This article was last updated in the winter of 2019. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published, though it is likely that some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations and businesses that appear in the article. As always, find the latest events and activities on our Event Calendar.
We love that Greater Madison is in the Midwest because it means we get to enjoy four seasons of fun! If you sometimes feel “winter wonder” is synonymous with coming up short on things to do, follow one of these three mini-itineraries guaranteed to give you reasons to celebrate the season!
CREATE A COLD-WEATHER CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Just as you can count on falling snow in January (if not November or December!), you can count on Madison-area traditions that span the entire snowy season:
In December, embrace the flakes by getting gear at the annual (and affordable!) Hoofers Ski & Snowboard Resale.
In January, get a taste of Wisconsin at the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest where you can meet and mingle with brewers and cheesemakers from around the state while sampling hundreds of delicious creations.
In February, take part in the Frozen Assets Festival, where you can try fat tire biking, ice fishing and a snowshoe run. Yes, just for fun.
Find even more events using the “seasonal” search filter in our events calendar.
TRY WINTRY SPORTS OF ALL SORTS
Ice fishing, skating and skiing—oh, my! Our health-conscious capital city is filled with infinite ways to enjoy fresh-air fun while earning a rosy glow:
Ice fishing: Madison’s love of lakes extends to ice fishing season. Get details from the DNR on where to go and how to stay safe.
Skating: Ice skating is free at select Madison Parks, and Tenney, Vilas and Elver parks all offer rentals (and warming houses)!
Skiing: Start at Devil’s Head Resort, which features 30 different runs that are groomed twice daily!
Learn more about snowy sports on our ski and snowshoe page.
AT NIGHT & UNDER THE LIGHTS
One of Madison’s most magical—and popular—winter experiences is snowshoeing by candlelight! The City of Madison hosts several of these events, including one at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Edna Taylor Conservancy. Traverse trails illuminated by hundreds of softly glowing lights; then, warm up with hot chocolate next to a roaring bonfire.
You can also sled “under the lights” at Elver Park, which also happens to be the steepest hill in Madison’s parks system. The park is open until 10:00 p.m. and even rents sleds.
SPECTACULAR WINTER WALK
A new winter adventure is waiting. Winter Walk with the Wisconsin Union is part of a line of experiences that showcase Madison in a new, hands-on way. This winter walk with take you out into Madison as a snowshoe-clad explorer. Trek the Lakeshore Path to a bonfire at Picnic Point, or venture onto the frozen waters of Lake Mendota for a surreal view of Madison. Experience Madison is a new way with this walk through a winter wonderland.