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Where to watch the sunset in Madison, WI


Memorial Union Terrace at our favorite time of day. | Photo by @heelclickersphotography

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The summer solstice — the longest day of the year — is Tues., June 21 (aka tomorrow). And what better way to celebrate the latest sunset of 2022 (at 8:41 p.m. to be exact) than with a picturesque view.

Whether you love being out in nature or prefer to treat yourself at one of the city’s rooftop bars, our lakeside views mean you’re never far from the perfect sunset. We’ve created a list of the best spots for a sun-sational outing, because watching the sunset is good for your health.


A rainbow of colors at Raymer’s Cove | Photo from Reader Steven V.

🌇 Rooftops + Restaurants

  • Memorial Union Terrace | 800 Langdon St. | A classic Madison spot overlooking Lake Mendota is perfect for ice cream or a pitcher to finish the night.
  • Great Dane: East Side | 876 Jupiter Dr. | Overlooking downtown Madison, grab a beer and watch the sun set on a great night.
  • Camp Trippalindee | 601 Langdon St. | Perched atop the Graduate Hotel, take yourself back to summer camp with s’mores, brats + burgers.
  • Eno Vino | 1 N. Webster St. | Watch the colors over the Capitol as you dine on the rooftop patio.
  • Edgewater Hotel | 1001 Wisconsin Pl. | Visit the historic hotel for movie nights, Brewgrass Fridays, and other evening events.
  • Vintage Brewing Co. | 600 Water St., Sauk City | The original Vintage location sitting right on the Wisconsin River.

🌇 Hikes + Drives

  • Tenney Park | 1414 E. Johnson St. | The storybook scenery offers picture-perfect picnic spots or a playground to end the evening.
  • Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area | Gibraltar Rock Rd., Lodi | 1.4-mile loop on the Ice Age Trails rises 200 ft above the surrounding landscape.
  • Picnic Point | 2000 University Bay Dr. | A one-mile walk through the wooded area for skyline views.
  • James Madison Park | 614 E. Gorham St. | Situated on Lake Monona, the 12-acre park is always a popular spot for frisbee, volleyball, and sunbathing.
  • Hoyt Park | 3902 Regent St. | Tucked away in the Rocky Bluff neighborhood, the scenic overlook offers a place away from the hustle and bustle.
  • Wyldhaven Park | Tonyawatha Trail and Wyldhaven Avenue | The iconic Madison skyline (think Monona Terrace + the Capitol) is perfectly aligned at this small green space.
  • Arboretum Drive | Haywood Drive and North Wingra Drive | Hop in the car or grab a bike to cruise along Wingra.
  • Governor’s Island | Governors Island Parkway | The 1.2-mile loop trail next to the Mendota Mental Health Institute offers a scenic view near the rocky bluffs.
  • Raymer’s Cove | 2900 Lake Mendota Dr. | Take advantage of the free parking and take the staircase to the water’s edge.