UW-Madison Crest

University of Wisconsin–Madison

Madison, WI

Restaurant table outdoors at nighttime with lantern and wine and water glasses in foreground, bus stop and people on sidewalk can be seen in background

Photo credit: Chris Collins


As a hot summer day comes to an end, Madison’s nightlife can be as relaxed or as active as you like. There’s something to inspire around every corner: outdoor concerts on the lawns and streets of the State Capitol, bursting sunsets over the city’s lakes, intimate dining spots lining State Street, and the national pastime under the lights.

People seated at tables at the Terrace watching movie on outdoor screen at dusk

Photo credit: Jeff Miller

Lakeside Cinema

With a backdrop of starry skies and a glistening Lake Mendota, the Memorial Union Terrace could easily be your go-to destination every night in the summertime. Lakeside Cinema, the summer-long outdoor film series, provides the ultimate laid-back Madison experience with an opening act that never gets old: a spectacular sunset.

Terrace at Memorial Union

Long view of stage and performers at outdoor concert with crowd of concert-goers in foreground

Photo credit: Mike DeVries, Capital Times

Live on King Street

Free music, under the stars, on a Friday night. Held in the shadow of the state capitol, the Majestic Theater books a full spate of national touring bands, creating an intimate space for listening to music on a hot summer night.

Live on King Street

View overlooking crowd in the stands at nighttime baseball game

Photo credit: David Brown

Mallards Baseball

Order up a bacon-maple funnel cake and find your seat. You’re in for a charming night of collegiate league baseball courtesy of the Madison Mallards, complete with zip-lining mascots, on-field contests, and bobblehead giveaways. Just beyond right field is the popular Duck Blind, a patio where you can eat, drink, and socialize under the stars.

Take me out to a ballgame

Patrons of the High Noon Saloon enjoy late afternoon sun and live music on an outdoor patio.

High Noon patio concert series

Founded in 2004 as a successor to Madison’s revered O’Cayz Corral, High Noon Saloon is an isthmus staple. From May through September, their High Noon patio series offers a weekly sampling of free, early evening performances by the area’s best local and touring bands. An ice-cold beverage of your choice and gastropub fare from patio neighbor The Brass Ring make this a recipe for a great time.

Explore the High Noon’s patio music lineup