Must-Visit Attractions in Madison, Wisconsin

There are plenty of top choices for hotel stays on your next trip to Wisconsin
There are plenty of top choices for hotel stays on your next trip to Wisconsin | © Images-USA / Alamy Stock Photo

While visitors to the state might be drawn to bigger Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s capital should not be overlooked. Whether visiting during the sunny days of summer or frigid winter, Madison has more than enough exciting attractions to keep you entertained. From must-see museums to some of the best natural areas around, Madison has something for everyone. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, United States

In the heart of Madison lies the Wisconsin State Capitol building. As the symbol of the city, visitors are sure to pass this impressive structure multiple times during their stay in Madison. Those who are curious about what’s on the inside or want to get a deeper peek into Wisconsin’s state government should consider taking a tour. There’s no reservation necessary if you come with a group of fewer than 10 people.

Chazen Museum of Art

Art lovers can’t miss the Chazen Museum of Art on a trip to Madison. Located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus, the museum houses the second-largest art collection in the state. Indeed, it is so expansive that it seems to cover a bit of everything from paintings and sculptures to photography and decorative arts.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison Wisconsin

Madison’s Olbrich Botanical Gardens are truly something to behold. The complex features 16 acres worth of outdoor gardens to explore. While strolling through, visitors will be treated to spectacular landscapes and plants that thrive in the Midwest. Additionally, the Bolz Conservatory is an indoor area where you can take in the beauty of blooming flowers, exotic plants, and free-flying birds.

Henry Vilas Zoo

Those who want to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world can do so for free in Madison at the Henry Vilas Zoo. As one of the few admission-free, community-supported zoos in the country, it ensures that everyone has access to the wonders of the animal kingdom. From big cats to native Wisconsin animals, the zoo is an accredited family-friendly attraction that has been bringing the Madison area closer to wildlife for over 100 years.

Madison Children’s Museum

For kids and the young at heart, there is perhaps nowhere better to spend an afternoon in the city than at the Madison Children’s Museum. It contains fun, interactive exhibits about art, science, culture, health, history, and much more, to help children learn through creative playing. The museum offers a wide range of events, including some specifically tailored for adults who want to get in touch with their inner child.

University of Wisconsin – Madison Arboretum

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum covers an expansive 1,260 acres not far from the university’s campus. The Arboretum helps preserve plant species native to southern Wisconsin in its prairies, savannas, deciduous forests, conifer forests, wetlands, and gardens. With more than 20 miles (32.1 kilometers) of hiking trails and three miles (4.8 kilometers) of bike paths, this is a perfect spot if you are looking for a bit of fresh air. It’s also an ideal place for those who want to explore the great outdoors in winter as there are 10 miles (16 kilometers) of cross-country skiing and snowshoe routes that run through the Arboretum.

State Street

A trip to Madison would be incomplete without a visit to State Street. Lined with some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, cafés, and eclectic shops, it’s not difficult to spend an entire afternoon strolling down the extra-wide sidewalks. This pedestrian zone oozes small-town charm despite being located in the middle of one of the biggest cities in Wisconsin.

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center

Monona Terrace

Located on the shores of Madison’s Lake Monona, just two blocks from the Capitol building, the Monona Terrace is a community and convention center originally designed by world-famous architect and Wisconsin native, Frank Lloyd Wright. Though construction didn’t take place until 60 years later, it is still considered to be a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts. Visitors have the opportunity to take a tour of the building, visit the gift shop, and take in the beautiful views from the rooftop terrace.

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Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

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Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.