Three boys play a large game of Jenga

Photo by Focal Flame Photography

Olbrich Biergarten

Seeking sunsets? Try this lakeside biergarten.

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Things To Do



Summertime just may be one of the best times to visit Madison. Our calendar of events is booked solid with ways to enjoy longer days, from lake life to biking & hiking to well-deserved rest & relaxation. And if you're up for a challenge, view our list of 36 Ways to Spend Your Summer and check off as many as you can!


We embrace winter in the best of ways. From ice fishing, to giant holiday trees, to winter festivals and candle-lit hikes, a wintercation in Madison has no shortage of memorable things to do. Bundle up!


As the snow melts, you'll realize that 40 degree weather sometimes qualifies as shorts weather here in Madison! Spring vibes are even more joyful, and we love when visitors are a part of it. Get out and enjoy our paved bike paths, foodie dining spots and take a day trip to one of our quaint surrounding towns. There's also plenty indoor activities for kids and families. 


In September through October, the Madison area's ample greenspaces turn crimson, auburn, orange and yellow. And that's when the real fall fun starts! With an abundance of agriculture and farms, no matter what side of town you're on, you'll find pumpkin patches, fall activities for kids, corn mazes, haunted houses, and plenty of apple orchards and apple cider doughnuts. Each farm in the area has something special, so it's not a stretch to make a weekend out of it. 

Life on the Lake

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.

Blaze a Trail

Madison’s biking and hiking trail system covers more than 200 miles and our city was recently ranked among the best cycling towns by USA Today. Rent a bike from BCycle, an urban bike-sharing program that makes it quick, easy, and convenient to get around Madison on two wheels. Machinery Row Bicycles and Budget Bicycle Center are also great places to rent a bike or pick up a lock or helmet.

Summertime Staples

Madison is known for spectacular summertime traditions worth revisiting every year. Start your trip at the Dane County Farmer's Market on the Capitol Square, where locals and visitors spend Saturday mornings. As the nation's largest producers-only market, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to the sellers who love to share the stories behind their food. First time? Here are 9 tips to have you shopping the Farmers' Market like a pro!

Catch an Outdoor Concert

From Concerts on the Square to Opera in the Park to rocking at Concerts on the Rooftop, all of Madison is a stage in summer—and you won’t want to miss a beat! Beyond the music, Madison is host to dozens of festivals all year long celebrating music, food, nature and a whole lot more.

Find Family-Friendly Fun 

It’s easy to find entertainment for kids of all ages in Madison! Stroll through 16 acres of stunning landscapes at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Dine with the polar bears at the Henry Vilas Zoo. Or, catch a Madison Mallards baseball game. FREE fun for families: see our list of free things to do.

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