10 Reasons to Visit Madison
1 Discover the attractions.
Step back in time as you tour some of Madison’s perfectly preserved, 19th century historic sites and museums. Architectural enthusiasts will marvel at Madison’s abundance of Federal, Italianate, and Greek Revival structures. Looking for sightseeing or adventure? Rockin Thunder Jet Boat Tours has just the ride for you; the wildlife and scenery is breathtaking. Gawk at bald eagles as you venture down the Ohio.
2 Come for the best riverside festivals & events.
Many of Madison’s most popular events are held on our beautiful riverfront. Car shows, art festivals, music events and more make Madison the event capital of Indiana. We also host a biennial garden tour, boat races and home tours. Our year-round calendar always has something new, fun and family friendly on the horizon! See our event page for details.
3 Dive into history.
Did you know Madison was once the largest town in Indiana? Its location on the river made it the ideal location for steamboat and river trade. Learn more about Madison’s early history by visiting our historic sites. Railroad buffs will enjoy the Railroad Museum and History Center, and kids love the authentic red caboose! A number of 19th century historic sites are open for tours, including a doctor’s office and hospital;, a restored saddle tree factory, the only one of its kind left in the country; and a home often referred to as Madison’s “Crown Jewel.”
4 Get moving!
Madison has a wide variety of walking tours, self -guided and organized tours. There are also guided hikes at our local state park, or you can head out on your own. Recreational hikes on Heritage Trail or Hatcher Hill are sure to get your heart pumping! Swimming, boating and water skiing are also popular pastimes. We also have numerous golf courses in the area for the avid golfer. Explore our outdoor recreation page for more!
5 Bring your furry friends along for the ride.
We have pet friendly lodging, a free-use dog park, specialty shops, and restaurants who welcome both you and your pet. So bring your pups along for an adventure. Check out our pet-friendly itinerary to plan your perfect day in Madison!
6 Try our flavorful flare.
We have over 25 locally-owned eateries and cafes in our franchise- free downtown historic district. From fine dining to casual fare and quaint coffee shops with desserts to die for, our wide variety of dining options are sure to please even the most particular palate! And don’t miss Indiana’s oldest farmers market – every Saturday! Include seeing what’s on tap at our two breweries or fancy a glass of award-wining wine at our wineries. What’s on the menu for you? Find all of our dining options here.
7 Marvel in Nature.
Do you enjoy viewing spectacular waterfalls and panoramic river views, or do you prefer the serenity of bird watching in a wildlife refuge? Our Clifty Falls State Park has 1519 acres of natural beauty to explore and our Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area for migratory birds. So much to see and do!
8 Enjoy a home away from home.
From charming cottages in the downtown historic district to secluded cabins, we offer a wide variety of accommodations for your retreat. Select one of our signature B&B’s for a romantic interlude or a girlfriend’s get-away. For those who prefer traditional lodging facilities offered by a hotel we have 7 to choose from. View all the ways you can stay in Madison here.
9 ARTS HERE NOW & Madison Music Movements
Come see why Indiana Arts Commission designated Madison as one of 12 Cultural Districts in the state of Indiana. Madison boasts a large concentration of creative people, the arts and cultural assets. We celebrate our artists & studios, creative businesses, live music, wineries and breweries, arts & cultural events, public art & murals, museums & galleries— everyday! It is just how we roll! Find live music blossoming throughout Madison most nights at various venues downtown and around the area.
10 Shop where it’s unique.
If shopping is your thing, check out our numerous shops, galleries, and antique malls. From hand-made chocolates, a book store, a unique toy store, Madison made gifts, artist creations, to a range of boutiques, Madison has it all. Our downtown historic district is thriving with artisans, stores, and a lively art scene to please, and might we add, easily walkable! Mix and mingle shopping with all the reasons to visit Madison, Indiana.