With (some) snow on the ground and the lakes frozen over, winter has officially arrived in Madison. It's time for ice fishing, ice skating, skiing, sledding and scenic walks across our beautiful frozen lakes.
Best of all, these activities are free or low cost – and available to do all over the greater Madison area on Lake Monona, Lake Mendota, Lake Wingra and beyond. Take advantage of this year’s ultra-clear ice and amazing conditions to make new winter memories with your friends and family.
Safety first: Before heading outside or onto the ice, dress warmly, wear sturdy boots, and always check the weather and ice conditions. Kids should always be supervised by a parent or guardian.
1. Stop! Shanty time
Go ice fishing. Or check out the quaint ice fisher shanties that dot the lakes. (Rent ice fishing gear at Warner Park on Madison’s north side.)
2. Views, baby!
3. Ice boating... is a thing
Watch ice boats gracefully sail across the frozen lakes.
4. Really, really good for the 'gram
Take some ridiculously beautiful winter photography.
Bonus points if you spot Madison’s resident Snowy Owl.
5. Blow off some steam
Let the kids enjoy a playground made of ice. Or take your pet out to discover a whole new world.
6. Take a new bike route
Bike on ice!
@ovjphotography Could this be more Madison? #madisonwi #wisconsinphotographer #onlyinwisconsin ♬ TO THE MOON - Jnr Choi
7. Make it a Minication
Stay indoors and enjoy the view. Book a discounted stay at a hotel on the lake for incredible views and easy-ice access. Choose from 16 different hotels for your trip in February with a Madison Minication – book now!
8. Festivals... on ice
Enjoy frozen festivals on Lake Mendota. There’s Frozen Assets on Feb. 5 – 6 and the Wisconsin Union’s Winter Carnival on Feb. 7 – 12 with ice activities, kites and more.
9. Icy & Artsy
10. Walk on (frozen) water
Walk on (frozen) water. Make a journey across Lake Mendota or Lake Monona for an epic day of ice hiking. Popular entrance points include Olin Park boat launch, Olbrich Park, Warner Park, Memorial Union Terrace and Morrison Park.
11. Grab skates and go
Go ice skating on some of the smoothest, clearest ice in Madison in over two decades.
Rather stay on solid ground?
- James Madison Park
- Tenney Park
- Olbrich Park
- Governor Nelson State Park
- Lake Kegonsa State Park
- Brittingham Park
- Lake Loop trail or the Lower Yahara River Trail.
Round out your visit to Madison with a warm meal in one of our cozy restaurants.
Confession: I am getting so travel deprived that, in my free time, I create Google Map lists of different places. It’s possible that sounds less dorky than it is, but trust...Read More