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Summer Activities Around Madison

There are so many amazing things to do in Madison in the summer! Our community is famous for a few categories including the many amazing hikes and trails, the endless choices for live music, and the incredible dining experiences. Here are just a few options that we think are great things to do in Madison this summer.

Hikes and Trails:

Picnic Point Marsh Loop - A 2.0-mile loop trail on the beautiful Lake Mendota, generally considered an easy route that takes an average of 40 minutes to complete.

Lake Monona Loop - A 12.6-mile loop trail that goes completely around Lake Monona. This is a popular trail for road biking, running, and bike touring.

Devil’s Lake - There are many trails around Devil’s Lake State Park that range from less than 1 mile to over 18 miles. Curate your trip however you want to experience this beautiful area.

UW Arboretum - A 5.3-mile loop trail on the near-west side of Madison. Considered an easy route, it usually takes under 2 hours to complete. This is a popular trail that loops through forest and prairie areas, and is good for birding or cross-country skiing.

Ice Age Trail- the Verona section is a 12.5-mile trail. It is a moderately challenging route and can take around 4 hours to complete, but the out-and-back layout of the trail is perfect for those who want to be able to end their hike at any point.

Festivals and Music:

Madison Jazz Festival - (June 8-18) UW Memorial Union hosts jazz concerts, classes, talks, and more. Shows take place in Union Theater or on the Terrace, and most are free.

Verona Hometown Days - (June 2-4) Enjoy carnival rides, food, live music, games, and entertainment for the whole family.

Marquette Waterfront festival - (June 10-11) Kicking off Madison’s many music events, this festival pulls together local talent and popular touring national acts.

Festival Foods Lights the Isthmus - (July 1) at Breese Stevens Field. Madison’s Independence Day festival that features food, drinks, live music, and a 20 minute fireworks show.

Art Fair on the Square - (July 7-8) The very popular celebration of the arts, is a mix of music, entertainment, and outdoor dining, as well as over 500 artists exhibiting paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, handmade clothing and accessories, and fine craft.

La Fête De Marquette - (July 13-16) Madison’s largest community music festival! For 2023, there will be an additional stage, more food selections, and many more vendors.

Sugar Maple Music Festival - (August 4-5) This festival celebrates traditional music and dance through performances on the main stage, and educational workshops and interactive jam sessions on the smaller stage. There is even a camping ground for festival goers!

Sweet Corn Festival - (August 16-20) Sun Prairie’s popular festival featuring 80 tons of Wisconsin grown sweet corn, live music, and carnival rides.

Outdoor Dining:

Bonzo - (2105 Sherman Ave.) Amazing Mediterranean menu that you can enjoy on their porch overlooking a park.

The Boathouse - (1001 Wisconsin Place) One of the restaurants at The Edgewater, this dining experience is right off the pier on Lake Mendota.

Buck and Honey’s Monona - (800 W. Broadway) Located in Monona overlooking Yahara River, relax with a specialty cocktail and a charming atmosphere.

Great Dane Downtown - (123 E. Doty St.) Still the same great dishes from Great Dane, dine tucked away in the peaceful secret garden.

Camp Trippalindee - (601 Langdon St.) Summer camp themed bar and restaurant on the roof of Graduate Hotel. You can’t beat these views of the Capital, Lake Mendota and downtown Madison area.


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