What to do in Madison this February

Socially distanced or virtual events for you and the family.
Orchids at Olbrich Gardens
Photo courtesy of Olbrich Botanical Gardens

February may be the shortest month of them all, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the least eventful. Mask up or pop online and enjoy Madison’s art, food and festival scenes with these distanced or virtual happenings.

Orchid Escape, Through Feb. 28
Through the end of the month, folks can stop and smell the orchids at Olbrich Gardens’ Bolz Conservatory. With more than 250 orchids on display, these tropical beauties provide a winter escape. Temperatures range from 65 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit within the conservatory, so you can escape the cold and enjoy the company of the free-flying birds and waterfall. The exhibit is open daily through the end of the month.

Winter is Alive, Feb. 12-March 7
Forget Frosty — the people of Madison have higher expectations for snowy creatures thanks to the City of Madison’s Arts Commission, Garver Events and Sustain Dane. With an aim of spreading awareness about climate change, the Winter is Alive event has installations from artists local and afar, and will also hold online performative and narrative events. Enjoy the event in-person, online or both through March 7.

Curbside Characters, multiple dates
Coming up with fun things to do as a family is difficult right now, but Hilldale Shopping Center has a new set-up so you can grab a meal and see your favorite characters all in one swoop. Each event features a different restaurant and character combo, so be sure to plan and order ahead. Feb. 15 is Ariel and Sleeping Beauty at the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., Feb. 16 is Barbie and Unicorn Princess at Dumpling Haus, Feb. 17 is Elsa and Anna at Shake Shack, Feb. 18 is Cinderella and Belle at Blended, Feb. 23 is Snow White and Rapunzel at Paqual’s Cantina, Feb. 25 Ariel and Sleeping Beauty at Blended.

A Streamin’ Jazz Festival (Strollin’ Middleton), Feb. 20
For the final event of Strollin’ Middleton series, Josh Cohen and Richard Hildner will be performing virtually on Feb. 20. Josh Cohen is a multi-award-winning six-string bassist, composer, session musician and music educator, whereas Richard Hildner has studied and played the Afro-Peruvian cajon with a wide range of musical groups. Tune in at 7 p.m. on Facebook at or on YouTube.

Iva Ugrčić & Satoko Hayami, Feb. 21
Serbian flutist Dr. Iva Ugrčić and Japanese pianist Satoko Hayami are performing as part of the Wisconsin Sound Series. Presented by the Wisconsin Union Theater, the concert is anticipated to keep viewers on their toes, with Ugrčić described as “one of the most exciting and adventurous young flutists in the international pantheon.” Hayami is also tremendously renowned, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin–Madison under Professor Martha Fischer.

Madison Restaurant Week, Feb. 22-27
Madison Magazine has hosted Restaurant week for 14 years. Typically held twice a year, the winter rendition marks a return to in-person dining options along with takeout and to-go opportunities. This semi-annual event is the perfect opportunity to sample some of Madison’s local offerings. Starting at $25, participating restaurants offer a prix-fixe menu with three courses. Some restaurants will offer a lunch menu for $15.

The Science of Vaccines, Feb. 24
As part of the Morgridge Institute for Research Fearless Science Speaker series, experts in virology and vaccine development will be talking all things COVID-19 at this virtual event. Learn more about how the coronavirus individuals and how vaccines can protect us from future outbreaks.

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Feb. 26-March 1
The Winter Chamber Series’ second concert installment will be putting strings and percussion in the spotlight with six performances as part of the online program. Beethoven, Rossini and Mozart are all making an auditory appearance, as well as a duet piece from American composer Thomas Siwe. After purchasing the virtual package, viewing will be open through March 1.

Bockfest, Feb. 27
The 24th annual Capital Brewery Bockfest unfortunately will be held virtually this year, but beer-enthusiasts can order a Bockfest @ Home kit to celebrate alongside the Facebook Live event. Kits include a 4-pack of commemorative Blonde Doppelbock cans and pint glasses, as well as pretzels, beer cheese, coasters and other goodies. Then at 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 27, brewmaster Ashley Kinart-Short will give the annual Blessing of the Blonde online.

International Festival, Feb. 27-March 5
Starting on Feb. 27, the Overture Center for the Artswill be hosting its annual International Festival to celebrate the various cultures in Madison. Since the event is virtual this year, festival attendees can explore cultural art and tradition through performances, cooking demonstrations, visual arts, discussions and more on the Overture’s website free of charge. Content will be available through March 5 for those who register.

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