La Crosse, Wisconsin: Wikis


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La Crosse, Wisconsin
—  City  —
Overlooking La Crosse from Granddad Bluff

Location in the state of Wisconsin
Coordinates: 43°48′48″N 91°13′59″W / 43.81333°N 91.23306°W / 43.81333; -91.23306
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County La Crosse
 - Mayor Mathias Harter[1][2]
 - City 22.2 sq mi (57.4 km2)
 - Land 20.1 sq mi (52.2 km2)
 - Water 2.0 sq mi (5.2 km2)
Elevation 669 ft (204 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 51,840
 Density 2,572.9/sq mi (993.4/km2)
 Metro 130,926
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
Zip Code 54601, 54602, 54603
Area code(s) 608
FIPS code 55-40775[3]
GNIS feature ID 1567672[4]

La Crosse is a city in and the county seat of La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States. The city lies alongside the Mississippi River.

The population of La Crosse was 51,818 at the 2000 census. Its 2009 final population estimate was 51,900.[5] The city forms the core of, and is the principal city in the La Crosse Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of La Crosse County and Houston County, Minnesota, with a combined population of 126,838.



La Crosse was incorporated as a city in 1856, but its history dates further. The first Europeans to see the site of La Crosse were French fur traders who traveled the Mississippi River in the late 17th century. There is no written record, however, of any visit to the site until 1805, when Lt. Zebulon Pike mounted an expedition up the Mississippi River for the United States. Pike recorded the location's name as "Prairie La Crosse". The name originated when he saw the Native Americans playing a game with sticks that resembled a bishop's crozier or la crosse in French.[6]

The first white settlement at La Crosse occurred in 1841 when Nathan Myrick, a New York native, moved to the village at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin to work in the fur trade. Myrick was disappointed to find that because many fur traders were already well-entrenched there, there were no openings for him in the trade. As a result, he decided to establish a trading post upriver at the then still unsettled site of Prairie La Crosse. In 1841, he built a temporary trading post on Barron Island (now called Pettibone Park), which lies just west of La Crosse's present downtown. The following year, Myrick relocated the post to the mainland prairie, partnering with H.J.B. Miller to run the outfit.[7][8]

The spot Myrick chose to build his trading post proved ideal for settlement. It was near the junction of the Black, La Crosse, and Mississippi Rivers. In addition, the post was built at one of the few points along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River where a broad plain ideal for development existed between the river's bank and the tall bluffs that line the river valley. Because of these advantages, a small village grew around Myrick's trading post in the 1840s.

A small Mormon community settled at La Crosse in 1844, building several dozen cabins a few miles south of Myrick's post. Although these settlers relocated away from the Midwest after just a year, the land they occupied near La Crosse continues to bear the name Mormon Coulee.[9]

On June 23, 1850, Father James Lloyd Breck of the Episcopal Church said the first Christian liturgy (Episcopalian liturgy) on top of Grandad Bluff.[10] Today a monument to that event stands atop the bluff, near the parking lot at a scenic overlook.

More permanent development took place closer to Myrick's trading post, where stores, a hotel, and a post office were constructed during the 1840s. Under the direction of Timothy Burns, lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, surveyor William Hood platted the village in 1851. This opened it up for further settlement, which was achieved rapidly as a result of promotion of the city in eastern newspapers. By 1855, La Crosse had grown in population to nearly two thousand residents, leading to its incorporation in 1856. The city grew even more rapidly after 1858 with the completion of the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad, the second railroad connecting Milwaukee to the Mississippi River.

During the second half of the 19th century, La Crosse grew to become one of the largest cities in Wisconsin. At that time, it was a major economic center in the state, especially of the lumber industry, for logs cut in the interior of the state could be rafted down the Black River toward sawmills built in the city. La Crosse also became a center for the brewing industry and other manufacturers that saw advantages in the city's location adjacent to major transportation arteries, such as the Mississippi River and the railroad between Milwaukee and St. Paul, Minnesota. Around the turn of the 20th century, the city also became a center for education, with three colleges and universities established in the city between 1890 and 1912.

La Crosse remains the largest city on Wisconsin's western border, and the educational institutions in the city have recently led it toward becoming a regional technology and medical hub.


Grandad Bluff in La Crosse

La Crosse is located on the western border of the midsection of Wisconsin, on a broad alluvial plain along the east side of the Mississippi River. The Black River empties into the Mississippi north of the city, and the La Crosse River flows into the Mississippi just north of the downtown area. Just upriver from its mouth, this river broadens into a marshland that splits the city into two distinct sections, north and south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.2 square miles (57.4 km²), of which, 20.1 square miles (52.2 km²) of it is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km²) of it (9.12%) is water.

Surrounding the relatively flat prairie valley where La Crosse lies are towering 500 ft bluffs, one of the most prominent of which is Grandad Bluff (mentioned in Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain), which has an overlook of the three states region. This feature typifies the topography of the Driftless Area in which La Crosse sits. This rugged region is composed of high ridges dissected by narrow valleys called coulees, a French term. As a result, the area around La Crosse is frequently referred to as the "Coulee Region".

Several smaller cities and towns are located in the La Crosse area, including Onalaska, Holmen, and West Salem, Wisconsin, and La Crescent, Minnesota, across the Mississippi River.



La Crosse's location in the United States' upper midwest gives the area a temperate, continental climate.[11] The warmest month of the year is July, when the average high temperature is 85 °F (29 °C), with overnight low temperatures averaging 63 °F (18 °C). January is the coldest month, with high temperatures averaging 26 °F (-4 °C), with the overnight low temperatures around 6 °F (-14 °C).[12]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg high °F (°C) 26 (-3) 33 (1) 45 (7) 60 (16) 72 (22) 81 (27) 85 (29) 83 (28) 74 (23) 61 (16) 44 (7) 30 (-1)
Avg low temperature °F (°C) 6 (-14) 13 (-11) 24 (-4) 37 (3) 49 (9) 58 (14) 63 (17) 61 (16) 52 (12) 40 (4) 27 (-3) 14 (-10)

Neighborhoods and districts

La Crosse has 17 voting districts (wards) [1]. Neighborhoods in the city include:

  • Washburn
  • Historic Cass & King
  • Historic downtown
  • Hungary Point
  • Muddy Flats
  • Goosetown (UW–La Crosse campus district)

Suburbs include French Island in the Town of Campbell, the Town of Medary, the Town of Shelby, and La Crescent, Minnesota.


The first Southeast Asian refugees to arrive in La Crosse was in 1974. It was a Vietnamese family of five. Then in 1975, the first Cambodian family (of three) settled in this area. The first Hmong refugees arrived in June 1976. During the next few years, the number of refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam continued to increase. By 1982, there were approximately 800 Southeast Asian refugees in La Crosse.

To meet the needs of the increasing refugee population, the La Crosse Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (HMAA) was formed and incorporated as a non-profit, tax exempt agency in December 1982. Today, the Asian population of La Crosse is over 4,000.[13]


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 51,818 people, 21,110 households, and 10,217 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,573.4 people per square mile (993.4/km²). There were 22,233 housing units at an average density of 1,104.1/sq mi (426.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.58% White, 1.56% African American, 0.51% Native American, 4.65% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.36% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.

There were 21,110 households out of which 22.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.6% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 24.4% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 17.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.

View of the Mississippi River from Riverside Park

The median income for a household in the city was $31,103, and the median income for a family was $43,047. Males had a median income of $30,996 versus $22,076 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,650. About 7.8% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics

The city government employs a weak mayor form of the mayor-council system. The mayor is elected at-large, while the 17 members of the Common Council are elected per ward.

Both the city of La Crosse and La Crosse County have voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1988.[14] In the 2008 presidential election, 69% of the City of La Crosse voted for Barack Obama[15], and 61% of La Crosse County voted for Barack Obama as well.[16]

The City of La Crosse, making up the 95th Assembly District has been represented by Democrat Jennifer Shilling since 2000. Also, Democrat Ron Kind has represented La Crosse in Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district since 1997.

In 2009, the La Crosse Common Council’s Committee along with La Crosse County supervisors overwhelmingly voted in support of the "City of La Crosse and La Crosse County Strategic Plan for Sustainability."[17] The overview of the plan is to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, lessen impacts to the natural environment, and ensure that the citizen’s needs are met fairly, efficiently, and cost effectively.[18]


La Crosse is the original home and international headquarters of several businesses, including:[citation needed]

La Crosse also has relocated businesses such as:

  • Ace Hardware, which operates a regional distribution center
  • S&S Cycle, motorcycle engines, parts and supplies

Largest employers

La Crosse County’s 10 largest employers, as ranked by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and Office of Economic Advisors, based on March 2007 statistics:[19]

  1. Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center: A health care system that includes Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse and other facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. It has about 3,900 full-time employees and nearly 2,100 part-time employees in La Crosse County, for a total of about 6,000 employees. System-wide, Gundersen Lutheran has slightly more than 4,200 full-time employees and about 2,300 part-time employees, for a total of about 6,500 employees.
  2. Franciscan Skemp Medical Center: A health care system that includes Franciscan Skemp Medical Center in La Crosse and other facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. It has about 2,065 full-time employees and 797 part-time employees in La Crosse County, for a total of 2,862 employees. Systemwide, Franciscan Skemp has about 2,493 full-time and 985 part-time employees, for a total of 3,478 employees.
  3. Trane: The company was founded in La Crosse. In La Crosse, it makes water chillers for commercial air conditioning products. As of June 23, its La Crosse facilities had about 2,130 full-time employees and 30 part-time employees, for a total of about 2,160 employees.
  4. School District of La Crosse: The school district, which educates students through grade 12, has about 1,052 employees, including about 977 full-time and 75 part-time employees. An additional 150 to 200 non-staff members help in such areas as coaching and advising.
  5. La Crosse County government: The county has about 935 full-time employees and about 511 part-time employees, for a total of 1,446 employees.
  6. University of Wisconsin–La Crosse: The university has about 785 full-time employees and 568 part-time employees, for a total of 1,353 employees.
  7. Kwik Trip: A La Crosse-based convenience store/gasoline retailer. In La Crosse County, the company has about 1,183 full-time employees and 322 part-time employees, for a total of 1,505 employees.
  8. CenturyTel(now CenturyLink): The telephone company’s Midwest Region headquarters is in La Crosse. In the county, the company has about 762 full-time and 69 part-time employees, for a total of 831 employees.
  9. Wal-Mart: The discount retailer in La Crosse County operates two Wal-Mart Supercenter stores and a Sam’s Club store. A corporate spokesman said Wal-Mart has about 780 employees in the county.
  10. City of La Crosse: The city has about 540 full-time employees. The number of part-time employees ranges from about 220 in January to about 330 in June, so employee totals range from about 760 in January to about 870 in June.


  • Newspapers

La Crosse's largest newspaper is the daily La Crosse Tribune. The Second Supper, a free weekly tabloid with material of interest to the under-30 demographic group, is also published in the area, as are two shoppers, the Foxxy Shopper and the Buyer's Express. The Racquet is the University of Wisconsin La Crosse's free weekly paper.

  • Television

La Crosse is well served by television. Its major network television affiliates are: ABC affiliate WXOW; CBS affiliate WKBT; Fox affiliate WLAX and PBS affiliate WHLA. Also two NBC affiliates; WEAU, from Eau Claire and KTTC from Rochester, Minnesota. An independent station, KQEG-CA, is also in La Crosse.


La Crosse and the surrounding communities form a regional commercial center and shopping hub. In the northeastern part of the city lies the region's largest shopping center, Valley View Mall. The surrounding area includes numerous big-box stores, and many restaurants. Other shopping centers in the La Crosse region include Three Rivers Plaza, Marsh View Center, Shelby Mall, Jackson Plaza, Bridgeview Plaza, and the Village Shopping Center. Downtown La Crosse has continued to grow in recent years, providing shopping, farmers' markets, hotels, restaurants, specialty shops, and events at La Crosse Center alongside the Mississippi River.[20]

Convention Center

The La Crosse Center is a 10,000 seat multi-purpose indoor arena built in 1980 in downtown La Crosse on the Mississippi River. It is also a convention center offering 21,600 square feet (2,010 m2) of exhibit space, a 45-foot (14 m) ceiling height, a 60-by-40-foot stage, two locker rooms and three dressing rooms. There is also a 14,935-square-foot (1,388 m2) North Hall which can open up to be used in combination with the arena, and a 38,740-square-foot (3,599 m2) South Exhibit Hall. The three venues total 75,275 square feet (6,993 m2) of exhibit space. The complex also contains 9,432 square feet (876 m2) of meeting room space in five meeting rooms, which can be divided into nine meeting rooms.[21]

While both exhibit halls and the arena are used for trade shows, conventions, meetings and banquets, the arena is also used for sporting events, concerts, circuses, ice shows, and other events.


Maurice O. Graff Main Hall, located on the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse campus

La Crosse is home to three regional colleges and universities. These include the public University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and Western Technical College, as well as the Roman Catholic Viterbo University. The Health Science Center is a combined effort of all the La Crosse medical centers, universities and government agencies to advance students in the medical fields.

For primary and secondary education, the La Crosse area is served by the School District of La Crosse, with 21 elementary, middle, high, and charter schools. La Crosse Central High School and Logan High School are the two public high schools serving the La Crosse area. With a total enrollment of 7,213 students in 2006, making it the 16th largest school district in the state. The La Crosse School District has 635 teachers of which 73% hold a master's degree or higher. The 2006 operating budget for the school district was $87,126,387, composed of 40.6% local funding, 53.4% state funding, and 5.9% federal funding.

La Crosse is also served by a Waldorf School, Three Rivers School.[22]

In addition, La Crosse Coulee Catholic Schools, a Roman Catholic school district affiliated with the Diocese of La Crosse, is centered in the city and includes Aquinas High School, and Aquinas Middle School.

Another Roman Catholic school, the Providence Academy, is independent from Coulee Catholic Schools and has no affiliation with the Diocese of La Crosse.

Health Care

Two major regional health care facilities are located in La Crosse: Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center and Franciscan Skemp Medical Center.

Franciscan Skemp Medical Center, is an affiliate of the Mayo Clinic. Fransican Skemp, which was the first western Wisconsin hospital to open its doors in 1883 as St. Francis Hospital, was started by the Catholic Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who still are associated with medical center. Skemp Clinic was located next door to the hospital and they later merged into the multilevel campus now called Franciscan Skemp Medical Center. There are over 200 physicians and 10 regional clinics in the La Crosse three state surrounding area. A new trauma and emergency department, helicopter pad, and surgery wing recently opened in 2007. In 1995, Franciscan Skemp merged with the world famous Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Rochester, Minnesota, which is only 60 miles away.

Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center is a 325 bed tertiary care facility located in La Crosse, Wisconsin that is also an ACS nationally certified Level II Trauma Center. It is the primary hospital associated with the Gundersen Clinic medical group and the location of the Western campus for the University of Wisconsin Medical School. During the 2005 fiscal year, Gundersen had 14,625 admissions, 1,524 Births, and 30,307 Emergency and Trauma Center visits.

Gundersen Lutheran was ranked 33rd nationally, among more than 580 non-specialty networks in a rating system by Verispan, which issues an annual report evaluating performance and degree of integration. The rankings recently were published in Modern Healthcare Magazine.[23] It was the recipient of the Top 100 U.S. hospitals in Cardiovascular Medicine in 1999, 2003, and 2005 and was named one of the top 100 Performance Improvement Leaders in 2005. There are approximately 5946 employees as well as 421 physicans and 227 physician assistants and nurse practitioners from the Gundersen Clinic on staff.[24] It also operates the only city and area fully equipped medical helicopter MedLink service and paramedic advanced life support ambulance service.

The Health Science Center, located on the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (UW–L) campus, is a combined effort of both medical centers and hospitals, UW–L, Viterbo University, Western College, and various government/educational groups. The purpose was to prepare and train students for advancement in the medical field.

Tap Water

La Crosse's tap drinking water, which is raised from a deep underground Artesian aquifer, won the best natural tasting water award in September 2007 in a statewide tasting competition hosted by the Wisconsin Water Association. The city faced off against groundwater and surface water utilities from Algoma, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Pell Lake, Shawano, Shawano Lake, and Watertown at the annual meeting of the association. La Crosse’s drinking water is pumped from deep ground wells to a distribution center and is treated with chlorine and fluoride; some wells are treated with polyphosphate.


View of the Cass St. and Cameron Ave. Bridges, which both cross the Mississippi River, from Riverside Park in Downtown La Crosse.

The La Crosse Municipal Airport provides direct scheduled passenger service to Minneapolis, Detroit and Chicago through Delta Air Lines and its Northwest links, Mesaba, Compass, and Pinnacle, and to Chicago via American Airlines link American Eagle Airlines. Sun Country and Xtra Airways provide charter service to Laughlin and Elko, Nevada, and other destinations. The airport also serves general aviation for the La Crosse metropolitan area.

The city is served by several major highways and Interstate, including Interstate 90, U.S. Highway 14, U.S. Highway 53, U.S. Highway 61, Wisconsin State Highway 35, Wisconsin State Highway 16, Wisconsin State Highway 33.

The City of La Crosse's MTU bus service with routes reaching out to the suburbs served over one million users in 2007.[25]

On the Mississippi River, cargo is transported to and from this area to St Paul and St Louis, using towboats, primarily moving dry bulk cargo barges for coal, grain, and other low-value bulk goods. Transportation on the river is also provided by steamboat paddlewheelers, both large and small. In the early years of the city, these were common on the river for both cargo and passenger use. In recent years, the large several-story-high passenger paddlewheelers, such as Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen, make stops during the summer at Riverside Park. These large boats take passengers from the South, such as New Orleans and St Louis, on leisure cruises, with their steam calliope playing musical tunes outside, northward to St Paul, Minnesota, with other stops along the way. La Crosse has two smaller paddlewheelers, along with a modern passenger yacht, that take passengers on shorter trips on the rivers.

The Mississippi River Bridge, also known as the Cass St. bridge and the newer Cameron Street bridge (photo with blue arch) both connect downtown La Crosse with La Crescent, Minnesota. These two bridges cross the Mississippi River, as does the Interstate 90 bridge located just northwest of La Crosse, connecting Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Railroad tracks owned by Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) pass through La Crosse providing freight service. The former Milwaukee and La Crosse Railroad/Milwaukee Road/Soo Line and now Canadian Pacific Railway runs through the city as well. It provides the track on which the La Crosse Amtrak station is located, and is a stop for the Empire Builder providing cross-country passenger rail service.


La Crosse is the cultural center for the Three Rivers Coulee Region. For a community of its size, La Crosse boasts a remarkable arts scene for both participants and audience members, with over 30 active arts organizations. The Pump House Regional Arts Center hosts visual arts exhibits throughout the year plus its own series of jazz, folk, and blues performers. The La Crosse Symphony is the city's regional orchestra and the La Crosse Community Theater has won both regional and national acclaim. Viterbo University Fine Arts building, UW–La Crosse Art Gallery and Theater, and the La Crosse Center schedule of top national performers in the arts rivals that of a much larger city.

A number of other cultural groups and events are located in La Crosse, including the Pump House Regional Arts Center, the Youth Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Coulee Chordsmen barbershop, Chamber Chorale, Chorale Union, Central High School show choir, Children's Museum, paddlewheel riverboat music cruises, and many concerts in the parks and outdoor festivals, including the Great River Festival of Arts and Jazz Fest.

Since 1990, Riverside Amusement Park has been a popular destination for family-oriented entertainment, offering go cart rides, miniature golf, an arcade, games geared toward pre-teenagers, and a corporate picnic area.

Bars and Taverns

La Crosse has many bars and nightclubs downtown (the central business district), as well as many neighborhood bars and grills. Third Street downtown is well known for at one time having the most bars on a one mile stretch of road in the United States[citation needed]. Though many bars have closed over the years to make way for the redevelopment of the downtown area, there is still a considerable number of establishments downtown serving the community and the students attending the local universities and technical college.

Annual events

Water fountain in downtown La Crosse



La Crosse is the episcopal see for the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse. The Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman is the mother church of the Diocese. St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, the mother house of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration is in La Crosse. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is in La Crosse.


Multiple churches of various denominations including Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, independent and non-denominational.

The La Crosse Area ELCA Synod includes 43,600 members from 81 congregations in 10 counties in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota.[26]


St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church is the city's Eastern Orthodox Church.


Christ Church of La Crosse is the city's Episcopal church.


Congregation Sons of Abraham

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) has an active congregation, La Crosse Ward, in neighboring community Onalaska.


La Crosse has multiple semi-professional sports teams: the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League, whose home field is at Copeland Park on the north side of La Crosse, the La Crosse Spartans of the Indoor Football League (IFL), who play at the La Crosse Center. La Crosse is also home to an amateur team, the River City Rough Riders, of the North American Football League (NAFL) who play at Veteran's Freedom Park. In the past La Crosse has been home to the Catbirds of the CBA, the Bobcats of the CBA, the River Rats of the IFL, and the Night Train of the NIFL.

La Crosse is also home to the two-time NCAA Division III national champion University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (UW–L) Eagles. In the past, the NFL New Orleans Saints football team has held their summer practices at UW–L's football fields, with practices against the NFL Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs.

The new 10,000 seat Veterans Memorial Field for football (turf field) and outdoor timed track opened in the spring of 2009. The stadium will continue to host the WIAA Wisconsin high school outdoor track and field state championships in June.

The Milwaukee Bucks have played NBA exhibition games at La Crosse Center in past. La Crosse is considering a future Continental Indoor Football League, NBA developmental team and semi-pro hockey team.[citation needed]

Mt. La Crosse, a downhill lighted ski hill, is located on 500 ft. bluffs on the south side of La Crosse with 19 runs, 3 chair lifts and a large A-frame lodge and pub.

The La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, located in nearby West Salem, is the only NASCAR-sanctioned asphalt stock car racing track in Wisconsin.

In September 2008 a women's flat track Roller Derby league was formed known as the Mississippi Valley Mayhem. As of January 2010 they were accepted to the WFTDA apprentice program. (

Hunting and fishing are very popular all seasons of the year, and the Mississippi and other rivers, sloughs, creeks, lakes, the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge, and hilltops and valleys with public woodlands are available to sportsmen and families.

Awards and rankings

  • 2002 - National Trust for Historic Preservation Great American Main Street Award[27]
  • 2003 - Milken Institute Best Performing Cities (20th Overall)[28]
  • 2005 - Inc. magazine's 4th Best Small City for Doing Business[29]
  • 2005 - Inc. magazine's 15th Best City in America to Do Business[30]
  • 2005 - Forbes 25th Best Place [31]
  • 2006 - 7th Safest Metropolitan Area in the Nation - Morgan Quitno Press[32]
  • 2006 - Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked La Crosse 16th "Smartest Place to Live in U.S.[33]
  • 2007 - Country Home magazine ranked La Crosse 12th Best Green City in America and second among small cities, behind Corvallis, Ore.[34]
  • 2009 - U.S. News ranked La Crosse 6th best place to live in the country.[35]
  • 2009 - Farmers Insurance Group ranked La Crosse - Winona, MN area the 20th most secure place to live in the United States among small towns.[36]

Notable residents and natives

Sister cities

La Crosse has sister city relationships with six foreign cities:

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ La Crosse [origin of name]. Retrieved October 31, 2006, from the Wisconsin Historical Society website:
  7. ^ Downtown Mainstreet Inc
  8. ^ Brief History of La Crosse County
  9. ^ Mormons in Wisconsin
  10. ^ The Life of the Reverend James Lloyd Breck, D.D
  11. ^ "Wisconsin State Climatology Office". University of Wisconsin. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-05. 
  12. ^ "Monthly Averages for La Crosse, WI". The Weather Channel. 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Wisconsin presidential election results, 1964 to 2008". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ La Crosse County Clerk. "Official Canvass La Crosse County Wisconsin". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Employment numbers below are current and were provided to the Tribune by employers.
  20. ^ "Valley View Mall Website". 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  21. ^ "The La Crosse Center". 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  22. ^ Three Rivers School, La Crosse WI - Welcome
  23. ^
  24. ^ Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center: Information and Much More from
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ City of La Crosse website. "La Crosse wins Great American Main Street Award!"
  28. ^
  29. ^ Inc. "The Top U.S. Cities for Doing Business: Small Cities"
  30. ^ Inc. "The Top U.S. Cities for Doing Business: Overall Best Cities"
  31. ^ Forbes. Best Places List
  32. ^ Morgan Quitno Awards: City Crime Rankings by Population Group
  33. ^ Cahalan, Steve. "La Crosse 16th on 'Smart Places to Live' list," La Crosse Tribune, May 9, 2006.
  34. ^ Cahalan, Steve. "Exit 3 area to be city’s focus," La Crosse Tribune, March 26, 2008.
  35. ^ Mullins, Luke (June 8, 2009). "Best Places to Live 2009". U.S. News. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  36. ^ Template:Http://
  37. ^ Aftenposten Newspaper: US to copy waterfall

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to La Crosse article)

From Wikitravel


La Crosse [1] is a city in Southwest Wisconsin located on the Mississippi River and is the county seat of La Crosse County. It's nestled between the river and picturesque bluffs that rise behind it. With a city population of around 50,000 and the metropolitan area just under 100,000, La Crosse offers visitors plenty of activities to do and sights to see, without the overwhelming hustle and bustle of bigger cities.

Get in

La Crosse has a municipal airport located on French Island, a nearby suburb to the north. Flights often arrive from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.

A full service Amtrak Station is located on the North Side providing daily service on the Empire Builder route.

Two Greyhound Bus stations are located in La Crosse. One is connected to the Amtrak Station on the citie's North Side, and the other is located near the University of La Crosse on the south side.

  • Municipal Transit Utility (MTU), 2000 Marco Drive, (608) 789-7350, [2]. An excellent choice for transportation. They are always on-schedule and the staff is extremely helpful when you need assistance whether it is boarding the bus with disabilities or simply finding your route. The route consists of La Crosse and some surrounding suburbs including La Crescent and Onalaska. It is very affordable as well. Ridership of the La Crosse MTU is at it's highest with almost 1,000,000 riders per year.
  • Several taxi companies are located throughout the city and metro. Also biking/walking is an option. La Crosse is one of the most disabled-friendly cities in the USA.
  • Downtown - In recent years, La Crosse has rejuvenated its downtown, which features a collection of bars, restaurants, high-end hotels and shops presented with an old-town feel. There is also the La Crosse Center, a large civic center with ongoing events almost daily.
  • Riverside Park - An expansive walkway and park straddles the river with excellent views of the Cass Street Bridge, Pettibone Park, and Minnesota.
  • The Bluffs - Numerous trails of varying difficulty levels course through the many bluffs behind the city, with magnificent views at the top.
View from Grandad's Bluff
View from Grandad's Bluff
  • Myrick Park - This park adjacent to UW-La Crosse is great for having a picnic and relaxing. It features a free zoo and connects to a trail that runs under HWY 16 and climbs up the bluffs. This is the best place in town to go with younger kids: it features an expansive cooperatively built playground for all ages and abilities.
  • Pettibone Park - Located on an island in the Mississippi, this park has a beach and a newly completed and free Frisbee Golf Course (don't forget your disks).
  • City Brewery, 1111 S. 3rd Street, (608) 785-4398, [3]. 11AM-5PM. Formerly known as the Heileman Brewery, City Brewery hosts the world's largest six-pack. Tours, which includes samples of some of their brews, are available on weekdays during the summer and on the weekends all year. $1.  edit
  • Loggers Baseball, 608/796-9553, [4]. Tickets start at $4.. The local team plays at Copeland Park, also known as "The Lumber Yard."  edit
  • Hixon House, Corner of 7th and Badger Streets, [5]. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 10AM-5PM daily. Formerly owned by one of La Crosse's lumber barons, Hixon is an Italianate house that reflects the Victorian style. A unique Turkish Nook and original furnishings make this house special. Admission is adults $8.50, kids $4.50, seniors $7.50.  edit
  • A pub crawl downtown. There's an abundance of bars and nightclubs. Downtown La Crosse is rarely quiet at night, especially on weekends.
  • Relax on a riverboat ride. La Crosse has various watercrafts, including two old-fashioned paddle boat, that voyage up and down the Mississippi, and can include dinner, lunch or breakfast.
  • Enjoy a round of golf at one of the beautiful golf courses throughout the metro.
  • Many other ongoing annual events occur downtown such as Riverfest, or Oktoberfest. Many also in surrounding suburbs.
  • University of Wisconsin, La Crosse [6]
  • Many specialty shops, and high-end stores are located throughout Downtown La Crosse.
  • Valley View Mall located in a northern suburb shopping area includes more than 80 stores including Macy's, Barnes & Noble, JC Penney, and Sears.
  • Numerous strip malls are located throughout the city including retail shops, coffee shops, office shops, and specialty shops.
  • Hundreds of restaurants are located throughout the La Crosse Metro area. You'll find anything within the city and suburbs like fast food such as Mc Donalds, Wendy's, Checkers, or Burger King for example. Also you can find a higher end setting like The Waterfront, The Frieght House or Piggy's, which are all located downtown.
  • Locations that are La Crosse residents' favorite places to grab a quick bite to eat or a cup of joe include Jules' Coffee Shop and The Pearl on Pearl Street downtown. The Pearl is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor where the ice cream is homemade and you can find elusive flavors such as bubble gum, superman, and even blue moon. They also offer a vast variety of old-fashioned candy. A great place for kids! Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee can also be found in La Crosse.
  • Many bars and nightclubs are located throughout Downtown La Crosse, and the city itself. At one time, La Crosse broke a Guiness Book record with the most bars/nightclubs located on one street, which was Third Street in downtown.
  • Best Western Midway Hotel Riverfront Resort, 1835 Rose Street, +1 608 781-7000, Fax: +1 608 781-3195, [7].
  • Courtyard La Crosse Downtown/Mississippi Riverfront, 500 Front Street, +1 608 782-1000, Fax: +1 608 796-1827, [8].
  • Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 200 Pearl Street, +1 608 784-4444, [9].
  • For a full list of hotels downtown, on the north or south side, or other suburbs visit the La Crosse Visitors Bureau

Stay Safe

Downtown La Crosse is relatively safe at night for a college town. The downtown area has several bars which cater to college age customers. As with any area populated by bars, you may encounter intoxicated and/or obnoxious individuals. Generally, you can negotiate this area without any significant problems. If you are looking to avoid the younger crowd, it is recommended that you avoid the downtown area after 10:00 pm.

There have been recent shootings [10] in the area, but these are fairly isolated. Also, recent reports that drownings are actually criminal acts [11] have been debunked by, among others, the FBI [12]

Routes through La Crosse
Albert LeaRochester  W noframe E  Wisconsin DellsMadison


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