Forget the trinkets. Bring home a new skill. Madison offers a wide breadth of classes, lessons and workshops you can try in a day or a weekend. Do you want to learn how to make a perfectly balanced cheese board? Taste mustard like a pro? Make your own bottle of gin? These ed-ventures (and more) are waiting in the capital city.
The capital city is known for having a vibe that's all its own: vibrant, quirky, active and inspirational. We're proud of our hands-on experiences that showcase some of the things that make Madison special and provide memories you can't create anywhere else.
Inspired by Wright is a hands-on tour that shows you how Frank Lloyd Wright used geometry and nature to design the Monona Terrace, one of his most significant architectural marvels. You can learn all about Wright from inside one of his greatest works in the city he called home. This experience is for kids and adults alike and everyone gets to take home their own custom glass art piece.
There's only one place in the world committed to spreading love for mustard (and hatred for ketchup) and you'll find it in Middleton. The National Mustard Museum is more than a display of mustard memorabilia. The museum offers tastings of dozens of mustards led by staff who know all about the great yellow sauce. Groups of 15 or more can book a group tour with the curator where you'll learn more about mustard than you ever thought you could.
Touring a distillery is cool, but making your very own, bespoke bottle of gin is next-level cool. The Gin Academy at Dancing Goat Distillery is one of the few places in the country you can make your very own gin alongside an experienced team of distillers. Learn about the history of gin and flavor profiles of commonly used botanicals, then walk away with your own 750 ml bottle of goodness.
Learning something new and being active is a dynamic combination. Some of Madison's most fun ed-ventures offer you the opportunity to run, jump, climb or paddle out of your comfort zone.
You can be active while traveling and have fun doing it. Madison Circus Space offers a workout like no other. The Flying Trapeze School inside the circus space offers drop-in classes for beginners and mixed-level flyers to learn how to swing, dismount, catch and more. Private sampler classes are also available for groups of four to 18 people. Groups can be adult-only or mixed ages as young as seven years old.
Pick up a new hobby and enjoy the great outdoors by learning how to cast with Madison Fly Fishing Company. Spend two hours with the pros who will match your casting style with the right equipment and fishing situations.
If your speed is more climbing than flying, bouldering classes might be for you. Boulders climbing gym has two locations in Madison with a long lineup of classes and workshops accessible to all, including group climbs for the BIPOC and queer communities, veterans, people in recovery, adaptive climbing and more.
Madison's lake-city-lake landscape makes for the perfect outdoor educational landscape. Outdoor UW offers private group experiences in all seasons that range from adaptive kayaking courses to camping lessons to avalanche awareness workshops to snowshoeing escapades and a lot more.
Madison's art scene is a diverse landscape offering everything from street art to classically curated galleries. With that comes a wealth of talented artists and makers ready to share their knowledge.
Ranging from beginner to advanced, these spaces offer art classes across many media and techniques.
- Monroe Street Arts Center: The Community Artists Series offers one-time classes on the first Friday of each month led by professional artists from around Greater Madison in areas like painting, embroidery, Zentangle and more.
- Olbrich Botanical Gardens: Discover the intersections of art, nature and sustainability with classes that range from horticulture to iron pouring to block printing and more.
- Overt Space + Gallery: In addition to its boutique shop of artwork and gifts, Overt Space offers art classes like intuitive abstract painting and other seasonal offerings.
- Wine and Design: The perfect activity for a date night, girls' trip or night out with friends, wine and design offers private and public classes that go beyond paint and sip. Try painting, blanket making, resin pouring and more at their location and other unique venues across Madison.
These classes offer true hands-on experiences in three-dimensional art and craftsmanship.
- The Bodgery: A space run by makers who are passionate about making dreams come true offers classes like timber framing, woodworking, stained glass art making and more alongside open craft nights and studio tours.
- Crimson Artist Collective: This ceramic arts studio lets you take the wheel (literally) with clay throwing and hand sculpting classes.
- Dongzhu Pottery Studio: Take pottery making for a spin with drop-in, small group and private classes available at both the University Avenue and Monroe Street locations.
- Grand Inspired: Get into woodworking with classes for all experience levels and walk away with your own handcrafted wooden home decor or art piece. Memberships are also available for woodworkers looking for temporary or long-term workspace.
- Red Square Flowers: Learn how to be your own florist by booking a floral design class where afterward you can take your own arrangement home.
- Spry Whimsy Fiber Arts: Ever wanted to dive into yarn crafts, or even make your own yarn? Spry Whimsy offers a wide variety of classes in areas like crocheting, knitting, yarn spinning, weaving and more.
- Textile Arts Center of Madison: This newly opened space for fiber arts enthusiasts offers workshops across the fiber arts spectrum including natural dyeing, quilting, felt art, crocheting and more.
- Torn Edge Arts: Try your hand at metalsmithing, jewelry making and stained glass arts from former art teacher Sue Moberly. You'll walk away with your very own handcrafted piece of jewelry.
Madison is where food scientists, producers, brewers, distillers, makers, and chefs intersect to create culinary stories incredible, inclusive, ownable and sustainable. The great flavors of Madison go beyond the restaurant and into your kitchen with cooking classes and culinary workshops that dazzle.
DelecTable offers chef-led dining experiences that are educational and entertaining. Learn about the chef's inspiration and where they sourced their ingredients as you dine (you might end up wearing a blindfold and seeing some sparks, too). For a hands-on experience, DelecTable's cooking classes range in cuisine offerings and techniques, all taught by experienced chefs.
Creating and sharing recipes from around the world is The Deliciouser's mission. The kitchen studio brings people together for cooking demonstrations, classes and other special events aimed at helping people create timeless memories over elevated menus.
Wisconsin's rich dairy culture comes alive at Fromagination, an artisanal cheese shop on the Capitol Square that was named one of the 10 Most Iconic Cheese Shops in America by Wine Enthusiast. Fromagination hosts public cheese-forward workshops that range in topics from building your own cheese board, to perfect cheese pairings to classes diving into cheese science.
If you're always on the hunt for the best cup of coffee, you have to come to Madison. Literally. JBC Coffee Roasters was named as having the best cup of coffee by Coffee Review for its Wilton Benitez Pink Bourbon roast, which scored 98 out of 100 by reviewers. The roasters help you create your best cup of coffee with public cupping (a term used for tasting) events and other demonstrations at the roastery.
More food workshops and experiences
- The Cider Farm: Impress your friends by learning how to make incredible cocktails at The Cider Farm's Cider and Apple Brandy Cocktail Classes.
- Giant Jones Brewing: The fermenting flavor tour is more than a tour, it's an in-depth dive into the science behind brewing beer and a workshop in pairing beer with chocolate. You'll even get beer and chocolate to take home with you.
- Hodge Podge: Classes are added frequently and range from coffee pairings to mocktail-making workshops and more.
- Madison Cheese Boards: Learn how to perfectly pair locally sourced cheeses, crackers and other treats in a beautiful display. Workshops are hosted in venues across the city.
- Miggy's Bakes: Owner Shelby is known for her iconic cakes that taste as great as they look, and she's ready to share her tips and tricks with you at her cake classes. Keep an eye on Miggy's event calendar for other pop-up events and workshops.
- Orange Tree Imports: The cooking school at Orange Tree Imports offers a lineup of seasonal and classic classes aimed to teach any home chef how to cook like a pro.
- State Line Distillery: Master mixology in the State Line Cocktail Lab. Learn the how and why behind State Line's approach to cocktails, then make your own delicious classic cocktail.
- Tricky Foods: Get a lesson in making the ultimate grazing table from the pros at the Tricky Foods store and wine bar. Public and private events are both available.
- Willy Street Co-op: Cooking classes diving into locally-produced ingredients and international flavors are offered at each of the co-op's three locations. Keep an eye out for kids-specific courses too.