Located between the banks of the Mississippi River and a mountainous range, La Crosse is the hometown of three well-known institutions of higher education in Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Viterbo University and Western Technical College. From this college city, considered the largest on Wisconsin’s western border, it is possible to enjoy spectacular views of the second-longest river in North America.
La Crosse was named after a game played by Native Americans with sticks that resembled a bishop’s crozier. Its French name, which means ‘the cross’, was given in the 17th century by French fur traders who came across the city while traveling along the Mississippi River.
Although this extensive city is often overlooked as just a college town, many also travel to this waterside city for business as it considered by many a local medical and technology hub. The Radisson Hotel La Crosse‘s downtown location next to Riverside Park is a convenient and handicapped-accessible accommodation that overlooks the Mississippi River and is a handy location when visiting La Crosse to tour the colleges/universities in the area. During holiday seasons like Christmas, La Crosse’s Riverside Park lights up with a 140-foot Christmas tree in celebration of the season and the park hosts a live nativity scene.
While staying in the heart of downtown La Crosse, there are a couple of historical and cultural sites worth visiting. There is Riverside Museum, located in beautiful Riverside Park on the banks of the Mississippi River, which displays the interesting history of La Crosse County. Next, there is the Dahl Auto Museum a family-owned business that exhibits classic cars and shares the story of the automobile industry in the United States. Last, there is the Children’s Museum of La Crosse, an interactive and educational museum featuring games, exhibits, displays and much more for children of all ages.
One of the favorite spots in town for both tourists and locals alike is a beautiful natural park known for its panoramic view and for being the largest bluff in the La Crosse area. Grandad Bluff is a 590-foot cliff which features a fantastic all-around view of the city where one can spot the Mississippi River, the I-90 freeway that runs through the city and Mississippi’s neighboring states of Minnesota and Iowa.
Similarly, there are several natural areas like Grandad Bluff park that provide stunning views of the river and the mountains in La Crosse Country. Some boast a selection of recreational activities while others provide open green spaces for relaxing in the sun and enjoying some fresh air. Riverside International Friendship Gardens and Riverside Park are walking distance from the downtown area, whereas sites like Riverside Park Great River State Trail and Lake Onalaska, open to a variety of recreational activities like hiking, fishing, canoeing, etc. are on the outskirts of the city.
Because of its crossroads location along the incredibly lengthy river that runs from Minnesota’s Itasca State Park to the Gulf of Mexico, one of the first things to do when visiting La Crosse is enjoying a cruise along the river. Riverboat tour companies like La Crosse Queen offer a variety of tours for all ages at varied price ranges based on the duration of the trip and the dining options aboard. This is a great way to spend an afternoon cruising along the mighty Mississippi while feasting on a delicious meal or enjoying some live music or learning some fun trivia facts about the river.
With its Being that the Mississippi River is one of the most renowned rivers in North America and La Crosse is a historic and beautiful crossroad city between Minneapolis and Chicago for tourists, students and professionals, it has many visitors during the year.