The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The Terrace is in full bloom. Here’s your Daily Cardinal Guide to a Madison summer.
Madtown Summer Cuisine
Dane County Farmers’ Market
The Dane County Farmers’ Market is your one-stop shop for just about any food group you could imagine. Whether you are in the mood for fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods or cheese in every form, the DCFM is always a foodie adventure. It may be a good idea to take a lap around the square before making any food purchases, better to see all your options before making any huge decisions.
Stationed at the base of Library Mall, the food carts make for a perfect summer lunch outing. The carts offer just about every type of food under the sun. Grab a seat on one of the newly constructed benches on Library Mall, take in the beautiful summer sunshine and enjoy a bit of local Madison cuisine. Fresh, fast, local and budget-friendly for students, stopping by the food carts will bring some spice into your weekday lunch. Also, be sure to swing by Olin Park Sunday, May 31, from 2-6 p.m., for the Isthmus Food Cart Fest.
Maybe it’s the setting of the Terrace, maybe it’s the sound of Lake Mendota in the background, but nothing hits the spot better than a Klement’s brat from the Terrace. Take a seat on an iconic Terrace sunburst chair, douse your brat in a layer of ketchup and mustard (and relish, if you’re a part of the elite but small relish-loving club) and enjoy the sunset over Lake Mendota. After all, this is what summer is all about.
Dane County Fair
Located at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis., the Dane County Fair had been taking place for over 160 years. The fair hosts a plethora of food stations to taste and try. The fair will run from July 15-19.
Taste of Madison
OK, folks, mark your calendars. Taste of Madison is not until Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5 and 6), but what a way to end your summer! Taste of Madison features local area restaurants. Admission is free, and plates are anywhere from $1 to $4. Along with great food, there is also killer entertainment to listen to while you stuff your face with delicious food!
Babcock Ice Cream
Really, not a lot of explanation is needed here. Babcock ice cream is the fan favorite for Badgers. The servings are huge. It’s made right on campus. Flavors are always changing. Stick to the safe bet of orange custard chocolate chip, or be bold and try one of the limited edition flavors. You really can’t go wrong. Plus, Babcock ice cream is super nutritious. It replaces working out.
Just Out The Back Door
Devil’s Lake is the largest and most visited state park in Wisconsin. Just an hour drive from campus, Devil’s Lake makes the perfect day excursion. From 29 miles of extensive hiking trails, to quartzite bluffs, a sandy beach and a 360-acre lake, you’ll be able to spend the whole day exploring this natural gem. Turn off the phone, bring some brown bag lunches and take in all the Wisconsin beauty that Devil’s Lake has to offer.
MUFA, officially known as the Madison Ultimate Frisbee Association, organizes a summer league. All you need is a group of friends and a super intimidating team name and you’re set to register. There are different leagues to choose from, ranging from ultra-competitive athletes to people who are just doing it for the T-shirt and free beer after the game.
Hoofers offers a plethora of outdoors activities during the summer. From kayaking, to paddle boarding, to sailing and more, there are many ways to enjoy Lake Mendota! After your water adventures, take a stroll or a jog on the beautiful lakeshore path and make it out to Picnic Point for a killer sunset.
Lake Monona Bike Trail
As Badgers, we are admittedly biased toward our lovely Lake Mendota. However, well-kept bike paths encircle Lake Monona, on the other side of the Capitol. Give Monona a little bit of TLC and go for a bike ride around one of Madison’s beautiful bodies of water.
Isthmus Paddle and Portage
The Isthmus Paddle and Portage takes place this year July 17 and 18. The main event, the paddle race, is on Saturday, July 18, and consists of a one-and-a-half-mile paddle on Lake Mendota, a one-mile portage and a one-and-a-half-mile paddle on Lake Monona. Along with the race, there will be craft brews, food and entertainment at Olin Park!
Madison Half Marathon and Twilight 10K
Studies show that 79 percent of runners sign up for marathons only to bring it up in conversation and make their non-runner friends feel like slugs. But anyway, now is your chance! Really, Madison is a beautiful city to explore, and what better way to do so than by training for a marathon? Plus you’ll feel zero guilt for that second Babcock ice cream or Terrace brat. You deserve it. You’re a runner.
Music, Arts and Culture
Monona Terrace Concerts on the Rooftop
Concerts on the Rooftop take place weekly during June and July. Free and open to the public, they go from 7-9 p.m. and are a fantastic way to discover new music. Grab a friend and a lawn chair and check out this rooftop experience. The Monona Terrace serves food and Great Dane beer.
Concerts on the Square
Come early. Stay late. Bring a blanket and lots of snacks. Gain extra points for carrying it all in a wicker picnic basket; that’s when you know you’ve officially become a Madisonian. Concerts on the Square are organized through the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. They feature music that many students won’t find on their Spotify playlist, which makes it a fun experience. Concerts on the Square are Wednesday evenings, beginning June 24.
Live on King Street
Sponsored by the Majestic, Live on King Street is a free summer concert series that takes place with the Capitol as its background. The concerts start June 26 and run through Sept. 18. The lineup has yet to be announced, but with past musicians including the Head and the Heart and Ziggy Marley, you can be sure that Live on King Street will be bringing in some incredible acts.
Art Fair on the Square
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting the 57th Annual Art Fair on the Square this summer, July 11 to 12. With over 450 vendors, there is something for everyone at Art Fair on the Square. Worried that it’s a bit pricey for your student budget? No worries: Admission is free, so you can just stroll the square, listen to some free entertainment and enjoy a summer day in Madison.
Maxwell Street Days
From Friday, July 17, through Sunday, July 19, Maxwell Street Days is a weekend street sale featuring close to 100 businesses on State Street and the Capitol Square.
Overture Center for the Arts
The Overture Center for the Arts welcomes Broadway performances and internationally acclaimed artists by the week. They offer student rate ticket prices to most shows. With an incredible lineup for the summer, including “Mama Mia”, “The Lion King” and “Dirty Dancing” (OMG) to name a few, be sure to get on the Overture Center email list and check out some incredible shows at killer rates.