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 Badger!), it’s no wonder that in 2019, Sports Illustrated named Madison the best college football town in the country.
In addition to Wisconsin Football, you’ll find tons of other sports to enjoy here as well, from volleyball to hockey to soccer. Now, with safety measures in place, sports are back, and you can plan a whole trip around those must-see games.
For example, one particularly fun, upcoming weekend for sports is November 18 through the 20. It’s when you’ll be able to take in the WIAA Football Championship, the Isthmus Bowl and the big Wisconsin vs. Nebraska game. It’s a Madison Football Feast!
To learn more about these events, along with other opportunities to watch sports and get active yourself, read our guide on fall and winter sports in Madison.
Held at our beloved Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin Badgers Football has been a proud Madison tradition since 1889. The season is in full swing, with games continuing into late November. Upcoming home games include October 30 (Wisconsin vs. Iowa), November 13 (Wisconsin vs. Northwestern) and November 20 (Wisconsin vs. Nebraska). Your whole family will love joining in on the customary songs provided by the famous UW Marching Band—it’s time to Jump Around!
Wisconsin Women’s Volleyball
The Wisconsin Women’s Volleyball team has found a place in the hearts of many Madisonians. It’s become a favorite local sport marked for its excitement and palpable audience enthusiasm, held at the UW Field House. With a season that finishes in late November, home games can sell out quickly and most often take place on Friday and Saturday evenings. As a team packed with All-American athletes, these games are sure to be inspiring and exhilarating for your family.
Wisconsin Men’s and Women’s Hockey
The Wisconsin Men’s Hockey team had its beginnings as a “pond hockey” league, played on icy Lake Mendota in the late 1800s. Today, they’ve graduated to the grand Kohl Center, where kiddos will love stocking up on Badger gear and Babcock Ice Cream and you and your significant other can have a totally unique (and fun!) date night. The energy of the UW Marching Band and the crowd will make for an adrenaline-pumping evening, with games held on Friday and Saturday nights continuing into late February.
An equally fun-filled, thrilling experience is a Wisconsin Women’s Hockey game. NCAA Champions several times over, you can watch games at home into mid-February. Held at the La Bahn Arena right next to the Kohl Center, be sure to grab a burger with your family or pals at the nearby Nitty Gritty and make a night of it.
Madison Capitols Hockey
At Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton, you’ll get even more of a hockey fix by watching the Madison Capitols play. This Tier 1 junior ice hockey team promises plenty of club action long into April on Friday and Saturday evenings. Between the locker room tours, raffles and postgame skates, there’s plenty of bonus fun for your whole family to enjoy.
Wisconsin Men’s and Women’s Basketball
The Wisconsin Men’s Basketball team played their first season all the way back in 1898, and the tradition continues with games filled with passionate fans. Held on multiple days throughout the week, the season goes into March, with games played at the Kohl Center. Foam fingers? Lots of Bucky Badger sightings? Sounds like an event made for your entire family to enjoy!
Soak up even more basketball excitement by going to a Wisconsin Women’s Basketball game. Also held at the Kohl Center, you can attend home games into late February, scheduled on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.
Forward Madison FC
Since 2019, the Forward Madison FC Soccer team has been wowing fans with their dribbles and headers—and their shirts featuring their mascot, the flamingo! Taking place at Breese Stevens Field, this club team will play two more home games this year (October 23 and October 30). While at the game, be sure to pick up some pink-and-blue swag for your entire fam.
WIAA Football Championship
Who says that college students get to have all the fun? On November 18 and 19, it’s time for high school football players to shine at Camp Randall Stadium. With each division playing throughout both days, it’s a cool way to experience a different kind of football in the Badgers’ stomping grounds. Bundle up your family for a crisp couple days of football, football, and more football.
Culver's Isthmus Bowl
The inaugural Culver’s Isthmus Bowl will be held on Saturday, November 20 at Verona Area High School. As the first postseason college bowl game in Wisconsin state history, it’ll feature two teams: one from the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) and another from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). If you and your family and friends want to enjoy the collegiate football season just a little longer, this is the game for you!
Now It’s Your Turn to Get Active
You’ve watched a lot of games! Now you might be inspired to get active yourself. Luckily, there’s no shortage of chances to get moving here in Madison. For instance, the Madison Marathon & Half Marathon is scheduled for November 14, with start and finish lines located at the Capitol Square. Another November race is the Thanksgiving Day Berbee Derby, available with 10K and 5K options. If you prefer activities with a side of snow, look no further than Madison’s many cross-country skiing trails, found at local parks like Elver, Odana Hills and Cherokee Marsh South.