This southwest Wisconsin city offers gorgeous hilltop views, year-round outdoor pursuits and an important religious site.
La Crosse lies between the banks of the Mississippi River and a series of steep bluffs. Natural beauty and outdoor recreation are the biggest draws, but the city also captivates with its children’s activities and cultural offerings.
A good way to introduce yourself to the area is with a walk to the top of Grandad Bluff, a steep hill that can be seen from most parts of the city. From the summit, enjoy views of the city, the Mississippi River and the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Hike on several trails at the top of the bluff.
You can also stroll along the forest trails and open spaces of Riverside Park or find a pleasant place to sit and watch river traffic go by.
Become part of the river scenery on a cruise aboard the La Crosse Queen. This is a replica of the paddle steamers that used to be a common sight on the Mississippi River in the late 19th century. Alternatively, travel through the river’s backwaters on an eco-tour.
For family-orientated fun, treat the kids to a trip to the Children’s Museum of La Crosse. Then make your way to Myrick Park for Kids Coulee. This playground has climbing structures, swings, a maze and tunnels. Children with disabilities can enjoy the equipment too.
Visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an important Catholic pilgrimage site. Non-Catholics are also welcome to enjoy the tranquility and tour the church to view its paintings and sculptures.
If you are in La Crosse during the winter, there’s no need to stay indoors when the snow falls. Go snowmobiling on over 600 miles (966 kilometers) of trails or cross-country ski at Drugan’s Castle Mound. Try snowshoeing and ice fishing at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.
Reach La Crosse by bus, car or train. You can also fly into La Crosse Regional Airport, located on French Island and connected to the mainland by a bridge. Pack your suitcase for outdoor adventures whatever the season.