It’s easy to dig into a calendar full of culinary events when you visit Madison! Read on to review a sampling of annual favorites, considered some of the Best Fests our food-obsessed city has to offer. Then plan your next taste-test trip—there’s a new one to try almost every month!
2018 Best Fests
January 20, 2018
Mix and mingle with brewers and cheesemakers around the state (and beyond)! Try hundreds of delicious creations at this 9th annual event. This is a ticketed event.
January 21–26, 2018
A Madison food-lovers’ tradition! Participating restaurants create prix-fixe menus featuring three different options for three-course meals starting at just $25. Reservations encouraged.
February 9–19, 2018
This event, created in partnership with Madison Hotel Week, will feature special three-course menus ($15 to $35 per person) at 17 Food Fight Restaurants. Reservations encouraged.
March 3, 2018
Madison’s largest craft beer festival is back for its 4th annual appearance—and it’s the place to sample 150+ releases from some of America’s best craft breweries! This is a ticketed event.
March 4–10, 2018
Taste the talents of Madison-area chefs as they collaborate to combine cuisines, switch restaurants and engage in friendly competition, resulting in a week of unique culinary experiences.
March 19, 2018
Sip it. Sample it. Taste it. Hear it. This top-shelf tasting event features local distilleries, wineries and purveyors, plus live music by Barley Wine Jazz. This is a ticketed event.
April 22, 2018
Sample a variety of local flavors from Madison Originals restaurants, enjoy local breweries, wineries and distilleries, while supporting The River Food Pantry. This is a ticketed event.
May 4–13, 2018
Expect: special beer tappings, food pairings, educational programs and appearances by brewers. This is a ticketed event.
May 19, 2018
This annual festival takes place at Madison’s iconic Central Park and features all-you-can sample food cart fare and live music. Craft beer is also available for purchase. This is a ticketed event.
Memorial Day Weekend
Four days of live music, classic Wisconsin brats, rides, activities and more means fun for the whole family! This is a free event.
June 2–3, 2018
Eat and drink your way through this 11th annual event of locally-sourced burgers, live music and craft brews! Wisconsin’s talented producers will be serving up unique burgers, craft beer and dessert pairings. This is a ticketed event.
June 3, 2018
This year's event features James Beard Award-winning Chef Dan Bonanno and will take place at J. Henry & Sons Wisconsin Straight Bourbon. This is a ticketed event.
Taste delicious dishes from multiple Madison restaurants highlighting sustainable seafood. This event aims to raise awareness of the importance of supporting sustainable fishing practices.
August 4, 2018
The Mustard Museum has been the official sponsor of National Mustard Day since 1991, and annually welcomes more than 6,000 people to downtown Middleton. This is a free event.
August 19, 2018
This charitable event highlights delicious dishes and drinks from the most celebrated restaurants in Dane County and beyond. This is a ticketed event.
Sip it. Sample it. Taste it. Hear it. The alfresco version of this top-shelf tasting event features local distilleries, wineries and purveyors. This is a ticketed event.
August 11, 2018
This event is the second longest-running craft beer festival in the U.S. and features more than 150 of the Midwest’s finest craft brewers serving more than 1,000 beers lakeside at Madison’s beautiful Olin Park. This is a ticketed event.
September 1–2, 2018
Eat your way around the Capitol Square as part of Taste of Madison! This annual Labor Day weekend event features more than 80 local restaurants, 26 beverage stands and 3 music stages. This is a free event.
September 8, 2018
This signature event in Mt. Horeb is an intimate tasting with more than 25 craft brewers and some 100 beers to sample. There’s live music, too! This is a ticketed event.
September 16, 2018
A fresh take on riding events: consume more calories than you burn! Bike the Barns participants take a recreational tour of CSA farms in southwest WI, sampling all the way. This is a ticketed event.
September 22, 2018
This hip interpretation of the classic, German-style fest features more than 50 craft brewers, as well as artisan sausage and cheesemakers for unlimited sampling and fun. This is a ticketed event.
September 29, 2018
Cold beer! Local music! Hot food! The best of all worlds are found at this fest, held on the wooded grounds of Quivey’s Grove. Sample more than 100 beers from 45 different brewers and food from the outdoor smoke roaster. This is a ticketed event.
Madison is pretty darn nice in the fall. In celebration, there's Madison Cocktail Week. Stay tuned for 2018 event info.
Pie for brunch? You bet! This annual event celebrates locally grown ingredients and all things pie. Take your pick from sweet and savory pies, plus tarts, quiches, turnovers and more. This is a ticketed event.
Growing and using herbs is the focus of this fun and educational event held at Madison’s renowned Olbrich Gardens. Workshops and demonstrations give growers a taste of the benefits of herbs. This is a free event.