5 Fun Activities for Parents and Students Near UW Campuses

By Emma Pankratz
Staff Writer

You'll find more than a dozen University of Wisconsin colleges throughout the state, and the list of activities is endless.

With the kids back at college, it’s time to start planning your next weekend trip to visit them on campus! If you’re having trouble sorting through all of the things to do and see, here are some fun, unique and delicious options to make each visit special!

Enjoy these favorites on parents weekend or year-round. 


Madison is home to so many unique sights, but these are perfect for a day out on any weekend. The Dane County Farmer’s Market is a local wonder, and since it's open April through November you’ll have plenty of time to plan a visit. Featuring more than 100 local vendors every Saturday on Madison’s Capitol Square, this open-air market offers a hometown feel and delicious food that everyone will enjoy.

Madison also is home to some seriously scrumptious brunch options. The unique Bassett Street Brunch Club is a newer restaurant on the Madison scene, and a favorite with the college crowd. You can also check out DLUX (Need we say more than "bottomless mimosas"?) or Coopers Tavern for delicious brunch, or dinner, on any weekend.

And, if you’re looking for an even more picturesque way to spend your day, the family can take a quick less-than-an-hour drive to Devil’s Lake State Park. It’s beautiful in every season, with plenty of hiking trails and cliffs looking out over the serene glacial lake.


On the lakeside UW–Milwaukee campus, a host of attractions will make your visit special. Try out local favorites like Café Hollander, Café Benelux and Sobelmans Pub and Grill for eats, or go to the Milwaukee Public Market for shopping and unique food experiences at one of their many vendors.

Milwaukee is home of Brewers baseball, so don’t forget to check the season schedule and make a game at Miller Park a part of your next visit! For more homegrown Milwaukee fun, you can also head to the Lakefront Brewery for a tour of the historic and prize-winning microbrewery. They even have a Friday fish fry!

UW–La Crosse  

UW–Lacrosse is one of the most charming UW campuses, with cozy shops and restaurants, all surrounded by beautiful bluffs and the Mississippi River. Don’t miss out on hiking the bluffs, with scenic trails and fantastic river views. And be sure to visit area food favorites like The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor, Fayze’s, 4 Sisters Wine Bar and Tapas Restaurant or Pickerman’s.

For more adventure, check out the new Turtle Stack Brewery for beer tastings and tours, or take a short drive over to Trempealeau to see Wisconsin’s very own Elmaro Vineyard, with wine tastings and tours weekly. If you’re up for it, Elmaro also features Sunday morning yoga and brunch, a relaxing end to your weekend! 

UW–Stevens Point

Although it is small, the UW–Stevens Point campus still has plenty of opportunities for fun on your next trip! For an artsy adventure, spend the afternoon at the Stevens Point Sculpture Park to see 20 acres of sculptures and artwork from many local and national artists.

Explore the Stevens Point town square and grab a beer at one of the local bars, or head to Belt’s Soft Serve for something sweet: it’s a favorite of students for delicious ice cream treats. For a bite to eat, head to the Point After Pub & Grill, the Wooden Chair, or Hilltop Pub & Grill.


With the Kettle Moraine State Forest close by, it’s easy to plan some great outdoor activities like hiking, biking, or skiing when you visit the UW–Whitewater campus. For indoor amusement, don’t miss out on bowling at the Hawk Bowl, a local joint right in the heart of campus that always has great deals. 

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, try out The Black Sheep restaurant, the SweetSpot Café or Jessica's Family Restaurant, a local gem. 

This entry was posted in Restaurants Entertainment and Attractions