by Michael C. Lowe | January 01, 2014
Why Here?
Unique outdoor venues and all of the recreational options in and around the Great Lakes are among the many reasons to meet in the Badger State. The newest draws for groups include the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown and a major renovation to the historic Edgewater Hotel (above) in Madison.

On tap

Craft Beer Week, now in its fourth year, is a celebration of Madison's local suds. The 10-day festival is held in the spring and features daily events, dinners and tastings in the city's many breweries and bars. Last year saw more than 350 events across more than 80 venues.
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Local Update

• Following a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion, the historic Edgewater Hotel is set to reopen this August. Set on the southern shore of Lake Mendota, the 202-room property will offer four dining options, more than 8,000 square feet of meeting space and a spa.

• Adjacent to the University of Wisconsin, the 194-room Hampton Inn and Suites Madison/Downtown opened last October with an indoor pool, a fitness center, free Wi-Fi and a boardroom that seats 12.

• The Monona Terrace convention center on the shores of Lake Monona will undergo a renovation early this year to add new workstation areas for laptop/tablet users, redesign outdoor areas and more. The facility's stunning exterior was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938, while the 250,000-square-foot convention center made its debut in 1997.

• The Radisson Hotel Madison recently renovated its 153 guest rooms (including eight suites) with contemporary furnishings, 37-inch HDTVs and new workstations. Hotel amenities include an indoor pool and whirlpool, a fitness center, free Wi-Fi and 8,000 square feet of meeting space. An on-site restaurant and lounge serves traditional American fare.  

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 356-room Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club, 240-room Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, 239-room Sheraton Madison, 226-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Madison, 202-room Edgewater Hotel (to reopen in August), 163-room Doubletree by Hilton Madison, 153-room Radisson Hotel Madison and 151-room Hyatt Place Madison. For more, go to

Convention Centers: Alliant Energy Center; exhibit space, 100,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 14. (608) 267-3976, ext. 2;

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 37,200 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 21. (608) 261-4000;

Airport Transit: Dane County Regional Airport, six miles from downtown Madison. Transfer cost by taxi, $21-$25

Taxes: Room tax, 9 percent; sales tax, 5.5 percent; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.5 percent

Group Venues: The Wisconsin Brewing Co., which opened late last year, features indoor event space for up to 400 in its taproom and brew house, with additional outdoor areas for larger groups. The space, 10 miles from Madison, also offers tours of the brewery and beer tastings. (608) 848-1079;

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The Monona facility, 15 minutes from downtown Madison, offers trails that meander through a variety of ecosystems, such as wetlands, prairies and woodlands. For groups, the venue offers several meeting spaces, including a conference room for 25, classrooms for 160 or the grand lawn, which can accommodate 400. (608) 221-0404;

Contact: Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 373-6376;