LaCrosse, WI: Because sometimes you can go home again
LaCrosse, WI is a small city located on the Mississippi River and where I spent the first 25 years of my life. It’s a beautiful city with a lot to offer. LaCrosse is the perfect place if you love to spend time outdoors, like to eat (and drink), and maybe get a little art in your life.
Three rivers plus a few lakes in the area are perfect if you want to spend time on the water boating, tubing, or water skiing. Head out for a day on the river, take a break at a sandbar, and head over to Huck Finn’s for dinner and live music. Water not really your idea of outdoor fun? Get your butt over to Hixon Forest for some time on the trails. Or check out the Great River State Trail, which hooks up with the LaCrosse River State Trail. Both are great for hopping on the bike and peddling around!
Maybe you are more artsy than outdoorsy?
Don’t worry, LaCrosse has a few options there too. Dance recitals in the spring. UW-L and Viterbo have art shows and plays throughout the year. The LaCrosse Community Theater (LCCT) offers a variety of plays during their season, which usually kicks off with a big musical number. Little ones into acting? LCCT has kids plays every year as well! And don’t forget about the Pumphouse with a variety of visual and performing art.
Got a foodie in the mix? There is no shortage of good, local dining options. A downtown favorite is Buzzard Billy’s. A favorite local chain? Coney Island. Who doesn’t love a good chili cheese dog and fries? Want a cool treat on a hot summer day? Grab a scoop or two from The Pearl and take a walk down to Riverside Park while enjoying your cool treat.
And dotted all over downtown (or really the entire city) you can find a place to relax after your day of fun with a cold one. I suggest grabbing a beer local to LaCrosse or Wisconsin, like La Crosse Lager or Spotted Cow. LaCrosse is home to the World’s Largest Six Pack, a remnant of the G. Heilman Brewery, now the City Brewing Company (or City Brewery). In the summer you can smell the beer brewing for miles.
Although spring, summer, and fall are great in LaCrosse, WI don’t discount winter.
It may not be a place you want to live in the winter but it can be fun to visit. Winter brings snow, which one the first day is beautiful to see, and snow brings snowshoeing through Hixon Forest or skiing down Mt. LaCrosse. There are about a million hills to sled down, ice rinks to skate on, and snowmen to build. After a day of fun in the snow and cold, head inside to a fireplace and mugs of hot chocolate.
Don’t forget to visit in fall for the changing of the seasons. The trees really put on a show, changing to flaming reds, bright yellows, and earthy oranges. Everywhere you look, trees are on fire with color. Oh, and there’s this little celebration at the end of September. You may have heard of it… Oktoberfest. You can see at least three parades, go on rides, and enjoy some beer and pretzels.
What about kids? LaCrosse has a Children’s Museum and plenty of parks for playing. Sports fan? We have you covered. Check out the LaCrosse Loggers, Coulee Region Chill, or LaCrosse Freeze. Maybe you prefer racing? Head over to the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. If you’re a music fan, be sure to check out the Warehouse for some alternative, metal, or punk shows.
LaCrosse and the surrounding areas are full of fests and events throughout the year. Riverfest is over fourth of July and offers fireworks, waterski shows, and other fun activities all down at Riverside Park. UW-L has Art Fair on the Green every summer (usually in August) where you can purchase art from local artists. These are only a few of the things you can do. There is no shortage of what you can celebrate (corn, cranberries, dairy, apples etc).