The Hidden Gems
Smitty's Study Pub
One of Madison's best-kept secrets is Smitty's Study Pub, found atop UW-Madison's Fluno Center. Stop in for a burger or curds before a Badger game, or grab happy hour drinks as you watch the bustling action on University Avenue below.
Lake Vista Café
While the iconic Monona Terrace is hard to miss, the rooftop Lake Vista Café is a lesser-known gem in Madison. The café offers a variety of sandwiches and salads – not to mention sprawling views of Lake Monona and Madison's cityscape. Try the farmers' market tomato salad or one of their signature sandwiches.
Whether dining for brunch, happy hour, or dinner, Fresco always delivers an elegant time above the city. Located atop the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Fresco directly overlooks State Street with excellent views of the Orpheum sign and the Capitol. For starters, try the tempura-battered potatoes or the beef tartare. Afterward, take time to wander the adjacent sculpture garden area.
Eno Vino, atop the AC Hotel in downtown Madison, pairs delicious tapas and small plates with gorgeous Capitol views. Choose from either the ninth floor outdoor lounge or the tenth-floor indoor restaurant – both overlook the Capitol and provide views of our beautiful lakes. And psst, ladies, be sure to check out view from the women’s bathroom!
Inspired by 1980’s camp movies, rural Wisconsin taverns, and the joy of being a kid, Camp Trippalindee offers a fun spot to relax in downtown Madison. The kitschy rooftop restaurant serves camp favorites like walking tacos, brats, and burgers, and for drinks, beer in koozies and rum-based bug juice. Don’t skip dessert! Grab a s’mores kit for your group to enjoy around the campfire.
Madison Children's Museum
During the day, the rooftop at Madison Children’s Museum is a source of delight for children of all ages. The lush rooftop garden is filled with bright sunflowers and vegetables, and is also home to a chicken coop and homing pigeons. Every so often, the museum lets adults take over the space for their 21-and-up Adult Swim events – an opportunity to explore the museum while enjoying craft beer and Roman Candle Pizza as the sun sets.
Off the Isthmus
Craftsman Table & Tap
Middleton’s Craftsman Table & Tap is a neighborhood spot that features hearty, rustic food, including a variety of burgers, craft beers, soups, and salads. The rooftop is open Tuesday – Saturday for dinner during summer – and is the perfect spot to enjoy an order of fried Carr Valley cheese curds.
Lone Girl Brewing Company
With romantic patio lights, plenty of tables and Adirondack chairs centered around a firepit, Waunakee’s Lone Girl Brewing Company offers an outdoor oasis where visitors can enjoy their 12 beers, brewed on-site. Their Friday-night fish fry is one not to miss!