Things To Do

What's there to do in Madison, WI, you ask? Packed between our five lakes are rockin' concerts, 270 parks, a historic Capitol building that feels larger than life, a free zoo and free museums, more than 200 miles of biking and hiking trails, a renowned farmers' market and plenty more.

It’s a fun road trip to Madison from Midwest cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago and Des Moines. And we’re always welcoming visitors from New York, Denver, Phoenix, DC and Dallas, thanks to quick direct flights that get you here fast so there’s more time for a weekend full of fun. No matter where you’re from—whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family—Madison is a place where you can find adventure, experience a farm-to-table culinary scene, discover culture around every corner and feel the impact you can make as a sustainable traveler.

Learn more about all our capital city has to offer when you download our free visitor's guide.

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Get spectacular views of downtown Madison, Lake Monona and Lake Mendota from the Wisconsin State Capitol's observation deck, which is open during summer months. 


Seasonal

Each season brings brand-new Madison vibes. As the snow melts in spring, it's time to welcome back the largest producer-only farmers' market in the country to the Capitol Square. The long summer days are packed with festivals and our glittering lakes take center stage for fun on, and near, the water. During fall, the Madison area's ample greenspaces turn crimson, auburn, orange and yellow. We embrace winter in the best of ways with two frozen lakes that let you walk on water (literally).

Our menus are a reflection of the changing seasons, with dishes highlighting the freshest local ingredients available. Discover seasonal fare and standing Madison favorites on our restaurants page.

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Tasting the Madison Difference

In Madison, we believe a food scene is only as good as what’s happening behind the scenes. Peek behind the curtain of some of our James Beard award-winning restaurants, downtown pizza shops or brewpubs and you'll find the same thing: collaboration and innovation coming together to make some of the best dishes you've ever had. Search our restaurants, or book a food tour to get started.

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Lake Life

Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa and Kegonsa: Madison's five best friends. Like friends, each lake has its own vibe. Mendota: Large and in charge, Monona: Chill vibes only, Wingra: Life of the Party, Waubesa: Timeless, Kegonsa: Trailblazer.

Madison’s five lakes cover more than 15,000 acres and there is no shortage of ways to get on—and in—the water. From getting active with water sports you've never tried (but should!) to waterfront dining that puts our destination on the map, it’s easy to live like a local and love our lakes.

But summer isn't the only time to hang at the lakes. Ice fishing? Sounds good. Festivals on the frozen lake? Yes, that's another good one.

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Art, History & Culture

Finding art and history on display with local, national and international acclaim is a breeze in Madison with free museums — Chazen Museum of ArtMadison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Wisconsin Historical Museum (closed pending renovation) and the Geology Museum — and dozens of galleries and pop-up events across the city. 

The beats are always bumpin' at local music venues that bring in up-and-coming and established musical acts from around the world. Music is not restricted inside four walls. From Concerts on the Square to Opera in the Park to rocking at Concerts on the Rooftop, all of Madison is a stage. 

History comes to life during free tours at the Wisconsin State Capitol and during tours of Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace and his home Taliesin, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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MADISON SPOTLIGHT

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