La Crosse is a city in the Coulee Region of Southwest Wisconsin on the Mississippi River. It is the county seat of La Crosse County. It's nestled between the river and picturesque bluffs that rise behind it. With a city population of around 50,000 and the metropolitan area just under 100,000, La Crosse offers visitors plenty of activities to do and sights to see, without the overwhelming hustle and bustle of bigger cities.
- 1 La Crosse Regional Airport (LSE IATA) (on French Island, to the north of the city), ☏ . American Eagle offers flights from Chicago, while Delta Connection offers flights from Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
La Crosse is served once daily in each direction by Amtrak via the Empire Builder route, which runs between Chicago and Seattle/Portland. Checked baggage is offered at this station and there is a ticket office.
There are two intercity bus stations in La Crosse. One is at Grand River Station downtown. The other serves the University of La Crosse and is located at the Student Union building. Both are served by Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, and Wisconsin Coach Lines.
- 3 Grand River Station, 315 3rd St S, ☏ . M-F 9AM-5PM. Served by Greyhound and Jefferson Lines, and functions as the downtown hub for the La Crosse MTU bus system.
- 4 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (Student Union) Bus Station, 521 East Ave N.. M-F 8AM–5PM.
Several taxi companies serve the city and metro area. Walking and biking are also great ways to get around. Most of the city is walkable, and bikeable areas include UWL and the Marsh Trails. La Crosse is one of the most disabled-friendly cities in the USA.
- 1 Municipal Transit Utility (MTU), 315 3rd St S, ☏ . Reliable choice for transportation, always on-schedule and the staff is extremely helpful when you need assistance, whether it is boarding the bus with disabilities or simply finding your route. The route consists of La Crosse and some surrounding suburbs including La Crescent and Onalaska. $1.50/ride.
- 1 Downtown. La Crosse has rejuvenated its downtown, which features a collection of bars, restaurants, high-end hotels and shops presented with an old-town feel. There is also the La Crosse Center, a large civic center with ongoing events almost daily.
- 2 Riverside Park. An expansive walkway and park straddles the river with excellent views of the Cass Street Bridge, Pettibone Park, and Minnesota.
- 3 The Bluffs. Numerous trails of varying difficulty levels course through the many bluffs behind the city, with magnificent views at the top.
- 4 Myrick Park. This park adjacent to UW-La Crosse is great for having a picnic and relaxing. It features an eco-park (under construction) and connects to a trail that runs under Highway 16 and climbs up the bluffs. This is the best place in town to go with younger kids: it features an expansive cooperatively built playground for all ages and abilities.
- 5 Pettibone Park. On an island in the Mississippi, this park has a beach and a free Frisbee Golf Course (don't forget your disks).
- 6 Pump House Regional Arts Center, 119 King St, ☏ . The Pump House is a multi-disciplinary cultural center, providing a space for the visual, literary, and performing arts. Programming utilizes the repurposed building’s three art galleries, 140-seat theater, art classroom with pottery studio, and meeting spaces. Free.
Local activities include pub crawls downtown, where there's an abundance of bars and nightclubs. Downtown La Crosse is rarely quiet at night, especially on weekends. Alternatively, relax on a riverboat ride. La Crosse has various watercrafts, including two old-fashioned paddle boat, that voyage up and down the Mississippi, and can include dinner, lunch or breakfast. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at one of the beautiful golf courses throughout the metro. There are also many other ongoing annual events occur downtown such as Riverfest, or Oktoberfest. Many also in surrounding suburbs.
- Pearl Street Brewery, 1401 Saint Andrew Street (from I-90 exit 3 and South on George Street then left on Saint Andrew. One block on the left), ☏ . Tu-F 4PM-8PM, Sa noon-5PM. For an excellent time, visit the Pearl Street Brewery, in a more than 100-year-old boot factory, this is one of Wisconsin's finest craft breweries. Live music by local and regional musicians is featured every Friday on their Happy Hour Stage and brewery tours take place each Saturday.
- City Brewery, 1111 S. 3rd Street, ☏ . 11AM-5PM. Formerly known as the Heileman Brewery, City Brewery hosts the world's largest six-pack. Tours, which includes samples of some of their brews, are available on weekdays during the summer and on the weekends all year. $1.
- Loggers Baseball, ☏ . Tickets start at $4.. The local team plays at Copeland Park, also known as "The Lumber Yard."
- Hixon House, Corner of 7th and Badger Streets. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 10AM-5PM daily. Formerly owned by one of La Crosse's lumber barons, Hixon is an Italianate house that reflects the Victorian style. A unique Turkish Nook and original furnishings make this house special. Admission is adults $8.50, kids $4.50, seniors $7.50.
- The Rivoli Theatre, 117 N 4th Street. Go see a movie at this unique dinner theater. The historic main theater features a grandiose decor and comfortable atmosphere. Lean back and catch a movie while enjoying one of their several draft beers and taking down a delicious pizza, made fresh to order. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for students.
Many specialty shops, and high-end stores are found throughout Downtown La Crosse. Numerous strip malls are located throughout the city including retail shops, coffee shops, office shops, and specialty shops.
Hundreds of restaurants are scattered throughout the La Crosse Metro area. You'll find anything within the city and suburbs like fast food such as McDonald's, Wendy's, Checkers, or Burger King for example. Also you can find a higher end setting like the Waterfront, the Freight House or Piggy's, which are all downtown. Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee can also be found in La Crosse.
- The Pearl. An old-fashioned ice cream parlor where the ice cream is homemade and you can find elusive flavors such as bubble gum, superman, and even blue moon. They also offer a vast variety of old-fashioned candy. A great place for kids!
- Yoko's House. A popular Japanese restaurant on Main St. The sushi bar is upstairs and features excellent sushi. They have a small bar downstairs, which has a nice selection and stays at a comfortable noise level. Their main feature is the hibachi tables, which take up that main floor of the restaurant. Service is good and the decor is quite charming. This is a favorite dinner and drinks spot for college kids and young professionals.
Many bars and nightclubs are found throughout Downtown La Crosse, and the city itself. At one time, La Crosse broke a Guinness Book record with the most bars/nightclubs on one street, which was Third Street in downtown.
- Best Western Midway Hotel Riverfront Resort, 1835 Rose Street, ☏ , fax: .
- Courtyard La Crosse Downtown/Mississippi Riverfront, 500 Front Street, ☏ , fax: .
- Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 200 Pearl Street, ☏ .
Downtown La Crosse is relatively safe at night for a college town. The downtown area has several bars which cater to college age customers. As with any area populated by bars, you may encounter intoxicated and/or obnoxious individuals. Generally, you can negotiate this area without any significant problems. If you are looking to avoid the younger crowd, it is recommended that you avoid the downtown area after 10PM.
|Routes through La Crosse|
|St. Paul ← Winona ←||W E||→ Tomah → Milwaukee|
|Albert Lea ← Rochester ←||W E||→ Sparta → Madison|
|Rochester ← Winona ←||W E||→ Jct N S → Richland Center → Madison|
|Eau Claire ← Osseo ←||N S||→ END|
|St. Paul ← Winona ←||N S||→ Soldiers Grove → Dubuque|
|Jct W E ← Lanesboro ← Jct N ← Jct S ← becomes ←||W E||→ Sparta → Tomah|
|END ←||W E||→ Baraboo → Portage|
|Hudson ← Pepin ←||N S||→ Prairie du Chien → Ends at W E|