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21 ways to get hygge in Madison, WI

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“The Faulty Switch” at Red, Madison | Photo by @nikkihansenphoto

Are you familiar with hygge? A Danish word that roughly translates to “warm coziness,” it’s been a design and health + wellness trend in the US for a few years now — and with an emphasis on “enjoying the little things” like comfy clothes, warm socks + blankets, and steamy mugs of tea, it’s easy to see its appeal.

Interest in the ideology has increased as of late because it calls for us to do leisurely things that make us relaxed + comfortable, something we can all use more of. And because the Danes are among the happiest people in the world, it’s hard not to think there may be something to hygge. Protip: it’s pronounced “hoo-guh” despite looking like it should be pronounced “higgy” (which is how I always say it in my head). Keeping that in mind, in honor of the new year (and increased happiness), here are 21 ways to get hygge with it in the 608.

  1. Enjoy some hot chocolate. We love the spicy hot chocolate from Madison Chocolate Co. and the drinking chocolate from Kilwins.
  2. Hit the road and revel in the lovely sights, take a tour of the lakesif you haven’t already.
  3. Take a nice hot bath. Make it even better by tossing in a fizzy, therapeutic bath bomb from L & L Bath Bombs.
  4. Light a candle. We particularly like the hand-poured, small-batch, soy-based ones from Madison Candle Co., who use beach/shore sand from specific to a place + season when creating aromas.
  5. Relive your glory days and spend some time walking about at UW-Madison pretending to be the big man on campus.
  6. Cook something amazing, preferably something indulgent that takes a while to prepare, like soup, stew, or lasagna. Not sure where to start? Consider a cooking class from Willy Street Co-op, whose classes are now offered both online + in-person.
  7. Get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and learn how to get moving on the Isthmus. Check out our round-up of where to get active this winter.
  8. Wear comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing. We are especially fond of the offerings from Hive of Madison + Fontana Sports.
  9. Marvel at the majesty of nature with a sunrise or sunset. May we suggest taking in the sights at either the Mendota Terrace or Edgewater Hotel.
  10. Take a nap — cozy up with your own DIY chunky knit blanket from Wine & Design.
  11. Spend an afternoon snuggled up at a local bookstore. For the best reading nook vibes be sure to check out Paul’s Book Store + Leopold’s.
  12. Have a picnic. And hey, we know it’s cold, so we also support getting creative: have a floor picnic. It’s exactly like it sounds — spread a blanket, set out some food + napkins, and enjoy a leisurely meal on the floor. And if you don’t want to prepare it yourself, let the folks at Twisted Radish do the work for you.
  13. Boost your health + return to center with a socially distant, physical group activity like yoga or barre, through Dragonfly Hot Yoga.
  14. Get an art fix. Whether you want to saunter around MMoCA or take in a virtual exhibit from the Chazen Museum of Art, art is a powerful way to experience the slow-paced comfort of hygge.
  15. Rent a movie from Madison Public Libraries, grab a blanket + popcorn from Clary’s on State St.
  16. Admire our feathered friends at the tranquil UW-Madison Arboretum.
  17. Build a roaring fire at a local park to stay warm on a cold night.
  18. Relax and listen to a local podcast.
  19. Pamper + recharge with a day at Le Spa. Did someone say herbology body polish with Chinese herbs and a rub with warm hazelnut oil?
  20. Share your love with a furry friend by volunteering at an animal shelter, like the Dane County Humane Society or Fetch WI.
  21. Do what Wisconsinites do best — grab a Spotted Cow, a basket of curds + cozy up to a bar for a UW-Madison game.
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