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6 Arts and Entertainment Attractions Near Madison, Wisconsin

Explore the arts in the Madison Region with these can't-miss activities.

By Kevin Litwin on September 9, 2021

Multiple museums, galleries and performing arts venues provide cultural experiences that add to the quality of life in the Madison Region. Here is just a small sample:

1. See a show at Overture Center for the Arts

More than 500,000 people annually visit Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, which houses seven theatrical performance spaces and five art galleries. The 2021-2022 theater season at the Overture includes Broadway productions of “Hairspray” and “Hamilton.”

2. View the creative talent exhibited at the Fall Art Tour

On the third weekend every October, 50 talented artists who are based in Baraboo, Dodgeville, Mineral Point and Spring Green open their studios for a Fall Art Tour. (The 2021 dates are Oct. 15-17.) Artists showcased include painters, sculptors, potters, jewelers and furniture makers. A number of the studios are housed in interesting buildings, such as restored breweries, one-room schoolhouses and historic storefronts.

3. See a film at the Wisconsin Film Festival

For eight days every mid-May, the Wisconsin Film Festival convenes on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. About 150 movies are shown from independent filmmakers in categories that include narrative, documentary, experimental, shorts, restorations and revivals. The event was staged virtually in 2021.

4. Stroll the beautiful grounds at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville

More than 100,000 people annually visit the 20-acre Rotary Botanical Gardens, which has several striking walking paths. Themed gardens include English, Japanese and Scottish as well as Shade, Prairie and Fern & Moss.

5. Enjoy a musical at The Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson

Since 1964, The Fireside Dinner Theatre has presented musicals along with fine dining. For 2021, The Fireside will continue operating at 25% capacity until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Musicals scheduled for the 2021 season include Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” as well as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

6. Catch a performance at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green

A 1,089-seat outdoor amphitheater in Iowa County highlights the American Players Theatre, where about 100,000 people attend the eight or nine annual plays staged from June to November. Famed playwrights whose works have been presented at Spring Green include Shakespeare, Moliere, Chekhov and George Bernard Shaw.

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