Downtown/Capitol Square

The bustling downtown area is the heart of Madison. This is where you’ll find the beautiful state capitol building, as well as attractions like the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wisconsin Historical Museum, the Overture Center for the Arts, and the farmer’s market on the Capitol Square. Spend an afternoon exploring the Capitol building and its rotunda, watch a show at one of the Overture Center’s theaters, or sample the local produce and artisanal goods at the Saturday farmer’s market. The area also has shopping at State Street and lots of dining options for any taste.

University of Wisconsin Campus

The UW campus offers a scenic spot to explore. The picturesque Library Mall is an iconic campus spot, surrounded by buildings like Memorial Library, the Chazen Museum of Art, and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library. Other highlights include strolling by Lake Mendota, seeing the famous Abraham Lincoln statue, and checking out the cutting-edge design of the Chazen Museum of Art. You can even learn on campus tours offered through the university. And with so many college students around, you’re sure to find funky shops, cafes, and live music venues near campus.

Monroe Street

Monroe Street offers a funky, artistic vibe with its indie shops, ethnic eateries, and cultural spots. Browse goods at shops like Orange Tree Imports with its globally inspired home decor or Judy’s Vintage Fashion for unique apparel finds. Refuel with coffee at local favorite Barriques or fresh smoothies and juices at Bloom Bake Shop. Catch an indie movie at Sundance Cinemas or live music at venues like The Frequency. You can also check out cultural sites like the Madison Children’s Museum, with hands-on exhibits for kids.

Willow Island

Escape to nature without leaving the city by visiting Willow Island at the end of Fairfield Avenue off Monona Bay. This small island has a park with trails winding through prairie grasses, oak savanna, and wetland areas. Walk across the causeway to the island, where you’ll find information signs about its history and environment. Pack a picnic to enjoy after exploring the trails and natural scenery. It’s a perfect spot for getting pictures of the downtown Madison skyline across the water too.

Tenney Park/Sherman Avenue

In this near eastside neighborhood, find the village-like area of Sherman Avenue, one of Madison’s oldest shopping districts. Browse goods at niche gift shops like A Room of One’s Own feminist bookstore and Everything But The House’s vintage wares. Refuel at one of the cozy cafes, bakeries, or ice cream shops. Then stretch your legs at adjacent Tenney Park, where you’ll find tennis courts, ball fields, and open green space along the Yahara River. There are also hiking and biking paths to enjoy.

Atwood Avenue

Located on the city’s east side, Atwood Avenue is the place to discover local businesses and eateries. Enjoy coffee from neighborhood cafes like Lazy Jane’s and Brewed Cafe or browse the goods at specialty boutiques like Room of One’s Own feminist bookstore. World flavors abound, with options like Middle-Eastern fare at Banzo, Asian cuisine at Ha Long Bay, and Venezuelan specialties at La Mestiza. Many of the international grocery stores like El Huipil and Yue-Wah Oriental Foods also have small takeout counters serving authentic ethnic eats.

Williamson (Willy) Street

Near Atwood Avenue, Willy Street offers more quirky local shops and restaurants. It’s a great spot for antiques and vintage goods, with stores like Good Style Shop and The Soap Opera. Or find funky art and gifts at Star Sister and The Bodhisattva. When you’re hungry, there are cozy cafes and unique eateries like brewpub Alchemy, French bistro Cafe Hollander, and Willy Street Co-op if you want to grab picnic supplies. Stop for gelato at Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream on a sunny day.

Monona Terrace

Frank Lloyd Wright fans will want to visit Monona Terrace, an event and convention center he designed that overlooks sparkling Lake Monona. Take one of the free public tours offered daily to see the design details and learn about the history of how his vision came to life. The rooftop garden and sweeping views of the lake are highlights. Whether you tour Monona Terrace or not, the area along the lakefront here makes a nice spot for a lakefront stroll or picnic on a nice day.

Vilas Neighborhood

With proximity to Lake Wingra, the Vilas neighborhood offers scenic appeal. Walk or bike along the lakefront path and look for water birds and other wildlife. Or spread out a blanket and enjoy a lakefront picnic. The area also offers shopping and dining along South Park Street. Peruse gifts at Little Luxuries or FAIR gifts and home decor or browse the large selection at Room of One’s Own bookstore. Fuel up on baked goods and coffee at Bloom Bake Shop or seasonal fare at nearby seasonal-driven restaurants. It’s a pretty, laidback area to explore.

Book a Bus With Us

No matter which neighborhood you’re excited to explore, Madison Party Bus Company offers a convenient transportation solution. Our spacious party buses, expert team, and door-to-door service make it easy to get around Madison without hassles like traffic and parking. We’ll handle all the driving details while your group relaxes together during the ride. At Madison Party Bus Company, our modern fleet of party buses is perfect for any occasion from nights out to weddings to corporate events and more. Contact us at (608) 669-9100 to request a quote or get more information about reserving one of our party buses for your big day.