Things To Do in Madison: One Afternoon in Wisconsin’s Capital

I’ve heard from a bunch of people that Madison, Wisconsin is a lot of fun, so after visiting the House on the Rock, I made a point to spare a few hours to head over to the state capital.

I stayed just long enough to get a taste of the city and ended up finding some fun things to do in Wisconsin. These six spots were my introduction to Madison – and hopefully a return visit will be coming very soon.

Things to do in Madison: The University of Wisconsin Campus

camp randall - uw madison

In searching for quirky attractions around Wisconsin’s campus, I discovered Camp Randall, a training site for Union soldiers during the Civil War. The small wooden building that remains was used to hold Confederate prisoners of war.

This area today is where the football stadium sits. The university campus is huge and you can spend a lot of time just walking around the area.

The capitol building

madison wisconsin state capitol

I have an obsession with capitol buildings. I’ve seen close to 30 now. Even though they all pretty much look the same, it’s nice to see them in person.

I suppose I’m sort of flashing back to 5th grade, when I had to memorize all the state capitals. Seeing one in person all these years later is always kinda cool. I’ve now visited more than half of the capitol buildings in the country!

Ian’s Pizza

In searching for food around the capital, I found Ian’s Pizza By the Slice and loved its original flavors, like mac & cheese, and chorizo sweet potato chipotle.

The mac & cheese pizza was delicious, with actual gooey cheese and macaroni pasta on top of the pizza. The chorizo had a nice sweet and spicy flavor with tomato and onions.

ian's pizza slices

I love that the pizza was served by the slice. I love that they had a cream soda fountain. And I love that they were playing Empire of the Sun on the stereo. Good stuff all around.

The Lakeshore Trail

things to do in madison - lakefront trail
The wooded Lakeshore Trail is one of the best things to do in Madison!

Madison has an extensive Lakeshore Trail. It was nice to get out of the car and do some walking along the lake, next to the dog walkers and the joggers.

The Lakeshore Nature Preserve is a nice wooded area with lengthy sections of trail along the lake. It’s the best way to get a taste of nature within the city limits!

Even if it’s not summer, and the temps are a little chilly, this trail is still a fun way to spend an hour.

Mural Alley

Everyone loves a good street art mural! Mural Alley is a relatively new attraction in Madison. Located at Hawthorne Alley, the alley features five murals, created by five different teen organizations.

Each mural demonstrates pride in Madison and a positive message. Your Instagram feed will love the selfies you take here.

The ice cream shop

I’m a total ice cream junkie. On this day, I stopped at Michael’s Frozen Custard for a large caramel sundae with nuts. Mmmm, my mouth is watering thinking about it. Custard at an old-fashioned walk-up ice cream stand. Woohoo!

I love those old-fashioned ice cream shops. They are my favorite places to seek out in any new city.

When you’re visiting Madison, make sure to visit some of the other cool places to visit in Wisconsin, such as Milwaukee’s Harley Davidson Museum, the Jelly Belly Warehouse in Kenosha, and the House on the Rock in Spring Garden.

That was it for my afternoon in Madison. Have you ever visited Madison before? Where should I go on my next visit?