Most people know Madison as a go-to for the best places to see fall colors, thanks to plentiful parks and endless hiking and biking paths with wow-worthy views.

They come for the lake-city-lake lifestyle. But they stay for the fall flavors. 

Of alllll the things to do this fall in Madison, experiencing all things culinary is a must-do for every itinerary. That’s because here, fall food is a mood. It’s a place where you can sip and savor your way through cozy cafes, outdoor beer gardens and high-end eateries. From hearty dishes featuring farmers’ market finds to craft beverages that will give you all the fall feels, it’s a time of year when our award-winning brewers, baristas and chefs bring out their best. 

It starts with what’s in season 

Working with what’s in season is the reason Madison’s food scene is kinda famous. And it’s not just because our James Beard award-winning chefs shop our farmers’ markets or that the Top Chef crew was spotted filming there for its 21st season. Our Saturday farmers’ market on the Capitol Square is renowned because it’s the largest in the country which means that everyone has access to fresh food from local farms. In fall, that means fingerling potatoes, crisp apples, squash, turnips, mushrooms and more make their way into savory flavors found on many Madison menus. 

Seasonal Sips 

Madison was ranked among the World’s Top 10 Best Beer Destinations, so it’s no surprise that fall is a time when our beer gardens come alive. From making a day of visiting breweries with great outdoor spaces to trying seasonal ciders, beer and bourbon along the Madison on Tap trail to making the short trek to New Glarus for an authentic Oktoberfest experience, there’s always a seasonal sip (and pretzel!) to be found in our town. 

Fall Fairs & Festivals 

This year, the inaugural Art of Cheese Festival is a highlight among a festive slate of fall fairs and fests. This three-day event features a Cheese Crawl, plenty of pairing practice and a fancy Cheese Ball event that’s oh-so-Madison and sure to become a fave fall tradition.