Things to do in Madison Wisconsin

Wollershiem Winery – Tours, Tasting and Picnics
This beautiful winery is a short drive from the Inn.  Located near the Wisconsin River this winery grows their own grapes and has made award winning wines.  Take a tour, stop at the wine tasting bar, roam on the grounds among the grape vines and even take a picnic on their patio.  You can bring your own picnic or buy your picnic items right at the winery.

Creamery and Cheese Maker Tours

Just a few miles down the road from the Inn is the Sassy Cow Creamery.  This Creamery is run by two brothers, one with an organic dairy farm and the other with a non-organic farm.  They make ice cream and cheese curds on site.  At the Creamery there is a farm store with an ice cream bar, groceries from area farms and a large glass wall looking into the operations of the Creamery.  Once a month there is a tour of the Creamery – check their website for dates.  Outside there is a shady porch and usually a few calves or goats waiting for your attention.

Cedar Grove Cheese makes a wide variety of cheeses including organic and artisan cheese.  Tours are available, visit their website for details.  What makes this cheese factory unique is the Living Machine that uses all the waste water to grow food in an attached greenhouse.  It is definitely worth the visit!

Devil’s Lake State Park

Nearby Devil’s Lake State Park offers some of the best hiking and rock climbing in the state, with the Ice Age Trail going through the park.  Devil’s Lake is a truly special place, known to the Native Americans as Spirit Lake until it was renamed Devil’s Lake.  The area has many Effigy Mounds and a rich history among the bluffs.   If you are feeling adventurous, Devils Lake Climbing Guides take beginners and experienced climbers out on the rocks at Devil’s Lake State Park.   Oh, and don’t forget to plan your route so you can take the Merrimac Car Ferry across the Wisconsin River.

 Hiking and Biking in Madison 

Madison is known as a top cycling city in the U.S. and for good reason!  Take a look at the bike trails on this map, and these are just the trails within the City Limits!  One of our favorite shops to rent a bike at is Machinery Row, which is right on Lake Monona where the bike trail goes around the lake.  Another favorite is Madison B-cycle, you can rent a bike anywhere in the city where you see all these red bikes parked.  You can pick up a bike in one spot and return it to another!

Hiking is one of our favorite things to do.  A few of the best hiking spots in the Madison area are: The UW Arboretum which is right in the heart of the City of Madison, the UW Campus Lakeshore Nature Preserve along Lake Mendota and to Picnic Point,  and the best kept secret in the area is the Token Creek Conservancy just one mile from the Inn.  The Conservancy is the headwaters springs for the entire Madison chain of lakes with bubbling springs throughout the 100 acre hiking area.  Trails go through the woods, native prairie and along the stream and neighboring fields.  It is a stunning area both in the summer and winter.  I love going there in the winter snowshoeing.  The springs do some really incredible things in the winter, with the snow around them turning blue and contorting ice formations along the bubbling openings.

Betty Lou Cruises on the Madison Lakes

Betty Lou Cruises offers a wide variety of options ranging from champagne brunch, lunch to dinner cruises, and even romantic evening cruises with cocktails.  They offer cruises on both Lake Mendota and Lake Monona.  Be sure to make a reservation well in advance since many of them sell out before their sail date.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is owned and operated by the City of Madison.  A truly special place with extensive gardens, ponds and a Thai pavallion given to the UW Madison by the Thai government.  Check out their classes and special events each month – many times there is free music in the gardens where you can bring your own picnic with you.

Canoeing on the Madison Lakes

Rent a canoe, kayak or paddle board and explore the Madison Lakes.  Its really the best way to see the lakes, right on eye level with all of the flora and fauna you will discover along the shores.

Restaurants around Madison
Madison is well known as a Foodie City, attracting people from Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis. With the abundance of locally grown food and exceptionally talented chefs, top notch food can be found in Madison in any price range. Many restaurants feature organic and local food as well as vegetarian and vegan entrees, so even those on special diets will find a wide selection of food. Madison is also a gluten-free friendly dining city. Find a listing of Madison restaurants offering these:  gluten free diningvegan friendly restaurants (don’t miss Vegan Fest)

Farmers Market 
Dane County Farmers Market has been recognized as the #1 Farmers Market in the U.S. and takes place on the Capitol Square on Saturdays and Martin Luther King Bvd. on Wednesdays. So many farmers markets exist in the Madison area, that you can find one almost any day of the week.

Token Creek County Park – Disk Golf, Hiking, Canoe
Just a 5 minute drive from the Inn, this 427 acre park on the edge of Madison includes a champion disk golf course, equestrian trails, canoeing all the way to Lake Mendota, trout fishing, volleyball courts, hiking, groomed and lighted cross country ski trails, snowshoe trails. I love this blog about the canoe trip from the park.

Antique Shops
Its always fun to see what you can discover at our local antique shops.  Here are some of our favorites: Odana Antiques, Antiques Mall of Madison, Maple Bluff Antique Mall and just about a 20 minute drive from the Inn is the Columbus Antique Mall.   The Pink Poodle also has part of the store as antiques and the rest is very nice second had clothing – I love shopping here because everything is organized by size, color and style!

Horseback Riding Lessons
Nearby riding stable offers riding lessons for all skill levels and ages.  Contact them in advance to make your reservation.

Token Creek Chamber Music Festival
Critically acclaimed Token Creek Chamber Music Festival takes place from August 22nd – September 2nd this season. This annual event has been taking place since 1989 and has put little Token Creek on the map. Order your tickets early as the performances sell out.

Token Creek Hot Air Balloon Rides the skies of Madison
Token Creek Hot Air Balloon Company is just a mile from the Inn and has been in business for 25 years. Nothing is more romantic than a hot air balloon ride around rural Madison. Don’t wait to make reservations as they fill up fast.