People skate and play on the ice at Vilas Park.
© Focal Flame Photography


We’ve never been ones to hibernate when the flakes start to fly, which is why there are tons of things to do in Madison when it’s winter! From endless ways to explore the outdoors to relaxing retail and wellness therapies, come see why Madison was recognized as “a road trip that will make you glad it’s winter.”

Celebrate the Season
Our cold-weather calendar is always full of seasonal and special events to try. Plan a visit around one of these annual favorites—it could be the start to a new tradition!

  • Kick off the holiday season at Holiday Fantasy in Lights and Henry Vilas Zoo Lights—drive-through and walk-through magical lighting displays that are sure to get you into the spirit.
  • Outdoor fun abounds at the annual Madison Winter Festival, but this year there are some surprises in store—including a move to Madison’s Elver Park!
  • Visit Madison during Madison Hotel Week, an opportunity for you to book a winter break at a discounted rate!


Embrace the Flakes
A beautiful, serene backdrop is created when our lakes freeze and the hills are covered in snow—perfect conditions for your next Madison visit. Our natural environment is home to many hot spots for ice fishing, sledding, skating, skiing, and more.

  • Take a spin around the rink at The Edgewater, located lakeside and reminiscent of Rockefeller Plaza. You can rent skates or bring your own, and The Icehouse restaurant is a great place to warm your fingers and toes.
  • Explore Madison’s many hills, parks and trails with our Ski & Snowshoe guide that’ll get you on the go and enjoying the snow.


Spectator Sports of All Sorts
If spectating from the sidelines is more your speed, there are plenty of chances to cheer on the home team at sports of all sorts, from hockey to basketball! Before you arrive, be sure to check out our Game Day itinerary for pre- and post-game recommendations.

  • From September through April, you can root for the Madison Capitols. This USHL team features the top amateur players in the country and tons of games to choose from.
  • Almost any day of the week you can find a game at the renowned Kohl Center or LaBahn Arena. Check out the Wisconsin Badgers sports site or our events calendar for details.


Shopping & Spa
Madison is definitely a place where you can shop ‘til you drop, from the boutique stores that dot our downtown and neat neighborhoods to major malls and outlet store options. At the end of the day, don’t miss our spa scene which is guaranteed to get you the relaxation you need.

  • Check out our Shopping Experiences itinerary for info on specialty stores and major malls
  • Read about relaxation on our Spas & Wellness page—many are near shopping options!

Madison Spotlight