Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


    Your guide to a perfect summer in Madison

    Activities, art, culture to experience during your time off
    Abigail Leavins
    Badger Herald archival photo of sunset over Lake Mendota, 2023.

    Summer is the best season in Madison. As finals end, the city shines a little extra with rising temperatures, bustling streets, relaxing lakeshores and sunsets at the Memorial Union Terrace. From softball games to open mic music festivals, there’s countless fun things to do if you’re sticking around for the summer.

    Dane County Farmers’ Market

    Summer is the perfect time to try some of Wisconsin’s best produce — from rhubarb, asparagus and radishes starting in May, to strawberries, cherries, raspberries, tomatoes, beets, corn and broccoli later on — one can find everything at the Dane County Farmers’ Market.


    The abundant fresh harvests are balanced by plenty of prepared goods — new additions to the vendor list have been made, with up-and-coming businesses such as The Dairy Godmother offering pints of refreshing, velvety ice cream to help counteract the heat.

    Local favorites are also back, including Stella’s spicy cheese bread and Yummee Treats’ decadent cookies. Lastly, also catch delicious baked goods from Chris and Lori’s Bakehouse stand as this outdoor market season marks their last. Take the chance to grab a scone and an iconic, cow-shaped sugar cookie before their farewell!

    The Dane County Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from 6:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. right on Capitol Square.

    Madison Night Market

    The beloved Madison Night Market will return May 9, this year expanding to Capitol Square. It happens once a month with the summer dates being May 9, June 13 and August 8. Catch local vendors and your State Street favorites there from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Activities on the Lake

    Want to test the waves? The lake is finally unfrozen. Look no further than Memorial Union to enjoy the freshly melted lake.

    With equipment rentals all summer long, catch the sun out on Lake Mendota by booking a single kayak or with friends on an 8-person paddle board from Outdoor UW, or enjoy a fully guided paddling tour to Picnic Point with s’mores.

    In addition, you can try sailing and windsurfing daily from Monday through Thursday starting June 17 with Hoofers at Memorial Union.

    Current University of Wisconsin students are eligible to receive a discount, along with union member deals every Thursday.

    Camping and Trekking

    Spend your summer evenings with your friends enjoying a fire or a biking trip to Picnic Point. Special ticketed events, such as family nights and evening “Hike and Brews,” are also available by organizations in Memorial Union. Find camping equipment rentals year-round from Outdoor UW and take a weekend to get away from the city!

    All Things Music

    Madison’s music scene has something for everyone. Venues around the city are to feature artists such as Hozier, Chappell Roan and Cage The Elephant.

    Performances by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and their Concerts on the Square series return, with timeless classical and jazz pieces like composer George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

    The music scene is also open to musicians of all ages and skill levels looking for the spotlight. Anyone is allowed to register and perform at Make Music Madison, returning this year Friday, June 21, marking the 11th year of the city’s participation in the global event, joining 1000+ other locations.

    Beloved festivals like the Marquette Waterfront, Atwood and Sugar Maple also return, drawing crowds from all over with an outdoor, open-air scene combined with tasteful set lists from musical artists.


    Pride events take center stage in June, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community through parades, performances and — in true Wisconsin fashion — bar crawls! The city’s inaugural Magic Pride Festival is anticipated to return in August, rounding out a summer of festivities.

    The International Festival held June 29 and 30 at the Overture Center is to bring music, dance, cuisine and art from around the world, inviting attendees to learn about and dive into intercontinental celebrations.

    Arts and Crafts

    For those intrigued by history through a unique lens, UW’s Remaking the Renaissance event provides a captivating exploration of the past through the context of fashion and textiles, offering insight into how clothing and fabrics shaped society from 1400 to 1700.

    Lastly, for craft enthusiasts, the Wisconsin Union’s Wheelhouse Studios presents an opportunity to unleash creativity with fused glass workshops offered throughout the summer through a fun and interactive experience. With a rich tapestry of events, Madison promises to educate and delight audiences interested in art and culture throughout the warmer months.


    While Badger Football doesn’t return until August 31, multiple local teams kick off their seasons over the summer.

    Join fervent crowds at a Madison Mallards softball home game, cheer on a Radicals Ultimate Frisbee match or immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere of the Forward Madison soccer team. Madison recently unveiled their brand-new women’s softball team, the Madison Night Mares, who will play on the same field as the Mallards.

    Madison’s countless summer events offer something for everyone, with culture and entertainment for visitors and locals alike. Summer is finally here and it is yours to enjoy.

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