Among a host of options, several knockout historic spaces and a botanical garden are among the busiest off-site event venues in Madison.

“Meeting off-site is such a great way for attendees to connect with one another in a very different way than can exist in a typical lecture hall or hotel ballroom,” said Judy Frankel, director of public relations and communications, Greater Madison CVB.

Following is a lineup of unique venues that planners can book for productive meetings and entertaining events.

Overture Center for the Arts

Overture Center for the Arts, built around the historic Capitol Theater, which originally opened in 1928 and showed silent films, features 15 unique spaces.

“The largest space, Overture Hall, is home to the Overture Concert Organ, thought to be the heaviest movable object in any theater in the world,” said Danielle Poad, the venue’s senior event services manager. “Overture Center has been proud to host events ranging from Broadway touring productions to His Holiness the Dalai Lama over the years.”

Overture Center for the Arts has other flexible spaces, including private rooms, lobby space and theaters, that will meet the needs of groups with 20 to 1,500 people.

“Each private space has a unique size and decor feeling,” Poad said. “Lobby spaces provide a modern and elegant feeling, with breathtaking views of the Madison Capitol building. The Overture Event Services team works closely with each customer to pick the best space for each event and coordinate the logistics to ensure the best guest experience.”

Discounts on spaces for pre-show receptions and savings on tickets for performances at Overture are available for groups of 10-plus people, and Catering a Fresco, the center’s exclusive caterer, is available to prepare delicious event menus.

Discovery Building

The LEED Gold-certified Discovery Building is a bright and beautiful venue located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus,  according to Jeanan Yasiri Moe, director of strategic communications for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.  

“It is a favorite of people working both on and off campus, and open to the public at large,” she said.

The public portion of the Discovery Building, located on its first floor, is known as Town Center, which accommodates conferences, executive board meetings, networking receptions and various special events.  

“The venue is vibrant and innovative and includes live trees, water features and abundant natural light, which makes it great for all types of events, large or small,” Yasiri Moe said. “From the fossils found in floor tiles on the main floor to the retractable walls of the DeLuca Forum, the building is a one-of-a-kind venue.”

Among the spaces available for events are the H.F. DeLuca Forum, the main event room, which is a circular banquet space that can host up to 200 people for a seated meal, presentation or reception; small conference rooms with integrated audiovisual capabilities and natural light; and the sunny atrium space, which features live ficus trees and skylights.

All catering is provided by the on-site Steenbock’s on Orchard, which prepares reception service or full meal service using only the freshest available local and regional ingredients.

Madison Masonic Center

Madison Masonic Center, a historical landmark, has been a Madison standby for gatherings for 91 years.

According to Lisa Zimmerman, the venue’s events manager, over the years it has hosted many types of people and events, from boxing matches and the Dalai Lama to community group fundraisers and music performances.

“We are a great location for conventions, with multiple breakout spaces,” she said, and added fundraisers, cocktail parties and seminars are also accommodated. “Our building has a lot of vintage woodworks, marble and columns decorating its floor and hallways.”