Our Wisconsin State Capitol is without question one of the most beautiful in the country. Perched atop Madison’s beautiful isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona, it’s the third Capitol building on this site and was completed in 1917.
Four wings holding offices stretch out from a central Rotunda capped with the only granite dome in the United States. The statue atop the dome, officially named Wisconsin, reaches 284 feet, 5 inches high and faces direction of Washington, DC. It was intentionally designed to be a few inches shorter than the United States Capitol. Inside, Edwin Blashfield’s mural covers the Rotunda’s interior and depicts Wisconsin’s many resources.
On a visit, you can explore the passageways, the Rotunda, and lay your fingers on 43 varieties of stone and a series of mosaics and fossils including coral, starfish, gastropods, and more. Weather permitting, you can head up to the fourth floor and go outside to the observation deck where you can gaze upon the city from the base of the dome and browse the fascinating artifacts and photos inside. This year, the center of the Rotunda features “A Century of Stories”, displays and exhibits taking you through the State Capitol’s 100-year history. They include previous Capitol buildings on this block (there were several), major events that happened in and around the Capitol, and people who have shaped the state’s past, present, and future.
For better or worse, they also make laws in this building; a Capitol Tour brings you to offices, chambers, and other areas where elected representatives do their work. Plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, and museums surround the Capitol on the Square too; you can occupy a whole day just exploring this block! Free guided Capitol tours are available seven days a week. Check out a virtual reality Capitol tour here.
Wisconsin State Capitol Address:
2 E Main Street
Madison, WI 53702
Tours Monday-Saturday at 9am, 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm; Sundays at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a 4pm tour is also available Monday-Friday.