Madison’s Summertime Bucket List

Madison’s Summertime Bucket List
June 1, 2024

Madison Summertime Bucket List | How many items can you check off your list this summer?

Welcome to the ultimate Madison summertime bucket list!

Plan for sunny days ahead with this Madison Summertime Bucket List. If you love music, history, art, festivals, outdoors or just want to take a relaxing walk on the riverfront this is the place AND list for you. Take a trip to Madison this summer and experience all we have to offer and more!

  1. Treat Yourself to Ice Cream! 

The hardest part might be deciding where to go. You’ll find Toppers on Main  and Scoops Ice Cream Shoppe on Main Street, and Chillbilly Treats on the riverfront – no matter what you choose, add a stop at one of these for a sweet treat!


  1. Pull up a Chair for an Outdoor Movie!

Mayor’s Movies in the Park at Bicentennial Park features a monthly line-up suitable for all ages. Bring your own chairs or blankets, enjoy food trucks and more. Movies are free and start at 8 pm at Bicentennial Park. See August’s movie feature here. Subscribe to our calendar for more.


Photo by Brent Spry

  1. Enjoy Madison’s Public Art

Madison is one of 12 Indiana Cultural Districts and boasts so many assets; from the architecture, public art, galleries, murals and more. Last summer Madison proudly hosted a traveling public art exhibit from award-winning metal sculptor Dale Rogers, one of the flock of 9 stainless steel birds, each weighing over 200 lbs. with wing spans of 12 feet each remains permanently at Bicentennial Park. On your visit, marvel at the artistry and scale of this amazing bird known as part of the Flight Colletion.

Make sure to take a selfie in front of the Kindness Mural on Mulberry Street. For a complete arts and mural itinerary click here.


4. Make a Splash at Crystal Beach Aquatic Park

The newly constructed Crystal Beach Aquatic Park preserved the “seashore” design  of this national landmark while adding features that will serve individuals of all abilities: an activity tower for children, lap lanes, a lazy river, two slides, a diving board, a wet deck, chairs, and umbrellas.

Photo by Freewheel Studios

5. Immerse Yourself in Music in the Park

On select nights throughout the summer, enjoy local and regional bands rocking out at Bicentennial Park! Free! You can enjoy local food vendors and family friendly atmosphere. See specific dates on our Event Calendar.


6. Get Fresh Produce and More at Indiana’s Oldest Farmers Market

The perfect time to do your shopping is at the Madison Farmers Market. Offering a producer-only market with local produce, meat, eggs, and artisan goods. Find music at the market twice monthly, and prepared food vendors too. Open year round at the Broadway Fountain.


7. Spend the Day Getting Lost in the Hunt.

Enjoy antiques and collectibles? Madison boasts several antique malls that are filled with the perfect finds! Start your day off early on the west-side exploring Lumber Mill Antique Mall boasting three floors brimming of antiques and more. Stop down the street at the RiverWest Antique Mall full of fun finds. Make your way to Main Street for Pennilane Antiques, Gold-N-Treasures, and the Village Peddler. You are sure to take home some treasures.

Photo by Don Cornett


8. Go on an Epic Weekend Hike!

Clifty Falls State Park is full of beautiful views, scenic waterfalls, and fun hikes! Take the Four Falls Challenge or join in one of their many guided hikes or programs. Enjoy an evening walk or hike at some of Madison’s other nature trails such as The Heritage Trail and Hatcher Hill or walk our beautiful riverfront.


9. Visit Every Madison Historic Site and Museum

There’s the Schroeder Saddletree Factory, Dr. Hutchings Office and Museum, Jefferson County History Center, Madison Railroad Museum and Historic Caboose, Judge Jeremiah Sullivan House, Francis Costigan House, Masonic Schofield House, Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, Shrewsbury-Windle House, and much more! If you try to visit every site and museum, you’ll never get bored.


10.  Spend a Night or Two in Indiana’s Music City

Planning a vacation/staycation at least once a month in Indiana’s Music City is good for the soul. Whether you enjoy the sound of soulful voices or the horns of a brass band, Madison has something for everyone. Follow our social media or website for weekly posts where you’ll find anywhere from 5 to 8 venues a week serving up talented artists amongst all our flavorful fares. You’ll also enjoy street musicians playing regularly on weekends and live lunches at Lytle Park if you come in early on Fridays. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our big music festivals too.


11.   Take a Creative Class or Attend a Retreat

Join Little Golden Fox’s Creative Director, Cara Fox for a variety of crafting classes in beautiful, downtown historic Madison, IN. Including a Mosaic Pumpkin Workshop on August 12th and a Ceramic Christmas Tree Painting Class on August 27th. Learn more about Little Golden Fox and the many creative classes offered year-round.


12.   Walk/Ride and Learn in Our Historic Downtown

Enjoy our walkable downtown, or if you prefer, rent a golf cart, and learn about what makes Madison – Madison. Stop at the Visitors Center and grab one or all the self-guided walking brochures or download the free PocketSights GPS Tour App and search Madison. If you’re in town on the first or third Saturday meet at the Broadway Fountain for a guided architectural tour to learn more about Madison’s unique National Historic Landmark District. This guided tour will explore the stories, styles, and history of Madison’s downtown.


13.  BBQ and Blues on the River

Enjoy the smokey aroma of barbecue and the sounds of blues music on Madison’s historic riverfront and bicentennial Park. The 22nd Madison Ribberfest BBQ & Blues festival will host nationally known artists such as Tower of Power, North Mississippi Allstars, The Blood Brothers, Victor Wainwright & The Train and more. The Indiana State Barbecue Cook-off sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) occurs, as well as the amateur Backyard BBQ Blast and Kidz-Q competitions. Ribs, Food trucks and more – fun for the entire family.



14. Take a River Tour Full of Wildlife

You are bound to walk away with a smile on your face and memories of laughter when you book a tour with Rockin Thunder River Tours on the mighty Ohio River. Rockin Thunder River Tours is full of history and fun. There are three different tours: the scenic river tour, midweek lunch excursion, and the 2-day Kentucky river adventure. Seeing wildlife is a regular occurrence on any of the three tours offered. It’s recommended to BOOK early!


15.  See a Stunning View of Madison

If you’re looking for a place to take a beautiful picture of Madison, walk along the Milton Madison Bridge from Madison to Milton, Kentucky and back. You can capture beautiful photos on the bridge. At this perspective it is just like standing right on top of the middle of the Ohio River. Find stunning views of Madison also at the overlook at Clifty Inn in Clifty Falls State Park. Lastly, the only place to see three bends in the Ohio River is at the Point at Historic Hanover College, drive through the scenic campus to this spot.


16. Ride the Trails of  REVerie Roads

Where the open road unfolds a canvas of adventure for all motorists. Nestled in the heart of the Ohio River Valley, our curated trails beckon riders of all kinds—motorcyclists, car clubs, and off-road Jeepers—to explore the diverse and scenic wonders of Southern Indiana, Kentucky, and beyond. Tailored for your freedom, each trail is a unique invitation to discover the beauty of this Madison, Indiana Regional experience at your own pace.


17.  Shop til you Drop

Shop til you Drop with a Main Street full of Specialty Shops including Boutiques, Home Décor, Books, Soaps, Olives Oils, Toys and more. You’ll get a BIG dose of retail therapy in our fabulous small town.



18. Catch a Glimpse of One of American Cruise Line’s Majestic Ships

On select dates this summer you can take a stroll on Madison, Indiana’s beautiful riverfront and enjoy the sights of one of American Cruise Line’s majestic boats docked on our shore. See more details here.


Sprinkle in more MUST-SEES & DOS in Madison with this list or find an itinerary that suits you!

Visit Madison

Newsletter Signup

Sign up now and never miss a thing!

You're Signed Up!

Now that you are signed up, we will send you exclusive offers periodically.