Why Madison?

Curious about what the University of Wisconsin-Madison has to offer? Look no further! The university is a hub for academic students & professionals from all backgrounds. We hope you get the most out of your studies while here in Madison, but also encourage you to explore our beautiful campus! Here are some fun places and activities to attend to during a Madison summer:



A Picturesque Overview

Featured in this video are campus landmarks, farmer’s markets, lake activities, music venues, & more!

Click Here for a Virtual Campus Tour!

Live band performing at the Memorial Union Terrace in front of a crowd of people.
Live band performing at the Memorial Union Terrace in front of a crowd of people.

The Memorial Union & Terrace

The Memorial Union has everything a student needs! Great food, live music and beautiful sunsets to enjoy while studying. There are the famous sunburst chairs to grab when you wish to be part of the action, or indoor facilities to use when you need a quieter place to focus. Grab some famous Babcock ice cream and join us for a lakefront stroll!

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Lakeshore Path

Along Lake Mendota, trails connect the Lakeshore Nature Preserve together. Take a stroll or ride a bike along this scenic route to see glittering lake and relax in the beauty of nature!

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A walking path surrounded by trees with a lake in the background.
A walking path surrounded by trees with a lake in the background.
A group of people roasting marshmallows on Picnic Point.
A group of people roasting marshmallows on Picnic Point.

Picnic Point

Traveling around Lakeshore Path will bring you to Picnic Point, one of the most popular destinations in the Preserve. As the name stands, the peninsula serves as a great gathering spot to enjoy food or study in nature.

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Saturday on the Square

Every Saturday, from June to November, the Capitol Square in downtown Madison fills with produce, art, flowers, and other goods! While this is the most popular Madison farmers market, it’s not the only one. There’s also the Wednesday Market, Eastside Market, and more! Some personal favorites are Stella’s Hot & Spicy Cheese Bread, fresh apples, and cheese curds—make sure they squeak!

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People walking around an outdoor farmer's market in front of the Wisconsin Capitol.
People shopping at the Farmer’s Market in front of the Wisconsin Capitol. (Photo by Zachary Alphonse Marra from visitmadison.com)

Summer Sweet Spots by UW-Madison

Lakeshore Path

Picnic Point

Allen Centennial Gardens

Library Mall

Union Terrace

Eagle Heights Gardens

Still Looking for Events to Partake in?

Check out the suggestions given by Isthmus, an independent, local news source based in Madison. Events are organized both chronologically and by category, making it easy for you to find your kind of events for the days you wish to explore Madison on.

Fun & Fitness

The Nicholas Recreation Center

A long shot of the The Nicholas Recreation Center building.
A long shot of the The Nicholas Recreation Center building.

The Nicholas Recreation Center is one of UW-Madison’s new recreational center. Affectionately nicknamed “the Nick”, the center holds 30,000 square feet of fitness space, 8 courts, 5 studios, an Olympic size pool, and more.

The Nielsen Tennis Stadium

The front entrance of the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
The front entrance of the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

The Nielsen Tennis Stadium is perfect for those looking to serve up some fun and competition. It includes 12 indoor tennis courts, two squash courts, equipment rental and racquet services, and a system to help you find a tennis partner.

The Bakke

Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Sept. 22, 2023. (Photo by Althea Dotzour / UW–Madison)

The Bakke (bah-kee) Center features spaces dedicated to supporting wellbeing services (such as the Wolf Teaching kitchen, restorative studios, and rooms for massage therapy, peer wellness coaching, and meditation), as well as a 25-yard recreational pool, eight multipurpose courts, Sub-Zero Ice Center, a climbing and bouldering wall, sports simulators, multipurpose studios, an indoor jogging track, a rooftop fitness area, and over 29,000 square feet of fitness space.

The Wisconsin Hoofers is the premier outdoors club at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With nearly 2,000 members, it is one of the oldest and largest student organizations on campus. From sailing on Lake Mendota to climbing at Devil’s Lake, Hoofers is a place where people of all abilities can learn outdoor skills and enjoy outdoor activities. There are six Hoofers clubs that you can join: Mountaineering, Outing, Riding, Sailing, Scuba and Skiing.

Study Spots

While we want you to enjoy your time learning your language in Madison for the summer, an intensive learning program does require some study. Fear not! The UW-Madison campus holds some of the best libraries for quiet, individual work and group study. Check out some popular libraries below:

Most Popular

Pedestrians come and go from the entrance to Helen C. White Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as dusk falls to night on April 2, 2019. The building is home to College Library. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

College Library

With amazing views of Lake Mendota, College Library is a fairly popular spot to buckle down on studies. College Library, like most libraries on campus, includes floors with noise levels– from group work to quite study.

Jacob Peterson, a junior studying geography, uses his laptop computer while working amid the quiet aisles of the north stacks at Memorial Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

Memorial Library

Memorial Library is located in the heart of campus, with state street just down the road. It is known for its study rooms to be reserved by individuals.

A group of students present their research during a WISCIENCE summer research poster session in the lower level of Steenbock Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Aug. 2, 2017. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Steenbock Library

Steenbock Library settles in the Lakeshore part of campus. With lower levels reserved for group work and presentations (as seen above, and upper levels kept quiet, Steenbock is a perfect marriage between individual and group study!

Personal Favorites

Students study in the Law Building library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on Nov. 14, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Law Library

The Law Library is great for late nights and open views. Silent study is more common here, but group work is welcome in some areas as well.

Interior lights from the Wisconsin Historical Society glow as dusk falls to nighttime on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus during autumn on Oct. 28, 2016. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Wisconsin Historical Society Library

The Historical Society is great for a classic academia aesthetic. Individual work is popular here, due to the lack of distractions. If you need a study break, exploring the statues and artwork is a must!

Culture and Art


A personal favorite is The Chazen Museum of Art. It has approximately 23,000 work-of-art collections, making it the second-largest art collection in Wisconsin.

Henry Vilas Zoo

A terrific place to observe and learn about a vast array of animal species, or volunteer, if you are an animal person.

Madison Outlet Malls

While there are multiple shops, cafes, & service centers around the UW-Madison campus, there are two major outlets for all your essentials. We are so lucky to have a campus integrated into the city of Madison as you are never too far from a place to eat, shop, or study!

University Square

  • The University Book Store
  • Walgreens
  • Clothing shops (Urban Outfitters, Ragstock,  Sconnie Nation, etc)
  • Target
  • Multiple restaurants & fast food outlets (Noodles & Company, Raising Cane’s, Dubai Mediterranean, Tutto Pasta, etc)
  • Cafés (Colectivo, Michelangelo’s, Starbucks, etc)
  • Various convenience stores

East Campus Mall

  • University Health Services
  • Upper House community center
  • Aveda Institute hair & beauty salon
  • Walgreens
  • Milos
  • Pitaya
  • A Just Brew café
  • Gordon’s (UW-Madison student dining center)