Winter in Madison is another season full of outdoor adventure. The lakes freeze over and are transformed into cold weather playgrounds for all to enjoy. Festivals pop up along the shoreline and even on the ice! Whether you’re cheering on the frozen lake 5K or getting a hole-in-one at frozen mini golf, Madison is the place to be to embrace the cold weather this season. Bundle up, bring your family and friends, and join us outside for four weekends of magical, snow-covered fun.

Keep safety in mind while traversing the frozen lakes. When it comes to safety while traversing the frozen lakes, please keep safety in mind. The lakes are typically frozen in early January but freeze date varies year to year. Generally, a minimum thickness of four or five inches is required for walking. Ice traction on your shoes can help to provide a bit of extra grip to prevent slips and falls.

Frozen Assets Festival

January 26 – February 4

Have you ever heard of a 5K being held entirely on the ice? Well, now you have! After a week of pre-festival activities, the Frozen Assets Festival, hosted by Clean Lakes Alliance, kicks off on Saturday, February 3 at The Edgewater with a race on frozen Lake Mendota. Following the race there are all-day winter-focused events to take part in including pond hockey, snowshoeing, skating on the Edgewater Ice Rink, and curling! The festival will also feature sky divers, an ice science lab, and kites on ice. These family-friendly activities, both on ice and at The Edgewater Plaza, continue on Sunday, February 4 for non-stop frozen fun! 

Pro tip: Stay overnight at one of Madison's downtown hotels for a front-row seat to the action. 

Winter Carnival

February 5 – 10

Join us for a week full of winter fun at the Wisconsin Union’s Annual Winter Carnival. This long-standing cold weather tradition features winter activities and events all week long. Take part in family-friendly activities like a freestyle skiing and snowboarding contest, snowshoeing, mini golfing on the ice, hot cocoa, ice fishing, and on Saturday, a can't-miss fireworks show over the lake. We can't forget to mention Lady Liberty's annual appearance on frozen Lake Mendota on Friday and Saturday. With this variety of fun winter activities, there is something here for all ages to enjoy! 

Pro tip: Not in Madison for the full week? Make this event a reason to plan your winter weekend getaway or day trip!

Self Discovery Weekend in Monona

February 16-18

Feed your new year's resolutions and recharge your spirit with a weekend of events, workshops and classes that will get you on the right to track to overall wellness. Workshops include nature meditation, art therapy, furniture repair, coffee sampling, self defense and more! Book your stay now. Registration is required.


February 24

For over 25 years, Capital Brewery has celebrated Bockfest with beer, bands, food and more. You may wonder, what is a bock? To keep it simple, it's a lager that has been kept in cold storage during the winter months to create more intense flavors. Our city has been ranked among the World's Top 10 Beer Destinations, so you can't miss the annual release of Capital Brewery's seasonal, award-winning bock beers at this event. Rain, snow, sleet or shine, head out to Middleton on February 24 to experience the magic of a winter beer festival. 

Pro tip: Sign up for our craft beverage trail, Madison on Tap, for the chance to win prizes and gain discounts at Capital Brewery and more!