Download GPX file for this article
38.750000-85.395278Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Madison is a city along the Ohio River in Southern Indiana. Madison is surrounded by scenic limestone bluffs. The hills are tree-covered and the farmlands are fertile. Many of the grand homes and historic commercial buildings are still in use. The past co-exists with the present in perfect harmony.

Jefferson County is home to one of Indiana’s most beautiful state parks, Clifty Falls. This lush 1200-acre park offers scenic vista, four waterfalls and many hiking trails. Southern Indiana is also a nationally recognized wine region and three award-winning wineries are located within Jefferson County. Madison is also known as an antique mecca in the Midwest. Numerous specialty shops, unique restaurants and quaint B&Bs complement the historic downtown.


Madison is the county seat of Jefferson County, Indiana. It has been recognized as offering one of the highest qualities of life in the state. This is evident by its designation as one of 12 Distinctive Destinations of 2001 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Madison has a population of approximately 12,000 people with approximately 32,000 people residing within Jefferson County (2017). There is an active and thriving cultural movement in the community that includes art festivals, museums, theater, music, entertainment, and numerous local craftsmen and artisans.

Get in[edit]

Map of Madison (Indiana)

The best route to Madison from the west is IN 56. It is a direct link to I-65. Travellers from Louisville can use IN 62 East from Jeffersonville. Louisville visitors can also use I-71 North and take US 421 North and cross the Madison-Milton Bridge. Indianapolis residents can go to Columbus and pick up IN 7 South. Travellers on I-71 from Cincinnati can exit at Carrollton, then take KY 36 West to the Madison-Milton Bridge. Visitors from Vevay and Belterra Casino can use IN 56 West into Madison.

Get around[edit]



  • Madison 6, 744 Jefferson Ct, +1 812-273-6061. First-run current movies.
  • Hanover College Sports (Hanover College, Hanover). Teams in football, basketball and baseball.
  • Hanover College Theatre (Hanover College, Hanover), +1 812-866-7264. Delight in the sights and sounds of outstanding musical and dramatic performances. Tickets required. Please call for more information.
  • Ohio Theatre, 105 E. Main St, +1 812-624-1938. Affordably priced current & classic movies in Madison’s historic theatre. Everyday matinee & evening show. Late show Friday & Saturday.


  • Madison Regatta, +1 812-265-5000. Early July Unlimited hydroplane race, boat racing over 200 mph, testing and qualifying, fireworks, music on the banks of the Ohio River, 10K run and race. Admission charged. Annual event.
  • Madison RibberFest, +1 812-265-2956, toll-free: +1-800-559-2956. Mid August Two-day treat for the taste buds. Madison’s Indiana State barbecue cook-off held along the Riverfront. Blues music, balloon races, food & fun for the entire family. Annual event.


  • Madison Railroad, 1121 W. JPG Woodfill Rd, Bldg #216, +1 812-273-4248. 7:30AM-4PM. Madison Railroad operates a 25-mile mainline extending from Madison to North Vernon. The railroad is rich in history, operating the remaining segment of Indiana’s oldest rail line.


  • Lanthier Winery, 123 Mill St, +1 812-273-2409, toll-free: +1-800-41-WINES (94637). W-Su 11AM-5PM. ‘A far away feeling... close enough to taste’. French country gardens, art gallery, gift shop and handcrafted award-winning wines await guests at Madison’s oldest winery. Sample wine and pick up an event schedule.
  • The Thomas Family Winery, 208 E. Second St, +1 812-273-3755, toll-free: +1-800-948-8466. M-Th 11AM-6PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-5PM. Offering traditional wines and ciders, old world breads and cheeses in a pub-style setting.


Driving & riding tours[edit]

  • Chief White Eye Trail, Canaan, +1 812-839-4101. This drive through the rolling hills, farmland and forests of the eastern portion of Jefferson County is magnificent during spring and Fall. The Kremer House (1850) in Canaan, is open by appointment and operated by the Canaan Restoration Council.
  • Heritage Trail, +1 317-696-0860. The Heritage Trail is a paved pathway for biking, hiking and rollerblading. The trail connects downtown Madison with the hilltop and overlooks the Ohio River. Open dawn to dusk 2002.
  • John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail (Versailles), +1 812-686-6410 Ext 5. The 185-mile trail follows the footsteps of Confederate Raider John Hunt Morgan's 2000 men and horses. Part of the route traverses Jefferson County and is highlighted with a campsight in Dupont. Indiana's most significant American Civil War event.
  • Madison Area Bicycle Club, . The Madison area has appealing terrain for cyclists (flat farmland, challenging hills, back roads, river views, ridges and valleys). This bicycle club offers Monday and Thursday night club rides, starting at Madison Airport at 5:30PM and Saturday rides. You can check their calendar for more details and in case they add more rides. $30 single membership, + $10 for first additional household member + $5 for each additional household member.
  • Ohio River Scenic Byway, toll-free: +1-800-559-2956. Designated a National Scenic Byway, this portion of the scenic drive hugs the river's edge among picturesque hills and valleys surrounding the majestic Ohio River. The Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau can assist you with additional information.


  • Clifty Golf Range, 3323 West IN 56 (jct 56/62), Hanover, +1 812-273-9339. Mar-Oct: daily 9AM-10PM. Driving range, 18-hole miniature golf.
  • Cozy Acres Golf Complex, 4040 N. Old SR 62, +1 812-273-3137. 9-hole course, mini-golf course, driving range, pro shop.
  • Sunrise Golf Course, 2136 Michigan Rd, +1 812-265-8334. Open daily Feb 15 - Dec 31. 18-holes, par 72, 6245 yards. Full service pro shop, motorized rental carts, snack bar & grill.


  • Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1661 W. JPG Niblo Rd (Jefferson Proving Ground), +1 812-273-0783. Big Oaks NWR has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area because of its value to migratory birds. Located on 50,000 acres five miles north of Madison on US 421 (on the closed Jefferson Proving Ground). Portions of the refuge are open for wildlife observation, photography, fishing, hunting, interpretation, and environmental education. Apr-Nov: Monday & Friday, 2nd & 4th Saturdays. Mandatory briefing and access fee permit required ($3 daily, $15 annual); fee waived for holders of migratory bird stamps, golden age pass, golden access pass, and golden eagle pass.
  • Clifty Falls State Park, One mile west of town on IN 56 and 62, +1 812-273-8885. Whether you are an avid wildlife watcher, hiker, or enjoy the great outdoors, this magnificent state park has something for everyone. The park offers several picnic areas, a nature center offering seasonal programs, an Olympic-size swimming pool, RV and primitive campsites. Hikers can enjoy trails ranging from “easy” to “rugged” and behold deeply cut gorges, sheer rock walls and plunging waterfalls. Open all year; admission charged Mar-Sept.
  • Madison City Park System, 101 West Main St, +1 812-265-8308. 12 city-owned parks comprise part of the 220 acres of developed park/recreation properties. City parks include 5 picnic areas, 10 shelter houses, picnic tables, 2 barbecue pits, 5 playgrounds, 4 basketball courts, 4 baseball/softball diamonds, 2 tennis courts, 2 walking paths, volleyball courts and a lake. An 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, playgrounds, and the Madison Sports Complex.
  • Riverfront Park, Vaughn Dr. A favorite spot for a relaxing stroll, boat watching or attending one of several yearly events. Public boat launching facilities. Rejuvenated brick walk with benches, gazebo, viewing sites, and dedicated bricks. Adjacent parks offer playground equipment, volleyball & basketball courts, shelter houses and picnic areas with tables.

Water activities[edit]

  • Crystal Beach Pool, 400 W Vaughn Dr, +1 812-273-6268. Built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration. Historic bathhouse. Half-moon shaped pool slopes from ankle deep to 9 feet. Noon-5PM daily - Memorial Day to start of school.
  • Madison Public Boat Ramp Foot of West St. and Vaughn Dr. Located on the riverfront at the foot of West Street. Open year round. No charge.



  • Red On Main, 122 E Main St, +1 812-274-0105. Tu-Sa lunch and dinner only. Fine dining and drinks.
  • Frisch's Big Boy Restaurant, 460 E Clifty Dr, +1 812-273-6524.
  • Gallery 115 Cafe, 115 East Main Street, +1 812-274-4371. 11AM-7PM. Enjoy delicious sandwiches, soup of the day and desserts. During the summer month be sure to have a float made with your choice of vintage era drinks.
  • Hinkles Sandwich Shop, 204 W. Main St, +1 812-265-3919, toll-free: +1-888-514-3919. M Tu 6AM-10PM, W-Sa 24-hr. Famous hamburgers served with pickles and onions, homefries, milkshakes. Try the biscuits and gravy W-Sa night after 9PM!
  • Historic Broadway Hotel & Restaurant, 313 Broadway St, +1 812-265-2346. Open daily 11AM-midnight, closed some holidays. Indiana’s oldest hotel & tavern. Opened in 1834 and still serving hearty meals & refreshing cocktails.
  • Off Broadway Taproom, 218 E. Main St, +1 812-274-0216. Live music, cuisine, culture, eclectic atmosphere and late night food.
  • Shooters, 101 E. Main St, +1 812-274-3841. Bar and grill featuring American cuisine.
  • The Downtowner, 104 E. Main St, +1 812-265-4343. M-Sa 10:30AM-8PM, Su 10:30AM-6PM. Great soups, sandwiches, salads & desserts. Made fresh daily. Madison’s most recommended eatery. A great Chicken Salad Sandwich.
  • The Red Pepper Deli and Café, 902 W. Main St, +1 812-265-DELI (3354). M-Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-9PM. Sandwiches, salads, homemade soups, desserts. Over 80 sandwiches to choose from.
  • The Falls Restaurant at Clifty Inn, IN 56 West (inside Clifty Falls State Park), +1 812-265-4135, toll-free: +1-877-LODGES-1 (563437-1). Daily 7AM-2PM, 5-8PM. Hours may vary by season. Relax and enjoy home cooking overlooking the scenic Ohio River.


  • Gallery 115 Cafe, 115 East Main Street (Historic Downtown Madison), +1 612-274-4371. 11AM-7PM. Enjoy delicious sandwiches,soups and wonderful desserts.

Coffee shops[edit]


Bed & Breakfasts[edit]

  • Azalea Manor Bed and Breakfast, 510 West Main St, +1 812-274-4059. In heart of historic district in walking distance of unique shops, antique stores, museums, public historic homes/sites, coffee and handcrafted candy shops, the Ohio River, visitor center, public library, restaurants and churches.
  • 2nd St Carriage House and Inn, 308 West Second St, +1 219-508-9644. Open May 1 to October 31. AAA Approved.
  • Iron Gate Inn, 708 E. Main St, +1 812 -273-8959. Downtown historic home, side galleries overlook lovely gardens, candlelight breakfast.
  • Rose Cottage, +1 812-839-3781. Take a scenic drive along Highway 62 & spend a night at romantic Rose Cottage in Canaan. Your hosts, Norma and Fred Tuttle, provide a full breakfast or some of Norma's famous “made from scratch” muffins and sweet breads.
  • Windy Hill, 340 Thomas Hill Rd, +1 812-265-5284, toll-free: +1-888-687-5863. Cozy getaway, beautiful river view, country breakfast, great group retreat.


  • City of Madison Campgrounds, Riverfront on Vaughn Drive, +1 812-265-8308 or +1 812-265-8333. 32 Sites. Some have trees. Rates: daily $15, weekly $90. Hours April 1st-October 31st. Will take reservations after April 1st. Facilities: A shower house, electric and water hook-up, dump station, paved spaces with picnic table. Restrictions: Campers only, no tents. Check Out: M-Sa 2PM, Su 5PM.
  • Clifty Falls State Park (North Entrance on IN 62, South Entrance on IN 56), +1 812-265-1331. Open year around. Olympic outdoor pool with slide available summer months. Rates: camping; daily with electric $22, Primitive $10. Winter: daily (with electric) $8, Primitive $4. (Winter season, water faucets, showers and toilets are turned off until approximately April 5th.) Reservation first-come first-serve until May 1. 166 sites all with gravel spaces, picnic table, and fire ring. 106 have electric hook-ups. Facilities: dump station, electric hook-ups, water near by (not at site.) Shower houses & camp store available summer months. Check out 2PM, 5PM Sunday.

Cottages & guesthouses[edit]

Hotels & motels[edit]


By phone[edit]

Most telephone numbers in Madison consist of +1 812 plus a seven-digit number, but the Southern Indiana region is now served by an overlay complex of two area codes, with +1 930 being the second. A local or in-state telephone call now requires all 10 digits of the local number be dialed (omitting just the leading +1 from a local landline call).

Signage on many established businesses may still display the original seven-digit numbers; dial 812 before these if no area code is indicated.

Go next[edit]

  • Louisville is the nearest major city. It is home to the Kentucky Derby and museums dedicated to the Derby, Muhammad Ali and Louisville Slugger bats.
  • Cincinnati is home to Kings Island, Cincinnati Museum Center and nearby Newport Aquarium.
  • Indianapolis is the state capital and home to the Indy 500 and Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts.
  • Just east of Madison are Belterra and Grand Victoria Casinos along the Ohio River.
  • Across the Ohio River from Belterra is Kentucky Speedway, one of NASCAR's newest tracks, hosting Trucks, Indy Cars and Busch races.
Routes through Madison
IndianapolisGreensburg  N  S  → Jct Frankfort
Columbus ← Jct  N  S  END

This city travel guide to Madison is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.