We love that the capital city is in the Midwest because it means travelers get to experience each of the four seasons to their fullest.
Make no mistake, “winter wonder” is not synonymous with coming up short on things to do! Try one of these 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:
Embrace the flakes by getting gear at the annual (and affordable!) Hoofers Ski & Snowboard Resale.
Get a taste of Wisconsin at the Beer & Cheese Fest where you can meet and mingle with brewers and cheesemakers from around the state while sampling hundreds of delicious creations.
Find even more events: use 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, crisp winter air:
Yup, take to the ice with these super-grippy fat-tire bikes. More on that here: 11 Things To Do on Frozen Lakes.
Madison’s love of lakes extends to ice fishing season. Get details from the DNR on where to go and how to stay safe.
Ice skating is free at select Madison Parks, and Tenney, Vilas and Elver parks all offer rentals (and warming houses)!
Start at Devil’s Head Resort, which features 30 different runs that are groomed twice daily!
Find more ski and snowshoe outdoor adventure spots.
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 p.m. and even rents sleds.
LAKE LIFE IN WINTER
Once the lakes freeze over, the magic really starts.
No matter if you're sporty or just looking to get out on a mini-adventure, Madison's frozen lakes are a wintery playground for families, date night or even just to take in the view while sipping a local latte.
Book a hotel, and plan your winter adventure on the frozen lakes -- here's how to get(away) on Madison's frozen lakes!
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.