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

Miscellaneous

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.

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