January 1, 2018

Travel and Lodging


The Great Taste of the Midwest is held each year in Madison’s Olin Park, which overlooks beautiful Lake Monona and offers a wonderful view of downtown Madison.

  • Please note that there is NO PARKING at Olin Park.
  • Access for public vehicles on the day of the festival is strictly managed in order to maintain clear access for essential event vehicle traffic, shuttle and cab service, and emergency vehicles.

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The Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild holds the safety of our patrons first and foremost in our minds.

As such, we provide several free or inexpensive ways to get home safely and we also encourage our patrons to make use of Madison Metro Transit buses. We ask for your cooperation in making the Great Taste a non-driving event. Take a Metro bus, a $1 taxi, or a free shuttle home.

Drop-Off & Pick-Up Area

In order to ensure more orderly and safe arrivals and departures, we have made some significant improvements to our traffic management procedures. The designated drop-off area is along Sayle St and Van Deusen St as shown in the map below.

Olin Park will be off limits to all non-event vehicles this year, which includes drop offs before and pick-ups after the event. If you have a designated driver or are using a rideshare service (Uber, Lyft, etc) who will be transporting you in either direction, you will need to take notice of this. We’re asking everyone to respect this as it will be enforced by the Madison Police Department.

We want to make MPD’s day go just as well as ours so we’ve arranged for a designated Pick-up and Drop-off Area that is outside of the park but convenient for walking to the park safely.

We have a very handy map that shows you where this is and how to walk to the park via the bike path that goes underneath John Nolen Drive. (no busy streets to cross!)

  • Print out that handy map, just in case you know someone who might need one
  • Check out this convenient Google map if you need more detail

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Madison Metro Buses

  • One-way fare: $2.00 each way
  • One-Day Pass: $5.00 (good for an unlimited number of rides per day)
  • Weekend “2-4-6” pass: $6.00 -pass allows two adults to ride all day long. Just tell the driver you’d like a 2-4-6 pass, deposit $6, and receive your pass.


  • On the weekends, Olin Park is served by an 11-minute Madison Metro bus ride on Route 13 toward South Transfer Point.
  • Starting from downtown Madison, make your way toward University Avenue @ Park Street to board Route 13.
  • Departures are at the top of the hour with respect to arriving at Olin Park before the gates open. Get off the bus when you arrive at John Nolen Drive @ East Olin Avenue across the road from the park entrance.


  • The safest option is to walk from Olin Park toward East Olin Avenue @ Colby Street via the Wingra Bike Path, which takes you underneath John Nolen Drive.
  • A five-minute walk, you’ll walk to the right just as the bike path forks underneath Olin Ave.
  • The bus stop you’ll need is for Route 13 toward UW Campus.
  • Departures from here begin at 6:41 p.m., which is perfectly timed for your ride toward downtown Madison.

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Coming to the festival with a full belly of food from one of our shuttle stops is an excellent way to prepare for a day of beer sampling.

  • Shuttle buses begin operating from each site to Olin Park at noon. The festival grounds open at 1 p.m.
  • Shuttles run continuously to and from each site until 7 p.m.
  • Per CDC guidelines regarding public transportation, ALL RIDERS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR FACE MASKS. Please come prepared with your own face mask.

The following locations will have FREE shuttles to the festival:

Capital Brewery
7734 Terrace Ave
Dexter’s Pub
301 North St
Full Mile Beer Co
132 Market St
Sun Prairie
The Great Dane – Downtown
123 E Doty Street
The Great Dane – Fitchburg
2980 Cahill Main
The Great Dane – Hilldale
357 Price Place
Vintage Brewing Company – Madison
674 South Whitney Way

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  • Union Cab is the official cab company of the Great Taste of the Midwest.
  • MHTG subsidizes fares home from the festival to any residence or hotel in Dane County.
  • It only costs you $1 to get home safely in a cab. Please be sure to tip drivers too!
  • Per Union Cab policy, ALL RIDERS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR FACE MASKS. Please come prepared with your own face mask.

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Rideshare Companies

  • Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies are considered non-event vehicles and will not be allowed access to Olin Park or the taxi stand.
  • If you intend to use one of these services before or after the event, please use the drop-off and pick-up points at Sayle St or VanDeusen St.

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There is absolutely no patron parking at the festival as this is a non-driving event.

  • Parking is available at the many downtown area parking ramps.
  • The maximum charge for parking in one of the ramps is $5 per day on weekends, which makes this a great option for leaving your car until Sunday morning.
  • See the city parking website for more information and applicable hours.

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You are strongly discouraged from riding your bicycle to and from a beer festival. We ask all patrons to avoid bringing wheels of any kind in order to ensure the safety of everyone.

  • While they also discourage you from riding your bicycle after attending the Great Taste, the Madison Police Department, City of Madison, and the Madison Parks Department have requested that we provide bicycle racks near Olin Park. They are there to protect the sensitive trees and structures in and near the park. Any bikes locked to trees or public property will be removed.
  • For the safety of your bicycle, this beautiful park, and most importantly yourself, please use one of the other transportation options available.
  • If you must use a bicycle, please consider biking to one of the FREE shuttle sites closest to your home, locking your bike there, and taking the FREE shuttle to the park.

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Wisconsin Tavern League Saferide Program

The Tavern League of Wisconsin operates a Saferide program which can be used to get home from area bars and restaurants. You may request a Saferide voucher from any Wisconsin Tavern League member establishment for a free ride home – no questions asked.

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If you’re visiting from out of town, the following resources for lodging are provided so that you may enjoy not just the Great Taste but all of the wonderful sightseeing, dining, and activities in and around Madison.

>>> View GT Lodging on a larger map

Nearby Hotels

Holiday Inn Express
610 John Nolen Dr.
(608) 709-5050
Sheraton Madison
706 John Nolen Dr.
(608) 251-2300
(866) 716-8103 (reservations)
Comfort Inn Madison – Downtown
722 John Nolen Drive
(608) 255-7400
Clarion Suites Madison Central
2110 Rimrock Rd
(608) 284-1234
1001 Wisconsin Place
(608) 535-8200
Home2Suites by Hilton
2153 Rimrock Rd.
(608) 949-9650

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Downtown Hotels

If you want to stay downtown for some easy walking, pre-/post-festival fun then these hotels might be right for you:

Doubletree Hotel Madison
525 W. Johnson St.
(608) 251-5511
Hilton Madison Monona Terrace
9 E. Wilson St.
(608) 255-5100
Hyatt Place Madison
333 West Washington Avenue
(608) 257-2700
Park Hotel (Capitol Square)
22 S. Carroll St.
(608) 257-8811
The Madison Concourse Hotel
1 West Dayton Street
(800) 356-8293

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Hotels Near Shuttle Stops

You can also find hotels near our shuttle stops such as:

Staybridge Suites Middleton/Madison West
7790 Elmwood Avenue
(608) 662-1450

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Other Hotels In and Around Madison

Best Western PLUS InnTowner
2424 University Avenue
(608) 233-8778

For information about more of Madison’s hotels, motels, B&B’s, etc., try these resources:

Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau Accommodations Madison Small Inn and Bed & Breakfast Association

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The Madison Hostel is about a block away from The Great Dane Pub and Brewery, where you can catch a shuttle to the festival. Walking two blocks in the other direction will get you to the Essen Haus (German restaurant and bar) and the Come Back Inn (good micro selection).

You do not need to be a hostel member to stay there!

Madison Hostel
141 S. Butler Street
(608) 441-0144

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For the campers (with designated drivers) out there:

Wisconsin State Parks 
There’s camping available at nearby Lake Kegonsa State Park.
Devil’s Lake State Park
More nearby camping, though a little further away.
New Glarus Woods State Park
Take a New Glarus Brewing tour!
Dane County Parks Department
Some Dane County parks have camping available.

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Further Afield

Janesville, South Beloit, Rockford & beyond
True beer enthusiasts are resourceful people who aren’t deterred by little obstacles. If Madison’s lodging alternatives are sold out, VanGalder Bus Company runs buses between Madison and Chicago’s O’Hare airport with stops in Janesville, South Beloit, and Rockford, Illinois.

There are several hotels within walking distance of the bus depot at all three stops:

Best Western Legacy Inn & Suites
5910 Technology Dr.
South Beloit, IL 61080
Alpine Inn
4404 E. State Street
Rockford IL 61103

There are many other hotels near the Clock Tower bus stop in Rockford. See www.gorockford.com for more hotel options in the area.

New Glarus, Wisconsin
If you have a designated driver available, New Glarus is also not far from Madison:

Chalet Landhaus Inn
801 Hwy 69
New Glarus, Wisconsin 53574
(608) 527-5234
(800) 944-1716 (reservations)

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Exploring Madison

If you’re from out of town, we hope you take some time to enjoy Madison and the surrounding area.