Fresh air + fine art = a combination fit for a great trip. Watching a live outdoor performance is the perfect combination of Madison's lake-city-lake landscape and vibrant arts scene. Our outdoor art spaces vary from open outdoor theaters to rooftop sculpture gardens to lakeshore concert stages and more. 

Check out our events calendar for a full lineup of concerts and performances and jump around to learn more about outdoor art spaces in Madison:

Outdoor Theaters and Stages

American Players Theatre

Just about 30 miles west of Madison in Spring Green you'll find the second largest outdoor theatre in the country. The American Players Theatre (APT) sits on 110 acres in Wisconsin's scenic Driftless Region and is home to a professional theatre company committed to performing the classics.

The grounds at APT go beyond a typical outdoor theatre venue. The campus has two stages: the outdoor Hill Theatre and the smaller indoor Touchstone Theatre. Winding throughout the property is a trail system that will lead you through the campus's native prairies and oak savannah. You'll also find multiple picnic areas and rentable shelters in addition to the box office and gift shop building.

You are welcome to bring your own picnic to the APT grounds or order ahead — picnic baskets or picnic dinners are available from Hubbard Avenue Diner.

Breese Stevens Field

Do you know many places that have hosted USL Soccer, a cheese curd festival and Bon Iver? We're guessing probably not, but we're going to change that. The historic Breese Stevens Field has undergone extensive renovations in the last several years to make it one of the premier Madison summer venues for Forward Madison soccer, festivals and a summer concert series that brings in huge national touring acts like Greta Van Fleet, Phoebe Bridgers, Weezer and more.

Memorial Union Terrace

Free live music, lakeside views and iconic chairs make the Memorial Union Terrace one of the most beloved places to spend a summer evening in Madison. The terrace is located on the UW-Madison campus but is open to everyone and is host to live music and performances throughout the season. You can watch the stage from the signature sunburst chairs or rent a kayak, canoe or SUP from Outdoor UW and enjoy the show from the water. 

Monona Terrace Rooftop

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace is all business by day, hosting hundreds of meetings, conventions and conferences a year. But by night during the summer, the stunning lakeside venue becomes one of the city's most beautiful dance floors. Concerts on the Rooftop is a free live music series held Thursdays in June and July and welcomes artists from across genres like folk, soul, funk, Latin and more. Dane Dances are free family-friendly events held every Friday evening in August featuring live music and the opportunity to dance the night away with other movers and shakers. The festivities are held on the rooftop overlooking Lake Monona on one side and incredible views of the Wisconsin State Capitol on the other.

High Noon Saloon

One of Madison's favorite rock clubs for the last 20 years opens up its patios every week throughout the summer for live shows and great vibes. High Noon Saloon has been the stomping grounds for soon-to-be huge acts on their way to stardom including The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, The National, Vampire Weekend, Chance The Rapper, ODESZA, Shakey Graves and many more. Stop by for a patio night and maybe you'll see your next favorite artists and claim the coveted title of "I Knew Them Before They Were Big."

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Patios and Hidden Gems

Robinia Courtyard

The converging spot of three fantastic eateries: Black Locust Cafe, Jardin and MadisonTap, Robinia Courtyard is also known as a tucked-away favorite place to enjoy live music events like Latin dance and jazz nights. 

The Mill Paoli

Paoli, a small town just 20 minutes outside of Madison, has become the ultimate hidden gem for farm-to-table dining, boutique shopping and live music. The Mill is a gathering space home to Hop Garden brewery, My Tipsy Gypsy spirits, The Lazy Squirrel Cocktail Lounge, Purple Goose Boutique and more. Behind the building is a sprawling, shaded outdoor space where there's live music to enjoy every weekend. 

Mariner's Inn

If you think life is better on the lake, then Mariner's Inn is a must-see. The lakeside restaurant is famous for steaks and hosting live music by the water every weekend. 

Garver Feed Mill

Sitting back and listening to live music under the twinkling cafe lights at the Garver Feed Mill is what summer is all about. Catch local acts and enjoy food and drink from Garver shops like Roll Play, Ian's Pizza, Calliope Ice Cream, NessAlla Kombucha and more.

Capital Brewery Biergarten

The biergarten at Capital Brewery has been a staple in nearby Middleton for 40 years. Enjoy locally-brewed beer in the spacious biergarten while listening to some of the best local bands around. And don't forget to sign up for Madison On Tap to get a discount on your beer while you're there!

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Galleries and Public Art

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art rooftop sculpture garden

Live music is certainly not the only art you can enjoy outdoors in Madison. The free Madison Museum of Contemporary Art has a rooftop sculpture garden overlooking State Street that has views that rival the stunning pieces of art on display.

Willy Street

Williamson Street, affectionately known as Willy Street by locals, is a neighborhood historically occupied by artists and it shows. As you walk along Willy you'll spot sculptures and murals scattered amidst shops selling work by local artists, thrift stores and the legendary Cafe CODA jazz club.

Madison Outdoor Public Art

In a city where culture is around every corner, there's no shortage of incredible public art to be discovered. Check out the online database created by the Friends of Madison Arts Commission to find more outdoor public art in Madison. Or visit our Don't-Miss Madison Murals blog to learn more about some of Madison's most prolific muralists.

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