Things to Do in South Central Wisconsin

From the waterpark capitol of Wisconsin Dells and the state capitol of Madison to craft beer and historic gems, the south central region of Wisconsin has something for everyone.

Wisconsin Dells is the heartbeat of Wisconsin tourism. Named the Waterpark Capital of the World, this is the ultimate destination for family fun in the Midwest. This area has the largest concentration of waterparks in the world and offers a great deal of outdoor adventure along the Wisconsin River. Wisconsin Dells has long been the top year-round destination in Wisconsin, and now it’s a national favorite as well.

South Central Wisconsin is also loaded with state history. Home to six Wisconsin Historical Society sites and the University of Wisconsin campus in downtown Madison, there is adventure around every corner.

Enjoy Wineries and other hidden gems in Wisconsin 

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Top Things to Do

Festival in Wisconsin

Events & Festivals

South central Wisconsin has many local fairs and festivals for everyone to enjoy. You'll find great food, live entertainment, and friendly people at any festival or event you choose to attend.

The Beloit International Film Festival is an annual ten-day film festival that celebrates the power of independent film from around the world. The New York Times has referred to this event as a unique alternative to other international film festivals, such as Sundance and Tribeca.

What would a visit to Wisconsin be without tasting the local cheese. You can do just that at the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship in Dodgeville. This fun family-friendly event features great entertainment and tops off the event by crowning the top grilled cheese sandwich in the state.

Lion in a Wisconsin Zoo

Wildlife & Zoos

Thousands of interesting animals from all over the world make their home at the zoos in south central Wisconsin. Located along the shores of Lake Wingra in Madison, the Henry Vilas Zoo spans over 28 acres and draws nearly 500,000 visitors every year. Exhibits include the Primate House, Children’s Zoo Barn, and the Discovery Center/Herpetarium. This is a fun attraction to visit with kids in tow.

girl in a wisconsin museum

Museums & Art

South central Wisconsin is home to a wide range of live shows, Broadway productions, small art houses, museums, and a lot more that make this region a premier entertainment destination.

Take a trip to Madison and visit the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, a premier venue for live entertainment in the state. The Center is host to top performers, artists, and private events throughout the year. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art offers remarkable art exhibits and the Chazen Museum of Art features a permanent collection of over 16,000 pieces of art. If you are looking for something to do with the kids, the Madison Children's Museum is perfect for children of all ages.

Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells

Rides & Thrills

When traveling to Wisconsin, a stop in Wisconsin Dells is a must for your agenda. For good reason, Wisconsin Dells has been named “The Waterpark Capital of the World! ®.” This area is home to the most waterparks per square acreage in the world, including the largest outdoor waterpark in the U.S., America’s largest indoor/outdoor combo waterpark, and the largest waterpark in the state.

Lake Mendota in Wisconsin

Outdoor Adventures

Plan your visit to Madison during the spring or summer season and enjoy a myriad of outdoor recreation. Visit the 9,470-acre Lake Mendota and you can enjoy year-round fun – from boating and swimming to fishing and water sports. You will also find great fishing spots and boat landing at Lake Monona, a 3,359-acre lake located just outside of Madison. Wisconsin Dells is another great destination for fun outdoor adventure, including kayaking, canoeing, boating, parasailing, skiing, and fishing.

wisconsin map pin

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