Plan Your Visit

The best way to find out if Wisconsin is right for you is to spend some time engaging with us by exploring our campus and meeting the people who study, work, and live here. We encourage you to explore our current campus visit and event registration for in-person and virtual events. Please do not make travel arrangements until after you have registered and received your confirmation. Walk-ins are not permitted. If you have registration questions, please contact the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at for more information.

Have a question? Ask Bucky.

Pedestrians and lunchtime patrons walk amongst the food carts on Library Mall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on June 13, 2017. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Travel Information

Traveling by Car

Madison is located in south-central Wisconsin and is accessible via several major highways. Madison is:

  • 78 miles or a 1 ½-hour drive from Milwaukee, via Interstate 94
  • 147 miles or a 2 ½-hour drive from Chicago, via Interstate 90
  • 269 miles or a 4 ½-hour drive from Minneapolis/St. Paul, via Interstate 94
  • 93 miles or a 2-hour drive from Dubuque, via US 151

Please allow 20-30 minutes to reach campus, find parking and travel to your destination.

Traveling by Bus

Long distance intercity bus services providing scheduled service to Madison include Badger Coach, Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, Megabus and Van Galder bus lines. There are daily connections to Milwaukee and Chicago airports, and Amtrak in Chicago. Many buses stop at Memorial Union.

Traveling by Plane

Dane County Regional Airport (MSN), on Madison’s northeast side, provides regional and national air service to and from Madison. Taxis and city bus service is available from the airport.

Union South Welcome Desk

1308 W. Dayton Street (map)

  • Take I-90 or US 151 to Hwy 12/18
  • Exit Hwy 12/18 at Park Street (Exit 261 B)
  • Proceed north on Park Street about 2.25 miles to W. Dayton St., turn left
  • Proceed five blocks west, Union South is on the right
  • Parking is available in basement parking structure or in area lots (17 or 20)
Town Center Welcome Desk

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (Discovery) — 330 N. Orchard Street (map)

  • Discovery is located directly north of Union South
Memorial Union Welcome Desk

800 Langdon Street (map)

  • Take I-90 or US 151 to Hwy 12/18
  • Exit Hwy 12/18 at Park Street (Exit 261 B)
  • Proceed north on Park Street about 3 miles to Langdon St.
  • Parking is available in Helen C. White Hall basement parking structure (immediately west of Memorial Union) or in the City of Madison State Street Campus Lot, on north Lake St., one block east and one block south of Memorial Union.

Parking on or near campus is limited. Allow extra time in your schedule to find parking. Visitor parking is available in city-run ramps and lots; and in university garages and ramps. Street parking near campus is usually restricted to two hours.

Public Parking on Campus

The campus map shows locations of public parking on campus, including a realtime count of open spots in each public lot.

Or, check online for current parking availability in campus ramps and garages, or visit the Transportation Services drive-through location at 21 North Park St. upon arrival.

Planning ahead? You may purchase a daily parking ticket in advance by completing this online form or calling the Special Events Office at (608) 262-8683. Please allow two weeks for processing.

For complete details of all parking options available to visitors, contact Transportation Services.

City Parking Ramps

Parking close to the east side of campus is available at the city’s State Street Campus Ramp, located north of University Avenue with entrances on both Lake and Frances streets.

Campus parking tips

UW-Madison is an urban campus with limited parking availability. Here are some tips for parking on- and off-campus and getting around during your visit.

Some visitor parking is available in campus or public parking garages or ramps. Visitor parking costs up to $15/day. Here are the closest options to Union South:

Lot 80 Union South Garage
Lot 17 Engineering Garage
Lot 20 University Avenue Garage
Lot 7 Grainger Hall Garage
  • Plan ahead. Give yourself 45 – 60 minutes to park and arrive at your destination
  • Before arriving on campus, check visitor parking availability for a real-time count of open visitor spaces in parking ramps.
  • Be aware of special events on campus. These can impact parking availability and travel times.
  • Avoid short-term timed/metered stalls. (Metered parking sessions on the UW campus cannot be extended.)
  • Note that prime parking locations fill up quickly for large events, so have a backup parking plan in case your primary choice is full.

Here are some ways to avoid parking on campus:

  • Get door-to-door service by taking a taxi, shuttle, or ridesharing service to your destination.
  • While on campus, get around for free on the campus circulator bus (route 80, 81, 82, or 84). Routes 80 and 84 provide daytime service, and routes 80, 81, and 82 provide nighttime service. Find information about routes and schedules on the bus page.
On campus

UW–Madison offers accommodations for guests attending university-related functions or conducting university business. They run the range from residence hall-like to comparable to a fine boutique hotel. Check individual websites for current rates and guest eligibility guidelines.

Wisconsin Union Hotel, Union South – 1308 W. Dayton Street

The Fluno Center for Executive Education, 601 University Avenue

During the summer, for youth and adult groups of at least 20 guests who are attending a conference or program sponsored by a university department, University Housing offers residence halls, dining rooms and catering services.

Private Hotel Partners

DoubleTree by Hilton Madison Downtown offers campus visitors a 15% discount. Reservations can be made here.

Hyatt Place offers campus visitors a 20% discount off of the standard rate.  The Campus Visitor rate is based on availability – if available, it will appear for your designated travel dates. Reservations can be made here.


Being in the heart of the city, there are many accommodation choices, from luxury to budget-minded. Destination Madison has complete listings. Availability may be limited when there are large events and conventions being held in the city or on campus, such as football weekends, commencement, Ironman Wisconsin and the World Dairy Expo.

View and download publications

Campus and Visitor Relations offers a number of publications as PDF downloads or in person when you visit us on campus. Our Information and Welcome Desks at Union South and Memorial Union also have other useful publications which will help you make the most of your visit. Our staff will be happy to assist you with your selections.

On campus

With restaurants in the two student unions, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and nine delis in campus buildings, the Wisconsin Union offers a wide assortment of foods to conquer any hunger and to fit any schedule and budget.

University Housing Dining and Culinary Services serves the residents of the University Residence Halls. But you don’t have to be a student to eat in a residence hall. Faculty, staff and guests are welcome to dine in any University Housing facilities during the school year in dining rooms, carryout stores and delis.

A trip to UW–Madison wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Babcock Hall Dairy Store, the oldest university dairy plant in the United States. Best known for ice cream, Babcock also makes cheeses and locally produced milk. Visitors may view dairy plant observations via the second floor observation deck.

The Town Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery offers two unique dining venues: a café and a restaurant with a full-service menu.


Madison offers a fantastic array of dining options from ethnic to continental cuisines to burgers and everything in between! For a comprehensive list of dining options in the downtown area, contact Madison’s Central Business Improvement District. For a list of dining options in Madison and surrounding communities, visit the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau.