Make Family time in MADISON, WI

In the capital city, every day is family day. 5 lakes, 270 parks and beaches, 6,000 acres of greenery — and that’s just the outside. Inside, there are restaurants to devour, museums to discover, and family events to experience all within blocks — making it easy to have a great day. It’s what makes us, unmistakably Madison.


Family time starts at the market
A producer packs up produce at the Dane County Farmers' Market

9 AM

Bring a piece of Madison home with you (honey, cheese, and way more), and let the kids taste fresh, local snacks at the largest producer-only farmers' market in the U.S.

Next Up: 2 min walk

Chillin' at the Capitol
A group of people sit around a blanket and enjoy a picnic on the Capitol lawn

10 AM

Grab fresh, squeaky cheese curds to go and find wonder inside the State Capitol building.

Next up: 4 min walk

Head to the Children's Museum
Two Black children play with building toys at the Children's Museum

10:30 AM

Explore the imaginative Madison Children's Museum, named one of USA Today’s 10Best children’s museums.

Next Up: 5 min walk

Grab a local slice
A slice of Macadilla Killa pizza at Ian's Pizza


Grab a slice or a salad at Ian’s Pizza on State Street. Plenty of space to eat inside or outside.

Next up: 9 min walk

Zoo time!
Children observe a bear at Henry Vilas Zoo

1:30 PM

Explore the animal kingdom at Henry Vilas Zoo. (It’s free!)

1 hour stroll around the zoo

Unmistakably Madison Moment
Child and Polar Bear at Henry Vilas Zoo

2 PM

Wave hello to polar bears and seals as they swim through the underwater area. You’ll realize the “little” vacation moments are just memories in the making.

Next up: 2 min walk

Park play time
Two kids fishing off a pier next to canoe racks

3 PM

Relax at Vilas Park as the kids explore the monkey bars and (of course!) the “Giant Shoe” on the two playgrounds. Then, have a snack at the nearby ZuZu Café.

Family foodie time
Chocolate Shoppe Cafe

5:30 PM

Enjoy dinner at a family-friendly (but still a foodie) spot such as DLUX, Old Fashioned, Monty’s Blue Plate Diner, or any of the Great Dane locations. And don’t forget Chocolate Shoppe for dessert!

Game night
Forward Players

7 PM

Cheer on the local semi-pro teams at a Forward Madison soccer game or Madison Mallards baseball game.

Where to Stay & Make Memories

Bring the whole crew — even the furry members! Wherever you stay in Madison, you'll find ways to make the very most of family time.

A Local Food Scene that's Kid Friendly

Relax on a patio while the kids have room to play. Savoring local, hand-crafted food is easy in Madison — we have the most eateries per capita out of any city in the U.S.

It’s not goodbye yet, is it?

We don't believe in mediocre moments here in the capital city. Take your family on an urban adventure. Rent kayaks in the heart of the city. View Cruises & Boat Rentals

Kayaking Lake Monona at Monona Terrace with rentals from Madison Boats.