Things to do at the Wisconsin Union

The Wisconsin Union offers thousands of events, many services and incredible facilities for guests, Wisconsin Union members, and campus community members to enjoy. Since the Wisconsin Union's inception, the Union has been a membership organization that has also offered guest passes for those who visit the Union infrequently or those who would like to experience some of what Union membership is like. Guest passes can be obtained online or in-person at Memorial Union and Union South restaurants. Memorial Union, alone, welcomes more than 3 million members and guests each year. University of Wisconsin-Madison students are members through student fees while they attend the university. The Union has more than 100,000 members who are not students, as well. While those who visit infrequently are welcome to use guest cards during their visits, all are welcome to become Wisconsin Union members and enjoy the full range of membership benefits: Wisconsin Union Membership .

Below are some activities and events that are available for campus community members, members and guests to enjoy:


For more than 75 years, the Wisconsin Union Theater has served as a center for cultural activity in the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, which members and guests alike have enjoyed. The Theater hosts performances in multiple locations, including Memorial Union, and has an expansive history of remarkable performances. The Theater continues to present world-class performances ranging from jazz and classical musicians to influential speakers.


Both Memorial Union and Union South have awe-inspiring collections of permanent and temporary art. Throughout most of the year, you can explore two temporary exhibitions on display in Memorial Union and one more at Union South. Curated by students, these exhibitions change throughout the year and bring the work of artists from around the world to campus. In addition to these, both buildings have original Wisconsin artwork throughout the hallways and various rooms, so you are sure find some works while strolling around, such as the Multicultural Murals in Memorial Union’s Gekas Commons.

You are also invited to create your own art at Memorial Union-based Wheelhouse Studios. With three studios, dozens of classes throughout the year and many different supplies on-hand, artists of all levels enjoy Wheelhouse as their campus art-making place. From photography to pottery, jewelry to sewing, Wheelhouse provides the opportunity for all artists to express themselves in their own unique ways.

Outdoor Activities

How does a peaceful morning kayaking on Lake Mendota sound to you? How about (during our cold months) snowshoeing through a winter wonderland? Outdoor UW at Memorial Union has equipment available for rent for every season, including a standup paddleboard (one-person paddleboard or eight-person paddleboard), kayak, snowshoes, camping equipment or canoe. With paddling sports, you can go on your own adventure or have one of Outdoor UW’s instructors teach you paddling basics. While discounts are available for Wisconsin Union members, including students, all are welcome to enjoy these services. 

Indoor Recreation

Did you know that there’s a rock climbing wall at Union South? The lower level of the Sett contains a wall that is two stories tall! The wall’s path changes regularly, so, even if you, your friends or your family members climbed at Sett Recreation before, chances are you’ve never climbed this exact wall. Everyone 18 and older is welcome to climb, and Wisconsin Union members receive a 10 percent discount on their climbs. Also, at Sett Recreation, you can bowl at Sett Rec’s eight-lane bowling alley or try billiards! Snacks are convenient during your indoor recreation with the Wisconsin Union with tasty treats from Sett Rec’s menu of pizza, sandwiches and other snacks, such as Bosco Sticks. All Sett Recreation activities are open to students, staff, faculty, members and guests.


Planning your campus culinary experience? The Wisconsin Union has what you’re looking for with more than a dozen dining options at Union South, Memorial Union and across campus. Iconic dining options not-to-be-missed include Memorial Union’s der Rathskeller and Union South’s the Sett. Der Rath is the Wisconsin Union’s unique spin on the classic German beer hall! With many live music events, frequent game watches for the Badgers, Bucks, Packers and Brewers, der Rathskeller is one of our community’s favorite places to gather and indulge in some delicious eats. Not far from Memorial Union, the Sett boasts a large menu with breakfast options as well as classic pub fare. The Sett Pub is a place to gather on game days, or relax and enjoy some live entertainment. These are just two of the many dining options the Union offers on campus, and the team’s delectable dining options are enjoyed by millions of members, students, staff, faculty and guests each year.

Other Events

From free film shows to a farmers market to home gameday’s best tailgate, the Wisconsin Union offers a wide variety of events all year long, and most of them are available to all Wisconsin Union members, including students, staff, faculty and guests. When you’re visiting campus, the Union encourages you to check out the team’s events calendar (which grows and changes throughout the year). There’s always an experience for a lifetime waiting for you with the Wisconsin Union.