Some Things to Do In and Around Madison
Close to the Monona Terrace Convention Center
- Tour the Wisconsin State Capitol building
Tours at 9, 10, 11am, and 1, 2, and
3pm Monday - Saturday, and 1, 2, and 3pm Sunday. Free.
- Go to the Farmers' Market
Saturday mornings, 6am - noon, around the Capitol Square.
The pastries at 25 N. Pinckney St. are great.
A smaller version of the market is on Wednesdays 8am - 2pm along
Martin Luther King Blvd.
- Relax at the University of Wisconsin
Memorial Union Terrace
800 Langdon St. Outdoor terrace and tables on the shore of Lake Mendota.
Free, outdoor, live music
Wednesday - Saturday 9pm-midnight and Friday 5-7pm.
You need to show your conference
badge to buy beer. Babcock Hall ice cream made at the University is sold
inside the Union.
- Walk State Street
"...a funky half-mile strip of food, music, craft and clothing shops running from the the university campus to the imposing state capitol building." -- New York Times.
Free, outdoor folk music Saturdays 4-7pm at 452 State St.
- Take a Walk or Run
- To Olin Park: Follow bike path along Lake Monona from
the Monona Terrace, keeping the lake on your left. About 2 miles round-trip.
- Around Lake Monona: Follow bike path signs; some path but much on city
streets. About 20K.
- To Picnic Point: Go down State St., turn right at Lake St.
until you reach Lake Mendota, turn left and follow the
lakeshore path past the Union to Picnic Point. About 10K round-trip. Very
- Rent a Bicycle or Inline Skates
Around Lake Monona (20K),
to Picnic Point (10K, most scenic), to Olin Park (2 miles), or
through the University Arboretum (10K).
A map of
city bike routes is available.
Rental stores near the Monona Terrace:
- Machinery Row Bicycles,
601 Williamson St., 442-5974.
1/4 mile from Monona Terrace.
Bicycles: $20/day or $60/week. Tandems: $50/day or $150/week.
Inline Skates: $10/day or $30/week.
- Yellow Jersey Bicycles,
419 State St., 257-4737. Bicycles: $18/day or $55/week.
- Williamson Bicycle Works,
640 West Washington Ave., 255-5292. Bicycles: $12/day or $50/week.
- Budget Bicycle Center,
930 Regent St., 251-1663.
Bicycles: Free with $75 deposit (Yellow Bikes Project).
- Rent a Canoe, Kayak, Sailboat, or Windsurfer
- On Lake Mendota
- On Lake Wingra
- Wingra Canoe and Sailing,
824 Knickerbocker St., 233-5332. Canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, windsurfers.
- Take a Boat Cruise on Lake Monona or Lake Mendota
- Betty Lou Lake Cruises,
246-3136. Fridays 4pm cocktail cruise, Saturdays 11:30am lunch cruise,
Sundays 11:30am brunch cruise, and Sundays 6pm dinner cruise.
- Pontoon boat rides on Lake Mendota, Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-7pm and
7:15-8:45pm, 1615 Sherman Ave., $3.
- Visit the University of Wisconsin Chazen Museum of Art, 800 University Ave.
- See also
- Visit Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan buildings in Madison
- Visit Taliesin: Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio
About a 45-minute
drive west of Madison in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
- See a play at the American Players Theater
An outdoor stage in the woods performing mostly
Shakespeare. Picnic area too. Spring Green, Wisconsin. 608-588-2361.
About a 45-minute drive west of Madison.
- Visit the International Crane Foundation
The one place in the world where
you can see all 15 crane species. Baraboo, Wisconsin.
608-356-9462. About a 1-hour drive north of Madison.
- Canoe the Wisconsin River
Half-day, full-day, and two-day self-guided trips are a beautiful way to see the
countryside. No canoeing experience needed.
General information and images
on excursions is available on the web. Two convenient companies where you can rent canoes and who
will pick you up downstream are
Blackhawk River Runs, 608-643-6724, and
Sauk-Praire Canoes, 608-643-6589, both on the river near Sauk City, Wisconsin, which is
about a 30-minute drive from Madison.
- Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Cattails to Clouds, 224-1100
- Sky Aces, 827-9300
- Token Creek Hot Air Balloons, 241-4000
- Hike or rock climb at
Devil's Lake State Park
Near Baraboo, Wisconsin. About 45 minutes north.
- See also
- Ice Cream
- University of Wisconsin Babcock Hall Ice Cream may be purchased at the Memorial Union,
800 Langdon St., or, if you also want to see it being made (before noon), at the
Babcock Hall Dairy Plant,
1605 Linden Dr. on the University
of Wisconsin campus.
- Michael's Frozen Custard,
2531 Monroe St. This store is very near the Lake Wingra canoe and
kayak rental place (see above).
- Madison's Henry Vilas Zoo,
702 S. Randall St., 266-4732. Small, but has a children's
zoo and is free.
- Madison Children's Museum,
100 State St., 256-6445. Small.
- University of Wisconsin
1215 W. Dayton St., 262-2399. Free.
- Cave of the Mounds. A small cave near Blue Mounds,
Wisconsin. 608-437-3038. Adults $12, children $6. About 45 minutes west of Madison.
- Circus World Museum,
Baraboo, Wisconsin. 608-356-0800.
About 45 minutes north of Madison. Original home of the Ringling Brothers
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
Water parks, boat cruises, theme
parks, mini-golf, etc. 800-223-3557 for information. About 1 hour north of Madison.