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School is out, relatives are coming to town, friends want to meet for drinks, and the days have grown long. Summer in the 608 is as expensive as it is busy, so explore 20 free things to do in Madison.
🥾 Hike, bike, and explore Madison’s outdoors
- Walk the one-mile peninsula along Lake Mendota’s south shore to Picnic Point.
- Ride or walk down the Howard Temin Path from the Memorial Union.
- Take a nature hike with naturalists + staff at the UW Arboretum.
- Tackle a group workout with folks from The November Project.
- Lead a self-guided art walk around different 608 neighborhoods.
- Camp, fish, and or mountain bike at Stewart Lake County Park
🌷 Spend a day in the gardens
- Take in a show or join a class at Allen Centennial Garden.
- Visit Olbrich Botanical Gardens for 16 acres of outdoor garden spaces.
- Explore 8,000 sqft of growth space at the university’s Botany Garden and Greenhouse.
- Join a birding and nature adventure at Aldo Leopold Nature Center.
🖼️ Bask in the art + history of the city
- Engage with new galleries at The Overture Center.
- See “Suspended Landscapes” at Chazen Museum of Art.
- Hear the stories of those who shaped Wisconsin at the Historical Museum.
- Explore the “Souvenirs of Service” exhibit at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
- Spend an afternoon at the Wisconsin State Capitol and take a tour.
- Visit the Wisconsin Executive Residence during a walkthrough of the Governor’s Mansion.