Things to Do in Madison This Summer (2024) – Madison Eats Food Tours
Close Menu

Things to Do in Madison This Summer (2024)

Summer in Madison is… EVERYTHING. With sunny skies and stunningly blue lakes, festivals every weekend, and a collective sense of joy and excitement among locals (bye-bye, Winter!), it can be hard to figure out exactly what to do with all of your precious time in the summer season. 

Luckily, the Madison food tour guides at Madison Eats have you covered. Here is a non-exhaustive, highly curated list of things we’re excited for during the summer. Add a few of these to your list and your summer is sure to be your best one yet!

Play Tourist on a Walking Food Tour

A private walking tour group enjoys some summer fun (and limoncello!) with Chef Gio at Bar Coralini.

Are you a tourist visiting Madison for a few days? Or are you a Madison suburbanite looking to escape your everyday routine and enjoy an afternoon in the not-too-big city? Whatever the occasion, a walking tour on the Isthmus is a great way to experience Madison and its ever-changing restaurant scene.

With walking tours year-round in the Capitol Square, Atwood Ave., and Willy St. neighborhoods, there’s a food tour for all tastes and schedules. Each tour covers five unique food stops and provides important stories of Madison history and lore — all in about three hours. Experience Madison in a new way and consider booking a food tour this summer and beyond!

Go Cruising on a Madison Eats Bike Tour

Our return tour guests enjoying some fun in the sun on our Bikes N’ Bites Food Tour.

In our world full of big cars and even bigger roads, biking can be a real challenge. Luckily, Madison is one of the best and safest cities in the United States for biking. With its vast network of dedicated, off-street bike paths, rentable e-bikes around every corner, and friendly Wisconsin drivers who say “no, you go first!,” it’s no surprise that Madison has been rated a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. There are only five communities in the U.S. that hold this esteemed ranking!

Where there’s passionate pedalers, there’s a vast selection of off-path restaurants to feed them. Over the course of three hours, our Bike & Bites Food Tour covers five delicious food stops and three waterfront parks across Madison’s Near East Side — many of which are right off the bike path. We partner with BCycle to provide guests with pedal-assisted E-bikes that make biking across Madison a breeze. We’d love to see you this summer — book a Madison bike tour with your family and friends and experience Madison’s Tour De Food firsthand!

Have a Picnic at a Waterfront Park

A burrito/taco box from Jalisco Cocina Mexicana is the perfect portable picnic lunch.

Eating inside a Madison restaurant? During the summer? If you say so. For us, the summer is all about amazing patios and supporting our favorite restaurants, but to-go. If you’re on the Isthmus, you’re within walking distance of some incredible food spots — and a hop and a skip from a dozen waterfront parks like James Madison Park, Brittingham Bay Park, Tenney Park, Yahara Place Park (a favorite among the guides), and many, many more.

You have limitless food options that are picnic-friendly. Here are a few of our favorite concepts:

Whichever food and park combo you choose, you’ll be maximizing your Madison experience by dining al fresco. Picnic blanket not included.

Play Badger at the UW Memorial Union

Guests toasting cups of beer on food and drink tour at Memorial Union in Downtown Madison, Wisconsin
School’s out… and summer fun is IN!

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to 40,000+ students each year. But when the students head home for the summer, it becomes a playground for locals and tourists alike. Why not spend an afternoon pretending to be a college student and enjoy the Memorial Union while it’s relatively empty?

In a single building, you can create your own self-guided food tour by grabbing soft pretzels or brats at the Rathskellar, a beer on the Memorial Union Terrace, wood-fired pizza at Strada, and of course, a scoop of cow-to-cone ice cream at the Babcock Dairy’s Daily Scoop. Once you’ve had your fill of on-campus delicacies, walk off your food coma with a stroll down State Street. All of the college experience, none of the homework.

Pair Free Activities with Nearby Food Spots

POV: you finally arrive at Garver Feed Mill and your friends are happy to see you!

Henry Vilas Zoo. Olbrich Botanical Garden. Most museums. Madison has a ton of amazing, free places to explore art, nature, history, and culture. So why not add on a food experience for a wallet-friendly outing?

Here’s a few suggestions for restaurants that go well with some of Madison’s most prominent, free cultural attractions:

The options are nearly limitless as free museums, zoos, and other experiences are almost always located near a few restaurants. This is Madison, after all!

Get More Summer Ideas From Your Local Food Guide

The tour guides at Madison Eats are always ready to provide local recs for food and fun this summer — no matter your tastes. Book a food tour and experience the very best of Madison while enjoying some precious sunshine!