Nesting west of Milwaukee is Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. Situated between the lakes Monona and Mendota, Madison boasts of an architectural wonder structure that is its domed Wisconsin State Capitol. The city’s name derived from the name of the fourth president of the United States of America, James Madison. For tourists who like understanding cultures and heritage, they often the Wisconsin Historical Museum. If you are in the beautiful city of Madison with your family, don’t forget to take them to the fascinating Henry Villas Zoo and the interactive Madison Children’s Museum. If you have a deep appreciation for art, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art should be on your itinerary. For a more in-depth guide, here is a list of fantastic things to do in Madison, Wisconsin. Feel free to browse below.
1. Enjoy a live jazz performance at Cafe Coda
Turn your boring night into a jazz party by checking out the vibes at the fantastic Cafe Coda on 1224 Williamson Street. It is a lovely jazz bar with romantic vibes and friendly ambiance. It features live shows and delightful performances from talented jazz artists that will surely make you sway to the melody. But not just that, this jazz bar serves premium drinks and cocktails to make the night more enjoyable. Some of the upcoming shows they’ll feature include the Funky Mondays featuring Joey Banks, the Jon Hoel Trio, Juli Wood Quartet, and more. Check their website for more information.
Address: 1224 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703, USA
Website: Cafe Coda
Opening hours: Thu - Sat, Mon: 5pm - 12am (closed on Sun & Tue - Wed)
2. Browse through interesting items at Antiques Mall of Madison
Do you fancy vintage stuff and rare finds? Visit Antiques Mall of Madison because this store might just have what you want. They guarantee providing quality items for a very reasonable pricing bracket. They sell everything from charming jewelry pieces to clothing, toys, silver sets to fiesta wares, pieces of furniture, to as big as a whole bedroom set. Not only that–you will also get to save huge cash by buying antique products, but its quality is guaranteed tested by time. Shop now and take home some wonderful stuff in Antiques Mall of Madison.
Antiques Mall of Madison
Address: 4748 Cottage Grove Rd, Madison, WI 53716, USA
Website: Antiques Mall of Madison
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10am - 6pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm; Mon: 10am - 4pm
3. Learn more about the city at Wisconsin Historical Museum
If you like learning interesting and salient facts about the cities you visit, you should definitely include Wisconsin Historical Museum on your itinerary. Located in 30 North Caroll Street, on the Capitol Square of the city, the Wisconsin Historical Museum is a fascinating museum that houses multilevel exhibits of galleries and artifacts that help tell the history of Wisconsin from as far back as the prehistoric times moving towards the present time. Learn more about the city’s history as it comes to life in the marvelous museum. It is a wonderful place to visit with your family and friends.
Wisconsin Historical Museum
Address: 30 N Carroll St, Madison, WI 53703, USA
Website: Wisconsin Historical Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 4pm (closed on Sun)
Price: From 5 USD
Make the most of your Madison escapade by booking this delightful pub tour on a trolley. This exciting tour package will last for two hours. Guests will be treated to a delightful experience of being in a pedal-powered pub crawl as they explore the city and the best sights and attractions it has to offer. Note that guests must bring their own beverages. For added convenience, coolers and a mobile bar are available for usage in the vehicle. This package includes a professional guide to narrate the landmarks and sights that you will get to pass through during the trip.
Trolley Pub Public Tour
Duration: 2 hours
If you are interested in exploring Madison’s historic Capitol Square, this tour package may just pique your interest. But not only that, this tour boasts of a fantastic twist. Enjoy a thrilling ghost walk while learning about the city’s culture and heritage during this experience. You will be guided by experienced guides that will share to you the haunting stories and paranormal activities that happened in the city. It is an exciting adventure to share with your friends. Note that participants of the tour should wear appropriate clothing for a walking tour so prepare accordingly.
Madison Ghost Walk - Capitol Square
Duration: 90 to 120 minutes
6. Admire the architectural masterpiece of Wisconsin State Capitol
Located in 2 East Main Street, the Wisconsin State Capitol is one of the many marvelous landmarks that Madison is famous for. Its dome-shaped structure is an architectural wonder in itself, and lots of tourists make sure to have a picture with it while in the city. Home to the governing pillar of Wisconsin, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the office of the governor, Wisconsin State Capitol offers guided tours for scholars, academics, and interested parties through the Capitol Visitor Center. If you happen to visit Madison, be sure to check out the Wisconsin State Capitol.
Wisconsin State Capitol
Address: 2 E Main St, Madison, WI 53703, USA
Website: Wisconsin State Capitol
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 4pm
7. Plan a day out with your kids to Madison Children’s Museum
Traveling to the vibrant, bustling city of Madison with your family any time soon? If so, you might want to insert the Madison Children’s Museum into your well-planned itinerary, It is a charming interactive museum that features lovely exhibits that your kids will surely love such as Possible-opolis, community concourse, Urb Garden, Wildernest, and a lot more. It even has an art studio where they can practice their creative skills. Not only that, but they hold programs and events that your kids would surely love to participate in.
Madison Children’s Museum
Address: 2116, 100 N Hamilton St, Madison, WI 53703, United
Website: Madison Children’s Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: From 8 USD
8. Immerse yourself in the works of art at Chazen Museum of Art
Whether you are a professional artist, a budding talent, or a regular Joe with a fascination for art, you should definitely visit the charming Chazen Museum of Art in University Ave. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, this fascinating museum is home to rotating exhibitions. Annually, they feature a total of 10 to 12 interesting art installations to be exhibited. The artworks vary from sculptures to paintings to video, film, and performances. Not only that, but the Chazen Museum of Art also boasts of permanent collections on display, with 1,600 painting masterpieces and a total of 20,000 diverse artworks that cover the entire spectrum of art.
Chazen Museum of Art
Address: 750 University Ave, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Website: Chazen Museum of Art
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 5pm
Price: 2 USD
9. Enjoy boating in the beautiful Lake Monona
Imagine swimming in fresh waters or boating with your family while enjoying the marvelous natural views. Life’s simple joys are what await you on an afternoon of picnic and fun at the Lake Monona. With picturesque waterscape, lush greens, and lovely flora, you will surely feel the calm and relaxation that you long for. Bring some snacks to enjoy with your family. Not only is the Lake Monona an ideal picnic and boating site, but it is also a fantastic cycling and jogging area for people who need their daily cardio exercise. Note that if you plan to swim in the lake, be sure to guard your young fellows as there are no lifeguards on duty in Lake Monona.
Address: Dane County, Wisconsin
10. Browse through modern and contemporary collection at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
Another marvelous museum dedicated to art in Madison that you should see during your vacation in the city is the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, located in 227 State Street, this museum is popular to tourists who have an inclination to modern art. Formerly known as the Madison Art Center, this gorgeous museum showcases a three-story glass facade that serves as its main staircase as well as its identifier. It features interesting art exhibitions, galleries, as well as Chicago imagists works.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
Address: 227 State St, Madison, WI 53703, USA
Website: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 12pm - 5pm; Fri: 12pm - 8pm; Sat: 10am - 8pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: Free admission
11. Marvel at the beauty of nature at Olbrich Botanical Gardens
If you have some spare time while in Madison, you might want to see the gorgeous Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Atwood Ave. It is a vast outdoor garden named after its founder, Michael Olbrich. It features spectacular landscapes and stunning plants and flora. It also has the Bolz Conservatory that is home to exotic plants, bird wildlife, and a waterfall. This place is also popular for special events and functions like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and others.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Address: 3330 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Website: Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
Price: Free admission
12. Catch the Madison Mallards baseball team practice at Warner Park
You cannot end your Madison vacation without watching an exciting game of baseball at Warner Park. Located in 2930 North Sherman Ave, Warner Park is a recreational area that boasts of natural beauty. It is a vast property with sports tracks and courts including a baseball field, basketball court, football field, tennis courts, and others. It is also a popular venue to exciting sports tournaments in the city including the Madison Mallard’s most awaited matches. Aside from those, Warner Park has excellent hiking routes, a playground for the kids, picnic shelters, dog on-leash area, and a lot more.
Address: 2930 N Sherman Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Website: Warner Park
Opening hours: 4am - 10pm (daily)
Price: From 1 USD
13. Book your tickets to a live football match at Camp Randall Stadium
If you are a sports enthusiast, you will surely enjoy catching a live football match at Camp Randall Stadium. Built in 1917, Camp Randall Stadium is home to the city’s football team, as well as a venue to the most-awaited football matches in Wisconsin. On record, Camp Randall Stadium can comfortably accommodate up to 80,321 people, making it one of America’s most vast school-owned museums. The stadium is not only impressive in size but it is also interesting in terms of the various events it holds such as concerts, exhibition games, Drum Corps International performances, and other high-energy events.
Camp Randall Stadium
Address: 1440 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711, USA
Website: Camp Randall Stadium
Opening hours: Schedule varies per event
Price: Ticket price varies per event
14. Try your luck at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison
Feeling a little luckier than usual? If so, you might want to test your luck at the Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison Casino. Located in 4002 Evan Acres Road, this high-energy casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You might want to have a seat at the poker table and bluff your way towards some cash or spin some fortune at the roulette. Aside from those, there are various games and slot machines that you can take advantage of while in Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison Casino. Not only that but it also features a fantastic bar serving premium drinks and delicious food.
Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison
Address: 4002 Evan Acres Rd, Madison, WI 53718, USA
Website: Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
15. Visit the shops and restaurants at State Street
State Street is a bustling shopping and dining district in downtown Madison. It is within walking distance to the iconic Wisconsin State Capitol. It boasts of exquisite restaurants, laid-back cafes, high-energy pubs, luxurious retail shops, specialty boutiques, souvenir stores, and a lot more. A lot of locals and tourists alike frequent this side of Madison to treat themselves to a wonderful time. This place turns into a vibrant night scene when the moon starts to rise in the skies.
Address: Downtown Madison
16. Plan a family bonding time at Elver Park
Thinking of a fun thing to do with your family while in the beautiful city of Madison? Why not spend a wonderful afternoon at Elver Park? Located in 1250 McKenna Boulevard, Elver Park is a vast community park in the city with lots of amenities. It features a basketball court, a tennis court, a softball field, disc golf course, a soccer field, a playground for kids, and a lot more. Nearby restrooms are also available for guests’ added convenience in Elver Park.
Address: 1250 McKenna Blvd, Madison, WI 53719, USA
Website: Elver Park
Opening hours: 4am - 10pm (daily)
Price: From 7 USD
17. Bring your kids to Henry Vilas Zoo
Another fantastic attraction in Madison that your kids should see is the Henry Vilas Zoo. This fascinating zoo is community-supported by AZA-accredited zoos which thrive on donations to operate. It is home to hundreds of animal species that came from various parts of the globe. It features African lions, penguins, flamingos, camels, American badgers, and a whole lot more. Your kids will surely have so much fun learning about wildlife in Henry Vilas Zoo.
Henry Vilas Zoo
Address: 702 S Randall Ave, Madison, WI 53715, USA
Website: Henry Vilas Zoo
Opening hours: 9:30am - 5pm (daily)
Price: Free admission
18. Capture Camp Randall Memorial in your camera
You cannot leave Madison without taking souvenir photos of the iconic Camp Randall Memorial. It is a remarkable army site in the city that boasts of significant history. It got its name from the city’s governor, Alexander Randall. During the civil war, it was used as a training ground for soldiers. Almost 70,000 recruits spent days of rigorous training and exercises at the Camp Randall Memorial. At the present time, tourists visit this green space to pay respect to this heritage site and take souvenir photos.
Camp Randall Memorial
Address: University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, 1455 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711, United States
19. Gorge on mouthwatering sweets at Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Do you always crave for sweets when you’re hungry or bored? Is your sweet tooth always craving premium chocolates? You will surely enjoy your time at Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier. It is a fantastic chocolate store located at 2083 Atwood Ave. Gorge on flavorful premium chocolates that just melts in your mouth as it bursts with flavors. They have a variety of sweets from truffles to caramels to fruit and nuts, to a lot more. Visit Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier now and bag some sweets or buy these treats as presents for your loved ones.
Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Address: 2083 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Website: Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 4pm
20. Relish traditional Venezuelan & Latin American delicacies at La Taguara
If you’re done with the sights, the city walks, and the touristy activities in Madison, you might want to pause for a while and try its exquisite eats. First stop is La Taguara Restaurant in East Washington Avenue. It is a charming restaurant with casual interior design and friendly ambiance that offers mouthwatering Venezuelan and Latin American specialties. You can dine in at the restaurant or have your food to-go. Plus, they serve food in generous portions for a reasonable price.
Address: 3502 E Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Website: La Taguara
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri: 11am - 10pm; Sat: 9am - 10pm; Sun: 9am - 6pm
21. Watch a live performance at Overture Center for the Arts
Located in 201 State Street near the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Overture Center for the Arts is the center of performing arts and a cultural hub in Madison. It is also a gallery of fascinating artworks and exhibits that will surely wow the artist in you. It has several theatres dedicated to entertaining acts and performances. Aside from that, it houses the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
Overture Center for the Arts
Address: 201 State St, Madison, WI 53703, USA
Website: Overture Center for the Arts
Opening hours: Schedule varies per show
Price: Price varies per show
22. Quench your thirst at Jordan's Big Ten Pub
Celebrating an important occasion with your friends or simply looking for a place to spend a boring weeknight? If so, you might want to enjoy some premium drinks at Jordan’s Big Ten Pub. This modern pub features a charming modern interior design with a casual ambiance. Whether you are riding solo or with a group of friends, you will surely love the vibe in this place. The crowd is warm, the beer is cold, and the service is top-notch at Jordan’s Big Ten Pub.
Jordan's Big Ten Pub
Address: 1330 Regent St #1255, Madison, WI 53715, USA
Website: Jordan’s Big Ten Pub
Opening hours: Mon, Wed - Thu: 11am - 2am; Tue, Sun: 11am - 11pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 2:30am
23. Check out the geological wonders at University of Wisconsin Geology Museum
While at the University of Wisconsin, you might want to check out its Geology Museum. It houses artifacts and relics that will surely amaze you. Admission to the museum is free and a booklet guide is downloadable on their website. It showcases replicas of dinosaur bone structures, valuable rocks, fossils, and other interesting objects. The museum also offers kindergarten classes and academic lectures to interested participants.
University of Wisconsin Geology Museum
Address: 1215 W Dayton St, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 11:40am - 4:30pm; Sat: 9am - 1pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
Price: Free admission
24. Dance the night away at Visions Night Club
If you are feeling in the mood for some dancing and drinking, experience the party scene in Visions Night Club, located at 3554 East Washington Club. This is a high-energy night club and a fantastic strip club that provides excellent entertainment for its guests. You will surely sway to the beat of the lively background music as you enjoy your cold drinks at this wonderful club.
Visions Night Club
Address: 3554 E Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Website: Visions Night Club
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 6pm - 1:30am; Fri - Sat: 6pm - 2am
25. Go farm-fresh at Dane County Farmers' Market
Open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Dane County Farmers’ Market in 2 East Maun Street is your one-stop shopping district for your fresh produce and ingredients needs. It is a bustling area filled with stalls selling organic fruits and vegetables, flowers, artisans products, and a lot more. There are also food stalls in the Dane Country Farmer’s Market waiting for you to try and bag some goodies. Not to mention, it is a fantastic place to make friend with locals and get tips on recipes and travel.
Dane County Farmers' Market
Address: 2 E Main St, Madison, WI 53701, USA
Website: Dane County Farmers’ Market
Opening hours: Wed, Sat: 8:30am - 1:30pm (closed from Sun - Tue & Thu- Fri)
26. Get your retail fix at West Towne Mall
Thinking of a place to have a good time on a dull afternoon in Madison? Why don’t you spend some quality time at West Towne Mall? This mall has every luxury on offer. It has excellent restaurants that offer mouthwatering food, fantastic retail shops, luxurious boutiques, pampering centers, recreational areas, and a lot of attractions in one vast property. Some of the stores West Towne Mall features include Coach, Vans, Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, JCPenney, and a lot more.
West Towne Mall
Address: 66 W Towne Mall, Madison, WI 53719, USA
Website: West Towne Mall
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm
27. Admire the panoramic vistas from Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
One of the many picturesque sceneries that make Madison a beautiful modern paradise is the view of the Lake Monona. If you want to enjoy its spectacular views while in the comfort of a relaxing, open-space setting, head over to Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Located in 1 John Nolen Drive, this upscale center is a beautiful architectural wonder and a venue for special events and functions, available for rent. Its inside is used for community programs, important meetings, and other events while the outside is a charming place to relax and breathe fresh air while marveling at the view of Lake Monona.
Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
Address: 1 John Nolen Dr, Madison, WI 53703, USA
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 8am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 8am - 12am
28. Ace your lane game at Bowl-A-Vard Lanes
Thinking of a place to bring your friends for some bonding time? Go to Bowl-A-Vard Lanes and settle some old scores. This fantastic bowling center gas lots of excellent bowling lanes that can accommodate lots of its guests. Not only that, but it also features a food and beverage area where you can buy yourself snacks. Also, they have programs that will challenge everyone such as Whiskey Makes Me Frisky, Women Bowl With Wine, Car Cruise giveaway, and more. Invite your friends for an afternoon of fun and games at Bowl-A-Vard Lanes.
Address: 2121 E Springs Dr, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Website: Bowl-A-Vard Lanes
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 12am; Fri - Sat: 9am - 1am; Sun: 10am - 12am
29. Walk through the themed gardens at Allen Centennial Garden
Reconnect with Mother Nature and admire her beauty at Allen Centennial Garden in 620 Babcock Drive. This gorgeous garden is a paradise that seems like it was taken from a storybook. It is home to spectacular flowers and plants such as the New York Ironweed, Purple Angelica, Perennial Snapdragon, Knautia, and a lot more. This place is a wonderful venue to host some special occasions or a spot to practice your photography skills.
Allen Centennial Garden
Address: 620 Babcock Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Website: Allen Centennial Garden
Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)
Price: Free admission
30. Have a go at Odana Hills Golf Course
Whether you are in Madison for some business, it won’t hurt to relax a little and play a few rounds of golf at the Odana Hills Golf Course. Located in 4635 Odana Road, this excellent golf course features a par-72 course and an 18-hole regulation course. Its scenic landscape adds charm and relaxing vibes to its guests. In addition, guests may take advantage of an expansive clubhouse with excellent food offerings, locker rooms, lounge areas, and more.
Odana Hills Golf Course
Address: 4635 Odana Rd, Madison, WI 53711, USA
Website: Odana Hills Golf Course
Opening hours: 6:30am - 10pm (daily)
Explore the charming city of Madison
Madison is a modern metropolis nesting between the lakes Monona and Mendota. Its bustling heart is filled with upscale businesses and attractions, but also a fair share of green spaces, recreational areas, and botanical gardens. You will never run out of things to do in a city as lively as Madison. If you are planning a vacation to this side of Wisconsin any time soon, use this list of the best things to do in Madison as your guide in planning an itinerary to make the most of your time here.
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