Download GPX file for this article
43.813333-91.233056Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

La Crosse is a city in Southwest Wisconsin located on the Mississippi River and 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.

Get in

By plane

  • 1 La Crosse Regional Airport, (LSE IATA), +1 608 789-7464. The airport is located on French Island, to the north of the city proper. American Eagle offers flights from Chicago, while Delta Connection offers flights from Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

By train

  • 2 Amtrak, 601 St Andrew St. Station hours 9AM-noon and 6PM-9PM. La Crosse is served once daily in each direction by the Empire Builder route, which runs between Chicago and Seattle/Portland. Checked baggage is offered at this station and there is a ticket office.

By bus

Two Greyhound Bus stations are located in La Crosse. One is connected to the Amtrak Station on the city's North Side, and the other is located near the University of La Crosse on the south side. La Crosse has Jefferson Lines and is on Jay Street.

Get around

By bus

  • Municipal Transit Utility (MTU), 2000 Marco Drive, +1 608 789-7350, [1]. An excellent choice for transportation. They are 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. It is very affordable as well. Ridership of the La Crosse MTU is at it's highest with almost 1,000,000 riders per year.
  • Several taxi companies are located throughout the city and metro. Also biking/walking is an option. La Crosse is one of the most disabled-friendly cities in the USA.


View from Grandad's Bluff
  • Downtown - In recent years, 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.
  • Riverside Park - An expansive walkway and park straddles the river with excellent views of the Cass Street Bridge, Pettibone Park, and Minnesota.
  • The Bluffs - Numerous trails of varying difficulty levels course through the many bluffs behind the city, with magnificent views at the top.
  • Myrick Park - This park adjacent to UW-La Crosse is great for having a picnic and relaxing. It features an eco-park (currently in construction) and connects to a trail that runs under HWY 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.
  • Pettibone Park - Located on an island in the Mississippi, this park has a beach and a newly completed and free Frisbee Golf Course (don't forget your disks).

King House


  • 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), +1 608 784-4832. Tu-F 4-8:00 Saturday Noon-5:00. For an excellent time, visit the Pearl Street Brewery, located in a 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, +1 608 785-4398. 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.
  • 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.
  • A pub crawl downtown. There's an abundance of bars and nightclubs. Downtown La Crosse is rarely quiet at night, especially on weekends.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy a round of golf at one of the beautiful golf courses throughout the metro.
  • Many other ongoing annual events occur downtown such as Riverfest, or Oktoberfest. Many also in surrounding suburbs.
  • 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 located throughout Downtown La Crosse.
  • Valley View Mall located in a northern suburb shopping area includes more than 80 stores including Macy's, Barnes & Noble, JC Penney, and Sears.
  • Numerous strip malls are located throughout the city including retail shops, coffee shops, office shops, and specialty shops.


  • Hundreds of restaurants are located throughout the La Crosse Metro area. You'll find anything within the city and suburbs like fast food such as McDonalds, 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 located downtown.
  • Locations that are La Crosse residents' favorite places to grab a quick bite to eat or a cup of joe include Jules' Coffee Shop and The Pearl on Pearl Street downtown. The Pearl is 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! Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee can also be found in La Crosse.
  • Yoko's House is 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/drinks spot for college kids and young professionals.


  • Many bars and nightclubs are located throughout Downtown La Crosse, and the city itself. At one time, La Crosse broke a Guinness Book record with the most bars/nightclubs located on one street, which was Third Street in downtown.


Stay safe

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.

Go next

Routes through La Crosse
St. PaulWinona  W Amtrak Empire Builder icon.png E  TomahMilwaukee
Albert LeaRochester  W I-90.svg E  SpartaMadison
RochesterWinona  W US 14.svg E  Richland CenterMadison
Eau ClaireOsseo  N US 53.svg S  END
St. PaulWinona  N US 61.svg S  Soldiers GroveDubuque
END  W WIS 33.svg E  BarabooPortage
HudsonPepin  N WIS 35.svg S  Prairie du ChienEnds at W US 20.svg E

This city travel guide to La Crosse is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.