Travel to Madison, WI

Travel to Madison, WI

We will be holding YAPC 2012 at the University Extension Conference Center, which is made up of two buildings, the Lowell Center and the Pyle Center. In addition to being a great facility the University is also conveniently located in downtown Madison. Within a reasonable walking distance (6 block radius) there are over 50 pubs, and 100 restaurants. There are also half a dozen museums, the State Capitol, and a dozen live performance venues.


The Dane County Regional Airport is located on Madison’s east side. It has daily direct flights to/from Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Milwaukee, Chicago, Memphis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington DC, Newark, and New York. The airport is roughly 6 miles from the conference facilities and is about a $12 taxi ride, or free with a hotel shuttle. Flights into Madison are relatively inexpensive; for example a round trip ticket from the 2011 YAPC to Madison is about $265.

Van Galder Bus Service

One of the less expensive ways to get to Madison, is to travel by bus. There are many bus companies, which come to Madison. We’ll cover one at a time. The first one is Van Galder. You can take a bus ride from various cities around Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota directly to Madison. For example, a round-trip fair from Chicago to Madison would only be $58. One of the best things about Van Galder is that their bus stop is only a few hundred feet from the YAPC conference facilities. 

Local Bus Service

Madison Metro is an extensive and clean bus system which goes anywhere in the city for $2, or $4.50 for an unlimited day pass. In addition, they have nine routes just for the University campus. Beyond busses, there are also four 24-hour taxi services available; the largest of the four, Union Cab, takes credit cards in addition to cash.


If you are looking for an ultra cheap way of traveling to Madison, and you are coming from either Minneapolis or Chicago, then megabus is your ticket. The earlier you book with them the cheaper the ticket is, sometimes approaching only $1 per leg of the journey. For example, a round trip ticket from Minneapolis to Madison would be about $13. I know that sounds too good to be true, but it is true. However, it comes with a few caveats. megabus is a no-frills kind of journey. Therefore expect tight spaces and lots of people, much like the kind of ride you might experience while traveling in South America or South East Asia. Also, there are no refunds of any kind, so if you make a mistake booking your ticket, you’ll have to pay again. However, if you just want a really cheap way to come to YAPC, then megabus could be just what you desire.

If you’re both cheap and lazy you’ll be glad to know that the megabus stop is only less than 100 yards from the conference facilities!

Lamers Bus Line

We’ve covered a number of other bus services to get you to YAPC:NA 2012, but Lamers Bus Line offers something a bit different. All the other bus services will get you here if you’re traveling from a major hub like Chicago, Milwaukee, or Minneapolis. Lamers has daily service from smaller cities all over Wisconsin. So if you’re from Wisconsin, but you’re from one of those less serviced regions, then check this out. They have daily service from the North:

  • Wausau
  • Mosinee
  • Stevens Point
  • Westfield
  • Portage

From the North East:

  • Green Bay
  • Appleton
  • Oshkosh
  • Fond du Lac
  • Waupun
  • Bever Dam
  • Columbus

From the South West:

  • Dubuque
  • Platteville
  • Dodgeville
  • Mount Horeb
  • Verona

All of these locations drop off at the UW Madison campus (where YAPC is being held). And perhaps best of all, they do this for less than $40. So if you live in Wisconsin, but don’t want to drive or can’t, then this is a great short range travel option for you.


Parking is available for overnight guests at the various hotels. Some parking is free with the room, some will charge up to $10 per night. For those driving in on a daily basis, there is a city parking structure one block from the University conference facilities, which charges $1.25 per hour.

If you’re driving in each day either because you live close, or you’re staying at a hotel too far from campus to walk, then you map want to get yourself a campus parking permit. They are $13 per day, and must be reserved no later than June 5th, 2012.

Ride Share

There's also a ride share page in the wiki.