What is Madison Historic District famous for? Is it being the largest contiguous national landmark site in the United States? That is true, however that's not the answer.
Shopping is the primary reason Madison Historic District is one of the best tourism destinations in Indiana or Kentucky. There's a hundred shops within walking distance up, down, and in between Main Street, the connecting cross roads, and the Ohio River. The newest shopping mall in Indiana is actually one of the oldest in the United States, since the early 1800's. Main Street of the Madison Historic District is an outdoor shopping mall. Madison is also famous for it's
- Bits and Pieces Quilt Show
- RiverRoots Music & Folk Arts Festival
- Madison RibberFest BBQ & Blues
- Canaan Fall Festival, Pony Express Run & Flea Market
- Madison Chautauqua
- Chelsea Jubilee, tractor parade
& Flea Market
- Annual Christmas Craft Show
- Music at the Lanier Mansion
- Music in the Park
- Riverfront Wine, Stein & Barrel
- Riverfront Run Car Show (May),
- Rockin' on the River CAR SHOW (Sep)
air shows, races & parades:
- Madison Regatta Hydroplane
- 4th of July Madison Regatta Parade
- Madison Municipal Airport
- A Very Merry Madison Christmas Parade
Madison Indiana is on the National Register of Historic Places as an Ohio River Town (more history). The historic district is referred to as "downtown," where the modern urban sprawl outside is called "hilltop." There is a concentrated shopping district along Main Street adjacent to the Court House, from 400 E. Main Street and extends down to the far end of 800 West Main Street. However, most shops are concentrated between 200 E. Main Street and 300 W. Main Street (map). That's 5 blocks, but blocks of the early 1800's and thus easily in walking distance. There's public parking, public facilities, shopping, live music, live theatre and lots of friendly people.
There are wineries, restaurants, live theatre, a movie theater, about 100 shops (as a small conceit, I like to say 100 tourist attractions), museums, the Ohio river walk and interesting sites to see, all within walking distance. Clifty Falls is a short drive away along with several golf courses. The historic district is highly recommended to those interested in historic southern Indiana, shopping, or a quiet get away from the hustle of daily living. The area has no roller coasters and quite proud of it. Other than shopping tourists, the Madison Historic District has been a long kept secret for those who can afford to escape from high pressure professions for vacations in peace and solace. The second largest group of visitors are typically couples, on a romantic retreats, honeymoons and anniversaries. The historic district is a beautifully isolated and a well maintained upmarket tourist destination.