When our plan to take our children strawberry-picking last weekend was thrown out due to low inventory, we quickly made a plan B and zipped over to explore downtown Madison. We had the most enjoyable, easy-going couple of hours relaxing, discovering, and adventuring.
When I spoke with Kathleen’s Bridal owner Meighan Winton for the article I shared last week about her boutique, she said that she has spoken to many people who previously had no idea that Madison had a downtown area before visiting her shop (they’ve been open in downtown for three years).
Winton and I both agreed that Madison’s downtown area is a true hidden gem in North Alabama. If you’ve never ventured around this blossoming area (or perhaps it’s simply been a while), here are six reasons you should consider heading there this weekend.
Six Reasons to Explore Downtown Madison
1. There is plenty of green space for a picnic.
Grab a parking spot on Main Street and then walk around the train tracks to the Madison gazebo where you’ll find plenty of space to spread out.
Set up a blanket on the covered gazebo and stair up the robins-egg blue ceiling, where the ceiling fan that is spun by the wind will be sure to lull you into complete relaxation. Don’t have a blanket? No problem. Grab a seat on the nearby bleachers or sit on the built-in bench seats within the gazebo. Let the kids kick around a soccer ball while they wait for a train to come whistling by.
2. The grounds are pet-friendly.
Change up your pooch’s usual walk routine and leash him or her up for a family stroll downtown. (Just be extra sure to bring a bag to clean up your pet’s “gifts”.) The outdoor spaces are pet-friendly and allow you to enjoy the area with your whole family (four-legged pets included).
P.S. If you don’t bring an animal but want to see some unique ones, don’t miss ducking into Animal Trax, a family-owned pet supplies store for reptiles and small mammals. They’re located at 100 Church Steet.
3. Enjoy a variety of shops.
From antiques to home interiors to clothing and more, one will enjoy bopping in and out of a handful of locally-owned, unique stores in downtown Madison. If you are looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day find, the odds are high that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for while browsing downtown.
4. Take a historic stroll.
They don’t call it “historic downtown Madison” for no reason. Up and down Main Street, Front Street, Church Street, and more, visitors on foot will discover marker after marker educating readers on the history of the spots where their very feet are walking. Visitors will also discover the impressive Wall of Heroes.
P.S. Don’t miss taking a quick walk up and down residential Church Street. The historic homes are beautiful!
5. It’s delightfully small.
We joke that downtown Madison is “bite-sized” and easily manageable in a short amount of time. One could take a slow stroll – reading signs and window shopping – around the Main Steet/Front Street loop in under an hour.
6. It’s free (if you want it to be).
Taking a stroll, having a picnic, and enjoying the sights and sounds around downtown has no cost. Enjoying the simplistic, laid-back atmosphere is a great, free way to enjoy the city we call home.