Save up to 40% when you book a Madison Minication for a stay during Feb 11-22. 

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Madison Skyline
Photo by Cassius Callender

11 Things to Do on Madison’s Frozen Lakes

With (some) snow on the ground and the lakes frozen over, winter has officially arrived in Madison. It's time for ice fishing, ice skating, skiing, sledding and scenic walks across our beautifulfrozen lakes. Best of all, these activities are free or low cost – and available to do all over the greater Madison area on Lake Monona, Lake Mendota, Lake Wingra and beyond. Take advantage of this year’s ultra-clear ice and amazing conditions to make new winter memories with your friends and family. Safety first: Before heading outside or onto the ice, dress warmly, wear sturdy boots, and always check the weather and ice conditions. Kids should always be supervised by a parent or guardian. 1. Stop! Shanty time Go ice fishing. Or check out the quaint ice fisher shanties that dot the lakes. (Rent ice fishing gear at Warner Park on Madison’s north side.) 2. Views, baby! Get a totally different view of iconic Madison spots. Picnic Point? Monona Terrace? It all feels magical. 3. Ice boating... is a thing Watch ice boats gracefully sail across the frozen lakes. 4. Really, really good for the 'gram Take some ridiculously beautiful winter photography. Bonus points if you spot Madison’s resident Snowy Owl.  5. Blow off some steam Let the kids enjoy a playground made of ice. Or take your pet out to discover a whole new world. 6. Take a new bike route Bike on ice! @ovjphotography Could this be more Madison? #madisonwi #wisconsinphotographer #onlyinwisconsin ♬ TO THE MOON - Jnr Choi 7. Make it a Minication Stay indoors and enjoy the view. Book a discounted stay at a hotel on the lake for incredible views and easy-ice access. Choose from 16 different hotels for your trip in February with a Madison Minication – book now!         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Salas Family #familytravel (@findingsalas) 8. Festivals... on ice Enjoy frozen festivals on Lake Mendota. There’s Frozen Assets on Feb. 5 – 6 and the Wisconsin Union’s Winter Carnival on Feb. 7 – 12 with ice activities, kites and more. 9. Icy & Artsy  Keep an eye out for art installations and surprises. Last year brought sculptures and a forest of trees to the middle of the lake. This year, How Lovely Labyrinth takes over Olbrich Park. 10. Walk on (frozen) water Walk on (frozen) water. Make a journey across Lake Mendota or Lake Monona for an epic day of ice hiking. Popular entrance points include Olin Park boat launch, Olbrich Park, Warner Park, Memorial Union Terrace and Morrison Park. 11. Grab skates and go Go ice skating on some of the smoothest, clearest ice in Madison in over two decades. Rather stay on solid ground? Take in the frozen lake views from popular green spaces including: James Madison Park Tenney Park Olbrich Park Governor Nelson State Park Lake Kegonsa State Park Brittingham Park Lake Loop trail or the Lower Yahara River Trail. Round out your visit to Madison with a warm meal in one of our cozy restaurants…

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6 Indoor Activities in Madison You'll Love

Although Madison is a wonderland of amazing outdoor activities, it also has just as many fun indoor diversions, something that especially comes in handy during the chilly months. Whether you’re looking for a unique date destination, a place to go with pals or a family-friendly locale, you’re in luck…

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Not Your Average Nightlife Spots in Madison

Madison has no shortage of unique, fun things to do, and these spots shine their brightest at night. Nightlife and entertainment here go way beyond getting drinks at the typical bar. Instead, they’re locales for the adventurous sort. Ones who want more than to just sip a cocktail—they want to try…

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Dining in Winter Domes

Don't miss out on a special wintery hangout or cozy date in one of these Madison-area heated domes. Make a reservation soon, as they tend to fill up fast. Which will you try first? Better yet, why not try them all? Café Hollander The heated Dutch domes at Café Hollander provide a cozy spot in the…

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Eight Sports for Fall and Winter in Madison

Although Madison is known for many things—its five lakes, State Street, America’s largest producers-only farmers’ market—it’s equally famed for one of the best pastimes around: going to sporting events, and lots of ‘em. With our zealous enthusiasm for all-things-sports (the tailgating! Bucky…

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Five Great State Parks Near Madison

I’ve been writing Wisconsin outdoors guides for over 15 years, including 60 Hikes Madison , and I’m a big fan of our state park system. Here in Mad Town we’ve got some obvious stunners nearby: the magnificent Devil’s Lake; Governor Nelson right across Lake Mendota. But I love to push a few favorite…

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