This article was originally published in the winter of 2019. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published, though it is likely that some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations and businesses that appear in the article. As always, find the latest events and activities on our Event Calendar.

There’s a lot to love about shopping local, especially when you’re searching for specialty items perfectly suited for a particular personality. Greater Madison makes the magic happen for gift-givers everywhere, from an array of boutique shops you can browse in person to gifts that can be delivered to your doorstep. Read on for a list guaranteed to get you in the spirit of giving the gift of Madison!


Cheers to our Capital City

Pint Glasses: Orange Tree Imports

Orange Tree Imports loves gifts that are specific to Madison, and one of this year’s offerings combines two of our city’s beloved passions: craft beer and biking. While drinking and biking is not recommended, this award-winning gift shop does suggest pairing a couple of these pint glasses with a six-pack from a local microbrewery for the perfect hostess gift.


A young girl wearing UW apparel holds books over her head

Buying for a Badger fan? Better head to the University Book Store. Jerseys, clothing, vintage posters, and more celebrate all things Wisconsin. You can even snag a baseball hat dedicated to different sports or academic departments. Locations on State Street – right next to Memorial Union – and in Hilldale Shopping Center mean easy access to dining and entertainment once you’re finished shopping.


Cheese, Please!

Fromagination Gift Set

If ever there was a staple—and universally loved gift—for the holidays, it’s one Wisconsin is known for: cheese! Fromagination features cut-to-order, award-winning artisan cheeses and perfect pairings. Lots of locals recommend the Dunbarton Blue, Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Hook’s Aged Cheddars. The web site and Capitol Square storefront are loaded with gift ideas, from Cheese of the Month shipments to cleverly-themed gift baskets like “The Cheese Stands Alone.”


Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet, located in nearby DeForest, features more than 300 kinds of Wisconsin cheeses and locally made sausages. Pair your favorite picks with an item from their Wisconsin memorabilia collection. Last-minute shoppers will delight in their online map that shows transit time for shippable gifts—from one day to one week—though early orders are encouraged at the holidays.


Give a Giggle

Little Luxuries

Searching for gifts with a sense of humor this holiday season? Stop into Little Luxuries, which features an entire section dedicated to silly gifts, from Mix Stix (drum sticks shaped into spoons) and Wine Lives wine glass markers for those who love to give, get and sip wine—especially at the holidays!


Traditional Tastes

Bavaria Sausage: Stollen

If you can pronounce Lebkuchen, Rouladen and Sauerbraten, it likely means you’re a fan of traditional tastes for your holiday table. Bavaria Sausage makes it their business to carry hard-to-find items for the holidays such as Stollen that’s only made in Germany, imported herring and an entire line of specialty chocolates. All are priced for gift giving and are available for shipping.


Confection Collections

The interior of Gail Ambrosius

Chocolate is a craveable classic during the holidays. But chocolate featured on Food Network, Bon Appetit, Travel + Leisure, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Martha Stuart Living? Well, that’s something to rave about. Add in the location on Madison’s hip east side, and you’ve got to visit Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier.


Give the Gift of Experience

Essential Madison Experiences Logo

This year, give your loved ones the gift of unforgettable experience. With Essential Madison Experiences, you can savor and explore like never before. Make memories with hands-on adventures you can only find in Madison. For a special bonus, grab a holiday gift certificate for a Betty Lou View of Madison and get $100 in bonus certificates for food and future cruises.



Wiscobox Cheese Curd

Share a part of Wisconsin this season with a gift from WiscoBoxes. This thoughtful collection of locally produced goods contains Wisconsin favorites made by Wisconsin people. Each package is carefully designed to offer a diverse selection for everyone on your list.


Gifts for Gamers

A stack of board games inside of Noble Knight Games

Does your guest list feature a table-top gamer? You won’t find a better selection than Noble Knight Games. Fitchburg’s gaming castle boasts 5,500 square feet of board games, role-player games, accessories, and more. Buy a classic like Catan, or a new release like Happy Hour – a cocktail card game. Finding the perfect game is easy as a roll of the dice. And yes, you can buy those there, too.


Hand-Crafted Gifts

Crafting at JNJ CraftWorks

Specialty shoppers will enjoy the quaint goods at Verona’s JNJ CraftWorks. Explore unique finds like handmade jewelry, accessories, candles, décor, and more. Crochet elephants and pigs make cute, simple stocking stuffers. Handmade wooden clocks, garden baskets, and vases are a beautiful way to gift something both useful and pleasing to the eye.


Madison Hotel Week

Madison Hotel Week logo

Start your Valentine’s Day planning with a special offer from Madison’s hotels. Enjoy discounted rates of $75, $100, or $125 while you explore award-winning dining, inspiring arts, and spirited sports events through Madison Hotel Week. A discounted getaway to one of America’s happiest cities? Sounds like the perfect gift.