There’s nothing better than a day trip to a new destination in your area, and when it comes to cute towns, Stoughton, with its “Historic Main Street” shopping destination, surely ranks in the top three for Dane County.
Stoughton sits about 30 minutes southeast of Madison and is best known for its Norweigan cultural heritage, which can be best experienced by attending their famous Syttende Mai festival in mid-May each year.
The rest of the year, you’ll see visitors in Stoughton on Saturdays mainly for the shopping and dining! With dozens of local options to visit, a trip to Stoughton is well worth the drive. The main road through town (Hwy. 51) has a historical section with brick facade buildings that are home to gift shops, food shops, restaurants, galleries, specialty shops, and more.
Parking is plentiful, either in front of the shops, on the side streets, or in one of the large city lots, and most locations are close enough to be walkable. Plus, if you come in the summer before noon, you can check out the Saturday Downtown Farmer’s Market!
Next time you’re looking for something to do on a Saturday, come to Stoughton and make a day out of it! Here are a few agendas to help you know where to focus your time first:
Head to Stoughton after lunch and start at the east end of the shopping district with neighboring destinations Abel Contemporary Gallery, Grand Inspired Home Gallery, and yours truly – Hello Art Hatchery. Then drive up the hill, park in the Forrest or Division St. city lot, and head to Wildwood Cafe for a coffee or tea break. Once rested, head west, stopping at Woodland Studios and Overt Space and then over the river to Green Road Pottery. Then, treat yourself to dinner at Wendigo, surrounded by the artwork of local artist Natalie Jo Wright.
Stoughton has you covered if you're looking for cute shops in a cute town! Start your morning at the Coffee4ALL Bistro Cafe, and then head downtown and park just after you cross the river – either on the street or in the public lot a block to the south. Start at Grasshopper Goods and Dune Gift and Home for on-trend, delightful treasures, and then cross the street to visit Nordic Nook for Scandinavian gifts galore. As you head east, make sure to visit Overt Space and Cheesers Cheese Shop. Grab a late lunch at Viking Brew Pub before you head for home!
You can find unique arts and craft supplies at many shops in this cute town! Come after lunch and start at Hello Art Hatchery for one-of-a-kind art and craft supplies. Then stop into Grand Inspired to learn more about their maker space membership for woodworkers. You’ll also find art supplies up the hill at Overt Space and everything you need for beading at Diakonos Designs. You’ll also want to see (and touch!) all of the luxurious yarn and equipment at Spry Whimsy. After shopping, treat yourself to a gourmet meal at Big Sky Restaurant.
TREASURE HUNTING DAY:
Ten years ago, Stoughton was home to four antique shops, but today just one (best one!) remains – the Buy & Sell Shop. Don’t be fooled by the sign or location. You’ll want to stop here first. Then head east to Hello Art Hatchery and check out our vintage maps, books, and notions. Grab a burger and fries at Tailgaters downtown, then head west to hit Second Chance, St. Vinnies, and Goodwill. If you’re lucky, there may also be an estate sale or auction in town – they’re pretty common!
If you’re shopping for the kiddos, Stoughton has many brands you won’t find elsewhere. If the kiddos are coming with you, start in the morning and treat them to a donut at Fosdals Bakery. They are 100% homemade on site (and 200% delicious)! Head east, and you’ll find Next Generation with resale clothing and new gifts and toys. Dune Gift and Home and Overt Space also carry of selection of items for little ones. And, you’ll want to make sure to visit Itty Bitty Bookstore, a gorgeous shop with diverse children’s books, and Sun and Lace to see their handcrafted, heirloom quality baby shoes (need I say more. Adorable!).
If that’s not enough for you to do, have an even more fun-filled day by visiting during one of the city’s special events:
- Syttende Mai – Mid-May
- Taste of Stoughton – Mid-May
- Stoughton Fair – Last week of June
- Catfish Music Festival – Early July
- Sidewalk Sales – Late July
- Coffee Break Festival – mid-August
- Art Walk Stoughton – Late August
- Stoughton Wine Walk – mid-October
Visit https://www.visitstoughton.com/events for details and this year’s event dates.
Together, Stoughton’s gift shops, food shops, restaurants, galleries, and specialty shops create a destination and work together to support each shop owner’s dream job and to keep our cute town connected. Join us!
If you think of a shop or destination we missed, drop a link in the comments below!