10 Best Things to Do in Madison, Wisconsin

The wonderful thing about Madison, Wisconsin, is the juxtaposition of lush scenery with lively city streets, creating a feeling of being secluded but also having access to everything a city has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you want to escape to a serene botanical garden or spend the day perusing specialty boutiques, Madison runs the gamut. Here are our favorite things to do in the city!  

Henry Vilas Zoo

At this zoo, you’ll see polar bears, prairie dogs, penguins, tigers, giraffes, and more. Henry Vilas Zoo is also a donation-based zoo, which means there is no entrance fee, zoo-goers can choose to donate and designated spots throughout the zoo. And the very best part is that the zoo is open almost 365 days a year.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Henry Vilas Zoo (@henryvilaszoo) on

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

These botanical gardens can offer a breath of fresh humid air during the winter months or a welcome change of scenery during the summer months. The garden possesses 16 acres of outdoor display gardens as well as an indoor tropical conservatory, offering differing but equally enthralling experiences.

Chazen Museum of Art

Located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, the Chazen Museum of Art is home to more than 20,000 works of art, according to its website. Those works are contained in different collections like prints, photography, paintings, sculpture, and more.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chazen Museum of Art (@chazenartuw) on

The Memorial Union Terrace

Famous for its vibrantly colored and uniquely designed outdoor chairs, the Memorial Union Terrace is usually filled with people during the summer months. Oftentimes there’s a live band playing on the outdoor stage with the lake as a backdrop.

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

A destination for visiting politicians and elementary school field trips alike, the state capitol building is an icon on the Madison city skyline. The inside is just as breathtaking as the view when it’s lit up on a clear summer night over the water. Schedule a tour or simply visit and explore.

The Arboretum

The Arboretum is also affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to its website it is “widely recognized as the site of historic research in ecological restoration.” With a multitude of restored ecological communities, visitors can explore using almost 20 miles of hiking trails. 

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

This art museum has been around for more than a century, and in and of itself is a little bit of history. The Museum of Contemporary Art may have a smaller collection than the Chazen, but it contains works from significant American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries as well as numerous Wisconsin-based artists. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by MMoCA (@mmocamadison) on

State Street

State Street is a really a combination of venues. The street leads to the Square, which surrounds the capitol, and houses dozens of restaurants, specialty boutiques, and clothing stores. State Street is also home to the downtown nightlife of Madison, engulfed in an exciting and energetic atmosphere.

Wisconsin Historical Museum

Have you ever stood in a replica of a 1,000-year-old house before? Wisconsin’s Historical Museum offers that experience, that along with mock-ups of a fur-trading post, a lead mine, and a tractor cab. Schedule a tour and visit; there’s several floors filled with history.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Willy Subach (@discountedwilly) on

Pheasant Branch Conservancy

Perhaps some knew it as its former name, Bellefontaine Conservancy, but now it goes by the title of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, containing more than 150 acres of land. There are Native American burial grounds at some high points of the area. Pack a bag and set off into the wilderness.

Share your favorites!
Wisconsin Search
Best Things To Do Near You
Best Things To Do Near You
May
23

Billy Bob Thornton

8:00 PM
Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Learn More
May
27
May
28
May
28

Coloma Flea & Craft Market

8:00 AM
Coloma Community Park, Coloma, WI
Learn More
May
28
May
28
May
28
Show More
Best Places To Go Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
Post Road and School Drive, Plover, WI
8th Street South and Chestnut Street, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Skate Park General Information: Parks open 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily (April until it snows) Open to skateboarding, aggressive skating, BMX biking.... Read More
364 Wakeley Rd, Nekoosa, WI
About Us:- On June 2, 1837, Robert and Mary Wakely and their two young sons--Chauncey and Robert--arrived at Point Basse on a keelboat that had bee... Read More
100 Bukolt Avenue, Stevens Point, WI
The park covers 14,422 square feet, including a concrete footprint of 11,321 square feet. BMX bikes without pegs are allowed in the skatepark.Desig... Read More
2419 North Point Drive, Stevens Point, WI
Mission Statement:When Schmeeckle Reserve was created in 1977, the committee established three priorities which would guide the management and deve... Read More
8500 Jordan Road, Stevens Point, WI
Jordan Park, located two miles northeast of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is just one of 24 areas managed by the Portage County Parks Department. This ... Read More
909 Brainards Drive, Waupaca, WI
Amenities:Baseball Field, Batting Cages, Grill(s), Lighted Ball Diamonds, Open to the public, Park Benches, Picnic Area, Playground Equipment, Rest... Read More
2501 River Road, Wisconsin Dells, WI
About Us:- At Chula Vista, we invite you to come experience all of the thrills and excitement at our remarkable indoor and outdoor water parks in ... Read More
215 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Visual Historian Who Made Wisconsin Dells FamousMore than a photographer, Henry Hamilton Bennett (1843-1908) was an inventive visual historian. His... Read More
701 Superior Street, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Explore all the things to do and places to stay in Wisconsin Dells - "The Waterpark Capital of the World!". We may be world-famous for our waterpar... Read More
857 N Frontage Rd, Wisconsin Dells, WI
About Us:- The Polynesian Water Park Resort is the best Water Park Hotel for Families with kids10 and Under! That is why we invite all kids 10 and... Read More
700 Hwy 12, Wisconsin Dells, WI
History:- Timbavati Wildlife Park, from its stunning exterior wildlife murals to its beautiful animal displays, and interactive and educational an... Read More
1701 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Here are a few things to remember when visiting Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park. Being respectful to both other guests and our staff is very imp... Read More
1550 Wisc Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI
About Us:- Created 14,000 years ago from waters ripping through Wisconsin Dells carving gorges, rocky islands and towering cliffs, the Glacial Park... Read More
Show More
Select a Wisconsin town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Menominee County