Winters in Madison can be dreary and feel like they are never ending. Between classwork and walking through snow all day, the days can feel like they drag on and on. But don’t worry, there are plenty of fun winter activities to partake in in Madison! Check out these ideas to help brighten up those dreary winter days before spring rolls around again!
The first activity can be found right here on campus through Hoofers, located in Memorial Union. Hoofers is a student organization based out of Memorial Union that is a collection of various outdoor adventure opportunities! Through Hoofers you can explore sailing on Lake Mendota, mountaineering at Devil’s Lake, horseback riding lessons, scuba diving in one of Madison’s many lakes or rent snow shoes to trek across Lake Mendota! During the winter, Hoofers rents snowshoes that can be used to trek across our beloved Lake Mendota or any other area for that matter! You can rent snowshoes and trekking poles for an hour, usually the amount of time it takes to get across to Picnic Point, or for the weekend. Reservations are not needed if you plan on renting the equipment during Hoofers hours (Monday - Friday, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.). More information about the rental process can be found online at the Hoofers website.
In addition to the activities through Hoofers, Memorial Union also hosts the Wheelhouse! There are lessons available at the Wheelhouse including sewing and textiles, ceramics classes, glass and culinary arts and jewelry making (just to name a few). If you do not want to take another class on top of your busy schedule don’t worry, you are also able to attend their open studio hours Monday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. During open studios, you can try your hand at ceramics and 3D or 2D art. Attending open studios is free for students — you just need to purchase supplies!
If you want to take your winter activities back outside, you can swing by The Edgewater and go ice skating. You are free to bring your own skates or rent skates for $3, make sure to buy your ticket in advance, as it does sometimes it does sell out! The rink is closed Monday and Tuesday but open Wednesday through Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Each ticket is valid for one hour of skating at the rink, more information can be found on their website! If you want to take your skates inside where it is a little warmer, you can head over to the skating rink located in the Shell. Open skate hours vary day by day so check out their website for the latest skate times! Otherwise, skate rentals are available for $3 for UW students with a valid WisCard with an additional $4 rink fee. Current rink time information can be found on UW-RecSports website.
If ice skating isn’t your thing, don’t worry! There are plenty of outdoor winter activities to enjoy. Grab your sled and head over to Elver Park to enjoy plenty of bountiful hills. Elver Park also offers ice skating and cross country skiing, so you will surely find an activity you will enjoy.
If the cold becomes too much to bear, you can head over to the Chazen Art Museum located on campus and check out their most recent exhibit. Step into a world of birds in the latest exhibit “Seeing Audubon” created by Robert Havell Jr. If birds aren’t your thing that’s okay, there is another feature exhibit “Pressing Innovation: Printing Fine Art in the Upper Midwest.” In addition to these two featured exhibits, there are also plenty of permanent fixtures in the Chazen Museum that are fascinating to look at and enjoy. Once you have explored all of Chazen’s exhibits, you can then head down State Street to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art which features all kinds of new exhibits such as “You Make Me Tremble” created by Santiago Cucullu or “The Fundred Project,” initiated by Mel Chin.
From the thrills of outdoor adventures to cozy explorations, winters in Madison don’t have to be glum and dreary. So grab your hot chocolate, go explore and stay warm!