5 Madison Spots to Visit When You Want to Get Off Campus

The UW campus has a lot to offer but sometimes it’s nice to escape the two-mile radius we confine ourselves to.. Luckily, it's easy to reach a number of interesting off-campus locations with just a bike or bus pass. Whether you’re a freshman looking to experience your new city or a tired senior wanting to get away from campus, here are five easy off-campus spots to explore in your spare time.   

  1. 1. Monroe Street

    Right off of Regent, Monroe Street boasts a number of picturesque restaurants, cafes, boutiques and more. If you’re looking to shop small businesses, go thrifting or try unique cuisines, this stretch of Monroe Street is your place. 

  2. 2. Hilldale Shopping Center

    Featuring a variety of restaurants and shops, a movie theater and even a Super Target, this outdoor mall is a great stop when you want to get off campus, whether it’s an evening with friends, a date night or just your weekly grocery haul.

  3. 3. Henry Vilas Zoo

    Relive your childhood by visiting the Henry Vilas Zoo which is just a short walk from Camp Randall. The best part? Admission is free!  

  4. 4. Lakeshore or Southwest Commuter Paths

    If you like to bike, run or walk, Madison has plenty of options on and off campus. The Southwest Commuter Path runs from downtown Madison into residential areas, passing into neighboring Fitchburg and farm country, while the Lakeshore Path traces Lake Mendota from Memorial Union. You can easily access both from the heart of campus and wind your way into other parts of Madison. 

  5. 5. The Capitol Building

    This might seem like an obvious choice but did you know you can explore the capitol on your own? You can also take a free tour if you’re interested in learning more.

The city dynamic changes as you wander even a few minutes off campus, so it’s worth seeing what the rest of Madison has to offer. Next time you’re about to spend another night wandering around State Street or sitting at the Union, considering giving these locations a try!