Three adults paddle on red kayaks on the lake near the UW Campus late in the afternoon

Photo by Outdoor UW

Paddle to the Point

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Planning Tools

When you’re ready to plan your getaway to Greater Madison, our resourceful planning tools and insightful itineraries will be your guide. From generating ideas on where to go to finding the perfect place to stay, we have everything you need to help you prepare.

Check out the reasons to visit, then get a feel for our capital city by skimming through our itineraries — one is sure to spark some inspiration!


No matter what the reason—or the season!—when you visit Madison you can count on a great getaway. We are proud of the vibrant culture in our city, and have created itinerary ideas and other tools to help you plan your stay so you can enjoy every experience.

But don’t just take our word for it. Read on to discover where the experts repeatedly rank Madison at the top, from “best places to live” to “U.S. cities perfect for a weekend getaway.”


Many people know that Wisconsin is considered “America’s Dairyland” but few realize that our roots in agricultural heritage go beyond beer and cheese.

Fox News did.

In their "Unlikely Foodie Cities" article, Madison was named among other cities, from Baltimore to Greenville to San Antonio, as tops when it comes to what’s on the table.


Being located on an isthmus means our downtown is ideally situated between two sparkling lakes — Monona and Mendota. But there are three more to explore: Kegonsa, Waubesa and Wingra.

Add in a splash of environmentalist attitude (after all, Aldo Leopold, Gaylord Nelson and John Nolen all called Madison their home at one point or another) and you’ll see why it’s no surprise that NerdWallet ranked us #1 Greenest City in America.


Madison’s brand of fresh-air fun doesn’t end with the water. Ours is a big biking city and it runs deep—from the more than 200 miles of biking and hiking trails, to the BCycle bike share program to the fact that we have a bike elevator in our convention center!

It’s that kind of culture that gets you named among the “Best Cities on Earth for Biking” — yes, on the entire planet Earth — by


Having a world-class, public research university in our backyard creates a culture that is coveted by many. More than 40,000 students attend UW-Madison which is known as one of the Public Ivies, meaning it provides a collegiate experience comparable to Ivy League colleges.

But our college-town experience is equal parts academics and school spirit. Bucky Badger and his sports teams have been to the NCAA Final Four, the Rose Bowl and countless other championships across more than 20 men’s and women’s teams.

But we’re also winning in the media, as seen in USA Today’s #1 in 10 Best College Football Towns ranking.


Get exclusive access to a new line of experiences designed to take you deeper into Madison. Savor some classic tastes, and a few bound to surprise. Explore the eclectic culture and active lifestyle that make Madison one of America’s happiest cities. Check out the full list of Essential Madison Experiences for your invitation to immersion.​



Tours & Tastings

Madison has food events and tours for every foodie. From ice cream to artisan cheese. Love craft...

Sunday Drive

If you're seeking more variety, plan ahead and add a leisurely Sunday drive to your weekend trip...

Biking Around Madison

Regardless of when you visit, don't forget your bike. Biking around Madison is a year-long...

Arts & Music

Often ranked among the best places for artists to live, Madison also serves as a vibrant place to...

Dairy Discovery

Wisconsin is known for its dairy and Madison's restaurant and retail relationship with dairy...

Fantastic Fish Fry

Finding a fantastic fish fry in Madison is easy. The hard part? Making a choice which to eat at. Let...

Badger Football Game Day Guide

It's easy to get lost in a sea of Badger red on game day in Madison.  Our itinerary has you...

History & Heritage

From capitol to campus and around every corner in Dane County, you'll love exploring the history...

Kid Friendly

Looking for kid-friendly itinerary ideas? Madison is a great place to discover destinations that...

Like a Local

You can read all about our accolades, but the best way to experience Madison is like a local!

Neat Neighborhoods

Madison is made up of eclectic neighborhoods, each with its own style and personality. Use this...

Shopping Experience

Madison plays host to hundreds of stores, from local boutiques to major malls. No matter the reason,...

Fun in the Sun

No matter what the season, there's always a reason to be out and about in Madison. Read on for...

Tourist at Heart

Whether you're a visitor or a resident, these attractions evoke the spirit of Madison, and...

University Highlights

You don't have to be a Badger to appreciate the University of Wisconsin-Madison! Throw on your...

Madison Winter Wonderland

Explore some of the best things to do in winter in Madison, WI! Try one of these mini-itineraries to...