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10 Amazing Things To Do In Madison Indiana

10 Amazing Things To Do In Madison Indiana

Welcome to Madison, Indiana – a small town with a big story! It’s next to the Ohio River, with a mix of history, beautiful views, and friendly vibes.

In this blog, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of Madison’s unique features, from its well-kept old town to its relaxed, modern feel. Whether you love history or want a peaceful getaway, Madison has something for everyone.

Let’s explore the city’s exciting past, admire its impressive buildings, and soak up the local vibes. Madison isn’t just a place on the map; it’s a lively mix of stories about strength and community. People from all over come here for their vacations because the weather is amazing, and there are many things to do in Madison Indiana.

So, get ready for a trip through time and space as we discover the wonderful charm of Madison, Indiana – where history and warmth come together by the scenic Ohio River.

1. Explore The Lanier Mansion State Historic Site

Lanier Mansion State Historic Site

The Lanier Mansion State Historic Site invites individuals with an interest in history, architecture, or enchanting gardens to explore its captivating offerings. Nestled within its storied walls and manicured grounds are tales of the past, architectural marvels, and serene garden retreats that beckon visitors to step back in time.

As you wander through the halls of the Lanier Mansion, you’ll find yourself immersed in a second-party experience, delving into the rich history that unfolds within its meticulously preserved rooms. The mansion stands as a testament to the bygone era, showcasing not only the opulence of its time but also the intricate details of its architecture that continue to captivate modern-day admirers. Here are some things to do in Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, Madison, Indiana:

  • Historical Significance: Constructed in 1844 for the affluent banker James F.D. Lanier, this mansion is a splendid representation of Greek Revival architecture and earned the designation of a State Memorial in 1926.
  • Architectural Marvels: With 14 distinctive rooms, the mansion invites exploration of its unique character. Visitors are encouraged to marvel at the grand staircase, intricate moldings, and exquisite hardwood floors, contributing to its timeless appeal.
  • Picturesque Gardens: The mansion’s allure extends beyond its walls to the meticulously landscaped gardens. Stroll through the grounds, unwind on the porch swing, or indulge in a tranquil picnic beneath the shading trees.
  • Hours: The mansion is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk year-round.
  • Admission: Adults $12, seniors $10, children ages 3-17 $8.

2. Feel The Beauty Clifty Falls State Park

Clifty Falls State Park

Explore the beauty of Clifty Falls State Park in southern Indiana near the Ohio River in Jefferson County. Marvel at the breathtaking scenery, encompassing waterfalls, gorges, and woodlands.

Witness the main attraction, Clifty Falls, a majestic 70-foot waterfall that tumbles into a profound gorge. Immerse yourself in nature’s wonders as you discover three additional enchanting waterfalls: Little Clifty Falls, Punchbowl Falls, and Beehunter Falls.

Here are some things to do, in Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area of Madison, Indiana:

  •  Hiking Trails: Explore over 12 miles of hiking trails, varying in difficulty from easy to challenging.
  • Camping: Choose from two campgrounds offering 225 campsites for a memorable outdoor experience.
  • Picnicking: Enjoy several designated picnic areas throughout the park, many near the captivating waterfalls.
  • The Clifty Inn: Perched on a hilltop with breathtaking views of the Ohio River, this historic inn offers a unique and picturesque stay.
  • Clifty Canyon Nature Center: Delve into exhibits showcasing the park’s geology, flora, and fauna at this informative nature center.
  • Opening hours are 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM every day.
  • Established in 1920
  • Covers 1,519 acres

3. Exploring History At Madison Railroad Station Museum

Madison Railroad Station Museum

The Madison Railroad Station Museum provides a captivating experience for those eager to delve into the profound influence of railroads on the development of Madison and its surrounding regions. 

Renowned among train aficionados, the museum presents an extensive array of railroad artifacts and memorabilia, making it a favored destination for those intrigued by the rich history of rail transportation in the area. 

Visitors can immerse themselves in the exhibits, gaining insights into the pivotal role that railroads played in shaping the growth and identity of Madison and its neighboring communities.

  • Explore the displays: The museum has exhibits that share the story of Madison’s railroad, covering its beginnings to the present. Discover details about how the railroad was built, the various trains that served the city, and how it influenced Madison’s economy and culture.
  • Join a guided tour of the station: The museum offers tours of the restored 1895 building. You’ll see original ticket windows, telegraph equipment, and waiting room furniture from that time. Learn about the station’s history and the people who worked there.
  • Climb aboard the caboose: Check out the restored red caboose to experience train travel from the early 1900s.
  • Browse the gift shop: Remember to visit the gift shop, where you can find railroad-themed souvenirs like books, toys, and clothing.
  • The museum operates from Tuesday to Friday, welcoming visitors from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Entrance fees are $5 for adults, $3 for children aged 6-12, and complimentary for children under 6.
  • Convenient parking is located behind the museum.

4. Unveiling The Beauty Ohio River, Indiana

Ohio River

The Ohio River in Indiana reveals a picturesque and historically significant waterway that greatly enhances the state’s natural beauty. Flowing gracefully along Indiana’s southern border, the Ohio River meanders through diverse landscapes, creating a stunning backdrop that captivates both residents and visitors alike.

As you navigate the river, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and scenic landscapes, each bend in the river offering breathtaking views that seem almost tailor-made for your enjoyment. The riverbanks themselves are a canvas of natural beauty, adorned with picturesque forests, vibrant flora, and a diverse array of wildlife.

 This enchanting environment transforms the Ohio River into a haven for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, providing an immersive experience that connects you with the wonders of the outdoors.

The serene flow of the river and its reflective waters add to the tranquility of the surroundings. Here are some things to do in Ohio River, Madison, Indiana:

  • Hiking and Biking: Explore the pleasing Ohio River Greenway, a 7.5-mile paved trail linking Jeffersonville, Clarksville, and New Albany—Marvel at the stunning vistas of the river and the Louisville skyline.
  • Paddle and Cruise:Have a peaceful time on the Ohio River! You can kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. There are many places to start, like Silver Creek Croghan Launch and Silver Creek Landing. It’s an easy and refreshing way to enjoy the river.
  • Fishing: Before heading out to the Ohio River to cast a line for bass, catfish, crappie, and other fish, acquire a fishing license.
  • Picnicking and Unwinding: Explore a riverside park similar to Ashland Park in New Albany or Waterfront Park in Jeffersonville, where you can savor a picnic amidst breathtaking river views.

5. Discover The Timeless Elegance Of Lanthier Winery

Lanthier Winery

Situated in Madison, Indiana, Lanthier Winery occupies an 18th-century structure renowned for its charming gardens that attract visitors seeking outdoor beauty.

The gardens boast diverse flowers, plants, and trees, including a designated art garden showcasing sculptures and artwork crafted by local artists.

Throughout the year, the winery hosts various events, including art and garden exhibitions and chocolate and holiday-themed festivities.

Here are some things to do in Lanthier Winery, Madison, Indiana:

  • Wine Tasting: Delight in a complimentary wine-tasting experience and gain insights into the intricate winemaking process.
  • Garden Exploration: Take a leisurely walk through the enchanting gardens surrounding the winery, featuring various plants and flowers.
  • Art Gallery Visit: Explore the loft gallery that highlights the creations of local artists, providing a unique artistic experience.
  • Picnic Time: Relish a picnic lunch amidst the picturesque grounds of the winery, creating a perfect setting to enjoy good food and wine.
  • Event Attendance: Immerse yourself in the winery’s vibrant atmosphere by attending various events held throughout the year, ranging from live music nights to captivating art shows.
  • Opening hours are Wednesday–Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Monday & Tuesday: Closed

Other Sources: 12 Romantic Things to Do in Destin Florida for Couples

6. Visit The Hanover College Campus

The Hanover College

This private college in Hanover, Indiana, connected with the Presbyterian Church. It was started in 1827 by Reverend John Finley Crowe and is Indiana’s oldest private college. The campus is pretty, with old buildings like the Charles Hall Auditorium, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

They offer different programs in arts, sciences, and humanities for undergraduates. Students can join sports, clubs, and groups outside of classes.

It’s known as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the U.S., according to the U.S. News & World Report. It’s also part of the Great Lakes Association and the Five Colleges of Indiana.

Here are some things to do in the Hanover College campus, Madison, Indiana:

  • Go to the Duggan Library: Check out the Duggan Library, a nice place with many books and resources. It’s open weekdays from 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM and Sundays from 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
  • Take a Walk or Bike Ride on the Scenic Riverwalk: Enjoy a stroll or bike ride along the Scenic Riverwalk by the Ohio River. It’s an excellent way to be outdoors and stay active.
  • Visit the Hanover College Arboretum: Explore the Arboretum, an excellent spot with different trees, plants, and flowers. It’s a peaceful place to hang out and connect with nature.
  • Watch a Performance at Baxter-Ball Theatre: Catch a show at the Baxter-Ball Theatre, where plays, musicals, and other events happen throughout the year.
  • Have a Picnic on the Great Lawn: Grab some food and picnic on the Great Lawn, an ample open space at the heart of the campus. It’s a great spot to chill and watch people.

The Admission and Financial Aid Office operates from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the academic year and from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer months (June to August).

7. Uncover The Beauty Of Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area

Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area

The Falls of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area, a cherished haven nestled along the Ohio River near my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and neighboring Clarksville, Indiana. This natural gem is not just a piece of land; it’s a testament to the dedication of caretakers who include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and our own Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Wandering across this bi-state treasure, spanning approximately 1,400 acres of land and water, I find myself immersed in a captivating tapestry of habitats. These varied environments serve as sanctuaries for a myriad of wildlife species. Among the inhabitants are deer, turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, bald eagles, hawks, owls, and a plethora of songbird species.

Here are some things to do, in Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area of Madison, Indiana:

  • Explore the West Virginia Wildlife Center: Diverse wildlife, from black bears to wolves and otters. Take a guided tour of the center or venture onto one of the forest trails for a scenic hike.
  • Embark on Hiking or Biking Adventures: With over 50 miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging, the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area offers hiking and biking enthusiasts opportunities. Popular routes include the Great Trail, Buckeye Trail, and Oil Well Trail.
  • Indulge in Fishing: The Ohio River provides an excellent setting for bass, catfish, and crappie fishing. Additionally, explore the smaller lakes and ponds scattered throughout the area for a varied angling experience.
  • Enjoy Birdwatching: Immerse yourself in the rich birdlife of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area, which boasts over 250 species. Watch for majestic eagles, soaring hawks, elusive owls, and vibrant warblers.
  • Experience a Boat Tour: Several companies offer boat tours along the Ohio River, providing a unique perspective on the area’s wildlife and picturesque landscapes. Take the chance to witness the beauty of the conservation area from the water.

8. Explore Madison Area Arts Alliance

 Madison Area Arts Alliance

The Madison Area Arts Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in the Madison, Indiana area. The alliance serves as a hub for artists, cultural organizations, and community members interested in fostering a vibrant and thriving arts scene.

Here are some things to do in The Madison Area Arts Alliance, Madison, Indiana:

  • Discover the galleries: Public access is available Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, with free admission.
  • Experience a performance: Stay updated on upcoming events by visiting the MAAA website or Facebook page. Purchase tickets online or at the door.
  • Enroll in a class: Choose from various art classes suitable for all ages and skill levels. Register online or via phone.
  • Contribute as a volunteer: Join the MAAA volunteer team and assist with various tasks. Reach out to the MAAA office for details.
  • Support through donations: As a non-profit organization, the MAAA relies on donations to sustain its programs. Contribute online or by mail.
  • Tuesday – Friday: 11 AM – 4 PM
  • Saturday: 11 AM – 3 PM
  • Sunday & Monday: Closed
  • Concert and show general admission tickets generally fall within the $20 to $50 range.
  • Sporting event tickets typically range from $20 to $100.
  • Tickets for plays and musicals usually range between $20 and $75.

9. Take A Tour Of Shrewsbury-Windle’s House

Shrewsbury-Windle’s House

The Shrewsbury-Windle House is a big, fancy mansion in Madison, Indiana. It was built in 1848 for Charles Shrewsbury, who was a rich guy doing business with salt, boats, flour, and pork.

 A famous architect named Francis Costigan designed the house in the Greek Revival style. Here are some things to do in Shrewsbury-Windle’s House

, Madison, Indiana:

  • Take a Tour: Explore the house on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 1:30 PM. The tour is about one hour long and covers the history, architecture, and furnishings.
  • Visit the Gift Shop: Get neat stuff like books, souvenirs, and home goods from the gift shop.
  • Picnic on the Lawn: Enjoy a picnic on the beautiful lawn of the Shrewsbury-Windle House.
  • Attend Events: Join special events like holiday parties, concerts, and talks that the house hosts throughout the year.

Opening hours are Monday-Sunday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

10 Visit The Dr. William Hutchings’ Office And Museum

Dr. William Hutchings' Office and Museum

Dr. W.D. Hutchings’ Office and Museum, located in Madison, Indiana, is a unique museum showcasing 19th-century medicine. Visitors can explore surgical tours and view an extensive collection of artifacts, books, and medical records from the era. 

Renowned as one of the most authentic 19th-century medical history restorations in the United States, the museum houses Dr. Hutchings’ original office, filled with surgical tools, early electrical healing devices, and other significant items.

Additionally, the museum, situated next to the office, offers a glimpse into the Hutchings family treasures through a curated selection of exhibits.

Here are some things to do in Dr. William Hutchings’ Office and Museum

, Madison, Indiana:

  • Discovering Dr. Hutchings: The museum shows us different parts of Dr. Hutchings’ life and work. We learn about his personal life, how he knew about medicine, and the positive things he did for the community. You can even check out some of the papers he wrote by hand, giving us an excellent peek into how healthcare was done in the 1800s.
  • Checking out the Hutchings family: The museum also has stuff from the Hutchings family, like old furniture, clothes, and pictures. These things help us understand the story of an influential family in Madison, Indiana.
  • Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under.
  • The museum is open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday.
  • The museum is closed for the winter months (November through December)

Best Time To Visit:

Best Time to Visit in Madison Indiana

Madison, Indiana, exudes charm throughout the year, making the optimal time to visit contingent on your preferences. Here’s a detailed analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each season:

Spring (March-May): As temperatures rise and flowers bloom, Madison comes alive with outdoor events and festivals. It’s an ideal season for exploring activities such as hiking, biking, and boating in the scenic Clifty Falls State Park.

Summer (June-August): The sun shines brightly, bringing hot and sunny weather ideal for taking a refreshing dip in the Ohio River or lounging on the beach. The season is abuzz with vibrant events such as the Madison Chautauqua and the Riverfest, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy concerts and festivals.

Autumn (September-November): Witness the enchanting transformation of leaves, relish the refreshing weather, and savor the tranquility with fewer crowds. This season offers an ideal opportunity to explore antique treasures, explore historical sites, or embark on a picturesque countryside drive.

Winter (December-February): Embrace the festive spirit as the town transforms with holiday decorations, offering many joyful events like the Merry Madison Christmas Market and the Hanover Tinsel Twinkle Trail. Take advantage of this season to unwind by the fireplace in a charming coffee shop or embark on a winter hike through the scenic Clifty Falls State Park.

Best Hotels In Madison Indiana

Best Hotels in Madison Indiana

Here is a list of some of the best hotels are:

The Chandler HotelGet Direction
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Madison Historic Eagle Cotton MillGet Direction
Riverboat Inn & SuitesGet Direction
Hillside InnGet Direction
Hillside InnGet Direction

Restaurants In Madison Indiana

Restaurants in Madison Indiana

Here is a list of some of the best Restaurants are:

RED ON MAINGet Direction
Mad Love Eat & DrinkGet Direction
Rivertown GrillGet Direction
Off Broadway TaproomGet Direction
Bad Apple Mac’sGet Direction

History And Culture Of Madison Indiana

Madison, Indiana, stands as a historic city nestled along the Ohio River in the state’s southeastern part. Spanning centuries, this vibrant locale has woven a tapestry of rich history and cultural significance.


Early Settlement: Established in 1809 and christened after President James Madison, the area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Shawnee and Miami.

River Trade: The city’s strategic position along the Ohio River propelled its growth, evolving into a pivotal river port and a nexus for steamboat activity during the 19th century, contributing substantially to its economic prosperity.

Antebellum Architecture: Madison proudly showcases a well-maintained collection of antebellum architecture. The historic district is adorned with Federal and Greek Revival-style structures, offering a glimpse into the luxury of its formative years.

Civil War Era: Playing a crucial role as a supply center for the Union Army during the Civil War, Madison faced economic challenges post-war due to shifts in transportation and industry. Nevertheless, its historic essence endured.

Preservation Efforts: The Mid-20th century witnessed dedicated endeavors to preserve Madison’s architectural legacy. These efforts culminated in the city’s designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2006.


Arts and Entertainment: Madison boasts a thriving arts scene with galleries, theaters, and live music venues enriching its cultural tapestry. The Madison Performing Arts Foundation orchestrates various events throughout the year.

Festivals and Events: The city comes alive with numerous festivals celebrating its history and culture. The Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art, Ribberfest BBQ and Blues, and the Madison Regatta stand out, attracting locals and visitors alike.

Outdoor Recreation:  Enveloped by picturesque landscapes, Madison offers ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Nearby Clifty Falls State Park beckons with scenic hiking trails and captivating waterfalls.

Culinary Scene: Reflecting its Southern influences, Madison’s culinary scene is a sensory treat. Various restaurants serve traditional Southern fare, while the local farmers’ market showcases the region’s bountiful produce.

Community Spirit: Madison exudes a strong sense of community, with residents actively preserving its heritage. Local organizations work tirelessly to maintain the historic integrity of its architecture and raise awareness of Madison’s distinctive history.


In conclusion, Madison, Indiana, becomes a hidden gem when you uncover its rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. Our curated list of 10 amazing things to do in Madison Indiana reveals the town’s diverse offerings, inviting you to explore historic sites and immerse yourself in the picturesque landscapes along the Ohio River.

Madison, Indiana, isn’t just a destination; it’s a living testament to a community’s dedication to preserving its heritage and creating a welcoming environment for both locals and visitors. Whether you’re indulging in history, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or savoring the local arts and cuisine, Madison beckons with a unique blend of past and present. It’s a must-visit destination for those seeking an enriching and immersive travel experience.

Are there any guided riverboat tours available on the Ohio River?

Can I rent kayaks or canoes for a self-guided river adventure?

What special events or festivals happen during the winter months in Madison?

Is there a recommended spot for birdwatching along the Ohio River?

What types of wines are typically offered at Lanthier Winery?

About The Author

A hub for wanderers and travel enthusiasts, Travelophia is dedicated to curating valuable insights, practical tips, and inspiring narratives to elevate your travel experiences. Whether you're seeking hidden gems off the beaten path, practical travel advice, or a dose of wanderlust, Travelophia is your trusted companion in exploring the world.

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