La Crosse, located on the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin, is one of America’s best-kept secrets. A beautiful waterside city, you get to enjoy a variety of fun things to do in La Crosse for the whole family. The International Friendship Gardens, where cruise liners embark, exhibit natural styles from throughout the world. The Riverside Museum tells the story of the city. Vintage automobiles have been restored at the Dahl Auto Museum. Tracks and city views may be found at Grandad Bluff Park. On forested grounds, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Catholic shrine.
La Crosse is a local technological and medical center and is home to the Western Technical College, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, and Viterbo University. With so many places to visit, here we have mentioned some of the greatest things to do in La Crosse for your fun and enjoyment.
Things to do in La Crosse
1. Mt La Crosse Ski Area and Pro Shop
Location- Mount La Crosse Ski Area, Old Town Hall Rd, La Crosse, WI 54601
If you are a winter sports lover, here are the most amazing things to do in La Crosse. Offering a diverse winter paradise for winter sports lovers, so if you wish to have some adventure, the best time to come here is in winter. At the other end of the spectrum, daredevils will relish the thrill of the Damnation Path, the state’s steepest ski trail. Winter in Wisconsin is seen via windows that overlook the slopes and paths. The on-site Pro Shop has everything you’ll require to experience the snow.
Things to see- Snowboarders may choose from 18 different trails, which are served by a rope tow and double chair lifts. There are tutorials offered on location, as well as a Terrain Park to explore. Foodservice, a comprehensive ski store, rental, and repair shop, and an award-winning bar are also available.
Interesting fact- Since 1959, the ski resort has been a popular winter destination, with eighteen slopes and routes served by three double chairlifts and one rope tow.
2. Grandad Bluff Park
Location- 3020 Grandad Bluff Rd, La Crosse, WI 54601
This picture-perfect cliff is at an elevation of 1,183 feet above sea level on the city’s east side. Grandad Bluff is without a doubt one of the best things to do in La Crosse with kids. It not only dazzles with stunning vistas, but it also has picnicking spots. Additionally, it features a shelter house and paths that are appropriate for youngsters. The bluff, which is considered an emblem of the Coulee Region, is accessible through Bliss Road, and the finest views are from a park shelter at the top of the ridge.
Things to see- Climb to the summit and take in the panoramic views of the Mississippi River Valley, as well as Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. You may also have a picnic with your family or utilize the coin-operated binoculars. as well as a prize-winning bar.
Interesting fact- For many years, the bluff’s limestone was mined as a source of construction materials. Judge George Gale bought much of Grandad Bluff’s land from the state for the first time in July 1851. There were 83 property transactions between 1851 and 1912.
3. Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Location- 5250 Justin Rd, La Crosse, WI 54601
The Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a highly spiritual destination that draws pilgrims from all across the United States and abroad. For all the devotees, this is among the best things to do in La Crosse. Thousands of devout pilgrims visit the site annually, and anybody who wants to spend a couple of hours in this beautiful setting is welcome to attend.
Things to see- Walk down the walkways and be captivated by the beautiful gardens and European-style structures. After that, visit the gift store and full-service café for some delectable food. Witnessing their structures is one of the most admiring things to do in La Crosse.
Interesting fact- The Shine was constructed during 2005 and 2008 to commemorate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s miraculous apparition in 1531 in what is now Mexico City.
4. Children’s Museum of La Crosse
Location- 207 5th Ave S, La Crosse, WI 54601
One of the best things to do in La Crosse is visiting the Children’s Museum of La Crosse which is an immersive and engaging museum for children of different ages, with a variety of entertaining and informative displays, and activities that promote game-based learning. There is a climbing wall for the daring, as well as a multifunctional theatre that accommodates concerts, music and dancing events, lectures, and more.
Things to see- Allow your children to explore the educational exhibits, which include libraries, shops, fire engines, and banks. You may also attend their multi-purpose theater’s readings and music programs. Thus, if you are with your kids, here is one of the top things to do in La Crosse.
Interesting fact- This children’s paradise, which debuted in 1999, is a member of the Association of Children’s Museums. Three levels of interactive displays are available for youngsters aged 12 and up, as well as their adult partners.
5. Riverside Park
Location- 100 Block, State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601
Riverside Park is a public park in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin, near the riverside. Riverside Park, was created in 1911 and is known for holding big festivals throughout the year, including Riverfest, the Fourth of July fireworks show, Oktoberfest, Moon Tunes, and the Rotary Lights. The historic steamboats the La Crosse Queen, the American Queen, and Julia Belle Swain stop at a docking point in the park on their trips along the river. Therefore, this is one of the fun things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- Biking pathways and picnics are just a few of the inexpensive activities available at the park. You may also take a ride aboard the La Crosse Queen paddlewheel boat to explore the area’s waterways.
Interesting fact- River Park was named Spence Park after Thomas H. Spence, who donated the property to the city when it was initially built in the late 1800s.
6. Lake Onalaska
Location- La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Connecting Wisconsin and Minnesota, Lake Onalaska is a reservoir on the Black River and the Mississippi River. It is the Mississippi River’s widest point, measuring about 4 miles across. The lake’s shores are home to a variety of ducks and migratory bird species, making it a great place to go birding, and it’s also well enough with fishing. The cliffs around Lake Onalaska and the Mississippi River turn beautiful shades of crimson and gold in the autumn, attracting visitors from all over the country. Therefore, it is one of the best things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- Fishing, canoeing, swimming, sailing, and jet skiing are just a few of the summer activities available. While ice fishing and ice sailing are fantastic throughout the winter months. You may also take a stroll and enjoy bird watching if you don’t wish to participate in these activities.
Interesting fact- Lake Onalaska gets its name from the village and the rural town of Onalaska, both of which are located along the lake’s shoreline.
7. Great River State Trail
Location- La Crosse, WI 54601
The La Crosse River State Trail connects Sparta and Onalaska, Wisconsin, and is 22 miles long. It is intended for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, and moderate traffic. It is a multi-purpose path that is available to the public and provides leisure exposure to the routes. It’s part of a network of four interconnected bike routes in west-central Wisconsin that covers roughly a third of the state. The Coulee Region’s agricultural beauty and topography are well-known on the path. Many people add this place to the list of things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- The La Crosse River State Path is part of the Wisconsin biking trail system and is available for walking, camping, eating, running, climbing, cycling, and equestrian riding.
Interesting fact- Between Sparta and La Crosse, the La Crosse River State Trail was created from the former Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. The path passes through prairie vestiges, farms, fish streams, hardwood forests, and wetlands.
8. Pettibone Resort
Location- 333 Park Plaza Dr, La Crosse, WI 54601
This resort, located on the west channel of the Mississippi River, is the closest campsite to the city. Pettibone Resort is a one-of-a-kind attraction in La Crosse. This park, which is known for its scenic views and rustic charm, provides canoe rides as well as over 250 basic and electric campsites. There are 300 campsites, showers, washing, a dump station, and a camp store with a small bar available in the park. Because of several reasons, it is among the top things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- Take a relaxing boat trip in the backwaters of the Mississippi River. At night, relax in your patio chair and gaze at the twinkling sky while listening to the crackle of the bonfire.
Interesting fact- Pettibone Resort also features a banquet hall with a panoramic view of the Mississippi River and rustic elegance.
9. World’s Largest Six-Pack
Location- 3rd St S, La Crosse, WI 54601
Want to see one of La Crosse’s most famous landmarks? Yes, there is something unique here in La Crosse that you won’t find anywhere else. The World’s Largest Six-Pack is a major monument that consists of six massive beer tanks painted to seem like a six-pack of beer. These massive towers that give the ideal Instagram photo session are one of the best things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- The buildings may be examined on guided tours via the City Brewery, where visitors can know more about the buildings’ background and smell the beer being produced.
Interesting fact- The facility was turned into the enormous six-pack, which quickly became a hometown symbol after it was built in the 1960s as the G. Heileman Brewing Company Old Style brewery and then the La Crosse Brewery, both of which closed down.
10. Pump House Regional Arts
Location- 119 King Street, La Crosse, WI 54601
Pump House Regional Arts Center should be on your list of things to do in La Crosse. The non-profit center presents a complete schedule of art exhibitions that highlight the work of a diverse group of local and national artists. The 2 different dark red brick structure is a reduced version of the Romanesque style, although it has many of its former late-nineteenth-century features.
Things to see- The performing arts division organizes a variety of theatrical productions, as well as tale festivals, a theatre group, and other events. There is also an art show for you to see.
Interesting fact- The Pump House was established in 1977 with the intent of enhancing La Crosse’s artistic quality of life by preserving the historic Pump House as a center for visual arts.
11. Dahl Auto Museum
Location- 711 3rd St S, La Crosse, WI 54601
Dahl museum, located at Dahl Hyundai Service, honors the country’s antique vehicles and rich automotive heritage. This museum should be at the top of your list of things to do in La Crosse. The museum, which houses a collection of historic cars, depicts the history of automobiles from the perspective of Ford Motor Company. The Starlite Drive-in, a tribute to La Crosse’s own drive-in, which operated until 1978, is one of the museum’s most notable elements.
Things to see- Look around the museum and you’ll see a plethora of immaculate antique cars. While you’re there, take a while to admire each vehicle and read the information on board. There are a number of vintage films and classic performances on the screen that are worth seeing.
Interesting fact- The family-owned and run firm also pays homage to the Dahl family’s century-long engagement in the car industry, which has spanned five generations of Dahls.
12. St. Rose of Viterbo Convent
Location- 912 Market St, La Crosse, WI 54601
The St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, placed on Market Street, is named after and devoted to Rose of Viterbo, a 13th-century Franciscan tertiary, renowned Italian street speaker, and saint. Even if you aren’t devout, make it to the list of things to do in La Crosse so that you will enjoy admiring the Romanesque architecture of the convent. A handful of magnificent chapels with Bavarian mosaics and stained glass may be seen at this convent.
Things to see- On the grounds of this convent, you are not allowed to roam freely. There are, however, Franciscan Sisters who will offer you a free tour of this holy institution.
Interesting fact- This Romanesque convent was added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration is another name for the convent.
13. Riverside International Friendship Gardens
Location- 345-405 E Veterans Memorial Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601
This public garden collection, which spans 1.2 acres, honors the city’s links to a number of international populations. The Riverside International Friendship Gardens are magnificently planted and maintained gardens and grounds in La Crosse, located at the confluence of the Black, La Crosse, and Mississippi Rivers in a stunning location. One of the most romantic things to do in La Crosse for couples, in my opinion, is to take a stroll around this beautiful paradise.
Things to see- Explore the region and explore the area’s wonderful country-themed gardens, including German, Norwegian, and French. Take one of the visits conducted by horticulturists and tour guides at these gardens for a more informative experience.
Interesting fact- The gardens cover half an acre and include German, Chinese, Russian, French, Irish, and Norwegian gardens, as well as other country-themed gardens.
14. La Crosse Segway Tours
Location- 319 Main St, La Crosse, WI 54601
Explore La Crosse without raising a sweat on an exhilarating Segway tour across the city. This operator, which lies on the north side of Riverside Park, lets you see La Crosse’s great attractions in a new way. This trip will take you to some of the most interesting locations to visit in La Crosse today, as well as provide you with interesting facts about the city. So for some fun, here are the most exciting things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- Take a tour of Pettibone Park and cross the Cameron Street and Cass bridges. From Riverside and Pettibone parks, you’ll get spectacular views of the three rivers along the journey. Segway tours are one of the best things to do in La Crosse.
Interesting fact- Tours are led by knowledgeable guides that take visitors through the city, stopping at some of the city’s most renowned and well-known sites as well as some of the lesser-known locations while taking in the scenery along the lovely Mississippi River.
15. The La Crosse Queen
Location- 405 E Veterans Memorial Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601
Since 1976, the Queen has been in existence. She is among the few original paddlewheel riverboats remaining in service in the United States, sailing out of Port La Crosse, Wisconsin. The beautiful ship is split into two sections: The bottom level has a dining area and kitchen, as well as a bar area and contemporary toilets, while the upper level is wide with a canopy, allowing visitors to take in the amazing views while traveling. Offering some amazing landscapes is one of the things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- As you look out of the window, you will find some of the most spectacular views. The functioning paddlewheels may be seen in motion via a big glass at the stern of the boat. The La Crosse Queen doubles as an office and a gift store for you to buy souvenirs.
Interesting fact- The La Crosse Queen is one of the numerous modern-day reproductions of the magnificent riverboats that formerly cruised the Mississippi River, and it provides both personal and corporate trips from its Riverside Park pier.
16. Goose Island County Park
Location- W6488 County Rd GI, Stoddard, WI 54658
This park, located in the middle of the Upper Mississippi River, tempts tourists with beautiful landscapes. For nature enthusiasts and outdoor explorers, Goose Island is amongst the few must things to do in La Crosse. This park offers a pleasant getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life, with 400 campsites and a laid-back feel. The park also features paths and a range of facilities to keep tourists entertained.
Things to see- On a designated canoe route, explore the streams, marshes, and inlets that encircle the island. Other summer activities include angling and trekking, and winter activities include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Interesting fact- The park has a big campground where you may place your tent and reconnect with nature for a few days.
17. Turtle Stack Brewery
Location- 125 2nd St S, La Crosse, WI 54601
The Turtle Stack Brewery, situated in Historic Downtown La Crosse, supplies local beer to diners in La Crosse. The Brewery is a local, independent craft brewery and tasting facility that specializes in high-quality, handmade beers available on taps and in containers. Visiting this brewery is one of our favorite nighttime things to do in La Crosse and a great spot to unwind after a day of touring, with a peaceful ambiance and a wide selection of beers.
Things to see- The brewing company’s outstanding beers, including German lagers and Belgian ales, may be sampled. If you go on Friday, grab one of their limited-edition cask ales.
Interesting fact- The name was inspired by the river turtles that may be seen piled up on logs on any given day, fighting for the greatest spot to bask in the sun’s warmth.
18. Rudy’s Drive-In
Location-1004 La Crosse St, La Crosse, WI 54601
Grandpa (Wm.) Rudy opened the restaurant in 1933, and it is as popular today as it was back, serving traditional diner fares such as big burgers and fries, hamburgers, root beer, and handcrafted ice cream. Rudy’s Drive-In is a vintage burger that is complete with roller-skating carhops and classic all-American food. If you want to grab some amazing local delectables, Rudy’s Drive-in is among the best things to do in La Crosse.
Things to see- In classic drive-in tradition, the drive-in provides self-service and roller-skating carhops, as well as special events like Bike Nights and Cruise Nights throughout the year.
Interesting fact- In Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Grandpa (Wm.) Rudy built his first A&W Root Beer stand in 1933. The drive-in at 10th and La Crosse Streets was established in 1966 and are the Rudy family’s final remaining drive-in.
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This charming city is surrounded by stunning features and steeped in history. It has everything to fulfill your enthusiasm, whether it’s backcountry camping, shooting, or historic treasures. With so many things to see, you must visit this place at least once when you are in Wisconsin. We’ve put up a fun vacation for you by showcasing the finest things to do in La Crosse, Wisconsin.