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The Perfect One Day Madison, WI Itinerary

Madison, Wisconsin is a city known for being the home of the University of Wisconsin Badgers, but we are here to tell you that it is so much more than just another college town! It is a treasure trove of culinary delights, magnificent views, and outdoor activities that make it a destination worth adding to your travel list! We had the pleasure of spending one full day experiencing Madison to the fullest, and we loved every second of it! From the amazing Hotel Indigo to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens to the gorgeous Capitol Square, Madison didn’t cease to impress! We’ve put together what we think is the perfect way to spend a day in Madison if you’re on a tight schedule like we were! Let's dive in...

*Check out our "1 Day in Madison" travel vlog for a closer look at our time there!

To get the day started, we decided to enjoy the complimentary breakfast that was included in our stay at Hotel Indigo (901 E Washington Ave), but if you’d rather get out and taste a little more of what Madison has to offer, we’ve provided you with some great options!

Side note: If you are headed to Madison and haven’t booked your accommodations yet, we highly recommend Hotel Indigo! It’s built in the old Mautz Paint Company building and they have done an excellent job of not letting that history be lost in the new incarnation of the space.

9:00 am: Coffee/Breakfast


  • Bradbury’s Coffee (127 N Hamilton St)

  • Crescendo Espresso Bar (1859 Monroe St)

  • Ancora (107 King St)


  • Monty's Blue Plate Diner (2089 Atwood Ave)

  • Short Stack Eatery (301 W Johnson St)

  • Mickies Dairy Bar (1511 Monroe St)

After getting your morning caffeine kick, you’re going to head to the award-winning Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a 16 acre outdoor botanical garden (FREE) and 10,000-square-foot conservatory ($2 normally, $6 when we went due the extra staff needed for re-opening) filled with beautiful plants and flowers from around the world! They even have an authentic Thai Pavilion which is the only one in the continental United States and the only one outside of Thailand surrounded by a garden. It’s a real treat that’s worth checking out!

*If botanical gardens aren't your thing, another great option would be to visit the Henry Vilas Zoo which is free as well!

10:00 am: Olbrich Botanical Gardens (3330 Atwood Ave)