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  • Writer's pictureJohn

Discover the Beauty of Madison WI's Spectacular Public Gardens

Madison, Wisconsin is known for several unique characteristics that make it a special place to visit or live, not least of which are its public gardens, scenic parks, lakes, nature preserves, and paths for walking and biking. Madison is a very environmentally conscious community. 


The University of Wisconsin, one of the largest and most prestigious public universities in the United States, is located here. Besides its strong academics, top-notch research facilities, and vibrant student life, UW is known for its horticultural and agricultural programs.


State of Wisconsin’s capitol is here, too. The iconic State Capitol building is located downtown.

Madison's downtown city center is located on an isthmus between two large lakes: Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. Madison is famous for its numerous farmers' markets and vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. Clearly, Madison has much to offer.


A video scene from Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, Wisconsin

Inspiring public gardens in Madison you can visit year-round. Admission is free.

  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens: This is a 16-acre public garden that features a Thai Pavilion and Garden, as well as a Rose Garden, a Rock Garden, a Prairie Garden, and more. Voted one of the top ten most inspiring gardens in North America by Horticultural Magazine.


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum: The Arboretum is a 1,200-acre public garden that includes restored prairies, forests, wetlands, and savannas, as well as a number of trails for visitors to enjoy. With 17 miles of walking trails and bike paths, the UW Arboretum is regarded as one of the most ecologically important wildlife and plant preserves in the world. Garden tours are offered in spring, summer, and fall.


  • Allen Centennial Gardens: This is a 2-acre public garden that is maintained by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and features a variety of plants, flowers, and garden features, including a rock garden and a children's garden.


  • William T. Evjue Rooftop Garden at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center: This is a 2.5-acre public garden that is located on the roof of the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, and provides stunning views of the city and lake. Check hours of operation as it is sometimes closed for private events.



  • Lakeshore Nature Preserve: The University of Wisconsin-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve is a 300-acre natural area situated on the south shore of Lake Mendota on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. It represents about one-third of the total acreage of the main UW-Madison campus and includes 4.3 miles of Lake Mendota shoreline.


Whether you are looking for inspiration for a small balcony garden or a larger outdoor space, there is sure to be a garden in the Madison area that can provide what you’re looking for.


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