Top 10 Things to See and Do (and Eat) When You Move to Madison

By: Elizabeth Purcell 1. CURDS: Eat ‘em, scarf ‘em, bite ‘em, chow ‘em. It’s not a secret that Wisconsin is known for dairy, and more specifically cheese! Well…what’s better than cheese…duh…fried cheese! Upon moving to Madison, you definitely need to try the city’s selection of curds. They’re gooey, their, they’re crunchy and just plain sinful.

For the cities best curds try:

 

2. Devils Lake Us Madisonians like to get out into the fresh air and get some exercise once in a while (We gotta burn off those cheese curds somehow!). A great camping and hiking spot is Devils Lake. Only a short drive from downtown, it’s a great place for a day trip to hike, swim and cookout.

Insider Tip – the park can get quite crowded in the summer months, for a more tranquil experience check it out in early spring or fall!

devilslake

3. Farmers’ Market A quintessential Saturday morning in Madison is spent strolling around the Capitol square procuring some of the city’s freshest produce and baked goods. One of the most popular stops at this seasonal Farmers’ Market along the way is Stella’s, known for the delectably famous Spicy Cheesy Bread; a loaf of warm, gooey heaven. Definitely a MUST!

4. IRONMAN: “Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles – Brag for the rest of your life.” – John Collins, IRONMAN Founder

Madison is home to one of the most exciting and impressive sporting events; IRONMAN. While participating isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s an impressive and inspiring event to watch. Athletes from around the world flock to the city to put their physical and mental strength to the test.

Insider Tip: The start (swim) is one of the most exhilarating parts to witness. Many triathlons have staggered starts, where different age groups start at different times. Well the Madison Ironman is a mass start – that means thousands of athletes begin the race at once. This makes for a pretty crazy scene in the lake!

ironman

5. State Capitol Can’t live in the state’s capital city without a visit to the Capitol building! Not only is it a gorgeous building but a trek up to the top floor promises great views of the city. It’s also the only Capitol building to be built on an isthmus! Check out their website for more information on scheduling a tour!

6. Terrace Well you’ve may have noticed by now that there is no shortage of beer in this city! One of the most popular spots to enjoy a cold one is at the Terrace! Known for their iconic colored chairs and tables, the Terrace is a wonderful spot to catch up with friends, listen to some music and watch the sailboats float across the lake.

Insider Tip: The Terrace is currently closed for a ‘facelift’ but should be back in service by the end of May!

terrace

7. Go Badgers Living in a Big 10 college town definitely has its perks. Football season is just one of them! Not only will it make you feel like a (college) kid again, but the sense of community and camaraderie on game day is truly unique! And here in Wisconsin, we sure take our tailgating seriously! When kickoff is at 11am it’s just an excuse to have a brat and a beer for breakfast, but hey there’s nothing wrong with that!

Insider Tip: Madison, WI is the only place where a football game is made up of 5 quarters. “Nowhere except Camp Randall Stadium can you find 30,000-40,000 die-hard fans who will stay for as long as 45 to 50 minutes after the game. Fans stay to watch, sing, dance, and enjoy the excitement of a latter-day Wisconsin tradition: the Fifth Quarter” 

Badgers

8. Olbrich Botanical Gardens Honestly, I’ve only been here once in the 8 years I’ve lived in #MadTown. But in the long winter month’s it’s a great way to escape the cold and pretend you’re in a tropical paradise.

9. Concerts on the Square Starting in July, the Madison Chamber Orchestra hosts concerts on the Capitol lawn. Be sure to get there early and save your picnic spot with a blanket – and don’t forget the wine and cheese!

10. Brewery Tours Well…are you sensing a theme here?! Here in Madison and the surrounding area there is no shortage of micro-breweries to check out. Whether you are into hoppy beers, dark beers, fruity beers, wheat beers…you are sure to find cold pint to quench your thirst.

Some of my favs are: