If being environmentally conscious is a top priority for your next event, select a host city that shares your commitment to going green. Madison, Wisconsin, is not only the city where Earth Day was founded, it’s also been ranked as the number one Greenest City in America by NerdWallet thanks to its abundant city parks, 15,000 acres of lakes and more than 200 miles of biking and hiking trails.
But events in Madison don’t just benefit from this earth-friendly attitude, they can also save you some of that other kind of green. Here are three reasons why Madison should be at the top of your list.
Food and Beverage
With no required minimum for food and beverage, coffee that averages under $40 per gallon and a typical savings of 20 to 40 percent on group F&B costs, treating your attendees to some of Madison’s famous farm-to-table fare is so much more affordable than in other major cities. Given that most Madison chefs love to source ingredients from the plethora of nearby farms and suppliers, you’re also cutting down on food miles both for catered events and at meals at local restaurants.
As the unofficial bike capital of the Midwest, Madison is home to more bikes than cars—and was even awarded Platinum Status by the League of American Bicyclists in 2015 (one of only four cities in the U.S. to receive this honor). Downtown itself is both very walkable and bikeable, making it easy to plan a relatively car-free stay and reducing the overall carbon footprint of every attendee. When you do need to arrange for transportation, it’s very cost efficient. Most of the city’s hotels offer a free airport shuttle. And with Dane County Regional Airport located only 10-15 minutes away from downtown, rideshare costs to most hotels average around $12.
Both of Madison’s most prominent venues boast green certifications. In addition to being designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a pioneer in an organic approach to architecture, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center is LEED Gold Certified and has a number of sustainability practices in place for every event. The Center’s partnership with UW Wisconsin’s WE CONSERVE composting program, use of environmentally safe cleaning products, single stream recycling, Green Energy purchasing and food donations to local pantries (an average of 8,000 pounds annually) all adds up to a significant reduction in waste. Alliant Energy Center has also earned Travel Green Certification from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, one of the largest complexes in the city to do so.