by Abbey Laufenberg

When the sun appears after weeks of hiding, the snow covered ground is melted away to reveal lost lush green grass, and the birds have returned from their winter vacation, I know summer is just around the corner. Living in a place known for their cheese and frozen tundra, there has to be something appealing to keep fabulous women in the state of Wisconsin. For me, it’s the amazing summers that get me through the bitterly cold and long winters. The summers in Wisconsin refuel and revitalize those of us who need daily doses of sun and fun. Everyone comes out from hibernation and is ready for some good ol’ Wisconsin summer fun!

Madison, Wisconsin, the capitol city, is an especially great location to be for the summer months. The University campus clears out and makes room for all of the local festivities. Madison is host to a slue of festivals, fairs, sporting events, and the home to four other “Great Lakes”. If you want to spend a really great summer in Wisconsin, be sure to bring your drinking hat, your game face, and your appetite!

The best way to spend a Saturday morning in Madison is to wake up early, and head to the capitol square. Every Saturday starting April 21st, the Farmer’s Market runs from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.. The first Madison farmer’s market began in 1972 after Mayor Bill Dyke decided to unite the rural and urban communities of Wisconsin. By 1973 dozens of farmers parked overnight to secure the best spot on the square. The market’s popularity and success has continued to grow since, and is now a must for any great summer weekend in Madison. The market features fresh items such as veggies, flowers, and specialty products from over three hundred local vendors. Even if you are not looking to stock up on fresh items to take home, the market is a great place to socialize. Two things that you can’t leave the market without trying are the sticks of fresh honey and the fresh cheese curds. Cheese curds are a Wisconsin favorite. They may sound weird, but I promise you won’t even make it back to your car without eating all of them!

In July, Madison gets patriotic by putting on the Midwest’s largest fireworks display. The Rhythm and Booms celebration was started in 1993 and today attracts over 30,000 people. It is held every July 4th weekend in Werner Park on Madison’s north side. Rhythm and Booms is an all day celebration with activities and entertainment for the whole family. There are carnival rides, three music stages, a Madison Mallard’s baseball game, food and beverage vendors from all over the city. During the day parachuters from the local skydiving club, fill the sky and then land in the park. To kick off the fireworks, at 9:00 p.m. the Wisconsin National Air-Guard does a fly-over Werner Park. The thirty-five minute firework display is choreographed to live music that is performed in the park, and also played over the radio. It is truly a magical event that cannot be missed.

This year Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting its 48th annual “Art Fair on the Square”, on Madison’s Capitol Square. The event runs July 14th through the 15th. With nearly five hundred artists on display, there is something to suit anyone’s taste. You will find everything from ceramics, fiber arts, glasswork, graphics, jewelry, leather, mixed media, painting, photography, and sculpture. If looking at visual art for an entire afternoon isn’t exactly your cup of tea, don’t worry. Spend the day immersed in the culinary arts because it wouldn’t be a proper Wisconsin event without great food and plenty of beverages to go along with it. And for your total sensory experience, there will also be live music to keep the party going. This two-day event is free, but don’t leave your wallet at home, you never know what you just can’t live without!

If you are a sun and sand junkie like myself, you don’t even have to leave the city to find it. Madison is home to four connecting lakes, the largest lake being Mendota. Mendota is lined with luxury homes and condos, government protected natural parks, restaurants and hotels. A favorite local spot on the lake is the University of Wisconsin student union terrace. It’s a great place to grab a beer and soak up the scenery. Lake Monona is the second largest lake in Madison. It has a great view of Madison’s skyline and the Monona Terrace Convention Center, which was originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1977. Madison also has lake Waubesa and Kegonsa for great boating.

Another great Madison tradition is the Taste of Madison. This is always such a bittersweet time for me. While the event is so much fun, It also marks the unofficial end of summer. The Taste falls on Labor Day weekend every year. The event is held once again on Madison’s beautiful Capitol Square. The Taste showcases over sixty local restaurants, and sixteen beverage stands. In addition to the great food and drink, there are also four entertainment stages. There is no charge for admission or entertainment. The Taste of Madison is a great way to close out another great summer in Madison.

If you haven’t figured out the secret to our success yet, let me do the honor of pointing it out to you. Food and Beer+Sun+Great Wisconsin Folks= AN AMAZNG SUMMER! In Madison we work hard, but play harder. So if you want to have an amazing summer adventure, look no further than Madison, Wisconsin!

Planning Your Trip

Where to Stay

The Madison Concourse Hotel is a great place to stay while visiting Madison. It has a great location, within walking distance to great restaurants, nightlife, the lakes, and the Capitol Square.

Eating and Drinking

Good Food and Drinks are always within walking distance in Madison. State Street in Madison is a great place to grab lunch, dinner, or cocktails. Tutto Pasta is a great place for Italian any night of the week. Other great places for Drinks and dinner are the Great Dane Pub, Angelic Brewing Company, Cafe Montmartre, and Nitty Gritty where everyone goes to celebrate their birthday. If you are into sipping fancy drinks, and a more sophisticated vibe Opus Lounge is a great spot.

Madison Farmer’s Market
Art Fair on the Square
Rhythm and Booms
Taste of Madison