Start your day by visiting the Welcome Center to pick up your official Madison visitors guide and map to help you navigate the campus and city.
First things first: take a campus tour of all of the distinguished sites on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. These tours are guided by experienced guides and highlight campus life, academics and the history of the university. When finished, take a stroll through Allen Centennial Gardens, a 2.5-acre garden containing more than 1,400 different plants. For more nature, walk to Picnic Point, a mile-long walk along Lake Mendota's south shore. Then stop for ice cream (and watch it being made!) at the Babcock Hall Dairy Store.
The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery showcases the University's approach to transdisciplinary research, with faulty, students, and professionals working together on research, education and business. The first floor of the Discovery Building (also known as the Town Center) hosts interactive workshops perfect for families.
For sports fans, no visit is complete without a trip to Camp Randall Stadium. The Badger football team plays here each fall, but the stadium received its name because it lies on the grounds of Camp Randall, a former Union Army training camp during the Civil War. Nearby is the Kohl Center, the home of Badger basketball, hockey, wrestling and more! Be sure to see the expansive Chihuly glass sculpture adorning the interior walls of the center. If you'll be staying for a game, enjoy the full experience with ideas from our Game Day itinerary.
The University's Chazen Museum of Art is home to the second largest collection of art in Wisconsin. More than 20,000 works include paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative arts. The museum has both a permanent collection and frequent temporary exhibitions, and trained docents lead group tours. Or explore the University's Geology Museum, home to a 33-foot long Edmontosaurus skeleton along with other dinosaur reconstructions, mineral displays, fossils and a limestone cave.
Union South is a staple of student living but is open to visitors who want to enjoy food, fun and festive events. Union South is home to The Sett, a three-level experience that offers food, live music, billiards, rock climbing and bowling, and also hosts the Badger Bash before each home football game. Badger Bash includes music from the UW Marching Band, inflatables for the kids, and tailgating food and drinks.
The Memorial Union sits on the shores of Lake Mendota and is best known for its iconic green, yellow and orange starburst chairs on the scenic Memorial Union Terrace. The terrace hosts brats, live music and the best place to catch the sun setting. The Goodspeed Family Pier opened once again in 2013 and offers dock space for up to 17 watercraft on Lake Mendota. Located near Memorial Union, it is a great place to park your boat while enjoying the terrace. Getting out on the water is as simple as stopping by Outdoor UW-Home of the Wisconsin Hoofers to rent canoes, kayaks or paddleboards. If you're timid, take a lesson or get a guided sailing tour.
For an overnight stay, make a reservation at the Graduate Madison, a boutique hotel located just a block from the university. The hotel shows guests good cheer with cheeky, collegiate decor and a coffee and juice bar called Portage Pi.