608today City Guide Play

Your ultimate guide to tours of Madison

Explore the 608 through its history, food, drink, art, and more on these tours.

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Madison Eats Food Tours is but one of many escapades one can have in the 608. | Photo via Madison Eats Food Tours

Table of Contents

Whether you’re a lifelong Madisonian longing to embrace your inner tourist or you have a limited amount of time in Mad City, here are 18 tours guaranteed to show you the sights you want to see.

Note: Price estimates are based on individual adult rates available at the time of publishing. Check each company’s website to see current pricing.

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People can zip around Madison on an eBike while learning about the 608. | Photo via Madison Adventure Tours

Top Tours

Betty Lou Cruises | Prices vary
Take to Lake Mendota, cruising on a yacht, with food and drink on board, all the while learning the city’s history and more.

Madison Adventure Tours | $95
The two-hour e-bike tour takes you around Madison’s most iconic landmarks, including three lakes, the Wisconsin State Capitol, and the UW-Madison campus.

UW-Madison Campus Tour(s) | Free
UW–Madison is the flagship public university in the state of Wisconsin. The first public university established in the state, it is also Wisconsin’s largest.

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Babcock Dairy offers free tours and has ice cream to be sampled. | Photo via Babcock Dairy Plant

Eat and drink

Babcock Dairy | Free
Discover dairy delights with an observation deck tour that showcases expert dairy production being done at UW-Madison. Ice cream is available for a small fee.

Madison Eats Food Tours | $69-$129
Madison Eats offers four walking tours and one biking tour, highlighting local chefs, producers, and food artisans. Vegan and vegetarian options are available.

Madison Food Explorers | $55+
Their flagship “Lake to Lake” tour explores the isthmus, visiting a handful of unique food shops.

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The Wisconsin State Capitol is over 200 feet tall, making it one of the largest capitol buildings in the nation. | Photo by 608today

All in on history

Madison Trust for Historic Preservation | Prices TBD
2024 architectural walking tours include visits to various neighborhoods including Green Bush, Mansion Hill, Orton Park, Westmorland, and more.

Wisconsin Executive Residence | Free
Stroll through the public rooms of the governor’s house to experience the history, view the beautiful furniture, and enjoy the inspiring art in this 100+ year-old home.

Wisconsin State Capitol | Free
Built between 1906 and 1917 for $7.25 million, the Capitol building reaches a height of over 200 feet. A tour guide will teach you about its architecture and history.

Natural History

Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark | $13-$460/person
In Blue Mounds, take a stroll through a geologic wonder, wandering through an array of crystal formations on paved lighted walkways.

Henry Vilas Zoo | Prices vary
The zoo’s behind-the-scenes tours give attendees a chance to see areas of the zoo normally only seen by the animals and keepers. Guests will also meet an animal or two.

Wisconsin National Primate Research Center | Free
Tours are available for the Marmoset Learning Lobby and the Stem Cell Learning Lab. The center has one of the largest colonies of marmosets in the US.

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Private tours are available at Madison’s contemporary art gallery. | Photo by 608today

Art is all around

Chasen Museum of Art | Free
Take a guided tour of one of Madison’s most beloved arts institutions that houses art by Andy Warhol, Dale Chihuly, and others.

Fall Art Tour | Free
Each fall, artisans and craftspeople open their studios from Mineral Point to Baraboo.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art | Free
Private guided tours of MMoCA’s exhibitions are available to groups of six or more adults with four weeks’ advance notice


American Ghost Walks | $25-up
With three different tours available, learn about ghosts, legends, scoundrels, and spirits.

Frank Lloyd Wright | Free-$5
There are tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace, as well as tours of the Unitarian Meeting House.

Wisconsin Energy Institute | Free
The UW-Madison facility is a national leader in clean energy research.

Check out our other Guides
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Check out these 15 yoga opportunities around Madison which offer beginner classes, memberships, hot yoga, and more.
Check out this list of local spots to host your special event.
When the sun’s out, the world is your workspace.
Dig into delicious and nutritious vegan and vegetarian fare in every corner of Madison.
Go bargain hunting with our Madison happy hour guide, which highlights drink specials and food discounts throughout the city.
If you don’t have coffee already in hand, consider this your sign to grab some.
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