Winter in the capital city is all about finding cozy moments in between adventures. Some of the best places to stay in Madison are off-the-beaten-path inns and bed-and-breakfasts that make you feel like you're in a movie. These heart-warming locales are worth a trip on their own, but are even better when paired with a frozen festival, incredible meal or a visit to one of Madison's many museums.
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Mansion Hill Inn
This property was one of the first on Madison’s Mansion Hill and is situated just three blocks from the Capitol Square. Their hospitality philosophy includes tiny touches that make every stay memorable. The inn's architecture offers a peek into the craftsmanship of the 1850s alongside all of its modern amenities.
Pro tip: One of the don’t-miss rooms at Mansion Hill is the classic parlor and its majestic bar — spaces that are perfectly suited for hosting holiday soirees.
THE BUCKINGHAM INN
This 106-year-old, arts-and-crafts-style inn is located among many historic homes near the UW-Madison campus and is just blocks away from Camp Randall Stadium. Guests rave about the inn's breakfasts, saying these morning meals are “off the charts” — and the holidays are no exception.
Pro tip: When you stay during December, you may be surprised (and delighted!) to find home-baked Christmas cookies served with breakfast.
The Livingston Inn
This 160-year-old Gothic-revival mansion is located on downtown Madison’s picturesque Gorham Street and is on the National Register of Historic Places as the home of William T. Leitch, mayor of Madison from 1862 to 1865. The property features nine fireplaces: a great start to getting in a cozy and celebratory mood.
Pro tip: It gets dark early in winter, so owners Dave and Peggy fill their inn with the warmth of candles and lights on the winter solstice — December 21 — and throughout the season!
Hotel Ruby Marie
The city’s oldest operating hotel considers itself "Madison's best kept secret." The locally-owned hotel boasts 15 comfortable rooms located on the floors above Essen Haus and Roseline's Cafe (where you'll receive complimentary breakfast) at the edge of the trendy Willy Street neighborhood.
Pro tip: Don't miss complimentary happy hour at the adjacent Up North Bar.
Iron Amethyst Inn and the 2One Speakeasy
If you're looking for cozy luxury, this historic mansion nestled between Madison and the Driftless region is right up your alley. Book onsite premium spa services for prime relaxation time, then turn up the fun at the 1920s Prohibition-inspired speakeasy.
Pro tip: Don't forget to experience a winter wonderland by booking one of Iron Amethyst's winter domes.
Lake Ripley Lodge
This more than 100-year-old lodge just east of Cambridge is the perfect spot for enjoying time in nature while still being near the bustling capital city. Sip your morning cup of coffee from the lodge's cozy indoor wrap-around porch overlooking Lake Ripley, which is even more magical with snow on the boughs and ice on the lake. The surrounding pine trees give the landscape a touch of color throughout the snowy months.
Pro tip: Owner Jim Hoiby is a former history teacher, so guests love to linger while he shares anecdotes about the resort’s storied past.
The Speckled Hen Inn
This 20-acre country estate bed and breakfast is located just seven miles from the Wisconsin State Capitol and is a cozy winter haven with fireplaces, jetted tubs and a farm-to-table three-course breakfast (including eggs from the inn's very own speckled hens).
Pro tip: Keep your eyes peeled for the snowy owl that likes to visit the property in winter, alongside other wild critters who pop by from time to time.