Photo: Courtesy of Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Take an art-filled stroll around Capitol Square

Ditch the crowds at Taste of Chicago for Madison’s scenic outdoor art fest, Art Fair on the Square, which runs Saturday, July 13, through Sunday, July 14. Put on annually by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, which is celebrating its 55th anniversary, the fair is famously big in scope: It draws some 450 artists from more than 40 states and showcases everything from paintings, photography, and sculpture to crafts and hand-made clothing. Look for local artist Amy Arnold’s 3-D sculptures hewn from natural materials; illustrations by Nathanial Mather of Franklin, Tennessee; and abstract, garden inspired jewelry by New Jersey’s Janice Ho, an MMoCA staff favorite. “The backdrop of the State Capitol creates an exquisite setting for the event,” says Stephen Fleischman, the museum’s director.

After you’ve explored the fair, hop on a bike and check out the city’s 200 miles of scenic trails. Stop for croquetas papas at Café Cortadito (418 E. Wilson St., 608-257-2473), a new Cuban walk-up kitchen opened in a former coat closet at Cardinal Bar. At night, grab one of the last remaining rooms nearby at the intimate Hotel Ruby Marie (524 E. Wilson St., 608-327-7829; from $139), located upstairs from the old-school Up North Bar (150 S. Blair St., 608-250-1730), a Northwoods-style saloon complete with shelled peanuts in a basket.

For more on where to go, eat, and sleep, read Chicago magazine’s 2012 guide to Madison.


Here’s An Important Takeaway From the Asiana Airlines Crash

By now you’ve seen enough of the dramatic photos and videos from Asiana Airlines Flight 214’s crash landing and wreckage to be astounded by the low casualty rate; 305 of 307 people on board survived. Experts say survival rates like this are increasing thanks to better aircraft design (the Boeing 777 is built so that passengers can exit the plane within 90 seconds) and crew training, as well as improved passenger awareness. “Importantly, there is an onus on passengers,” says Richard Quest in CNN’s report on why Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash was survivable.

Which Cruise Line Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction?

If bad press has not dissuaded you from sailing the high seas aboard a megaliner, you may want to consider a Disney Cruise, which ranked highest in a 2013 cruise line customer satisfaction report by J.D. Power. Royal Caribbean International came in second while Holland America ranked third, both noted for their service.

Stay in a Luxury Villa in Mexico’s Riviera Maya for Half Off

If you can think past summer vacations, here’s a deal worth considering: Now through December 18, one of 41 villas at the beachfront Viceroy Riviera Maya—located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico—can be had for rates as low as $303 per night (half the regular rate), including daily breakfast for two and a $100 resort credit. We recommend traveling in late winter for the best weather. Find more reasons to go in Chicago’s 2013 mini-guide to Playa Del Carmen.