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Enjoy Madison on a Budget

Cheap areas to stay in Madison

Loveable, lively Madison is a place heaped with veggie eats, cycle paths, leafy parks, and a grand state capitol complex, not to mention oodles of low-cost accommodations for travelers on a tighter budget. You can find those wallet-friendly stays in abundance along Route 18 as it runs past the south side of the city. There are others sitting right in the center, under the soaring dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol itself – perfect for sightseers. Plenty more surround the Dane County Regional Airport, offering simple, no-frills suites to those stepping straight off a plane.

Cheap hotels in Madison

There's a taste of the high life on offer from the GrandStay Residential Suites. That option might be on the budget end of the spectrum, but it still comes with an indoor pool, its very own fitness center, and a free hot-cold buffet in the morning. The contemporary suites at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson have all the creature comforts required for short stays, not to mention room service and a relaxing library lounge. The motel-style Magnuson Grand Hotel is primed with free parking, an indoor swimming pool, and shuttles that link to nearby casinos.

Where to find cheap food in Madison

Seek out a cheap Madison hotel with self-catering facilities and you simply can't go wrong at the Dane County Farmers' Market. It takes place each Saturday on Capitol Square in the heart of the downtown, bursting with homegrown ingredients, veg, and fruit from the Midwest region. Creative food trucks coalesce around Madison's Monona Bay throughout the week. They sizzle up BBQ subs and serve veggie-friendly falafel wraps. Other moveable eateries meet at Library Mall, touting spicy empanadas and tacos and more.

Cheap things to do in Madison

You can get a taste of just what outdoor living means to Wisconsinites with a trip to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Most of the flower beds and arboretums there are totally free to enter, though a couple of dollars extra can also cover access to the sprawling greenhouses and Bolz Conservatory, which hosts multicolored canaries, tropical geckos, and waxy palm plants that certainly don't usually belong in the Midwest. Sightseers might want to look for a Madison hotel close to State Street. It's not only laden with bustling coffee joints and boutique shops, but ends with the Wisconsin State Capitol, where guided tours reveal the colossal dome and secrets of the stunning neoclassical architecture. Art lovers will be happy to find that the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art charges nothing to access their permanent exhibits, including over 5,000 canvasses and sculptures from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Cheap ways to get around Madison

It can be tricky to find somewhere to leave the car in the heart of the city center here, which is why it's often recommended that travelers bringing their own wheels look for a Madison hotel with parking included. The Metro system has routes going all over, from the State Capitol area to the Isthmus and beyond, with plenty of cheap links to outer suburbs to boot. That said, budget seekers will be pleased to know that Madison is often rated as one of the best US cities to navigate by bike – there are greenways and cycle tracks everywhere.

Madison travel guides

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