Holiday rom-coms are filled with predictable plots and cheesy dialogue. But there is something wonderful about them that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Daily stresses melt away, and our brains feel a bit lighter. Holiday movies are filled with nostalgia, cheer, and beauty. Madison is the perfect city for bringing those emotions into reality. We’re not saying you’ll bump into an undercover Welsh prince on State Street. But stroll through the snow under a canopy of twinkling lights, and you’ll feel a bit of holiday magic.

Here are 9-holiday activities in Madison that could easily be the backdrop for a Hallmark movie:

  1. Ice skate at the Edgewater 

The ice rink at the Edgewater Hotel is a romantic scene. It overlooks the vast icy waters of Lake Mendota. Three Christmas trees tower over the rink, and the surrounding landscaping is doused in fairy lights.  We highly recommend planning your excursion in time to catch the sunset over the water. When you’re ready to warm up, duck inside for a steaming mug of cocoa and a nice meal. The skating rink opens on December 2, 2022. 

  1. Stroll through the Christmas markets

Wisconsin Christmas markets are in the vein of traditional Bavarian markets. They’re gorgeously executed and a great way to support local businesses and artists. There are several lovely markets right here in Madison. If you’re up for a drive, you can explore some markets that take their holiday decor so seriously that you’ll wonder if you’ve been transported into a movie set. Here are the best markets in the area:

  1. Dazzle at the Holiday light displays 

Piling the car with blankets and cruising through light displays is a treasured tradition. There are a few different places offering holiday light shows this year. 

Fantasy in Lights 

  • 115 Olin-Turville Court, Madison WI 
  • Open November 13- January 1st from dusk until dawn. 
  • Cost: FREE

This show will have over 50 light displays this year. Vendor booths are also available to purchase treats.

The Zoo Lights 

  • Henry Vilas Zoo. 702 S Randall Avenue, Madison WI 
  • Open 5:30-9:00 PM Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between November 26-December 30.
  • Cost: $10/ person. Children under 3 are free.

Be sure to wear your hats and mittens! You’ll have to get out of the car for this light show. It takes around an hour to walk through the whole display. 

Rotary Botanical Gardens

  • 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville 
  • November 25- December 30 
  • Cost: $12/adult. $5/ children. Tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets are sold at the gates.

It takes around 40 minutes to drive from downtown Madison to Janesville for this light show, but it’s certainly worthwhile. The show is a dazzling walk through the garden path. There are 1.2 million lights, displays, and animations.

Waunakee Rotary Lights 

  • Waunakee Village Park, 410 E. Main Street. 
  • November 27- December 31 from 5 pm-9 pm 
  • Cost: Free

Stroll through thousands of glimmering lights in the village park, put on by Rotary club volunteers.

  1. Snag tickets to the Madison Christmas symphony

The Madison symphony orchestra will be performing its annual Christmas symphony this December. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to join the symphony chorus in caroling before the show.  Buy tickets here. 

  1. Check out caroling in a cave

Speaking of caroling, Cave of the Mounds is sponsoring a charity fundraiser in their caverns. The acoustics in the cave chambers create a hauntingly beautiful soundscape. Holiday lights illuminate the space, and talented music groups from all around the state will travel to Madison for the event.  Buy tickets here. 

  1. Sign up for a holiday dinner cooking class

Have the holiday dinner cooking responsibilities been put on your plate? Are you feeling in over your head? Not to worry, DelecTable is hosting a cooking class just for this occasion. The menu is much more than your standard roasted ham. The 6-course menu includes mouth-watering experiences like:

  • Twice-baked smoked salmon souffle with sauteed cucumber and dill
  • Butternut Squash veloute with prosciutto and caramelized shallot cream
  • Lemon galettes with raspberry creme chantilly

Beer, wine, and cocktails are available before the class begins. Who knows? It could be the perfect spot for a “meet cute”.

More details.

  1. Dine in a winter dome

Domes are a fun winter dining trend. You can enjoy the ambiance of a patio (or rooftop!) dining even in the coldest winter months. These warm, cozy domes also give your party a private dining experience. Here is a list of all the dome-dining options available in Madison (just make sure to reserve your dome in advance!): 

Happy Holidays from The Hub! 

The Hub real estate team sends warm holiday wishes to you and yours. We can’t wait to hear what next year brings for you.