Taking Fun to New Heights in Madison

Atop Wisconsin’s State Capitol dome – the largest granite dome in the world – stands the statue “Wisconsin.” This golden lady wears a badger-bedecked helmet and holds a shining, eagle-topped globe. Imagine standing in Wisconsin’s golden shoes with Madison at your feet. Well, you’re on your own when it comes to wearing the gold leaf and statement accessories, but if you dream of enjoying Madison from above, we can help make it happen. Read on for secrets of how to get to the top of Wisconsin’s capital city. 

Monona Terrace

Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned Monona Terrace as a gathering place that would link the shore of Lake Monona to the State Capitol. His vision turned reality in the 1990s, and thanks to Monona Terrace’s privileged position, the rooftop garden provides a panoramic view of the lake, the Capitol, and Madison neighborhoods. 

The rooftop itself has become a popular gathering place. The greenery, the sunset views, and the Lake Vista Café combine to make it a great little escape from busy days below.

Free T’ai Chi classes on the rooftop are a Madison favorite for those in need of a stress reliever. Enjoy this ancient Chinese art form every Tuesday and Thursday at noon through June 27. The Concerts on the Rooftop series – also free – highlights great local bands, and invites fans to pack a picnic and bring a blanket  (Thursdays, 7 p.m., June 13 - July 25 except July 4).

  • The William T. Evjue Rooftop Garden is open Sunday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 8 a.m. - midnight. It’s closed during inclement weather.
  • Lake Vista Café is open Monday 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.; Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. (8 p.m. June - August)

Madison Children’s Museum

The Madison Children’s Museum's Rooftop Ramble exhibit is a four-season space that supports children’s connection to the natural world with fun features like herb and salad gardens, a chicken coop, homing pigeons, and renewable energy exhibits.

  • Museum admission: $7.95 for adults and children, $6.95 for seniors and grandparents, $1 per person for families using public assistance programs, free for members and children younger than one year old.
  • Open daily, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. (closed Mondays from Labor Day through Memorial Day). The Rooftop Ramble closes a half-hour before the rest of the museum closes.
  • Twilight Wednesdays: Free admission the first Wednesday of the month, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

MMoCA’s facility, designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, is stunning from its light-filled lobby all the way up to its dramatic rooftop. It makes the most of that rooftop, with a 7,100-square-foot sculpture garden and a restaurant called Fresco, serving contemporary American cuisine. On special MMoCA Nights, the roof comes alive with music and free hors d’oeuvres, and Fridays in June bring Rooftop Cinema screenings under the stars. 

  • Fresco is open Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 5 p.m. -10 p.m.
  • MMoCA is open Tuesday-Thursday noon - 5 p.m.; Friday noon - 8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sunday noon - 5 p.m.
  • Admission to MMoCA exhibitions is free. MMoCA Nights are free for members and $10 for non-members.
  • Rooftop Cinema is free for MMoCA members and anyone attending MMocA Nights; tickets are $7 per screening for the general public. 

UW Space Place

Space Place is the UW-Madison Astronomy Department’s public education center, filled with incredible artifacts and impressive exhibits. At special events like “Party with the Stars,” participants get to set up telescopes on the rooftop deck for sky viewing fun. Space Place is open only during scheduled events, so check their website to find out what’s coming up. Many of their events are free.

Read more about the fun you'll find in Madison – not just on the rooftops, but at street level and on the water too! 

This entry was posted in City Getaways and tagged Giveaways, Destinations, Madison