There's always excitement in the air on and around Madison's State Street, but especially in November, when the holidays are on the horizon.
Where to shop: State Street has great museum gift shops, and Monroe Street,
which heads south from Camp Randall stadium, also has fun shops and
places to eat.
Nightlife: See a concert, play, ballet or touring show at the Overture Center on State Street.
Details: For more, see Shopping in Madison.
Past fast plans: The Gales of November, Exploring Northfield, Late fall in Red Wing, Halloween in Chicago, Fall colors in Door County
Veterans Day Parade in Milwaukee. It's at 11 a.m., starting in Pere Marquette Park and following Kilbourn Avenue toward the lakefront. This year, it marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Nov. 16.
Christkindlmarket in Milwaukee. The Chicago Christkindlmarket expands with this open-air, German-style market in the plaza outside Fiserv Forum arena. Nov. 15Dec. 24.
Christkindlmarket in Chicago. This is the most authentic Old World Christmas market, with many German vendors who bring over toys, ornaments and sweets. There's a Children's Lantern Parade, appearances by the Christkind and entertainment most days. In Daley Plaza in the Loop. Nov. 15Dec. 24.
Art & Gift Fair in Madison. This juried event at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Overture Center features nearly 100 artists plus gourmet food, live music and dance. Nov. 1617.
For more, see our Events Calendar.
Late fall when crowds fade and hotel deals appear is one of the best times to make a getaway.
For hikers, it's the sweet spot between the fall-color rush and hunting season. For shoppers, it's the time to get a head start on the holidays, before the craziness starts.
More often than not, the weather still is gorgeous, and stubborn oaks and willows offer color that lasts into the middle of November.
Two centuries ago, Minnesota and Wisconsin were ripe for the picking.
Iron ore lay under forests of tall white pine, fertile farmland lay under prairie grasses, and rivers teeming with beaver led to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.
It all turned into money when ambitious men arrived, gathering up the goodies like kids on Halloween. They logged, they mined, they traded and they shipped.
In the sloughs of the Upper Mississippi, birds of a feather flock together.
Bird-watchers, especially. On chilly days in late fall, they crowd onto wooden platforms to watch tundra swans paddling around sloughs of the Mississippi River.
This big bird needs a lot of fuel for its flight from the Arctic Circle to the marshes of Chesapeake Bay.
So when ponds in southern Canada and North Dakota start to ice over in October, the swans fly down to feast on arrowhead tubers and wild celery along the Mississippi before continuing east.
In November, women make a break for it.
As men sit in deer stands or watch football games on TV, women hit the road with their friends. They shop, visit spas, sip wine, take cooking classes and see musicals their husbands or boyfriends don't want to see.
For women, November is a great month. Not only do they have a good excuse to get away with their friends, but they can get a head start on shopping for Christmas.