UW-Madison Crest

University of Wisconsin–Madison

Madison, WI

Canoes line the shore of Lake Mendota as the sun sets behind grove of trees in background

Photo credit: Dahai Zang

Hoof It

Summer in Madison is like no other. As campus slows down, city neighborhoods reveal their own rhythm. Get to know the city that locals know. Wander our streets and you’ll find endless ways to enjoy summertime. We invite you to experience a cityscape that makes the most of its lakes and natural beauty.

Long view of Memorial Union Terrace and its patrons and Lake Mendota on sunny day

Photo credit: Bryce Richter

The Terrace

Madisonians are all about this gorgeous view of Lake Mendota. Visit the historic Memorial Union Terrace once and you’ll understand why. Sunburst chairs and sunset views accommodate hours of socializing. Dip your toes in the water or jump off the pier. For the more adventurous, Memorial Union’s Outdoor UW rents gear for sailing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Wisconsin Hoofers

Illustrated map of Madison, WI showing outlines of 3 lakes, with the location of the Terrace indicated on the edge of Lake Mendota by a white dot and water illustration
Row of colorful boats stored near dock overlooking Lake Wingra

Photo credit: Richard Hurd

Lake Wingra

Disconnect and drift away on the smallest—and possibly prettiest—of Madison’s lakes, Lake Wingra. The UW Arboretum surrounds this wake-free lake, so it’s easy to imagine you’re far away. But you’re not: Lake Wingra is tucked behind a vibrant neighborhood with plenty of cafés and restaurants to help you refuel at the end of a blissful summer day.

Float on Lake Wingra

Illustrated map of Madison, WI showing outlines of 3 lakes, with the smallest, Lake Wingra, highlighted in white
Race participants carrying canoes over their heads running across street with Capitol building in background

Photo credit: Ryan Michael Wisniewski

Paddle & Portage

While technically a race, this lake-to-land-to-lake adventure criss-crosses Madison’s isthmus in an endlessly entertaining event for participants and spectators alike. Complete with costumes, course twists, music, and food, this Halloween-like spectacle is not to be missed.

Paddle & Portage

Illustrated map of Madison, WI showing outlines of 3 lakes, with Paddle and Portage race path indicated by dotted line and two white pins indicating the start and finish