UW Badgers fall sports are not just for the die-hards. They're for anyone looking to feel the electricity of 80,000 people jumping around, the rush of watching some of the country's most renown women athletes spike and the power in 175 years of tradition.
Everyone is welcome to be a Badgers sports fan, and it's never too late to get started. You can plan an entire trip around fall sports, because there's so many things to do on gameday in Madison.
Jump (around) to learn more about Badgers sports:
There's no denying that Madison loves college football, and with good reason. Badger football traditions have become baked into the city's culture, so much so that "Jump Around" is basically the city's anthem. With Camp Randall Stadium being just a ten-minute bike ride (or 30-minute walk) from the Wisconsin State Capitol, you feel like part of the community when you're in the stands.
For a full run-down of all things Badger football, check out our gameday guide. In the meantime, here are some of our favorite tips.
You might have heard of the greatest tradition in college sports before. If not, you're in for a treat. Jump Around is a magical few minutes before the fourth quarter where everyone gets on their feet. When you hear "Jump Around" by House of Pain play in Camp Randall you are implored to get jumping. The feeling is electric. You'll never hear the song the same way again.
On every first down, it is customary for the crowd to make a (not so) gentle reminder to the opposing team by yelling "first and ten, Wisconsin."
Have you brushed up on your Neil Diamond and The Foundations lately? If not, you probably should. Wisconsin fans love singing "Sweet Caroline" and "Build Me Up Buttercup" during the games. The origin of this is unclear, but it makes for a good time.
Stick around post-game for the Fifth Quarter, a high-energy performance by the marching band. Sing and dance (and sway) along to school traditions and favorites like “Varsity,” “Hey Baby,” and “You’ve Said it All.”
Before and after
The full Badger football experience is not complete without exploring Madison.
All the jumping and cheering calls for a good breakfast. Spots like Mickie's Dairy Bar, just down the road from Camp Randall and Short Stack Eatery on State Street are favorites (partially because it's totally acceptable to get a milkshake with breakfast at both places).
There're a lot of options when it comes to tailgating. The official Badger tailgate is the family-friendly Badger Bash at Union South where you can see the UW Marching Band, Spirit Squad and might even get a high-five from Bucky Badger himself! If you're looking for a more adult scene, head over to Regent Street for tailgates at classic Badger bars like Jordan's Big 10 Pub, Red Zone and Lucky's 1313 Brew Pub.
You'll want to stick around to see all of Madison. You can explore some of our favorite bike trails by signing up for Madison By Bike and find all the fall things to do in Madison like apple picking and tasting pumpkin-spiced everything. If you're looking for a hotel that embraces Wisconsin and Badgers culture, look to stay at The Graduate (where there's also an awesome rooftop bar and restaurant). Or, stay just moments away from campus at the legendary Edgewater looking over Lake Mendota.
You might have already heard the team won the 2021 NCAA Volleyball Championship. But that greatness wasn't a one-off. The Badgers volleyball team has had seven top-five finishes since 2013 and is one of only three teams in the nation to have made it to the Sweet 16 the last 10 years in a row.
This culture of excellence has created a passionate fandom for Wisconsin volleyball you have to see for yourself. The 2022 season was record-breaking for attendance with an average of 7,761 fans crowding the UW Field House per home game. The team is one of only three in the nation to have hosted 100,000 fans in a single season. Convinced yet? Here's all you need to know to become one of 100,000 this season.
Wisconsin volleyball games are one of the best things to do with kids in Madison. All the kids in the stands are invited to the court to welcome the starting lineup. The players run around to give the kids high fives and each player picks one kid to give a volleyball to. Watching the kids and players interact is enough to turn anyone into a Badgers fan.
Each time the team scores a point, the announcer says "point Wisconsin." The crowd responds by putting their pointer fingers in the air, giving them a little twirl and yelling "woo whoop!" If it doesn't make sense now, don't worry, you'll catch on quickly.
Before and after
Grabbing lunch or dinner before the game is essential. If you're a family looking for a classic near-campus meal, you'll want to head down Frances Street for burgers at the Nitty Gritty (especially if it's your birthday) or Dotty Dumpling's Dowry. For a more up-scale, adult evening, head down West Washington Ave. for tacos and margs at Bandit, drinks at Nitro Beverage Lounge or sushi at RED.
Make a trip of it by booking your hotel at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn Madison (just a seven-minute walk) or head further into downtown and stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Madison or Hampton Inn and Suites Madison/Downtown.
Collegiate soccer with a lakeside view? Pretty iconic if you ask us. That's what you get when you watch UW men's and women's soccer teams compete at the Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex located right off Lakeshore Path and minutes away from campus-favorite Picnic Point.
The UW Women's Soccer Team might be best known as the collegiate home of Team USA soccer star Rose Lavelle, who played soccer for the Badgers from 2013 to 2017 and is the only UW athlete across all sports to be the number one draft pick for their sport. The team also snagged the BIG 10 Championship in 2019 and has made 23 NCAA Championship appearances in program history.
The UW Men's Soccer Team has sent dozens of players to the pros over the years, including two players who got to stay in the capital city to play for Madison's USL team Forward Madison. If you love soccer, you won't want to miss the Badgers vs. Forward Madison scrimmage game each spring.
Before and after
If you're in town for a Badgers soccer game, you won't want to miss out on nearby campus classics like Memorial Union Terrace and Babcock Dairy. Once you've explored campus, check out some gems on Madison's west side including the Hilldale outdoor shopping center and Cafe Hollander, a European-inspired restaurant that frequently plays soccer games on TV.