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Annual Downtown Events

Rock. Country. Pop. Taste of Madison has the music you love. Prints. Paintings. Jewelry. Art Fair on the Square is an art lover’s paradise. Bike. Fish. Run. Frozen Assets Festival encourages you to do all that and more on frozen Lake Mendota.

Whether you’re a local, new in town or just passing through you’ll want to make plans to visit downtown Madison for one of these annual events.

Summer

 

Lunchtime Live – June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, August 6, 13, 20, 27 
For thirteen consecutive Tuesdays June through August from 12 – 1 p.m. on the lawn near the South Hamilton walkway of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Organized by Madison’s Central Business Improvement District and features free performances by local acts ready to entertain local lunch-goers. 

Paddle & Portage – TBD 
Madison’s favorite lake-to-land-to-lake race presented by Isthmus. Individuals or teams paddle on Lake Monona, portage the isthmus, then paddle again on Lake Monona. Costumes and fun highly encouraged! 

Make Music Madison – June 21, 2022 
This annual event is held on the summer solstice and features 400 concerts in over 100 venues. Yes, in one day! 

Concerts on the Square – June 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3, 2022 
Bringing your own blanket is the best way to reserve your seat for Concerts on the Square, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s six-week, Wednesday night concert series.  

Maxwell Street Days – Thursday, July 14 - Sunday, July 17, 2022 
Always the third weekend in July, visit downtown to stop great deals on clothing, goods, gifts and food from State Street and Capitol Square shops and restaurants. 

Madison Mini Marathon – Saturday, July 23, 2022 
The Madison Mini offers a scenic 13.1-mile journey showcasing some of the best Madison has to offer. 

Dane Dances – TBD
Funk, Latin, R&B, jazz … no matter your musical taste, you’ll feel the beat when thousands of people get moving on the Monona Terrace rooftop Fridays in August. Seating is limited, so if you don’t plan to dance, feel free to bring a blanket or lawn chair. 

Jazz at Five – July 27, August 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31, 2022 
A free jazz concert series Wednesday nights from 4:30 – 8 p.m. The first three in the series happen at McKee Park in Fitchburg, with the final three happening at the Top of State Street. 

Concerts on the Rooftop – June 9, 16, 23, 30, July 7 & 23
A free concert series Thursday nights (and one Saturday!) from 7 – 9 p.m. Rock. Reggae. Pop. Bluegrass. No matter your go-to genre, we've got you covered.

Madison Night Market – May 12, June 9, August 11 & September 8, 2022 
Celebrate Madison’s unique and inspiring creative culture at a Madison Night Market. From 4 – 8 p.m., shop vendor booths full of locally made products, art and food. Live music and food pop-ups are part of the experience. 

Art Fair on the Square – July 9 – 10, 2022 
A two-day festival hosted by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). Hundreds of artists from around the country, as well as some international artists set up booths around the Capitol Square.  

Cars on State – TBD 
This family-friendly event offers a perfect day to stroll down State Street and admire a wonderful array of classic cars. Talk to owners of the vintage cars, grab a bite to eat and shop at locally-owned downtown businesses.  

Live on King Street – TBD 
Originally created to celebrate the end of summer, this multi-night, FREE concert series features national touring acts that perform on an outdoor stage with a stunning view of the Capitol. 

Madison Burger Week – TBD 
This citywide celebration in early July showcases the best burgers in Madison. Local restaurants can offer up their standard menu options or create something new for diners to try. Votes are collected and the best burger is crowned at the end of the week. 

 

Fall

 

Taste of Madison – September 3 – 4, 2022 
As summer winds down, four live stages spaced all around the Capitol Square heat up with local and regional acts that perform throughout Labor Day weekend. A perfect mix of eating and live entertainment!  

IRONMAN Wisconsin – September 10 – 11, 2022 
Touted as one of the best courses among athletes, IRONMAN Wisconsin welcomes over 2,500 athletes to Madison for an adventure to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a full 26.2 marathon. Half IRONMAN on September 10 and full IRONMAN on September 11. All to cross the iconic finish line in the shadow of the Capitol. 

Freakfest – TBD 
The Midwest’s largest Halloween bash takes place on State Street in late October. Live music lines the street filled with costumed concertgoers. 

Madison Marathon – November 13, 2022 
Races start and finish on the beautiful Capitol Square while taking you through some of Madison’s most iconic areas. Occurring the Sunday of Veteran’s Day weekend in November, runners can select a full or half marathon or participate in a 5K or 10K. 

Winter

 

Shine on Madison – TBD 
Enjoy a holiday experience only downtown Madison can offer. With over 10 light displays, more than 100 events, and interactive entertainment, Madison shines brighter than ever. This community event spans six weeks from November through January. 

International Festival – March 19, 2022 (2023 TBD) 
Celebrate the international community in Dane County at the Overture Center for the Arts. Experience all the cultures that Madison has to offer through food, crafts, discussions, cultural arts performances and more at this free, annual event. 

Frozen Assets Festival – February 4 - 5, 2023 
Only in Madison can we turn frigid temperatures into fun! Grab some hot chocolate at The Edgewater, then head out on frozen Lake Mendota to try fat tire biking, ice fishing and a snowshoe run. Join Clean Lakes Alliance for this annual family-friendly event.  

Spring

 

Dane County Farmers' Market – Saturdays from April to November 
Madison’s famous is the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. The Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Square is a Saturday and Wednesday tradition. Select fresh finds from over 150 vendors every Saturday. 

St. Patrick's Day Parade – TBD 
A sea of green fills downtown during this annual holiday celebration. The best spot to spectate is around the Capitol Square. Grab coffee or brunch at a local restaurant and continue the fun. 

Crazylegs Classic – April 30, 2022 
We love the UW Madison Badgers so much we’re willing to run an 8K for them — sometimes in the snow! This late April race that supports UW Athletics begins downtown, winds through campus and ends at Camp Randall. 

Run Madtown – May 28-29, 2022 
Runners can select distances of 5K, 10K or half marathon for this annual race supporting local nonprofit organizations. Pound the pavement along the shore of Lake Mendota and wind around Lake Wingra on the half marathon course. 

 

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