If you're like me, you might have wondered whether summer would ever get here. Now that the sun is shining and the grass is green, I can't wait to get outside! Here are a few of my favorite ideas for making the most of summer fun in Madison.
Farmers' Markets. Sure, we all know the Saturday farmer's market on the Square is one of the biggest farmers' markets in the country. It's a perennially popular tourist attraction, and a great way to spend a Saturday. But did you know we also have more than a dozen smaller farmers' markets, throughout the week, in neighborhoods all over town? Find the farmers' market closest to you. These are a great way to support local farmers while enjoying outdoor time with your family -- plus, you can skip the Saturday crowds and take all the time you need to linger over the heirloom tomatoes or fresh-baked bread.
Monona Terrace. It's not just a convention center, filled with conferences and weddings. The Monona Terrace rooftop offers outdoor entertainment for kids and grown-ups all summer long. Check out Dane Dances every Friday in August, Lakeside Kids every Wednesday morning through the end of July, Concerts on the Rooftop throughout the summer, and enjoy the Madison cityscape over a bottle wine at the Lake Vista Cafe.
City Parks. Did you know Madison's city parks offer up a lot more than playgrounds, pools, and picnics? This summer, take advantage of the adventure awaiting just down the street, in your nearest city park. From geocaching and stargazing with UW's Space Place, to boat rentals and launches, to guided nature walks, moonlight movies, and the fun and fascinating Walk with a Doc series, the City of Madison Parks Department offers up a full calendar of events that help you make the most of your local green space -- and best of all, they're almost always free.
Fairs and Festivals. Every weekend it seems there is another fair or festival happening in or around Madison, and I like to make the most of it! From the free music to the parades to the chance to try new foods -- if Madison hasn't already won an award for its wide array of festivals, then it's high time it did. I like to check out the fairs and festivals listings on a few different sites, just to make sure I don't miss something: Travel Wisconsin, Wisconsin Trails, and the Daily Page, to name a few.
Staying local. Take advantage of the warm weather to simply stroll along the streets where you typically drive, and see what you discover -- from a new hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop, to public art in surprising places, to tiny parks you might have never known were there. It's amazing what can be discovered by simply walking around your own neighborhood!
What are your favorite ways to enjoy summer fun in Madison? I'd love to hear 'em!