Ask Me Anything with Pa Vang

“What are some ‘hidden gem’ experiences in Madison that not everyone knows about?” 

  • Monona Bait & Ice Cream Shop: This is a must-do when you’re biking the Lake Monona Loop. It’s conveniently located at just the right spot in a 13-mile ride where you’ll be ready for refreshments from their full-service food menu. My favorite: Babcock Hall Ice Cream, made on the UW-Madison campus. Details and directions

  • IYKYK Bars: There are several inconspicuous (ish) spots around town that may not be well-marked with signage on the outside—but are beloved for everything you’ll experience inside. If you think Cordial looks like “an unsuspecting hole in the wall” you only need to step inside to find a cozy ambiance, delicious drinks (both cocktails and mocktails) and friendly service. Nattspil bills itself as a “hidden haunt” but locals and visitors flock there frequently for the high-end menu and the DJs who mix live nearly every night. And then there’s Le Tigre Lounge: tiger-dominated décor … need I say more? But I will: legend has it that all of the tigers were donated and there’s everything from wall art to life-sized tigers. It’s a kitschy must-see. Oh, and know before you go: no credit cards (cash only) and no swearing. 

  • Epic Systems Campus: Maybe you’re coming to Madison to visit someone who just started working at Epic. Or maybe you just want to know what an “Intergalactic Headquarters” even means. Either way, you’re always welcome to visit the Epic campus for self-guided tours where you’ll find a functioning farm, and several fantasy campuses ranging from the Emerald City to a Wizards Academy. Tip: Large groups are welcome on weekends, but it’s requested that visitors limit weekday visits to 7 people or fewer. 

“What’s going on this weekend in Madison?” 

Full disclosure: anyone who asks this question gets answers straight out of our events calendar—which you can search on your own 24/7. Last year, 3,614 events were entered into our calendar by partners, event organizers and entertainment venues, so it should be your go-to too! Search by type of experience (live music, sports, arts and more) or date range to find the kind of fun that matches your interests.  

Tip: Here, fairs and festivals are plentiful and popular, so we’ve created a dedicated page where you can plan for year-round events at-a-glance. 

“Where are the best parking spots downtown? Can I park a boat? What about an RV? A tour bus?” 

Believe it or not, there’s a place to park vehicles of all sizes in Madison—as long as you know where to go! 

  • By car: City street meters are generally not enforced after 6 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and all day on Sundays. Many parking garages track real-time availability, including City of Madison and UW-Madison. Need overnight or multi-day parking? Try a Park & Ride—just pay attention to the rules since each is slightly different. 

  • Oversized vehicles: There are several spots reserved for oversized vehicles at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. For details and confirmation, call 608-261-4072. 

  • By boat: SkipperBud’s offers slips and boat storage options, including wet slips that allow visitors to keep their boats in the water. Overnight docking is also available at The Edgewater Hotel/The Edgewater Pier for a perfect stay-and-play experience! 

  • By RV: These are also allowed at Madison Park & Ride lots, as long as they only take up 1 stall. 

  • By bus or motorcoach: You can park in the street—as long as you pay all meters for the space your vehicle occupies. Even easier: You can arrange for bus or motorcoach metered parking in advance or find long-term parking at Bowman Park with help from the City of Madison bus guidelines. 

“Speaking of motorcoach travel, which restaurants can handle a crowd?” 

The recommended restaurants section of our site has a motorcoach-friendly filter! Check it out to find options that will please eeeeverybody’s palate, from diners and burgers to breweries and wineries to authentic options for Italian, Asian, Mediterranean and German.