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Additional Activities and Places to Visit

Throughout the weekend, there will be some unscheduled time for you to visit old favorite spots from your time in Madison or explore places that are new to you. The Convention 2023 Committee has compiled a list of some of our favorite free or low cost activities and places to visit. Madison has a wide variety of museums, campus and city attractionsparks and nature, great restaurants and bars, and more to explore.

If you're planning any extra activities, consider sending a message to the Convention WhatsApp group to see if other Vikings or plus ones would be interested in joining you!


Chazen Museum of Art

Open daily, free

The Chazen’s expansive two-building site holds the second-largest collection of art in Wisconsin, and is the largest collecting museum in the Big 10. Within its 176,000 square feet of museum space is a collection of approximately 24,000 works of art covering diverse historical periods, cultures and geographic locations, from ancient Greece, Western Europe and the Soviet Empire to Moghul India, 18th-century Japan and modern Africa.


University of Wisconsin Geology Museum

Open Monday-Saturday, free

Explore the Geology Museum and take a peek into Wisconsin’s deep history! On your visit you can touch rocks from a time when there were volcanoes in Wisconsin; see corals, jellyfish and other sea creatures that used to live and swim where we now walk; and stand under the tusks of a mastodon while imagining yourself in the Ice Age.


Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA)

Open Thursday-Sunday, free

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is an independent organization that exhibits, collects, and preserves modern and contemporary art to provide transformative experiences that educate, reflect, and inspire us as individuals and a community.


Madison Children's Museum

Open Tuesday-Sunday, $12 per person

Play matters. It’s how we learn to invent, share, and explore. Madison Children’s Museum bursts with chances to play and learn: to stretch bodies and minds, solve problems, create art, make friends, and, most of all, have fun. We’re an inspiring space where kids lead, and grownups are happy to follow. 


Wisconsin Veteran's Museum

Open Tuesday-Sunday, free

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum exists to share and preserve the stories of all Wisconsin veterans. Beginning with the Wisconsin Civil War regiments view regimental history and the battle flags that guided them, through to veterans in recent service, explore what our service members did, how that work impacted themselves and their families, and how their service contributed to national and global security.



Campus and City Attractions

Memorial Union Terrace

Open daily, free

There's nothing like the historic Memorial Union Terrace.

Come enjoy the iconic sunburst chairs, beautiful lake views, and gorgeous sunsets. No reservations needed—just enter along the east side of Memorial Union, outside or indoors, to experience the Terrace. The years have passed, the space has grown and even the chairs have changed. But through it all, the Terrace has remained a favorite spot for UW students, faculty, staff, Union members and anyone else looking to enjoy a sunny day or beautiful evening.


Alumni Park

Open daily, free

There's nothing like the historic Memorial Union Terrace.

Next to Memorial Union Terrace is Alumni Park, opened in 2017. With 50 artful exhibits and more than 130 alumni featured, Alumni Park is a story park unlike any other. It’s a place where you’ll feel your pride in the UW grow with every step you take as it celebrates the Wisconsin Idea and the positive change the university and its alumni make on the world.


Bascom Hill

Open daily, free

Bascom Hill is the symbolic and historic center of UW-Madison, home to the first campus building completed in 1851. Climb to the top of Bascom Hill to see the iconic Bascom Hall or take a picture with Abe Lincoln.


The Brittingham Rune Stone

Open daily, free

Erected by Tom's Vikings to honor Tom Brittingham, Jr., following his death, the Brittingham Rune Stone sits at one end of Muir Knoll. Visit (and read about its history):

State Street

Open daily, free

State Street connects the UW-Madison campus to the Capitol Square. Home to numerous local shops, restaurants, and bars, this pedestrians-only street has something for everyone.


Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Open daily, free (including free tours)

The best way to experience the beauty and grandeur of Wisconsin's Capitol building is to see it for yourself. Free tours are offered daily, and the sixth floor museum and observation deck are also open in summer.


Campus and City Attractions

Parks & Nature

The UW Arboretum

Open daily, free

The Arboretum features distinct ecological communities, horticultural collections, effigy mounds, more than 17 miles of trails, and a Visitor Center. It is a place of active learning, reflection, creativity, land care, research, and recreation—where human, animal, and plant communities coexist.


The Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Open daily, free admissions to outdoor gardens, $6 adult admission for indoor greenhouse

Stroll through 16 acres of outdoor display gardens and an indoor, tropical conservatory at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. In the outdoor gardens, visit the Royal Thai Pavilion and Garden. Olbrich's Thai Pavilion is the only one in the continental United States and the only one outside of Thailand surrounded by a garden. Explore other specialty gardens such as the Perennial Garden, Sunken Garden, and Herb Garden. 


Brittingham Park

Open daily, free

Named for Tom Brittingham Sr., Brittingham Park offers an inclusive playground, beach, canoe & kayak rentals, tennis and pickleball courts, and more. Brittingham Park is located on the northern shore of Lake Monona.


James Madison Park

Open daily, free

Located just steps from the Viking House on Gorham Street, James Madison Park is known for its views of incredible sunsets over Lake Mendota. The park features expansive lakefront green space, beach volleyball, and lake access.


The Lakeshore Path and Picnic Point

Open daily, free

The Lakeshore Path runs along the southern edge of Lake Mendota, from the Memorial Union Terrace to the eagle Heights woods. Picnic Point, a nearly mile-long peninsula with campfire rings and lake views, is among Madison’s most distinctive features and is probably the most popular destination on the Lakeshore Path.



Restaurants & Bars

Breakfast & Brunch

Mickie's Dairy Bar

1950s-style diner on the west side of the UW-Madison campus. Visit:

Bassett Street Brunch Club

Contemporary brunch spot in the heart of downtown Madison. Reservations recommended. Visit:

Short Stack Eatery

Eclectic all-day breakfast joint on State Street. Visit:

Marigold Kitchen

Bright, counter-serve eatery featuring creative breakfast & lunch fare plus outdoor seating. Visit:


The Old Fashioned

Wisconsin-themed, retro-style tavern offering beers, brats & cheese curds (all sourced in-state). Visit:


Vintage, industrial-chic tavern with 3 floors serving wood-fired & steel-pan pizzas, plus cocktails. Visit:

Paul's Pel'mini

Cozy counter-serve offering Russian beef- & potato-filled pel'meni, with sides of sour cream. Visit:


Casual Mexican grill for tacos & classic plates including brunch, with late hours & many tequilas. Visit:


State Street Brats

Wisconsin Badger sports bar featuring red bratwurst, burgers & beer plus a front patio. Visit:

Settle Down Tavern

Creative cocktails (and food) with patio seating, right off the Capitol square. Visit:

The Caribou Tavern

A Viking-favorite: classic (cash only) Wisconsin dive bar down the street from the Viking house. Visit:

Cask & Ale

Casual cocktail bar in pared-down quarters features a big whiskey menu & rotating craft taps. Visit:

Resaurants & Bars
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