Things to do in Madison, WI

If you’re looking for things to do in Madison, WI, you’ll find the best in museums, nightlife, dining & entertainment, as well as interesting walking tours and fun events. Many things to do in Madison are inexpensive and some are free, such as the Henry Vilas Zoo.  Madison also has a variety of destinations that are open to the public, such as the State Capitol building and Monona Terrace,  the breathtaking convention center on the shore of Lake Monona,  designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Wisconsin State Capitol building is a must-see for anyone traveling to Madison. The spectacular dome is reminiscent of our nation’s Capitol building. Its cross-shaped architecture gives it a distinctive flair compared to other state Capitol buildings. Views from the grounds are magnificent, from Madison’s downtown skyline to Lake Monona and Lake Mendota and beyond. Free guided tours are offered daily, except on certain holidays.

The downtown Madison, WI area is replete with fun things to do for visitors of all ages. Our museums are conveniently located for walking, so you can enjoy multiple experiences in a single afternoon. Museums include the Madison Children’s Museum, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wisconsin Historical Museum and several more. Low costs of admission make a museum walking tour a budget-friendly way to spend a day in downtown Madison.

If you’re looking for different types of entertainment, you can enjoy Broadway theater at the Overture Center for the Arts and stop across the street for cocktails and laughs at Comedy on State for the best in stand-up comedy. 

Of course, Madison offers a wide variety of dining and drinking options, and it’s not all about our world-famous beer and cheese! You can find just about every kind of cuisine your appetite craves, with many restaurants and bars offering happy hours, live music, and amazing views to go along with our unrivaled midwestern service and hospitality.

For those who are more adventurous, Madison has a private ghost tour which brings you to Lake Monona and Monona Terrace, but also some “off the beaten path” locations which are steeped in spooky history and supernatural occurrences.

Take in the beauty and serenity of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, voted one of the top 10 most inspirational gardens in the U.S. Sixteen acres of outdoor landscapes featuring the area’s hearty plant life, as well as more exotic plants and birds in the indoor Bolz Conservatory.

Madison boasts a world-class zoo, the Henry Vilas Zoo, which features a global display of animals from the regal African lion to playful orangutans and even massive polar bears.

One of the best things to do in Madison, WI is visit Monona Terrace. Residing on the shore of Lake Monona, this is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s crown jewels and cannot be missed. This architectural masterpiece serves as Madison’s premiere community and convention center and can be experienced in many ways. Take a guided tour, participate in a multitude of events, or just stop by and marvel in the unique design of Monona Terrace. In the warmer months, the view from the William T. Evjue Rooftop Garden is perhaps the best in the entire city. 

Some upcoming events and things to do at Monona Terrace in Madison, WI  include Madison Comic Con (Mighty Con), Storytellers Concert (tickets must be purchased in advance), and the Mad City Bridal Expo in late March. You can also take in yoga classes or even a Zoom webinar series, Meditation at Monona Terrace. Check out our calendar to see what’s coming up at Monona Terrace.

Be sure and put Monona Terrace on your list of things to do in Madison, WI on your next visit!

Are you an event planner looking for the perfect location for a wedding, business meeting, or convention? Contact Monona Terrace at 608.261.4000 to book your next event.