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Enjoy this lively tour of the southwest Wisconsin Uplands. We'll explore the many sights and stops of the Wisconsin Capital City of Madison, to the tourism mecca of Wisconsin Dells – followed by a quiet getaway to historic Dodgeville.
Wisconsin’s capital and second largest city, Madison is a historic and artistic metropolis busting with beautiful lakes, museums, public art, and more. Mad City is home to the University of Wisconsin, and plenty to see and do.
This being the capital city, visitors must be sure to see the Wisconsin State Capitol. A U.S. National Historic Landmark found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the capitol houses the Wisconsin legislature, Supreme Court, and Office of the Governor.
Madison’s tallest building, the capitol was constructed in 1917, and showcases stunning Beaux-Arts architecture. Free tours are offered to the public throughout the year – weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours last 45 minutes to an hour, and start at the information desk. Summer visitors are treated to the sixth floor museum and observation deck.
Madison features an impressive array of attractions. Make time in Madtown for stops like the Henry Vilas Zoo, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and the Overture Center For The Arts. Traveling families enjoy the Madison Children's Museum, while others can check out the nightlife at the State Street Entertainment District.
The City of Four Lakes, Madison is famously surrounded by Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa, and Lake Kegonsa. Lake Mendota alone is ideal for sailing, water skiing, and fishing, while hiking, swimming, and boating is found at Lake Kegonsa State Park.
Affectionately known as The Dells, Wisconsin Dells is roughly an hour northwest of Madison by way of Interstate 94. Flanked by Wisconsin cities like West Baraboo, Portage, and Mauston, The Dells is a popular spot in for travelers.
The city’s namesake, the Dells of the Wisconsin River are a scenic gorge operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Visit the Dells Of The Wisconsin River State Natural Area for sight seeing, plus hiking, fishing, and cross-country skiing. Tour the area with a famous duck boat tour with the Original Wisconsin Ducks.
Wisconsin Dells is a tourist town chalk full of unique attractions. Check out the Kalahari Indoor Theme Park, Mt. Olympus Theme Park & Water Park, Timber Falls Adventure Park, and Noah's Ark Water Park. Other fun stops include the Top Secret Upside-Down White House, the House on the Rock, Circus World, Lost Temple, and Wizard Quest.
This is Wisconsin, so boating, hiking, fishing, and skiing is expected. However, The Dells is also known for incredible zip ling. Check out BigFoot Zipline Tours and the Chimney Rock Park Zip Line Tour.
For a more slow-paced getaway, head west on U.S. Route 18 to Dodgeville – a historic town home to sites like the Dodge Mining Camp Cabin, Sprang's Opera House, and Historic Downtown Dodgeville.
Dodgeville features plenty of attractions for visitors. Enjoy golf at Dodge-Point Country Club, a movie at Dodge Theater, or explore the Iowa County Historical Society & Museum.
A festive city, Dodgeville offers a lively event calendar. Plan your weekend trip around Farmers’ Appreciation Day, the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship, and Dodgeville Days. Seasonal festivities include Summer Concert Series at Harris Park, the Fall Art Tour, the Halloween Street Party, and the Secret Santa Shop.
Spanning over 5,000 acres, Governor Dodge State Park is set just north of town, and contains lakes, trails, wildlife, and more. Visitors can head for Cox Hollow Lake and Twin Valley Lake for fishing, boating, swimming, and picnics on the shore. Dryer activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing – while nature photographers delight in shots of Rock Peak, Cox Hollow Falls, and Stephen’s Falls.