Why Madison?

Curious about what the University of Wisconsin-Madison has to offer? Look no further! The university is a hub for academic students & professionals from all backgrounds. We hope you get the most out of your studies while here in Madison, but also encourage you to explore our beautiful campus! Here are some fun places and activities to attend to during a Madison summer:

Members of the public enjoy a Lakefront Live summer concert at the Memorial Union Terrace presented by Wisconsin Outdoor UW, Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) and Hoofer Outing Club at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on July 14, 2022. The concert featured a performance by the indie pop band Sleeping Jesus and featured a unique, rotated stage orientation that had the band facing the waterfront to play for an audience in a variety of watercraft from paddleboards to sailboats in Lake Mendota. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW–Madison)

A Picturesque Overview

Featured in this video are campus landmarks, farmer’s markets, lake activities, music venues, & more!

Click Here for a Virtual Campus Tour!

Live band performing at the Memorial Union Terrace in front of a crowd of people.

The Memorial Union & Terrace

The Memorial Union has everything a student needs! Great food, live music and beautiful sunsets to enjoy while studying. There are the famous sunburst chairs to grab when you wish to be part of the action, or indoor facilities to use when you need a quieter place to focus. Grab some famous Babcock ice cream and join us for a lakefront stroll!

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Lakeshore Path

Along Lake Mendota, trails connect the Lakeshore Nature Preserve together. Take a stroll or ride a bike along this scenic route to see glittering lake and relax in the beauty of nature!

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A walking path surrounded by trees with a lake in the background.
A walking path surrounded by trees with a lake in the background.
A group of people surrounding a campfire in front of a lake.
A group of people roasting marshmallows on Picnic Point.

Picnic Point

Traveling around Lakeshore Path will bring you to Picnic Point, one of the most popular destinations in the Preserve. As the name stands, the peninsula serves as a great gathering spot to enjoy food or study in nature.

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Saturday on the Square

Every Saturday, from June to November, the Capitol Square in downtown Madison fills with produce, art, flowers, and other goods! While this is the most popular Madison farmers market, it’s not the only one. There’s also the Wednesday Market, Eastside Market, and more! Some personal favorites are Stella’s Hot & Spicy Cheese Bread, fresh apples, and cheese curds—make sure they squeak!

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People walking around an outdoor farmer's market in front of the Wisconsin Capitol.
People shopping at the Farmer’s Market in front of the Wisconsin Capitol. (Photo by Zachary Alphonse Marra from visitmadison.com)

Summer Sweet Spots by UW-Madison

Lakeshore Path

Picnic Point

Allen Centennial Gardens

Library Mall

Union Terrace

Eagle Heights Gardens

Fun & Fitness

The Nicholas Recreation Center

A long shot of the The Nicholas Recreation Center building.
A long shot of the The Nicholas Recreation Center building.

The Nicholas Recreation Center is UW-Madison’s newest recreational center. Affectionately nicknamed “the Nick”, the center holds 30,000 square feet of fitness space, 8 courts, 5 studios, an Olympic size pool, and more.

The Nielsen Tennis Stadium

The front entrance of the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
The front entrance of the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

The Nielsen Tennis Stadium is perfect for those looking to serve up some fun and competition. It includes 12 indoor tennis courts, two squash courts, equipment rental and racquet services, and a system to help you find a tennis partner.

The Shell

The front doors at the Camp Randall Sports Center.
The front doors at the Camp Randall Sports Center.

The Shell, officially Camp Randall Sports Center, houses our ice rink, courts, cardio and strength equipment, and a 200m indoor track. From ice skating to track workouts, the Shell has several options for you to play hard and live well.

Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center

The front of the Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center.

The Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center is a new facility that houses services, such as pools, rock walls, yoga rooms, gaming studios, and standard workout equipment. It also houses a cooking room where students can make their own workout meals and shakes.


Dining Options

Information courtesy of MESP International Conference by the Middle East Studies Program.

At Memorial Unionjust two buildings down from the Pyle Center on Langdon Street. There are plenty of tables on the beautiful terrace overlooking Lake Mendota.

Der Rathskeller, pub food

Strada, Italian

Carte, sandwiches

Sunset Lounge & Outdoor Restaurant

Daily Scoop in Memorial Union, ice cream made on campus!

Peet’s Coffee, coffee/tea/desserts

International food carts on Library Mall (between Memorial Union and State Street), including Korean, Indian, Venezuelan, Jamaican, Mexican, Ethiopian, and Thai.

Pub fare

Colectivo (café with a variety of sandwiches) 583 State Street

Coopers Tavern 20 W Mifflin Street

Great Dane 123 E Doty Street

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes 571 State Street

Old Fashioned 23 N Pickney Street. (Try the cheese curds!)

State Street Brats  603 State Street

Teddywedgers 101 State Street (carryout Cornish pasties)


Fugu 411 W Gilman Street

Himal Chuli Restaurant (Nepalese) 318 State Street

Ruyi Hand Pulled Noodle 334 State Street

Sol’s on the Square (Korean) 117 E Mifflin Street

Chen’s Dumpling House  505 State Street


Dubai Mediterranean Restaurant and Bar  419 State Street

Forage Kitchen (make your own salads) 665 State Street

Mediterranean Café (open at lunchtime) 625 State Street

Parthenon Gyros  316 State Street

Naf Naf 555 State St


Tutto Pasta  305 State Street

Ian’s Pizza on State 100 State Street

Cento 122 W Mifflin Street

Osteria Papavero 128 E Wilson Street


Ha Long Bay (Vietnamese) 1353 Williamson Street

Hong Kong Station 1441 Regent St

Lao Laan-Xaang (Laotian) 1146 Williamson Street

Sa Bai Thong (Thai) 2840 University Avenue


Bar Corallini 2004 Atwood Avene

Pizza Brutta 1805 Monroe Street

Porta Bella Italian Restaurant 425 N Frances St


Maharani Indian Restaurant 380 W Washington Avenue

Petra Bakery & Restaurant (Middle Eastern) 6119 Odana Road

Swagat Indian Restaurant 707 North Highpoint Road

Turkish Kitchen  2616 Monroe St

Istanbul Market and Café (grocery store) 745 S Gammon Rd

International Market (grocery store) 4261 Lien Rd Suite Q

The Mediterranean Joint 600 Williamson St

Fresh Mart 3313 University Ave

Pub Food

Alchemy Cafe 1980 Atwood Avenue

Green Owl Café (no indoor dining, vegetarian and vegan)  1970 Atwood Avenue

Everly (eclectic eatery) 2701 Monroe Street

Monty’s Blue Plate  2089 Atwood Avenue

The Weary Traveler 1201 Williamson Street