The Terrace at UW Memorial UnionEnjoy summer nights on the Memorial Union Terrace: You don't have to be a UW alum to appreciate this ubiquitous gathering place. Round up a group of friends on a Friday or Saturday night to relax by the water and catch musical performances by bands both local and from around the world.
Mallards BaseballEven if you’re not a fan of the great American pastime, you’ll have a great time at the Duck Pond, the home of the Madison Mallards (a summer collegiate baseball team). If you really want to make a night of it, get your tickets in the Duck Blind—you’ll enjoy unlimited food and drink from the Great Dane while you take in the game.
Shake The LakeShake The Lake is Madison's largest firework show each 4th of July. The show is generally held on right downtown on Lake Monona. With 30 minutes of fireworks choreographed with music broadcasted over the radio and upwards of 200,000 people in attendance, the festival is a city favorite.
Taste of MadisonMadison is a foodie's paradise - we have one of the highest number of restaurants per capita in the nation - but finding time to sample all of the city's amazing cuisine is a daunting task. If you're looking for a new go-to dinner spot, you'll be able to satisfy your appetite at the annual Taste of Madison festival the weekend before Labor Day.
Forward FestivalJoin fellow entrepreneurs, nerds, designers, geeks, hackers, foodies, and creative professionals from the Midwest in an 8-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship. The Forward Festival provides the rare opportunity to interact with professionals across a wide range of disciplines.
Concerts on the SquarePack a picnic to go to Concerts on the Square. Make your way to Capitol Square on Wednesday evenings starting at the end of June to experience this Madison tradition. Count on the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra to have great performances in store. Concerts start at 7 pm, though we advise getting there earlier to claim a primo spot.
Live on King StreetHosted by the Majestic Theater, Live on King Street takes place on Friday nights in fall and late summer. The event puts nationally touring artists on an outdoor stage with a great view of the Capitol.
Wisconsin Book FestivalLiterature lovers have a lot to look forward to during the annual Wisconsin Book Festival, which takes place during October. The festival brings a variety of both fiction and non-fiction authors to the area for readings, discussion sessions and workshops. Find out more information about the festival on its website.
IRONMANIRONMAN Wisconsin takes place in Madison each fall and attracts athletes from around the country, offering 50 qualifying spots for the IRONMAN World Championship. Read more here.
Badger FootballEnjoy Wisconsin football the right way and catch the action live from Camp Randall, Wisconsin's renowned football stadium. Camp Randall has been known by many as one of the most electrifying sporting venues in the country. Show up ready to cheer and JUMP AROUND! Badger Football is an experience you truly do not want to miss.
Madison MarathonMadison’s annual marathon takes place each fall, this year falling on Sunday November 8th , starting and ending at Capitol Square. The race offers a full or half-marathon, as well as a kid’s race. As a part of your registration fee you’ll receive a long-sleeve technical shirt, finishers medal, free action photos, and a complimentary beer at the end of the race! Register early for discounted prices.
FreakfestHalloween in Madison is a tradition that brings adult revelers out in droves. Freak Fest, the city-sanctioned party on State Street, takes place Saturday night of Halloween weekend. The fest is headlined by musical acts who perform at stages set up throughout the street. Previous headliners have included Matt and Kim, Mac Miller, Neon Trees, and MURS.
Wizard World Comic ConComic Con has made its way to Madison, WI planning to host Wizard World Comic Con at the Alliant Energy Center for the second time next winter. Stars, artists, and cosplayers from across the industry gather to network and share their love of entertainment and pop-culture.
Polar PlungeLast year, 1,900 brave souls took the plunge in Madison. The best part? After their bodies returned to 98.6° F and the donations were tallied, they raised more than $340,000 for Special Olympics Wisconsin. Booyah.
Winter FestivalMore than 20,000 spectators and winter sports enthusiasts descend upon the Capitol Square for Madison's annual Winter Festival. Athletic events include a Frosty 5k run/walk, Rail Jam snowboard and ski competition, dog runs, and cross country ski races around the capitol (the road around the square is covered by more than 90 truckloads of snow).
Restaurant WeekFoodies will love Madison's Winter Restaurant Week, which generally takes place during the last full week of January, a great opportunity to sample the food of some of Madison's best restaurants at a wallet-friendly price. Dozens of area eateries will offer a fixed-price, three course meal with multiple menu options.
Madison Capitols HockeyRoot for the Madison Capitols Hockey team featuring some of the top amateur hockey players in the country. The season runs September - April with home games at Alliant Energy Center.
Farmer's MarketDane County boasts the largest producers-only farmer's market in the US. It takes place Saturday morning outdoors around the Capitol Square from April - November and moves indoors during the winter months. Do yourself a favor and try the hot spicy cheese bread - it's amazing.
Crazylegs ClassicGet your running shoes on to participate in the Crazylegs Classic, a much-anticipated 8k race benefitting UW Athletics. Roughly 20,000 runners participate in the race each year, which begins on the Capitol Square and ends at Camp Randall stadium. You can find more information and register on the race website.
Shamrock ShuffleHead to the Capitol Square for the annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. The day begins with the Shamrock Shuffle, a 5/10k race (with a 2 Mile walking option) in which runners are encouraged to don festive St. Patty's day garb. Contests for the best costume, reddest hair, and most freckles are held along with a parade.
UW ArboretumThe University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum, 1,260 acres (5 km2), is an arboretum operated by the University of Wisconsin and located at 1207 Seminole Highway, Madison. The arboretum is open to the public daily without charge.
Wisconsin Film FestivalHundreds of films from around the world are shown in Madison during the annual Wisconsin Film Festival, which takes place in March or April. Cinephiles can plan their schedule and get tickets for must-see screenings well in advance. The official annual guide, along with ticket information, is available on the festival's website.
World's Largest Brat FestThe World's Largest Brat Fest runs from Friday through Monday on Willow Island by the Alliant Energy Center. The festival features tons of live music, rides, and of course, plenty of Wisconsin-made bratwursts.
SailingTake full advantage of living in a city surrounded by multiple lakes and try your hand at kayaking, sailing or paddle boarding. If you're interested in sailing, join the UW Hoofer Sailing Club - your summer membership includes instruction for both sailing and windsurfing and use of the club's fleet of boats.
Sports LeaguesTake advantage of our amazing summer weather by joining one of the many leagues featuring sailing, horseback riding, SCUBA, soccer, volleyball, kickball, flag football, cycling, disc golf, frisbee, cricket, and more!
TubingRally a group, grab your sunscreen and make the short drive to S&B Tubing in Albany to take a leisurely trip down the Sugar River. If you'd like to break up the afternoon with some pit stops on a sandbar, head to the Wisconsin Riverside Resort in Spring Green.
SummerfestMilwaukee is home to Summerfest, the world's largest music festival, which runs from the last week in June through the first week of July. The line-up includes well-known artists (in previous years Tom Petty, The Violent Femmes, Fun, John Mayer and Nelly have headlined) but you'll also find performances from up-and-comers at some of the smaller stages.
BeachesLiving in Madison provides easy access to several public beaches. Grab a towel, sunscreen, and a good book and enjoy one of the twelve beaches around the Madison area.
PoolsThe Goodman Pool includes 2 waterslides, diving boards, and an 8-lane 25-meter lap area. The pool is open to the public throughout the summer months and is complete with concessions, lounge chairs, and umbrella tables -- a nice spot to kick back and relax with friends.
Apple PickingGet into the fall spirit and head out to the various apple orchards around the area. Many orchards also provide hot apple cider, apple donuts, caramel apples, and other tasty treats to complement your hunt for fresh fruit.
Disc GolfExplore Madison parks in a new way by taking on some of the area's scenic disc golf courses. The Madison area is home to several exceptional disc golf courses which are sure to provide an enjoyable experience to any player.
HikingDevil's Lake State Park, a short drive north of Madison near Baraboo, features attractions include camping, kayaking, hiking, beaches, picnic spots, and the best rock climbing in Wisconsin. Blue Mound State Park, the highest point in southwestern Wisconsin, offers great hiking, camping, and mountain biking as well.
Haunted HousesJust twenty minutes south of Madison lies Screamin' Acres, one of Wisconsin's finest and downright creepiest haunted attractions providing Hollywood-style detail and terror. If you're looking for something slightly more low-key and historical, sign up for one of Madison's Capitol Square Ghost Walks.
Pumpkin PatchHead on over to Schuster's Farm and pick up a pumpkin to carve. Aside from picking out pumpkins, Schuster's has hayrides, a corn maze and many other fall activities.
PaintballLooking for an adrenaline rush? Battle with your friends at one of the several outdoor paintball courses around the area. Don't forget to wear a few extra layers.
Skiing & SnowboardingYou'll find skiers and snowboarders at three local hills: Cascade Mountain, Devil's Head and Tyrol Basin, all of which are within a 45 minute drive of Madison. If you're in the market for a weekend of slope side shenanigans, head to Lutsen in Minnesota or Michigan's Mount Bohemia and Indianhead resorts.
SkatingThe City of Madison maintains 6 outdoor ice arenas, which are free to use and are fantastic for pick-up games of hockey and broomball: Rinks at Goodman, Olbrich, Garner, Vilas, Warner, and Westmorland parks. Players looking for a more competitive game can join one of the Madison Ice Arena's intramural leagues.
SleddingReconnect with your inner child by grabbing a sled and heading to Elver Park after a fresh snowfall. You'll feel the burn after a day of trekking up the hill, and the jumps you hit (willingly or not) on the way down will leave your heart pounding and your voice hoarse.
SnowshoeingIf you think snowshoeing is little more than walking on snow in unwieldy shoes, you're in for a surprise. Spend an afternoon exploring the wooded trails of the UW Arboretum while getting a serious workout. If you don't have snowshoes stashed away in your closet, head to REI to rent a pair for a day.
Ice Age TrailIf you're looking to explore, take a journey along the well-known Ice Age Trail. The Ice Age Trail is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States and is bound to satisfy the adventurer in you.
Ice FishingIce fishing in Wisconsin makes up nearly one-fourth of the state's annual catch. Many love the peacefulness and challenge of the sport, while others enjoy the social aspect of spending a day with friends in a cozy ice shanty. At nearly 9,800 acres, Lake Monona rules as the most popular fishing spot, usually freezing between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Madison LakesIf you enjoy lakeside views, boating, swimming, and other water activities, you're sure to enjoy Madison. There are five lakes to explore: Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra. The Madison area is also home to a bountiful array of waterfront restaurants, a perfect spot to watch the sunset as you end your day out on the water.
Spring LeaguesTake advantage of the warmer weather and join one of the many sport leagues around the area such as ultimate frisbee, flag football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball, kickball, and many more. Epic also has company sponsored teams -- a great way to bond with colleagues and meet new friends.
Olbrich Botanical GardensIn addition to being home to 16 acres of amazing gardens, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens often host yoga classes, concerts, and seasonal exhibits.
Food CartsEnjoy the warmth of the new season by dining outdoors at one of Madison's authentic food carts. You can sample a variety of cuisines from italian to peruvian and everything in between. Food carts are located in multiple areas around the city - there are even a few on Epic's campus!
GolfThe city of Madison offers several nearby golfing options at reasonable prices for those looking to play a round. Regardless of skill level, Madison is sure to have a course that will meet your needs.
Horseback RidingEmbark on a horseback adventure to view the landscapes of Wisconsin. Riders of all levels can participate, from beginner to advanced. If you want a lesson or two, there are clubs just for that.
Great RestaurantsHungry? Madison offers a wide range of excellent dining options, from waterfront dining to cozy tapas restaurants with Wisconsin flavor. Ask a local, or browse the list of top establishments and discover your favorite spot.
Comedy ClubEveryone can use a good laugh! The Comedy Club on State Street is an excellent option for a night out with friends. The Club features a variety of acts ranging from up and coming performers to well-known comedians. Be sure to check out their website for current shows.
TriviaCan't wait to show off your knowledge of random facts? Be sure to check out League Trivia to find out which Madison bars they will be at to make for a fun night out with a bit of friendly competition.
Sundance CinemasLocated at the Hilldale Shopping Center, the Sundance Cinema is a fantastic option if you're in the mood to relax and see a good movie. The cinema often features a nice mix of new blockbuster films and independent films.
State StreetMadison's iconic State Street connects the capitol square to the University of Wisconsin campus. Here you'll find numerous ethnic restaurants, local boutiques, and 'Madison Originals.'
Ivory Room Piano BarTaking its inspiration from several piano bars in Chicago, The Ivory Room brings a classy and cozy feel to your typical piano bar experience. Show up with some friends, sing along, and enjoy good music as artists perform on dueling pianos.
Overture Center for the ArtsThe Overture Center is a staple in Madison's cultural scene. Housing several performing arts theaters as well as the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the center is focused on not only providing a beautiful space for national and international artists and Broadway performs to take the stage, but also on community engagement in the arts.
American Players TheatreYou can catch a performance of a classic Shakespearean play or something more modern at Spring Green's American Players' Theater. Most performances take place in the outdoor amphitheater, bringing together art and nature to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for attendees.
Chazen MuseumIf art is your thing, and you're not willing to travel too far, then you'll be excited to know that Madison is home to several local art galleries. The Chazen Museum, located at the heart of the University of Wisconsin campus, has a vast collection of interesting works ranging from the ancient world to modern times.
Broom St. TheatreCatch a performance at the Broom St. Theatre, one of the oldest and most creative theater companies in the United States. The theatre has put on over 300 original productions from local artists with the ability to perform without censorship of content or presentation.
Henry Vilas ZooBreak up the weekend with a quick trip to the Vilas Zoo. The public zoo spans 28 acres and is one of the last remaining free zoos in the country.
Art Fair on the SquareWhether you're looking for a few prints to spruce up your office or you just want something to remind you of this summer, you'll find something eye-catching at Art Fair on the Square. More than 450 artists from across the United States will exhibit their work during this year's fair, which also has live music and outdoor dining.
Healthy and Happy CitySeveral sources have declared Madison one of the healthiest, happiest cities not only in America, but in the world. Low crimes, affordable fresh produce, and active locals contribute to Madison's high ranking. A recent article listed Madison in the top 10 cities for an active lifestyle in 2018.
Lower Cost of LivingNot only is Madison an exciting and active place to call home, but it is also quite affordable. When compared to the locations of other major tech corporations, Madison ranks as one of the most economical living situations in the country.
Bike-FriendlyMadison was given Platinum Bike Friendly Community status, and for good reason: there are more than 150 miles of bike paths in the city alone. Outside of the city limits, you'll find a number of well-traveled bicycle trails. If you don't have your own set of wheels, bike rental options are available.
Best Quality of LifeWe all know that a healthy life is a happy life and here in Madison, it couldn’t be more true. From claiming the title for thecity with the highest quality of life, to recently being ranked the Fittest City in America by Fitbit, Madison continues to raise the bar for wellness across the state and country.
Tech FocusLong known as a well-educated and vibrant city, Madison has become known in recent years as a lively tech hub as well. In fact, Madison ranks in the top 10 of technology-forward economies in the US. Progressive legislation and a culture of supporting local business has made Madison the ideal location for entrepreneurs and innovators. Read even more here and here.
Devil's LakeDevil's Lake is a short drive north of Madison near Baraboo. The park's attractions include camping, kayaking, hiking, beaches, picnic spots, and the best rock climbing in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin DellsAlso known by many as the "Waterpark Capital of the World", The Wisconsin Dells is a perfect spot to get in touch with your inner kid. Of course, the Dells is known for its world-class indoor waterparks, but one can also experience live entertainment, thrilling attractions, and cozy accommodations to make for an exciting weekend getaway.
ChicagoKnown for it's vibrant city life, fine dining, art, and die-hard sports fans, Chicago is a great option for a quick road trip and truly a unique cultural experience. With a wide variety of activities and attractions, a visit to Chicago is sure to catch your interest.
Door CountyHow could you not appreciate the only county in America to offer 300 miles of picturesque shoreline? Door County is a scenic spot that is certainly worth a visit. To add to its natural beauty, the county offers 11 challenging golf courses, 5 scenic state parks, 10 historic lighthouses, and a variety of restaurants and other activities.
MilwaukeeLooking to explore Wisconsin? Located just about 80 miles from Madison, Milwaukee is a great place to witness what makes Wisconsin unique. Pay a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum, catch a Brewer game at Miller Park, or experience some of Milwaukee's excellent brewery tours.
Green BayPay a visit to Green Bay, WI and experience Packer Country. Take a tour of historic Lambeau Field, or catch a Packer game if you get the opportunity. Aside from watching sports, Green Bay is also a great spot to partake in sporting activities including golf, hiking, biking, boating, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and many more.