The Arts and Culture Capital

Madison is a city where you’ll find culture around every corner. Here, you can catch Broadway plays and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art on the same street—both in stunning Cesar Pelli-designed buildings. Go from art literacy labs to live music in one night. Find a stellar lineup of fairs and festivals and meet the makers at tiny galleries. And did we mention how many of the museums in Madison are free? (The answer is four, with one more coming back in 2026.)

Accessibility to the arts means offering opportunities to not just view, but to do. Dozens of our makers, creators and doers offer drop-in classes and workshops that allow you to make a custom work of art or a new skill. We like to call these ed-ventures, but you might call them your new favorite travel memory.

Jump around to learn more about your favorite arts and culture topic in Madison:

The Monona Terrace opened in 1997 as a realized version of Wright's dream to design a gathering place that would link the shore of Lake Monona to the Capitol.

The Home of Frank Lloyd Wright

Madison is the hometown of one of history's most famous architects. Frank Lloyd Wright was an innovator who married art, architecture, design and nature to create stunning works of art for people to live in, gather in, worship in and celebrate in. You can tour three Wright-designed buildings in the Greater Madison area and even create your own Wright-inspired piece of art to take home during the Inspired By Wright specialty tour at Monona Terrace

Beyond Wright's influence, Madison is a hot spot for architectural wonders including the Wisconsin State Capitol, featuring the only granite dome in the world and the largest dome by volume, the University of Wisconsin-Madison featuring several wow-worthy buildings and plenty more you can discover on a historic architecture walking tour

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Art That's Affordable

When it comes to arts and culture, Madisonians prefer not to gatekeep. The capital city is home to four free museums: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Chazen Museum of Art, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and the National Mustard Museum. But that's just the beginning. Around many corners, you'll find art displayed in coffee shops, breweries, shops and more unexpected places. It just makes sense in the hometown of the university that has the #1 printmaking school in the country, #15 fine arts program in the country and the first glass-blowing lab in the U.S.

We showcase art in a variety of ways across the city. Olbrich Botanical Gardens is where art comes to life across 16 acres of botanical bliss and is also free to enjoy. And for music lovers, you won't pay a dime for admission to La Fete de Marquette, Concerts on the Square, Make Music Madison, Atwood Fest, Live on King or Taste of Madison.

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Love for Local, Live Music

Wondering why so many people had Madison as their Spotify Sound Town in 2023? It's because Madison has a deep appreciation for live music and especially our local musicians. Our events calendar has something bumpin', jammin' or rockin' nearly every night on big stages like The Sylvee or The Orpheum, intimate jazz clubs or unexpected places like the surprise venues at shows hosted by Sofar Sounds.

Overture Center for the Arts is a hub for all kinds of live performances. We're talking Broadway shows, cabaret concerts, solo acts, ballets, symphonies and more. 

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