Downtown Madison Welcomes Shoppers
Shop Downtown for for the Holidays
Make holiday shopping and dining special - enjoy downtown Madison's State Street, Capitol Square and King Street areas, home to more than 350 shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants and night spots, many locally owned.Directory
of shops and restaurants.
Free Holiday Trolley
Catch the free Downtown Holiday Shopping Trolley
Holiday shopping is especially jolly with the Downtown Trolley! The red "Holiday Shopping Trolley" will run:
Fri.-Sat. Nov. 28-29 for the Downtown Holiday Open House
Sat. Dec. 6
Sat. Dec. 13
Sat. Dec. 20
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Up & down State Street and around the Capitol Square
Catch at bus stops*
The trolley will be decorated and staffed by volunteer Downtown Information Ambassadors who will greet riders, hand out treats for kids, and offer shopping suggestions, directions, and downtown maps. Riders on the trolley will also be treated to free Downtown Madison Welcome Bags (made possible thanks to our sponsor DreamBank - American Family Insurance) with promotions, coupons, special offers and information from downtown businesses and organizations (free, one per trolley rider, while supplies last).
Downtown Carolers, Saturdays in December
The Capitol Chordsmen
Volunteer community and UW-Madison choral groups and dancers will stroll State Street and the Capitol Square--and even hop on the trolley--to carol and perform for shoppers on Saturdays in December. Performances start at 11 am and at noon at the Madison Children's Museum (MCM, 100 N. Hamilton St.) and at 1 pm in the Madison
Museum of Contemporary Art Lobby (MMoCA, 227 State Street).
(All performances kick off at the time and museum lobby indicated below, before groups begin strolling around State Street and the Capitol
Square. Schedule subject to change.)
Saturday, Dec. 6
11 am (MCM) - 1 pm: Kanopy Dance
1pm (MMoCA) - 3 pm: Madison Youth Choir
Saturday, Dec. 13
11 am (MCM) - 1 pm: Midnight Voices
12 pm (MCM) - 2 pm: Redefined (UW A Cappella Group)
1pm (MMoCA) - 3 pm: Capitol Chordsmen (Barbershop Choir)
Saturday, Dec. 20
11 am (MCM) - 1 pm: Philharmonic Chorus of Madison
1pm (MMoCA) - 3 pm: The Ambulatones
Holiday Gift Drive for Teens
Help Local Teens Have a Happy Holiday! Join downtown Madison merchants in supporting the United Way Holiday Gift Drive for Teens, and bring holiday cheer to teens of local families in need. It's easy to give! While shopping downtown through Dec. 29, pick up a Gift Drive Item, and drop off your donation for United Way to distribute. See link for list of teen "wish list" items, downtown stores that carry them, and donation drop off sites.
Downtown Madison Gift Certificates
Give the gift of downtown, with a Downtown Madison Gift Certificate!
Downtown Madison Gift Certificates are accepted at more than 175 shops, restaurants, museums, cafes, bars and other establishments on State Street and the Capitol Square. They make the perfect holiday gift! ORDER ONLINE, or purchase in person at the Overture Center Ticket Office, 201 State Street, or the University Bookstore, 711 State Street.
Downtown Visitor Center and Saturday Info Table
Holiday shoppers can count on our Downtown Information Ambassadors for helpful directions, shopping and dining suggestions, maps, and a friendly smile. Downtown Ambassadors staff the Downtown Visitor Center at 452 State St. Sunday-Thursday 11 am-5 pm; Friday 11 am-6 pm, and Saturday 9 am-6 pm.
Ambassadors will also staff an information table in the Overture Center Rotunda Lobby (201 State Street) from 10 am to 2 pm on Fri.-Sat. Nov. 28-29 and Saturdays December 6, 13 and 20. Stop by while shopping, attending Kids in the Rotunda, or enjoying the spectacular holiday lighting in the Overture Center.
Winter Snowflake Lights
Enjoy winter snowflake lights in Downtown Madison.
The winter "snowflake" lights decorating State Street and the Capitol Square from Thanksgiving through January are a downtown Madison tradition. The lighting is funded by downtown business and property owners through Madison's Central Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with the City of Madison Parks.
In 2006, thanks to the sponsorship of Madison Gas and Electric, with additional support from the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Energy, all of the downtown holiday snowflake lighting was converted to energy-saving LEDs, which use up to 95% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs. Now downtown Madison is truly "green" and bright for the holidays!
*Trolley Information for those with disabilities
For patrons with disabilities for whom the trolley may not be accessible, the BID Ambassadors staffing the trolley will provide a free Metro Transit day pass plus a welcome bag. Per Metro Transit: "All fixed-routes are accessible to people with disabilities. Service animals are allowed on Metro buses to assist people with disabilities. ADA-eligible riders may travel on fixed-route buses with a personal care attendant at no additional charge (the rider pays and the attendant rides for free). An ADA eligibility card must be presented when boarding." The free trolley is a service of Madison's Central Business Improvement District (BID). More information about Metro Transit is available via the Customer Service Center at 608-266-4466.