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Why rent a car in Madison?

Madison, capital of the state of Wisconsin, is said to be one of the most quintessentially American cities. It’s often listed as one of the best places to live in the US with its vibrant cultural offerings. Its museum and galleries are first rate, and the lakes offer a variety of sports in summer and winter. Madison prides itself in having several buildings designed by the Wisconsin-born architect Frank Lloyd Wright, such as the majestic lakefront convention centre Monona Terrace.

Start your city tour with the iconic Wisconsin State Capitol on the isthmus between Lake Mendota and Monona. Nearby, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, an impressive glass building that juts out like the bow of a ship, is one of Madison’s top architectural landmarks.

A 10-minute drive to the east takes you to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens on Madison’s waterfront, with a beautiful rose collection, a 50-foot-high, pyramid-shaped tropical conservatory and a gilded Thai pavilion. By Lake Wingra, the popular Henry Villas Zoo offers free entrance.

How to get to and around Madison?

From Dane County Regional Airport, where your flight arrives, downtown Madison is only 20 minutes with a Madison hire car.

You’ll also be within driving distance to many other interesting cities. Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest and famous for its breweries, is an hour and a half to the east. From there, Kenosha, on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, is another half hour to the south. In under an hour you can reach Janesville, home to a fifth of Wisconsin’s buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What brands are available?

From Dane County Regional Airport, pick up a Madison car hire from one of the following companies:

  • Alamo
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Must-sees within an easy drive of Madison

    Just outside Spring Green about an hour west of Madison, are a couple of must-see architectural gems. The House on the Rock is an unusual house built on a massive rock, part of an architectural complex designed by Alex Jordan, said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. The 218-foot-long Infinity Room stretches out into thin air and hangs over a cliff. Nearby, stands Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, the magnificent Taliesin East, built on a 600-acre estate in the Prairie School style. It has a convoluted history involving the murder of his mistress in a fire started by a disgruntled employee.

    For a unique museum experience, head for Appleton, two hours northeast. The History Museum at the Castle has a Houdini exhibit with interesting artefacts related to the life and career of the legendary magician, and the Hearthstone Historic House Museum was the first house in the world to be lit up by hydroelectricity using Thomas Edison’s system in 1882.

    Tips and tricks for driving in the US

    American cars usually have automatic transmission. Drive on the right side. An international driving permit is not compulsory but recommended. Carry it at all times along with ID (passport) and proof of insurance.

    Speed limits vary from state to state; in general stick to 70mph on motorways. Beware that undertaking is not illegal in the US; to stay safe, don’t forget to signal before changing lanes.

    Provided there is no oncoming traffic, you can turn right at red traffic lights. At a four-way stop, all cars should stop, and the one that arrived first sets off first followed by the others in the order of arrival.

    Ready to plan your Madison city break?

    Feeling inspired to start planning a visit to Madison and the rest of the US? Check out this city guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel and research the best attractions and activities.

    Remember that Expedia car hire comes with no hidden fees. The price you see is the price you pay!



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