Home / Travel Guides - La Crosse

Let's Explore

La Crosse

Overview

About La CrosseOn the Mississippi River where the Black and La Crosse rivers meet, La Crosse was founded in 1842 as an Native American trading post. Serious development began a decade later, when settlers from New York, Ohio and Vermont established sawmills and gristmills and spurred the arrival of the railroad. The Easterners were joined by German and Norwegian immigrants attracted by the extensive pine groves.

La Crosse was faced with a crippling depression when the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad Co. went bankrupt in 1857. However, when the Civil War closed river traffic on the Mississippi below the Ohio River, La Crosse provided a major link with the East, thus ensuring the town's economic recovery. A railroad bridge erected over the Mississippi in 1876 precipitated a dramatic increase in trade and manufacturing, as the network of railroads radiating from La Crosse found new markets.

Overseeing all river traffic is a 25-foot carved wooden Native American in Riverside Park at the base of State Street near the downtown area; phone (608) 789-7533. Lock and Dam No. 7, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project 5 miles north of La Crosse, has an observation deck open April through October; phone (507) 895-2170.

Goose Island County Park offers developed recreational facilities and a wildlife refuge. During the winter downhill and cross-country skiing are available in the area.

Tours of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus are available; phone (608) 785-8067 or (608) 785-8939. The university's art gallery, at 16th and Vine sts., exhibits works by prominent artists September through May; phone (608) 785-8230. Cultural events also take place at Viterbo University.

In late September, La Crosse celebrates Oktoberfest, one of the Midwest's largest German festivals.

The city lies on a scenic route that follows the Mississippi. The route consists of SR 35, which heads southeast to Prairie du Chien, and US 53, which runs northwest to its junction with SR 54/35.

Visitor Centers La Crosse County Convention & Visitors Bureau 410 Veterans Memorial Dr. La Crosse, WI 54601. Phone:(608)782-2366 or (800)658-9424

ShoppingValley View Mall, I-90 exit 5 at 3800 US 16, has more than 90 stores, including Herberger's, JCPenney and Sears. Downtown La Crosse, off I-90, exit 3, is one of the largest commercial historic districts in the state with unique shops, galleries and award-winning restaurants.

Things to Do Grandad Bluff

Historic Hixon House

La Crosse Queen

Pump House Regional Arts Center

Riverside Museum

Recreational Activities

Skiing and Snowboarding Mt. La Crosse Ski Area

Read More

La Crosse, WI

AAA Inspected & Approved TOP Hotels

In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.

Members save up to 10% and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Home2 Suites by Hilton

210 Jay St. La Crosse, WI 54601

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Courtyard by Marriott-Downtown Mississippi Riverfront

500 Front St S. La Crosse, WI 54601

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members
Radisson Hotel La Crosse

200 Harborview Plaza. La Crosse, WI 54601

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Members save up to 10% and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton La Crosse Downtown

511 3rd St N. La Crosse, WI 54601

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

call or visit a AAA Travel Agent Today!

Find a AAA Office

As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Your AAA Travel Agent will check to see if AAA Vacations is combinable with other AAA member benefits, plus cruise and tour past passenger discounts and benefits.

Not a Member?

Join Now