Top 20 Best Things to do in Madison Wisconsin

One of the best parts to live in downtown Madison Wisconsin is the scenic downtown area which is located between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. The city has a unique distinction of being one of the two cities in the US, to be located on an isthmus and the other one being Seattle, WA. With the most stunning scenery around the downtown area, it is a slap-bang between the two lakes and offers a plethora of activities and things to do.

The city of Madison is one of the top places to live in, it also has one of the nations biggest educational hub along that we hold the top positions when it comes to food, technology, outdoor activities, health and then some.

If you are planning to visit the city or thinking about moving here then you need to know the most happening places in the city.

Here are 20 things to do in Madison, Wisconsin:

1. Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol
Wisconsin State Capitol | Image Source: Pixabay

This is one of the worlds most beautiful buildings, the Capitol dome is bested by Daniel Chester French’s exquisite overlaid bronze statue, “Wisconsin.” Edwin Blashfield’s wall painting “Assets of Wisconsin” extravagantly enriches the inside dome of the rotunda, which is the main rock dome in the United States. Inside, visitors are dealt with to the special surfaces of 43 assortments of stone from around the globe, hand-cut furniture and flawless glass mosaics.

As Madison is the state capital of Wisconsin, you can’t visit here and not see the State Capitol building in the entirety of its glory. The Wisconsin State Capitol is strategically placed close to Madison’s exquisite lakeshore in the downtown area of the city, so you can likewise investigate this area on foot in the meantime. The building dates from 1917 and is finished with a magnificent 284-foot dome which matches Washington’s State Capitol. Inside the building itself are some delightful embellishing wall paintings and in addition marble from France, Italy, and Germany, and you can take a guided voyage through the building to take in all the history for yourself.

2. Henry Vilas Zoo

Henry Vilas Zoo
Henry Vilas Zoo | Image Source: TheFrogLady

It is the wildest place to visit, located inside Vilas Park. You will the animals from almost every part of the world here like the Amur Tiger, White Rhinoceros, American Badger, the African lion and many more.

Henry Vilas Zoo is a non-profit corporation owned by the Dane County and the admission and parking for the zoo is free. It receives over 7 million visitors annually. It was found in 1914 and was called the Madison Zoological and Aquarium Society and in 1926 the name was changed to Henry Vilas Park Zoological Society.

The zoo also offers sleepovers along with spring & summer zoo camps.

3. Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | Image Source WI Travel Guide

One of Madison’s most famous attractions, this desert spring of green incorporates an indented cultivation, enduring patio nursery, wildflower plant, and a tropical studio.

Named for its author, Michael Olbrich, the gardens are possessed and worked together by the City of Madison Parks and the non-benefit Olbrich Botanical Society

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a living museum and a source of tranquility for some guests. 16 sections of land of outdoor gardens highlighting dazzling scenes and Midwest-solid plants. Outdoor Gardens are free and open every day.

Visit the tropics in the Bolz Conservatory, loaded with colorful plants, fragrant flowers, orchids, free-flying birds, and a cascade. $2 admission; free for Members. Free to all Wed. and Sun. 10 – twelve.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is where:

  • Gardens, offices, and projects serve individuals everything being equal, capacities, and earnings.
  • Associations with staff, volunteers and companions are directed with the most elevated honesty, respect, and thought.
  • Brilliance is the standard and service is commendable.
  • Open and private associations are basic.
  • The people group is served and the area is praised.
  • Commitments are made to global arrangements.
  • The delight, assorted variety, wonder, and excellence of plants can be shared by everybody.

4. Monona Terrace

Monona Terrace
Monona Terrace | Image Source Idroneon

Monona Terrace is a convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wrighton and is located on the shores of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin.

This is an amazing venue with beautiful views of the lake. I recommend going on a day when you can also do a tour, as it would be quite interesting and informative!

5. Memorial Union Terrace

Memorial Union Terrace
Memorial Union Terrace | Image Source UWAlumni

This is the best place to relax and enjoy, you can spend the entire day here with family & friends. Start the day with yoga which starts at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends.

If the kids are with you, they will enjoy the treats the terrace has to offer, they would love delicious ice creams, cold beverages, pizzas, also check out the Brat stand as well as the BBQ stand it’s awesome.

If you are into art check out the Terrace Art Zone held on Wednesdays and don’t forget to get a pic clicked on the giant sunburst chairs.

The real fun starts when the sun goes down at the Terrace as you can enjoy free live music and film shows with some great food.

6. The Sylvee


The Sylvee, a three-story theater in the Capitol East District that its creators say will help define Madison as a touring artist destination.

The Sylvee’s a standing-only venue (well, except for the VIP Lounge and the third-floor suites, naturally), which gives early birds the opportunity to camp out and score a spot right next to the stage. But even if you’re a disorganized latecomer who stumbles in halfway through the main set — and really, who hasn’t been there? — your sightline won’t suck. No matter where you stand in the venue, you’re never more than 85 feet away from the stage.

7. State Street

State Street
State Street | Image Source AUD

State Street has been a “walker shopping center” since the 1970s. The walkways are additional wide on the two sides, and the road has liberal, very much stamped bike paths. Wide walkways are awesome for walking around, obviously, yet in addition for eatery and bistro outside seating.

The road itself is shut to standard movement, yet official city vehicles and those utilized by a portion of the State Street organizations can drive on it. Furthermore, to get you where you need to go, city transports, taxis, trollies, and horse-drawn carriages are permitted.

State Street is well known for shopping, eating, excitement, and occasions. Maintain a strategic distance from the conventional by investigating several mixed shops, boutiques, and displays or then again, spend a night out at one of the area’s numerous eateries, bars or clubs.

8. Overture Center for the Arts

Overture Center for the Arts
Overture Center for the Arts | Image Source TheatreProjects

This is a beautiful performing arts center and art gallery whose mission is to help and hoist the locale’s innovative culture, economy, and personal satisfaction through the arts.

In addition to art galleries, it has 7 venues i.e. Overture Hall, Capitol Theater, Playhouse, Promenade Hall, Rotunda Stage, Wisconsin Studio and Rotunda Studio, and Visual Art Galleries.

The center is the aftereffect of the redesign and development of the Madison Civic Center by an association of the Overture Foundation and the City of Madison.

The visitors say that it’s better than the broadways they have seen in NYC or LA, I would just say try it out and find out.

9. Lake Monona

Lake Monona

The lake is spread out in 3359 acres and you can go boating on public boats or even enjoy at the public beach. Fishing is popular at the lake and is filled with fishes like Catfish, Panfish, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike, Sturgeon, Largemouth Bass, and Musky.

The lakefront offers a clear and mesmerizing view of the Capitol building, however, the best part according to me would be the evening walk and the sunset view, it’s the best.

10. Madison Children’s Museum

Madison Childrens Museum
Madison Children’s Museum | Image Source Findorff

This one is for the kids, the Madison Children’s Museum is a gold-certified museum for children. It is an honor winning destination for fun family activities and hands-on learning, it contains shows on the arts, sciences, history, culture, well being, and metro commitment.

It is probably the only museum that offers vegan food as well but if you are not into that then they got good pizzas and ice creams as well. You can even carry in your own lunch.

They are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and also the last Monday of each month, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

11. Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Wisconsin Veterans Museum
Wisconsin Veterans Museum | Image Source Flickr

This is an award-winning museum that shares tales of Wisconsin’s military veterans from the time of the Civil War to the present day.

It is exceptionally enlightening and has numerous cool weapons and incidental things from wars. Admission is free however donations are valued. The majority of the statues look really practical with the greater part of the simple fine points of interest, I couldn’t tell on the off chance that they were phony or genuine!

A family-accommodating gallery in Madison, ideal by the Capitol. The ideal location, extraordinarily on a Saturday morning; when you can likewise appreciate Dane County Farmers’ Market. It’s a free history exercise each visitor in Madison should take.

12. Trolley Pub Madison

Trolley Pub Madison is a pedal-powered pub-crawling trolley for up to 14 people at a time.

Trolley Pub visits are the best method to celebrate in Madison. The Trolley Pub gives you a chance to encounter the city in the outdoors, make the most of your most loved drink and has space to fit every one of your companions, family, and associates! Our trolleys can suit gatherings of up to 42. Lease the entire Trolley Pub or join a blender visit on the off chance that you have a little gathering.

Trolley Pub has courses in downtown Madison. Riders can pick 2-3 stops at bottling works, bars, and eateries amid their visit.

13. Chazen Museum of Art

Chazen Museum of Art
Chazen Museum of Art | Image Source Flickr

The Chazen Museum of Art is authorized by the American Alliance of Museums and is a workmanship gallery situated at the University of Wisconsin– Madison in Madison, Wisconsin.

This craftsmanship exhibition hall’s amazing accumulation incorporates, prints, photos, artworks and models from ancient circumstances to the present day. Unique displays exhibiting nearby specialists happen consistently.

I know numerous colleges have awesome historical centers, however, Chazen is anything but a minor workmanship exhibition hall, the gathering is broad and unimaginable to see. The craftsmanship is efficient and there are sufficient art clarifications to help your valuation of the works. Situated on an excellent piece of the grounds, this is a simple stroll from the downtown Capital region.

The accumulation is an announcement of the responsibility Madison needs to craftsmanship and conveying workmanship to local people, understudies, and visitors.

There is no admission expense (yippee!) yet wear agreeable shoes in light of the fact that there are two different floor structures lodging a vast gathering. Really justified regardless of whenever you can spend in this superb exhibition hall.

14. Lake Kegonsa State Park

Lake Kegonsa State Park
Lake Kegonsa State Park | Image Source Flickr

Lake Kegonsa State Park is a state park of Wisconsin, United States, on the upper east shore of Lake Kegonsa. It is situated in Dane County southeast of Madison, Wisconsin. The park comprises of woodland, prairie, and wetlands.

A standout amongst other kept privileged insights of southern Wisconsin, Lake Kegonsa State Park offers an assortment of recreational activities set along its 3,200-section of the land lake. Highlights incorporate oak forests, prairies, and wetlands. There is a swimming beach and a boat dispatch inside 1 mile of the campground. Fishing openings are magnificent on Lake Kegonsa, and fishing from a boat is favored. There are climbing trails and outing zones and neighborhood marinas have boats accessible to lease. All destinations are completely or incompletely lush.

15. Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Aldo Leopold Nature Center
Aldo Leopold Nature Center | Image Source Flickr

A nature-concentrated establishment with hands-on shows, grown-up and youngster open projects, and climbing trails.

The mission of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center is to “encourage the understudy to see the land, comprehend what he sees, and appreciate what he gets it.” in the soul of acclaimed Wisconsin traditionalist, Aldo Leopold. Through hands-on, guided encounters, youngsters and grown-ups come to find and investigate the marvels of the common world!

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center has some expertise in interfacing youngsters, their families and educators to the outside through “high-contact” open air projects an open-airing edge” mixed media displays and intelligent programming, including advanced, visual, hands-on and immersive encounters for all ages.

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center was set up in 1994 as a free not-for-benefit altruistic association. It works year-round, is represented by a volunteer top managerial staff and oversaw by proficient staff. The Center is exclusively upheld by altruistic commitments and program charges.

16. Wisconsin Historical Museum

Wisconsin Historical Museum
Wisconsin Historical Museum | Image Source Vacationidea

The Wisconsin Historical Museum is an exhibition hall situated on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin.

The exhibition hall, which highlights data about the history of Wisconsin, is worked by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Notwithstanding Wisconsin history, it gives data about other American history themes through ancient rarities, photos, full-scale dioramas, varying media introductions, and intuitive sight and sound projects. In late 2004, the exhibition hall’s presence was debilitated because of spending cuts, however, referring to its part in the state’s history, Wisconsin representative Jim Doyle reestablished its funding.

An awesome exhibition hall with a smidgen of everything – simply like Wisconsin. It’s spread crosswise over 4 stories with the ground floor lodging classrooms and a gift shop. The second floor is completely committed to Native American history and culture. The other 2 stories contain displays on governmental issues, knocking down some pins, Harleys, agribusiness and everything Wisconsin. Try not to miss the colossal perspective of the state house. The gift shop has huge amounts of keepsake things from senseless to genuine to keep everybody back home cheerful.

17. West Towne Mall

West Towne Mall
West Towne Mall | Image Source Channel3000

Mall Directory for the home to the greater part of your most loved stores like Apple, Athleta, The Cheesecake Factory, Pottery Barn, Sephora, and More!

This mall is better than any average size mall in Madison. They do have pretty much every store you require like Apple, Sephora and the sky is the limit from there. There is likewise the Cheese Cake Factory by the passageway. On the off chance that you have to get sustenance after or before shopping, it’s really nice to simply deal with everything at one stop.

It’s not very enormous like the malls you find in California however they do have many stores you can visit including one of my most loved store, Teavana. A ton of dress shops and shoe stores. Retail chains like Sears are here, however, I don’t know whether anybody shops there truly. I don’t, haha.

A lot of parking space is available at the mall since it’s in this extremely open court by the interstate. It’s nice to turn out with your loved ones not very a long way from home on the off chance that you live adjacent.

18. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art | Image Source Flickr

MMoCA, some time ago known as the Madison Art Center, is an art exhibition hall situated in Madison, Wisconsin.

Cesar Pelli planned to expand on State Street, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art gives free shows and training programs that draw in individuals in present day and contemporary art. The four displays offer to change presentations that element set up and developing artists. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden gives an urban desert garden an unfathomable view.

MMoCA has been one of my most loved places in Madison throughout recent years. As an artist, you can locate a profound thankfulness for what it is, the thing that it offers, and the motivation you draw from it.

What an unbelievable place that every Madisonian’s approach! What’s more, for FREE! They acknowledge gifts, and profoundly support demonstrating some affection when you visit.

MMoCA is sincerely one of my most loved places in Madison. I’m an immense enthusiast of unique, present day, and contemporary art. This place presents everything. What’s more, it changes regularly! Never boring, never at any point disillusioning.

The gift shop is pricey, yet there are genuine fortunes to be found.

Make sure to look at the rooftop!

19. Marshall Boats

Marshall Boats
Marshall Boats | Image Source Flickr

Marshall Boats offers rentals of canoes, kayaks, paddle sheets, and barge boats. We do all that we can to fill your heart with joy on the lake a superb ordeal. We additionally have an awesome bistro, so make a trip and go for an oar or appreciate a frozen custard.

Marshall Boats is your best method to get out and investigate Lake Mendota. They are your chance to grab the late spring and get out on Lake Mendota. With a lakeside bistro, canoes, kayaks, SUP’s, and large boats, there’s no better method to appreciate the lakes.

You can book a rich 24′ Bentley Pontoon Boat and investigate Lake Mendota. Sufficiently vast for 12 individuals and simple to work. Gas and operational guidelines are incorporated. Chiefs are accessible in the event that you’d get a kick out of the chance to kick back and appreciate the ride.

You can also book a private rooftop porch for a one of a kind location for special occasions. It offers space for up to 100 individuals with an assortment of alternatives to make your occasion unique.

20. Camp Randall Stadium University of Wisconsin

Camp Randall Stadium University of Wisconsin
Camp Randall Stadium University of Wisconsin | Image Source Flickr

Camp Randall Stadium, worked in 1917, is the home for Wisconsin’s football team. The present limit (80,321) positions among the country’s largest school-claimed stadiums.

Recognized by its noteworthy double-deck structure, Camp Randall Stadium has been the Badgers’ facility since its opening amusement on Nov. 3, 1917. It has been host to UW football games, outside shows Drum Corps International, Green Bay Packer display recreations, and other large public occasions.

Other than the field, the notable Camp Randall Stadium complex houses the athletic department offices in Kellner Hall, the Athletic Operations Building, a team preparing table, relax, the Fetzer Center study area for student-competitors, and also film, preparing and weight rooms and a display of football memorabilia in the new football offices situated in the eastside superstructure.

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