LIKE A LOCAL
From capitol to campus, from sparkling lakes to rolling landscapes, from innovative work to weekend fun, Madison is known for the people, places and things to do that create its unique culture. You can read about our accolades, but the best way to experience Madison is like a local:
EAT LIKE A LOCAL
Madison is the perfect place to visit if you love to dine! Our farm-to-table heritage means restaurants such as Graze and Harvest deliver menus that are local, seasonal (and delicious!) daily. You can also taste-test your way through traditional Wisconsin fare in tavern-style settings like The Old Fashioned Tavern and Restaurant, inspired by the foods and spirits that make Wisconsin famous. More restaurant ideas.
DRINK LIKE A LOCAL
The Greater Madison area is a mecca for microbreweries, wineries and distilleries. Stop in to sample a brew and take a tour at Wisconsin Brewing Company, or try a specialty cocktail at Old Sugar Distillery, which also offers free tours and tastings. Many visitors make a day of it and take the scenic drive to Fisher King Winery, located in Mount Horeb. More about our craft culture.
SHOP LIKE A LOCAL
Don't miss neighborhood destinations that offer block after colorful block of shopping experiences. Vault Interiors and Design offers and eclectic mix of modern, rustic, and vintage home furnishings and accessories, plus Madison-themed gifts. State Street is a popular pedestrian mall that is home to eclectic shops such as Madison Sole and Fromagination. On Monroe Street, explore both floors of gifts and kitchen gadgets at Orange Tree Imports, voted "Best of Madison" for more than 20 years. And on the westside, you won't want to miss Hilldale Mall, home to Cornblooms shoe boutique, and some new stores like Sur La Table kitchen shop, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors. If your tastes trend toward antiques, you'll find more than 28,000 square feet of furniture, collectibles and art at Odana Antiques, also on Madison's westside. More shopping ideas.
PLAY LIKE A LOCAL
Madison is known for its vibrant urban scene, but there's so much for outdoor lovers to do, too! Our locals love the area for seasonal fun, from sailing and stand-up paddleboarding to skiing and snowshoeing. Our biking and hiking, lakes and sports and recreation pages have endless ideas for outdoor fun.
STAY LIKE A LOCAL
When the day is done, stay at one of our local hotels or bed and breakfasts! Some feature unique tributes to Madison, such as Graduate Madison's University of Wisconsin decorated lobby and rooms, while others are locally-owned, like The Buckingham Inn, a bed and breakfast near downtown Madison. A complete listing is available on our accommodations page.