Located on the corner of Babcock Street and Observatory Drive, in the University Housing Lakeshore Neighborhood, enjoy the beauty and tranquility with a walk through the gardens. Admission is free.
A trip to Wisconsin would not be complete without some of the famous ice cream or cheese made right here on the UW-Madison campus. Ask any local for flavor recommendations.
You haven’t had a true Madison experience until you’ve watched the sun set over Lake Mendota from the Memorial Union Terrace. Sit in one of their famous starburst chairs with food from their outdoor and indoor restaurants as live music plays in the background and boats sail in and out from the docks.
Whether you go for cheese curds or the fresh vegetables, there’s nothing like a sunny day at the Dane County Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday morning from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Madisonians flock to Capitol Square as it transforms into one of the nation’s largest outdoor markets. With over 300 local vendors you can find everything from fresh flowers and plants, produce, baked goods, maple syrup, music, local artisans, spicy cheese bread, and of course, an impressive array of local cheeses.
Lions, tigers and bears, oh my. The Henry Vilas Zoo is a free attraction in the heart of the city that is always a favorite among children of all ages.
Whether it be the chickens on the roof, the art studio or the indoor playground, every kid (and let’s be honest, adult) has his or her favorite spot at the Madison Children’s Museum. In addition to the permanent exhibits, you can browse their calendar for special events that are featured almost every week.
Located right in the central campus area, the Chazen Museum of Art features temporary exhibitions along with permanent museum collections. The stunning architecture of the museum provides a backdrop for the artwork, which includes everything from modern sculpture, to ancient Egyptian art.
If you’re looking for a little culture during your visit, the Overture Center is the place to go. The Overture Center is Madison’s hub for the performing arts, and you can purchase tickets on its website for national and international touring shows, the Madison Opera, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Ballet, and much more.
Modeled after our nation's capitol, with giant marble columns and an impressive rotunda, our capitol is a good stop for beautiful architecture and an inside look into Wisconsin happenings. It is free and open to the public with guided tours daily (except holidays).
Groups and tours from all over the state, country and world come to Olbrich to enjoy an oasis of beauty on the shores of Lake Monona.
Every Wednesday, in late June through early August, there are concerts on the square featuring a guest artist. Bring your dinner and a blanket or enjoy food from a local vendor as you listen to the phenomenal Madison Chamber Orchestra and guest performers. And that gorgeous capitol we mentioned? It will serve as the backdrop.
With over 200 miles of biking and walking trails in the Madison area, take a ride to the free University of Wisconsin arboretum. The arboretum features gardens, ecological communities including woodlands, savannas, prairies, and wetlands, and 20 miles of scenic trails.