedding. And now, I want to work with you even before we meet: by sharing my thoughts and expertise through this blog on our website! I'll be delving into some of my favorite wedding topics, whether it be highlighting weddings at The Madison Concourse, putting the spotlight on some of my most adored local vendors, or sharing my favorite tips, tricks, and advise when it comes to your big day.

My first blog post features one of my favorite weddings from January of 2017.

Last year I got the privlege of meeting Kelsey and Hythem.  I instantly connected with them and their amazing family members.  Our tasting and detailing appointments were filled with laughs and excitement in anticipation for their January 2017 wedding.  The first thing I noticed was how considerate they are of the each other’s feelings and input.   It was never about what one or the other wanted – Everything was a decision they made together.  They are both extremely thoughtful and this showed through with every detail and arrangement they made when planning their wedding.

Kelsey & Hythem both attended UW-Madison so for them is was important to have a downtown Madison wedding where their guests from around the world could come and see the city that played such an important part in their lives and relationship.  (Hythem even proposed to Kelsey on the UW football field - Touch Down!) 

The couple’s first look took place on the 12th Floor of The Madison Concourse Hotel in our Governor’s Club Lounge.  Breathtaking views of the Capitol building  were the backdrop for this special moment.  The couple and their wedding party then whisked off for some pre-ceremony photos at some of downtown Madison’s amazing landmarks including the capitol building and Camp Randall.

Their ceremony was held in The University Room with vows officiated by a family member.  There was not a dry eye in the group as their guests left the ceremony room.  I heard time after time, “these two are really meant to be together.”  “This is true love.”

After many family photos on our hotel’s grand staircase guests enjoyed a signature cocktail (recipes created by Kelsey’s sister) and hors d' oeuvres in CIRC, our in-house restaurant. I can still taste that incredible twist on a Moscow Mule - a vodka cocktail with blood orange Peligrino and POM juice! So delicious!  Everyone then headed up to our Grand Ballroom for a 4-course dinner including a yummy dessert buffet including desserts prepared by our hotel pastry chefs as well as some Arabic desserts provided by a favorite bakery of the groom’s family. The couple had the most thoughtful (and tasty) wedding favors: squeaky Wisconsin cheese curds (the perfect late night snack)! Their decorations featured natural woods contrasted with shiny gold accents and lush greenery, which was absolutely gorgeous. 

Sound by Design finished the night with one crazy dance party and everyone snacked on late night pizzas provided  by Ian’s Pizza.

It was an amazing day celebrating two of the kindest people I have ever met. Guests came from around the world to witness their love in the heart of a city so special to the couple - and to us!

Thank you for letting me be a part of it, and thanks for being our guests!

Written By: Chastity Stanila, Wedding Sales Manager and Kelsey Schaid, Marketing Coordinator at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club

Featured Photographer: Autumn & Melinda Photography