Madison, population 12,000, is an Ohio River town with a thriving tourism economy built around its well-preserved past. In the 1800s the town was a busy Ohio River port and supply stop for westward bound pioneers. The town prospered and grew resulting in a mix of 19th century architectural styles that can be seen in the city's downtown historic district.
More than 1,520 buildings in downtown Madison were built in the 19th century. A downtown area of 133 blocks is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and comprises the state's largest historic district. The restored Greek Revival style, Lanier Mansion is a National Historic Landmark and museum. Other structures have been turned into museums and showcase 19th century life in Madison.
The downtown commercial district, mostly along Main Street, caters to visitors with restaurants, coffee and teashops, antique and specialty shops, and bed and breakfasts. The riverfront park provides views of riverboat and barge traffic on the Ohio and the Heritage Trail overlooks the river. Three wineries, Thomas Family Winery, Madison Vineyards and Lanthier Winery offer tastings and tours. There are several area golf courses. Hiking trails at Clifty Falls State Park lead to rock gorges, waterfalls and scenic overlooks. An in-depth look at the Ohio River valley can be found along the Ohio River Scenic Byway.
Madison has festival and events year round that celebrate a little bit of everything. The Ohio River Valley Folk Festival features folk music on the riverfront during May. In July the Ohio River hosts the Madison Regatta, two days of hyroplane boat racing.
Madison is 107 miles southeast of Indianapolis and 57 miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky. It is accessible via State Highways 7, 56 and 421. Lodging options include bed and breakfasts, national chain hotels and motels, cabins, cottages, guest houses and campgrounds.