Help planning trip to WI and MN

Mar 2nd, 2010, 07:46 AM
  #1  
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Help planning trip to WI and MN

I am still planning my trip for 2 weeks in June. My itinerary so far is:

Milwaukee - 2 nights
Madison - 2 nights
St Paul/Minneapolis - 3 nights

I'm not too sure where to go from here! I had planned to spend 3 nights at Grand Marais, but I think maybe it is too far north. I am on my own and think while it would be good to spend a day there, maybe not so much for 3 days. I had thought of staying in Duluth for 3 nights and going there for the day. Is Duluth a good place to stay - any hotel recommendations?

I would love to go to Walnut Grove as I grew up on Little House on the Praire. Is it worth the trip? Should I head there straight after Minneapolis? I am flying in and out of Chicago.

Would love to hear any advice that you have.

Many thanks, Laura
Lauradublin is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Have been to Madison and think 2 days will be plenty there.

The state capitol building is certainly worth seeing. Depending on your interests, you can also visit the nearby Wisconsin Historical Museum and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Both museums are along State Street, which runs west from the capitol and is very pleasant to walk along -- lots of shops and restaurants. I was able to see all of this in one day with ease.

The University of Wisconsin has a couple on-site museums which I haven't visited, such as the Chazen Museum of Art and a Geology Museum. There are some other attractions of this type, such as a Children's Museum and a Veteran's Museum. Here's a website with some details:

http://www.madisonmuseums.org/

There are apparently various parks and such further afield from the immediate downtown that I didn't get to but are supposed to be very nice.
bachslunch is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 03:07 PM
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FYI: Although the TV series placed "Little House on the Prairie" in Walnut Creek, it is the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek" that takes place in Walnut Grove. The book takes place in Kansas.

Duluth has a great place to stay, Canal Park, with several things to do within walking distance. Other things to do in town are the Train Museum
http://www.lsrm.org/Home/Home.asp]
and the view from Enger Tower
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...er_Tower.jpeg].
tom_mn is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 07:56 PM
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To visit the Little House in the Big Woods, you can drive along the Mississippi River where it's the boundary between WI and MN. A replica of the Little House is near Pepin WI and is about 7 miles from the river.

If you're a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, think about Taliesin, about an hour west of Madison. Definitely worth a visit.
KathrynDay is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:30 PM
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This was some great advice from bachslunce regarding Madison. The Chazin is a great art museum if you are in to that kind of thing. In Madison hotels in the downtown campus area are on the expensive side, but well worth it. I highly recommend the edgewater hotel. As its name implies it is right on the lake. What are your Milwaukee plans? I live right outside of Milwaukee so have a lot of information on it.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:02 PM
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I agree with tom_mn that Canal park in Duluth has a lot of places to stay. There are several that have suites available if you are looking for something like that. While in Duluth you can tour the Glensheen Mansion, walk the Lake Walk, tour the Irvin which is an ore boat that is open for tours. There is also a Coast Guard icebreaker that can be toured. The Vista Fleet boats will take you on a tour of the Duluth/Superior Harbor and also along the shore outside the harbor. It is fun to tour the museum at the ship canal and make sure you see what time ships are going in and out. I still love to go down there and see them even tho I grew up in that area and saw them all the time. There are quite a few shops and restaurants in Canal Park and there are other shops and restaurants over in the Fitger's Bldg. If you do decide to drive up the North Shore, you can tour Split Rock Lighthouse. I also agree it is a great view from Enger Tower in Duluth.
Cali is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 04:34 AM
  #7  
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Many thanks for all the replies. My itinerary is now as follows:

Milwaukee - 2 nights
Madison - 2 nights
St Paul/Minneapolis - 3 nights
Duluth - 2 nights

Think I will probably give Walnut Grove a miss but will check out Pepin. That means I leave Duluth on the Sunday and have to be back in Chicago on the Thursday evening. Any ideas of where to stay in between? Have looked at the Dells but that seems too commercial for me, sounds a bit like Gatlinberg, which I didn't like - maybe I'm wrong?

Love the ideas for Madison and Duluth. Will check out the museum in Madison and the tour of Duluth/Superior Harbor. Will also take a trip to Split Rock. Talesin sounds good too.

Not sure what to do in Milwaukee, but I will be jet lagged, so probably will take it easy.

Thanks for all the help! Laura
Lauradublin is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 04:39 AM
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Agree with the comments and suggestions above on Duluth.

Definitely consider the North Shore. One of our favorite destinations in the summer. We prefer to stay in Grand Marais (especially like the Thomsonite Beach Motel), which is about 100 mi from Duluth. Not for a day trip, but certainly worth several days. Beautiful shoreline, great state parks with hiking, waterfalls, sailing, good restaurants, etc.

Check out www.northshorevisitor.com
dfr4848 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 08:14 AM
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If you head out to Spring Green from Madison you should check out the American Players Theater. It is a wonderful company that presents Shakespeare in an outdoor setting. The Farmer's market on Saturday mornings in Madison is often rated the nation's best.

If you stay downtown in Madison, I would recommend the Hilton over the Edgewater which has seen better days. As an alternative that would place you closer to Spring Green and Minneapolis, you could stay in Middleton and drive the 15 minutes into downtown madison. Try to get out on the water in Madison, either on a boat cruise or a kayak. It is also a great biking town with a number of shops to rent and nice paths for all abilities.

Madison has great minor league baseball and a nice free zoo. Plan to spend some time in the sun at the UW-Madison Memorial Union. It is a true Wisconsin experience.

And, the restaurants are wonderful for a town its size. Marigold for breakfast, the Old Fashioned for lunch, Fromagination cheese shop for an afternoon snack, and L'Etoile, Harvest, Magnus or Tornado for a very nice dinner would be my recommendations if you stay downtown. If you stay in Middleton, Hubbard Diner for breakfast and/or lunch and Louisienne's or Vin Santo for dinner. Lots of chains, too. But that's not really seeing Madison.

Enjoy,

Kevin
ChiDad is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 09:21 AM
  #10  
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I've booked the Concourse in Madison. It gets good reviews on Tripadvisor. Also booked the Hampton Inn in Milwaukee and the Normandy Inn in Minneapolis.

Thanks, Laura
Lauradublin is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 01:19 PM
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One thing to consider when in Milwaukee. My research suggests that the police aggressively ticket jaywalkers there, so keep this in mind when walking around town.
bachslunch is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 10:13 PM
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I agree with dfr4848 regarding Grand Marais and the North Shore. They are both beautiful and Grand Marais is a great little town to visit.I just thought the OP was not planning to drive that far. There are several motels in Grand Marais as well as condos which are all within walking distance of downtown. Thompsonite Beach is about 5 miles west of town but is a nice place.
Cali is online now  
Mar 4th, 2010, 12:57 AM
  #13  
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I have been checking out flights and it seems that prices have changed alot since I last checked. I can now get a good deal with AA to fly to Minneapolis that is very little extra than the direct flight to Chicago, so looks like I will be going to Minneapolis instead. So my big question is - Do I need a car for Minneapolis? Or should I have a few days there and then pick one up? It's amazing how much cheaper it is to rent a car from Minneapolis airport for two weeks that it is from Chicago - almost $150 difference!

Laura
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Mar 4th, 2010, 08:45 PM
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We always have a car when in the Mpls. Area but I have seen some people on this board who have used public transportation in Mpls. Think a car would be lots easier and faster tho.
Cali is online now  
Mar 5th, 2010, 07:07 AM
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I'd recommend getting a car for Minneapolis, but you don't absolutely NEED one. Many sights/attractions/restaurants downtown are walkable, either on the street or via Skyways that connect the buildings. There are also buses and the lightrail. But having a car will save you time getting around, and will make it much easier and faster to get to Uptown, the city lakes, or St. Paul. And it's a pretty simple city to drive around, drivers are courteous (Minnesota nice is real!), and there lots of parking lots and garages.
Jess_M is offline  
Mar 6th, 2010, 07:50 AM
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If you are going to start/end in Minneapolis, consider revamping the whole thing. Here's just one possibility:

First night Red Wing
Second night Madison via River Road to La Crosse, then over on Hwy 14, or down to Prairie du Chien and then Spring Green
Third night in Hayward or Minocqua
Fourth/fifth night in Duluth
Sixth/Seventh night in Minneapolis
tom_mn is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 07:55 AM
  #17  
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Just booked my flights and am flying in and out of Minneapolis. So excited to leave now, but guess I have awhile to wait! What's the trip like from the airport to the Normandy Hotel? Given that I will have travelled from Ireland will I find it difficult. I will have Sat Nav and it will be 7 pm when I arrive.

Any more hints?

Laura
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Mar 11th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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Laura, rent a GPS along with your rent a car. Rent a car as soon as you get to MLPS. Skip Walnut Grove, you will be disappointed. I agree with going to Duluth and I think you should go to Grand Marais as the drive along superior is worth every mile. Stop at Bettys Pies to eat , its about 40 miles north of Duluth. Enjoy Minnesota, ziggypop
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