On the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, La Crosse offers small-town charm, homestyle dining, and outdoor recreation. Cruise the Mississippi River, hike the bluffs, and explore the forests of the Driftless Region.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, set on more than 100 acres in the Mississippi River Valley, holds beautiful chapels, sacred art, statues, gardens, and devotional areas. The Shrine Church was dedicated in 2008, and a guided pilgrimage of the Shrine Church is available with advance notice. A full-service cafe and a gift shop are located on the grounds. Groups can tour the chapel of the St. Rose Convent, an architectural and artistic treasure in La Crosse.
Hixon Forest’s nearly 10 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails allow visitors to experience the wood bluffs on the east side of La Crosse. Each trail features various levels of difficulty.
The 600-foot Grandad Bluff overlooks La Crosse, and the landmark is a must-see when touring the city. In addition to providing grand scenic views of Wisconsin, visitors are able to see Minnesota and Iowa. Grandad Bluff is a city park with a shelter house, coin-operated binoculars, picnic areas, and 5 miles of trails.
Board the La Crosse Queen paddle wheeler for a cruise on the Mississippi River. Step back in time on a modern replica of a historic paddle wheel riverboat. In keeping with early traditions, the La Crosse Queen was built with stern wheels that are its only means of propulsion. Luncheons are available on sightseeing cruises for groups of 30-plus. Pizza and dinner cruises are additional options.
Stop for some homemade ice cream at The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor & Confectionery. The Pearl is in the Vincent Schwarz Building, constructed in 1874 and one of the oldest commercial buildings in La Crosse.
Main image credit: Explore La Crosse