La Crosse sits on the iconic Mississippi River and is nestled amid beautiful bluffs, giving it an almost mountain city feel. Besides the gorgeous views, the city boasts a fabulous restaurant scene, unparalleled festivals and plenty of fascinating tourist attractions. Is it even possible to visit La Crosse and not fall in love? Here are just a few of the reasons we’re obsessed:
- The Bluffs
Midwestern terrain is known for being rather flat in spots (which can be great in its own right), while here and there throwing in what we might consider “rolling hills” (also gorgeous). Where else, though, can you find beautiful, towering bluffs than along the banks of the Mississippi? La Crosse locals and visitors alike frequent Grandad Bluff for an excellent hike ending in an unbelievable 600-foot-high view of the Mississippi River Valley.
- The Restaurant Scene
There is no shortage of great stops for a bite to eat in La Crosse, but a couple of our favorites are Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern, and Pearl Ice Cream Parlor. Waterfront, as the name implies, offers views as gorgeous as the food is delicious, and Pearl takes us back to a simpler time while serving up a truly Wisconsin treat.
- The Mississippi River
What’s the best way to enjoy the Mississippi River, you ask? Well, take your pick. Riverside Park has been a local go-to for more than 100 years, and offers trails, gorgeous views, and plays host to a variety of festivals and events. If you’re looking for a unique way to take in the mighty Mississippi, check out La Crosse Segway Tours. It allows you to cover more ground than a walking tour, and go places that cars can’t go, all while taking in the sights of the Mississippi. For a more classic route, step aboard the La Crosse Queen – a modern-day replica of the 19th century grand river boats that once cruised the Mississippi. Jump on last-minute for a daily sightseeing cruise or make a reservation for a romantic dinner cruise.
- The Fall Colors
Wisconsin boasts some of the most beautiful fall colors in the world, and La Crosse is one of the best places to take in those fall colors. Head to the top of Grandad Bluff or to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe for gorgeous aerial views of rusty red and burnt orange hues. (Pssst – those views are equally gorgeous with snow-covered trees if you’re willing to brave the cold.)
- The Festivals
La Crosse is known for its festivals; locals come together to celebrate summer during Riverfest in early July and Irishfest in mid-August, while Oktoberfest USA in late September brings in visitors from across the state to kick off the fall season. Don’t forget the La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival, which is coming up September 1-4 and offers “two-wheeled bliss through the scenic valleys of the Mississippi River.” Go on a guided interest ride, perfect for families, kids and easy riding, or head out on a self-guided and self-timed ride. Stop by live music, the Cameron Park Farmer’s Market, and all sorts of themed rides.
- The Tourist Attractions
Dahl Auto Museum, the Children’s Museum of La Crosse, Turtle Stack Brewery, Hixon House, Pump House Regional Arts Center, Riverside Museum…the list goes on. When it comes to tourist attractions, for young and old, La Crosse has it all.
Do you love La Crosse County as much as we do? Tell us why in the comments!
Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Having grown up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. Watch Discover Wisconsin TV Saturday mornings at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)