City Cast

The Best Places to Watch a Badger Game

Hayley Sperling
Hayley Sperling
Posted on October 3
September 10: Students take a roof vantage point to enjoy the tailgate before the University of Wisconsin Badgers football team hosted the Washington State Cougars.

Whether you're looking to get in on the action or stay far away, we've got suggestions for your game day plans. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The energy around Madison during Badger games is hard to replicate. The streets flood with red-and-white-clad sports fans, buzzed undergrads, and a general sense of camaraderie even among strangers (unless they’re cheering for the opposing team).

If you’re looking for a place to get into the game day spirit, here are spots to check out.

Party Like a Local

Whether there’s a home game or an away game, you can bet there’s a party on Regent Street. Situated in close proximity to Camp Randall Stadium, the near-west residential neighborhood boasts dozens of bars and restaurants that will often turn their own parking lots into tailgate destinations.

The sleeper hit: Hong Kong Cafe. Reader JJ P. says this spot is great because while it’s on Regent Street, it’s not as crowded as some of the surrounding bars. Plus, who wouldn’t love football with a side of dim sum?

The Family-Friendly Option

For every home game, Union South hosts Badger Bash, a free family-friendly tailgate offering food, drinks, and entertainment.

Badger Bash has been around for more than 50 years. It started off as a modest way for both fans and the UW-Madison Marching Band to warm up before kickoff and has since become one of the biggest pre-game events on the isthmus.

Reader Recommendations

East Side: According to Angie S. Wilson’s Bar and Grill is the spot to be. "Food, drinks, staff, seating inside and out and ALL the TVS to watch the game,” what more could you need?

Downtown: Prost! on East Washington Ave. is the “best place for a more relaxed gameday,” Alex W. says. The German beer hall boasts a solid selection of beer, tailgate-esque food (e.g. pretzels and sausages), and big TVs. “The atmosphere is lively but never overly crowded or rowdy; a hidden gem for a quieter gameday.”

If You Want to Get Away

Of course, rowdy fans and loud noises aren't everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re looking to get out of dodge come game day consider using this time to go grocery shopping or take a day trip.

Have you been to Paoli? Reader Amber M. says “Paoli is usually busy, but the game days make them less so. Plus the trees are beautiful this time of year!”

Game days can also be the perfect opportunity to check out one of the many apple orchards near Madison, or get lost in the Treinen Farm corn maze in Lodi.

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