By Sue Sveum | Photo by Casey Peterson | Sponsored by Explore La Crosse
La Crosse County is known as the place “where rivers flow, bluffs rise and beer is always cold.” And the description couldn’t be more perfect. Situated right on the Mississippi River, this college town offers all manner of water activities, according to Ben Morgan, La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s director of group sales. “You can go boating, canoeing, kayaking or for a ride on the La Crosse Queen Paddlewheel Cruise,” he says.
Morgan says one of their well-known attractions is the Shrine of Our Lady Guadalupe, which offers daily tours. And, he stresses you don’t need to be religious to enjoy the grounds. “The architecture is fantastic, and there are natural walking trails for those that just want to commune with nature.”
The 600-foot Grandad Bluff is another visitor favorite. “People voted it the most scenic view in the state,” says Morgan. “From the top, you can see the river and three states: Minnesota; Iowa; and [of course,] Wisconsin.”
In the center of town is Riverside Park where visitors can walk along the Mississippi River, stroll through International Friendship Gardens or listen to Moon Tunes concerts at the bandshell on summer nights. And check out Riverfest over the Fourth of July weekend for music, food and fun.
The revitalized historic downtown offers great local antique shops, boutiques, restaurants breweries and bakeries. “And Third Street has the most bars per capita in Wisconsin,” laughs Morgan.
“You can enjoy the big-city amenities of a thriving downtown, and a short 10-minute drive away, you can take a nature walk and not see another person for miles.”