Top 10 places you must visit around Lake Monona

By Jenna Walters

Lake Monona has a plethora of amazing restaurants, parks and sightseeing spots. Here are the 10 best:

  • Monona Terrace


A block from the Wisconsin State Capitol sits the Monona Terrace. Looking over Lake Monona, this Madison staple offers outdoor seating, meeting and convention spaces, and a multitude of community events. Connected to the Hilton Madison Hotel, the terrace can be a romantic and convenient location for a wedding. Whether you’re stopping by for a view of the lake or hosting an event, you are sure to enjoy your visit.

Monona Terrace, Image source: Flickr


  • Olin Park


Just a short walk from Monona Terrace is Olin Park, an outdoor oasis featuring walking trails, a beach, picnic tables and sports fields. This park offers a great view of Lake Monona and, with a newly renovated historic pavillion, the park is the perfect place for an outdoor event.

View of Madison from Olin Park, image source: Flickr


  • Wyldhaven Park


Go to Wyldhaven Park to look across Lake Monona for spectacular views of the Madison skyline. This park acts as a popular place for local fishermen, both in summer and winter. If fishing is not your thing, you can also relax at the small beach that the park offers.

Image source: City of Monona


  • Tonyawatha Park and Boat Launch


Located off of Tonyawatha Trail, Tonyawatha Park primarily acts as a boat launch. Two docks and a small pier help local fishermen and boaters get out on the lake. The park offers a small grassy area, perfect for playing fetch with your dog or having a picnic.

Image source: City of Monona


  • Lake Edge Shopping Center


This outdoor shopping mall offers food, shopping and activities. With places such as Crema Cafe,  Paik’s Martial Arts, New Leaf Floral, Gigi’s Playhouse and Lake Edge Seafood, it is a great place to poke around. Explore the shops and restaurants while being only minutes away from Lake Monona.

Image source: LinkedIn


  • The Breakwater


Located on the Yahara River off of Lake Monona, The Breakwater offers a large range of cuisines and cocktails. Their menu includes a variety of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees. In the summer, you can enjoy one of their fresh seafood dishes while sitting out on their two-story patio. Take advantage of their direct boat access or host a party in one of their large banquet areas. Whether you come for a casual drink or a special event, you’re bound to enjoy fresh Wisconsin favorites and a welcoming atmosphere.

Enjoy a meal on the patio at The Breakwater.

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  • The Eastside Club


Founded in 1912, the East Side Club is an association uniting local business men and women. The clubhouse, which overlooks Lake Monona, has a panoramic view of the Madison skyline. Rent this idyllic space for weddings, banquets or large meetings.

The view of Madison from The Eastside Club,

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  • Olbrich Botanical Garden


Voted one of the top ten most inspiring gardens in North America by Horticulture Magazine, Olbrich Botanical Garden is the perfect place to spend the day. Take a tour through one of their featured exhibits or stroll through their 16 acres of gardens that are plentiful with midwestern plants. The gardens are ever-changing, which makes this the perfect place to visit multiple times.

Explore the botanical gardens,

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  • BB Clarke Beach Park


Lay out in the sun or enjoy one of the water activities that BB Clarke Beach Park offers, including kayaking, canoeing, swimming or fishing. This park is fun for all ages, with a playground for the younger beach-goers. This beach is the perfect place to spend a summer day.

Image source: Infos Yahara


  • Sardine French Bistro


Step out of your comfort zone and enjoy a classic French meal for lunch or dinner at Sardine French Bistro. Located near Lake Monona, this restaurant offers specialities including Escargot à la Bourguignonne, French Onion Soup, House-made Charcuterie, Lyonnaise Salad and Bouillabaisse.

Brunch, lunch, or dinner at Sardine is worth your time,

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