There’s nothing better than game day in Madison, at least that’s according to USA Today, who ranked Madison the nation’s best college football town. Other nods come from Travel and Leisure and Thrillist, even the NCAA has recognized that Madison puts on the best game day experience around.
It’s an event you don’t want to miss. Imagine more than 80,000 fans dressed in red that fill Camp Randall, with many more people gathering to watch the game at nearby bars and restaurants. And these passionate Badger fans know how to throw a good party. World-class tailgating and an all-around festival atmosphere are happening throughout the campus and downtown area before kickoff and after the game.
Want to get in on the action? Choose from plenty of accommodations that surround Camp Randall. And, because of Madison’s unique geography (it’s an isthmus), a downtown hotel is still a short walk to the Badger football frenzy.
Bed and Breakfast
The Buckingham Inn offers an ambience of casual luxury and hearty gourmet breakfasts that will keep you cheering on Bucky for hours. You can’t beat its location for Badger game days, as the 1911 classically restored arts-and-crafts style home is just steps from the action at its Summit Avenue location. Walk to the Capitol Square or enjoy the shops and restaurants on nearby Monroe Street after the game while staying at this locally-owned inn.
The Graduate Madison is another excellent option for visitors who want to be in the thick of things on Game Day. Located just steps from the Memorial Union and State Street, this hotel is ideally situated a block away from the University of Wisconsin’s campus. The hotel embraces school pride, with subtle design references to the university and Madison’s history and culture in their decor.
On the Waterfront
The Edgewater Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Madison, boasts some magnificent views of Lake Mendota and lots of fun options before, during and after the game. The Edgewater hosts a popular tailgate where guests and locals can enjoy great food and drinks, and offers shuttle rides to and from Camp Randall, convenient parking and live local music. This year, ESPN Radio will be broadcasting their pre-game show in Augie’s Tavern.
Monroe Street’s HotelRED sits just steps away from Camp Randall Stadium, with many of its rooms offering a fantastic view of the historic venue. The all-suite hotel features sophisticated and modern design in its rooms, including luxurious bathrooms and modern kitchenettes. But if you want to stay here, it’s best to plan ahead. Room reservations for Badger Game Days open one year in advance, and are known to sell out. You’ll get a great parking spot and a complimentary breakfast buffet which is also open to the public.
No ticket to the game? Head to The Wise, HotelRED’s first floor restaurant and bar, for a premier spot to soak up the game day atmosphere. Grab a Wisconsin craft beer or a bloody mary and enjoy a menu filled with tailgate favorites, including burgers and cheese curds.
New Kid on the Block
The AC Madison Downtown hotel, newly opened in 2017, is another superb option for game day accommodations in Madison. This luxury boutique Marriott-branded hotel boasts incredible views of the city from their rooftop lounge and restaurant, and it sits squarely in the heart of downtown. Start your day at the renowned Dane County Farmers’ Market or take in the ambiance of State Street. Post-game, the AC Hotel is a perfect location to enjoy Madison’s nightlife.
Game Day Tips
• Be sure to visit Badgerville, the official UW-Madison football pre-game event. The Badger Bash at Union South is just steps away from the historic Camp Randall Football Stadium. You can get beer and brats and nab an ideal spot to catch the UW Marching Band.
• 2017 Schedule of Badger home games
For more information on accommodations and other recommendations for things to do, dining options and local events, check out the Greater Madison Convention & Visitor Bureau website.