Bicycling along the lakefront at a park downtown
Tulips in bloom at the Wisconsin State Capitol building
Bountiful harvest at one of the farms in the surrounding countryside
With a view of Lake Mendota, watching the setting sun at Tenney Park
At Monona Terrace, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture on the lakeshore
Reflections in the still water of Lake Monona as the sun rises
Shopping and dining options along pedestrian-friendly State Street
Summertime fun at Memorial Union Terrace at Lake Mendota
Get happy in the capital city
Seeing the City Sights
At the Wisconsin State Capitol and Capitol Square, join a tour of the marble and granite building that tells the story of its art and architecture and offers historical highlights. Bookended by the capitol and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, State Street neighborhood showcases the area’s local culture, with shops, restaurants and nightlife (the community’s no-vehicle rule makes strolling around a breeze). Stop in to both the university’s Geology Museum and Arboretum to learn about the local environment and the habitats it supports. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chazen Museum of Art feature Wisconsin-based artists as well as national works. Round out your cultural tour of the city with stops at Wisconsin Historical Museum for an insightful look into regional history and at the Overture Center for the Arts to see resident company and Broadway performers on stage.
Soak Up the Beauty Outdoors
Madison makes the most of its natural beauty, offering plenty of ways to experience it. Stroll through Olbrich Botanical Gardens, enjoying the serene Thai Pavilion and Garden. At Allen Centennial Garden, the emphasis is on learning in this “living laboratory.” Engage with wildlife at the Henry Vilas Zoo within Vilas Park on Lake Wingra. Make the most of the plentiful lakes here: Hit the beach, fish or canoe at Lake Mendota, or walk the nature trails at Governor Nelson State Park on Lake Monona. While there, visit the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, Monona Terrace’s design is the centerpiece of a public tour. Grab dinner and drinks at Memorial Union Terrace on the university campus, where lakefront views and live music make for a sweet summer evening outdoors.
A Culinary Experience
From farmers markets to farm-to-table restaurants to food festivals, a whole host of Madison establishments and events satisfy every craving. Madison offers everything a foodie could want: chef-driven restaurants, a long tradition of bringing locavore fare to the table and innovative ethnic cuisine. Visit the Dane County Farmers Market, stop into specialty cheese shops like Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet, pick up an ice cream cone from Babcock Hall Dairy Store, or enjoy some from-scratch goods at any number of bakeries. Tour microbreweries, wineries and distilleries for a taste of Madison’s enviable brew culture and varietals. Wake up your palate – and pick up a delicious souvenir – with a tasting at the National Mustard Museum.
The dome crowning the state capitol is 100 percent granite and is the largest such dome in the world.