It’s possible that the Wisconsin State Capital is the most active or at least most talked about state capital in the entire country. Whether they like it or not – Wisconsin politicians are in the national news more often than other state legislatures. Their governor is a lightening rod for the opposition for starters. There was the bizarre story not long ago where Democratic lawmakers actually fled their state and hid in Illinois so they wouldn’t have to vote on a bill.
But, the Wisconsin state capital is very cool. I had the chance to take a tour of the building, which anyone can do. In fact, the capital building is surprisingly open and welcoming. You can literally just walk in the front door and wander around. Go figure.
The building itself is such a central point and icon of Madison – you can see it from just about everywhere downtown. Their popular farmers market on Saturdays wraps around the entire building. Perhaps locals will better appreciate the inside nuts and bolts of its history than a tourist – but, the building is full of things to see that will have you snapping photos on your phone.
Personally, I found all of the stained glassed windows and skylights to be just awesome. The building was designed to use as much natural light as possible. There’s evidence of that all over the place.
The tour will take you into all of the rooms here that are used to do the business of Wisconsin residents. During the normal legislative session – there are galleries above where you can watch the “magic” that is state politics. However, a Summer visit may be better to explore and see the building. You’ll see the state’s Supreme Court chamber, the State Senate (and get to sit in their chairs), and the Governors board room where bills are signed, etc.