Madison Places

TripWhat's travel guide to Madison; our list of the best things to see, including Wisconsin Badgers, Henry Vilas Zoo and Overture Center.
  • The best place in Madison: Wisconsin Badgers

    Wisconsin Badgers

    Multiple Venues on the UW Campus
    BADGERS for ticket info. University of Wisconsin intercollegiate athletic program fields teams in 23 NCAA Division I men's and women's sports. Fields highly competitive teams in football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's ice hockey and women's volleyball. Football and men's basketball sellout and tickets can be very difficult to obtain, but tickets for other sports can be readily available, often at low prices.
    South Campus food nearby
  • Henry Vilas Zoo

    Henry Vilas Zoo

    702 S Randall Ave
    Every day, excepting holidays, 9:30AM-5PM. Founded over a century ago, this is one of the few free zoos left in the country. The zoo houses over 40 species within its 30-acre grounds, and additional attractions include a zoo train, carousel and a children's play area complete with tree house.
    Vilas eat nearby
  • Overture Center

    Overture Center

    501 State St
    This venue is home to Madison's most prominent performing arts organizations, including the Madison Ballet, Opera, Symphony, Repertory Theater, and Children's Theater. The facilities also include the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and galleries housing work by local visual artists. The building itself is gorgeous - the rooftop garden is particularly impressive - and well worth a stop as one meanders down State street. Private tours are available.
    Capitol restaurants nearby
  • Madison Children's Museum

    Madison Children's Museum

    100 N Hamilton St
    A new and award-winning children's museum located right next to the State Capitol. The whimsical and mind-bending interactive exhibits will delight both adults and children alike.
    Capitol food nearby
  • Taste of Madison

    Taste of Madison

    Capitol Square
    Held Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Showcases many local restaurants, in addition to beverage stands and 3 entertainment stages. Participating restaurants sell a vast variety of unique and traditional dishes in small portions - one of their advertising taglines is that nothing costs over $4. No admission fee.
    Capitol eat nearby
  • Chazen Museum of Art

    Chazen Museum of Art

    800 University Ave
    A classic art exhibit inside the University of Wisconsin's art school, containing several different sections ranging from ancient sculptures to modern-day photography. The exhibits are changed regularly, the museum is quiet and uncrowded, and admission is free.
    Capitol restaurants nearby
  • Monona Terrace

    Monona Terrace

    1 John Nolen Dr
    From the roof of Monona Terrace, one can see views of downtown Madison, including the Capitol and a panoramic view of Lake Monona. There are weekly events during the summer, including Dane Dances, concerts on the rooftop, and free Tai Chi.
    Capitol food nearby
  • UW Arboretum

    UW Arboretum

    1207 Seminole Hwy
    A massive, man-made nature reserve that has been carefully planned out with several different types of forests and plant species. Excellent for bike rides, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, and long walks.
    Nakoma League eat nearby
  • Dotty Dumplings Dowry

    Dotty Dumplings Dowry

    317 N Frances St
    M-W 11AM-11PM, Th-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 12PM-10PM. $8-15. If you're looking for a good burger in Madison, this is the place to be. Dotty's unarguably serves one of the best burgers in Madison, if not the very best.
  • Madcity Music Exchange

    Madcity Music Exchange

    600 Williamson St
    M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12PM-5PM. An independent music store featuring a very large selection of new and used vinyl records. A diverse selection of new and used CDs are also on hand for a healthy sized non-vinyl inventory.
  • Roman Candle

    Roman Candle

    1054 Williamson St Ste A
    [32] There's plenty of good pizza in this town, but the pizza-by-the-slice here is out of this world. Pair it with their roasted red pepper soup and you can't go wrong.
  • Tornado Steak House

    Tornado Steak House

    116 S Hamilton St
    American-style steak house that also serves excellent cocktails. Not cheap, but offers late-night dining.
  • WILLY Tech Shop

    804 Williamson St
    Madison’s independent, locally-owned, full-service technology resource offering sales, service & training. Features a great selection of tech products including their own unique "ECO shop" of green tech products, local artists products, used Macs, iPods & more. Very warm and welcoming as the tech shop where everybody knows your name. Be sure to "say hi" to their very popular store mascot "iFish" when visiting.
  • The Memorial Union Terrace

    800 Langdon St
    A lovely terrace which overlooks beautiful Lake Mendota. Be sure to sample Babcock Ice Cream, made locally at Babcock Dairy Hall, whose profits help fund the UW-Madison dairy program. The Memorial Union also features a wide variety of local and regional beers - perfect for sipping (note: Union membership or University affiliation required to buy alcoholic beverages, but one-day guest passes can be obtained) while listening to live music, or enjoying the view with friends. Boat rentals are also available for the more active crowd.
    Capitol eat nearby
  • Cranes Roost Park

    Shorecrest & Northlake Blvd
    - A thirty seven acre lakeside park features one mile of continuous lighted boardwalk and covered pavilions, various ornamental plants, huge shade trees, park benches, floating stage, 900 seat amphitheater, handicapped accessible restrooms and ranger station. Many of the City's major events take place here.
    restaurants nearby
  • Art Fair Off The Square

    Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
    Held concurrent and adjacent to Art Fair On The Square on second weekend of July, but features only Wisconsin artists. More than 100 exhibitors each year. No admission fee.
    Capitol food nearby
  • Rhythm and Booms

    Warner Park
    Saturday before 4th of July. This Independence Day celebration includes food, music, children's events, carnival rides, and other activities, culminating at dusk with the Midwest's largest fireworks display, timed to music broadcast by a local radio station.
    eat nearby
  • Madison Mallards

    The Duck Pond at Warner Park; 2920 N Sherman Ave
    Collegiate summer baseball team that is part of the Northwoods League. A number of Mallards have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. Tip: If you catch a foul ball, return it and get a free hot dog.
    South Campus restaurants nearby
  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens

    3330 Atwood Ave
    These sixteen free outdoor gardens have many ponds and greens, as well as the only Thai Pavilion in the continental United States. There is a $1 fee to enter the conservatory, which houses over 650 exotics and tropicals.
    Schenk-Atwood food nearby
  • Wisconsin Veterans Museum

    30 W Mifflin St
    Chronicles the sacrifices made by Wisconsin Veterans from the American Civil War to the present day. The 20th Century gallery of the museum includes full-size replicas of a WWI Sopwith Camel biplane and a P-51 Mustang, as well as an authentic Huey Helicopter.
    Capitol eat nearby
  • Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

    227 State St
    A unique three-story collection of works created by artists based in Madison and beyond, containing many interactive exhibits and free tours which you can listen to on your cell phone. The fourth floor houses an upscale restaurant and bar, and offers a magnificent view of State Street.
    Capitol restaurants nearby
  • Great Taste of the Midwest

    1156 Olin-Turville Court
    This beer festival, put on by the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild, is one of the biggest in the nation, with over one hundred brewpubs and microbreweries in attendance, and over 5,000 guests. The number of tickets is limited, and the popularity of this event means that they typically sell out within days.
    food nearby
  • Hilldale Mall

    702 N Midvale Blvd
    Lots of independent stores, Morgan's Shoes, Playthings, Fair Indigo, etc. Also has some bigger more well known stores; Macy's, Anthropology, The North Face, Bath and Body Works. Has a grocery store, and also one of Robert Redford's Sundance Cinemas [1]. Many restaurants, sit-down or to-go. Also nail and hair salons are present. Very nice, upper-scale mall.
    Sunset Village
  • Plan B

    Plan B

    918 Williamson St
    $4 rails, $4 beers. A gay-friendly bar in one of Madison´s most progressive neighborhoods. European-style dance club with great lights, sound system, and lots of cool, open-minded people. Great place to go and dance all night long. 18 & up on Thursday nights. Weekends are definitely the best time to go.
  • L'Etoile


    1 South Pinckney Street
    Open M-Th at 6PM, F at 5:30PM, Sa at 5PM. Nationally-acclaimed restaurant focusing on locally grown ingredients, often found at the Farmer's Market. While pricey, it is worth it. Make reservations in advance.
  • Ella's Deli

    Ella's Deli

    2902 E Washington Ave
    Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-11PM. A great place to take kids, and adults will have fun too. The entire restaurant is decorated with animated toys, and about half of the tables have glass tops that allow you to look at interesting things, including a running model train and a baseball card collection. Their ice cream is excellent, their pastrami is unbeatable, and it's all kosher. Sandwich sizes are often smaller than one would expect from a kosher-style deli.
    Eken Park
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EDIT THIS ITINERARY Our list of places in Madison uses some content from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage.