If I could give the title of “Living Postcard” to a smaller, midwestern city, it would be Madison, IN. Looking like a city straight from a Hallmark movie, the quaint, but still bustling, city has become one of my new favorite Indiana spots to hang out. From gorgeous heights to gorgeous mansions to restaurants that delight the foodie in all of us, here are 14+ things to do in Madison Indiana.
With each new roadtrip to Indiana, I fall in love with new cities and towns. It turns out that Madison Indiana is one of those places where I truly left a piece of my heart. Its American history is rich, its residents friendly and obliging, and its restaurants worthy of a stop. Here are my favorite places to visit in Madison Indiana the next time you’re in town.
Not sure where Madison Indiana is? No problem:
102 Miles from Indianapolis (1 hour 45 minutes drive)
99 Miles from Jasper and Dubois County (2 hour+ drive)
97 Miles from Richmond (2 hour drive)
113 Miles from Santa Claus (2 hour drive)
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the fine folks at Visit Madison IN to give to the firsthand scoop on what to do when you’re in town. All opinions are my own!
14+ Things to do in Madison Indiana
Take a Hike at Clifty Falls State Park
Certainly on everyone’s short list for things to do in Madison Indiana. Clifty Falls State Park is truly beautiful. Offers plenty of hiking trails and an awesome lodge (that’s where we stayed during our visit) its location is only a couple miles away from Madison proper.
If you’re not sure what to do at Clifty Falls during a visit, or can’t make up your mind, pop into the Nature Center for tips and tricks on navigating the massive park. It has a bird watching window which is especially nice on chilly or hotter days.
Tour the Shrewsbury-Windle House
If your a fan of architecture, a visit to the Shrewsbury-Windle House is a must. Sure, there might be more grand properties to tour, like the Lanier Mansion (more on that below), but this home doesn’t offer square footage, it packs a punch with its gorgeous period accurate decor and interior design.
Pop into the Visit Madison Visitors Center
The Visit Madison Visitors Center is a great place to get your bearings on the city, especially if it’s your first time. Feel free to pop in when it’s open and ask the more-than-friendly staff for additional suggestion on what to see and where to eat when you’re in town.
See the Dr. William Hutchings’ Office and Museum
For me and my family, our motto is the more historical, the better. The Dr. William Hutchings’ Office and Museum is like walking into a trip through medicinal history when we visited. Complete with all of the doctor’s personal belongings and supplies, it’s a great way to learn about both the history of the city of Madison and the medical practices during his time.
Rest at Broadway Fountain
A true piece of American history, the Broadway Fountain made its first appearance at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. Moved to Madison in the late 19th century, it was recast in bronze and now has a gorgeous patina, especially on sunny days.
Shop Downtown Madison
There are plenty of cool mom and pop places to visit when you are in town. Here are a few of our favorites:
Village Lights Bookstore – A two story bookstore filled with both modern and classic works. Can’t mention the bookstore without mentioning its two gorgeous feline residents.
Unique Boutique – Unique Boutique has exactly what you’d expect in the name: unique gifts and trinkets.
Gifts That Last – A super cool crystal and aromatherapy shop, you’ll find everything from compounded therapy blends, crystals, and incenses.
Scarlet Begonia – A unique shop to find clothing items you definitely won’t find at the mall.
Try the Wine at Thomas Family Winery
I popped into Thomas Family Winery (a former 1870’s stable and carriage house) for a quick peak around and a taste test. What I found was a quaint, locally owned winery filled with traditional style wine and old world ciders.
Walk Along the Ohio Riverfront
If you visit Madison, IN on a beautiful sunny day, make it a point to pop down by the riverfront and check out the view of the Ohio River. There’s plenty of seating, a cement walking path, and lots of parking to accommodate.
Tour the Famous Lanier Mansion
The shining architectural star on the map of Madison, IN, Lanier Mansion is a must see. Completed in 1844, the multi-story home for the Lanier family is more than worth the cost of admission for the docent-led tour.
Where to eat in Madison Indiana
There’s no shortage of really good restaurants in Madison, IN. Here are the ones that made my short list:
Off Broadway Taproom
The first place we sat down for a meal for in Madison, Off Broadway Taproom is pub style food with a kick. With seven burgers on the menu, and vegetarian choices, as well, grab a stool and sit with locals for a brew. Not sure what to try? Give the chicken nachos or avocado caprese sandwich a go.
Mad Love offers a super hip vibe, good throwback music, and a fun menu including sweet potato fries with cinnamon marshmallow sauce and chicken wraps.
The Attic Coffee Mill Madison
I adore The Attic. Offering lunch from 11-2, it has homemade soup and sandwiches along with wraps and delish desserts.
Red on Main
If you’re looking for a sit down style restaurant where you can either dress up or down, Red on Main will suit you well. An American Bistro style restaurant, it has some fun menu items including baked brie with honey raspberry glaze and housemade potato leek soup.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, you can’t go wrong with the superfoods green bowl filled with huge pieces of portabella mushrooms and seasonal veggies.
Horst’s Little Bakery Haus
A local favorite, Horst’s Little Bakery Haus makes amazing doughnuts with highly affordable prices (I’m talking less than $1 for a giant donut!). When I say amazing doughnuts, don’t be surprised if they are sold out by midmorning.