There is more than Madison than meets the eye. This capital city of Wisconsin offers stylish yet modest attractions that cater to all age brackets. Things to do in Madison, Wisconsin, are not hard to find, and most are free! From stunning landscapes to culture and history-filled escapades, there is something for everyone’s cup of tea here.

Madison WI Downtown




Wisconsin State Capitol

You can’t come to Wisconsin and miss the State Capitol. The Wisconsin State Capitol can be found just along the city’s beautiful lakeshore, so it means you can wander around the area on foot. This historic structure was established back in 1917, with a 284-foot dome that can be compared to the glorious Washington State Capitol’s dome. If you go inside the building, you can explore murals and marbles from different parts of Europe. They offer a guided tour to educate visitors on the history of the building.

Chazen Museum of Art

The Chazen Museum of Art houses a wide range of art pieces of different styles. Whether it’s painting, drawings, sculpture, photography, and even print work— you can find it in their exhibits. The museum also has a dedicated area for European artwork and rotating exhibits that highlight local and international works. It is best to organize a docent-led tour so that you can get a better grasp of the history of the art housed in the museum. If you are lucky, you can even catch a free concert because they also host music programs.

Olbrich Botanical Garden

If you are looking for some nature fun, head to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, located on Madison’s gorgeous waterfront. The garden was first established in 1952 and featured seasonal plants that bloom throughout the year. The Bolz Conservatory and roses that are grown in the area are some of the most popular features of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. You can also find architectural elements in the garden like the Sala, which was gifted by Thailand’s government, which gives an Asian taste to the garden.

Wisconsin Historical Museum

This museum is conveniently located in the center of Wisconsin Capitol Square, which is the place to be if you want to explore the rich history of the city. Admission to the museum is free. You will be taken back in time and learn about the cultural significance of the city to the entire state. There are stationary educational sections in the museum, as well as rotating exhibits.

Kids in the Rotunda

Madison is a family-friendly city that offers fun and free things for the entire family. During the school year, the Overture Center for the Arts opens its doors for free performances that will cater both young and old. The art activities showcase a wide variety of local and regional artists, including storytellers, musicians, magicians, and theater troupes.

Henry Vilas Zoo

This vast zoo occupies 28 hectares of land in the city. It was organized in 1924 and caters to more a massive number of visitors every year. Henry Vilas Zoo houses a vast range of animals, including indigenous species. You can join the educational program that talks about preserving local flora and fauna and enjoying interactive exhibits. It is one of the country’s free-admission zoos.

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