Historic Beauty…Modern Community
Awards and Rankings
2002 – National Trust for Historic Preservation Great American Main Street Award
2003 – Milken Institute Best Performing Cities of the 96 Smallest Metros (20th Overall)
2005 – Inc. magazine’s 4th Best Small City for Doing Business
2005 – Inc. magazine’s 15th Best City in America to Do Business
2005 – Forbes 25th Best Place
2006 – 7th Safest Metropolitan Area in the Nation – Morgan Quitno Press
2006 – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked La Crosse 16th “Smartest Place to Live in U.S.
2007 – Country Home magazine ranked La Crosse 12th Best Green City in America and second among small cities, behind Corvallis, Ore.
2009 – U.S. News ranked La Crosse 6th best place to live in the country.
2009 – Farmers Insurance Group ranked La Crosse – Winona, MN area the 20th most secure place to live in the United States among small towns.
2010 – Most Secure Places to Live in the US (Small Towns) – Sperling’s Best Places
Everyone knows La Crosse has one of the nation’s premier Oktoberfest celebrations. Well, on top of that we also have Irishfest, Riverfest, the Deke Slayton Airfest, Artspire, the Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine, & Cheese Festival . . . the list goes on. You’d be hard-pressed to find a time of year when there’s not some kind of fest in the works. What can we say? We’re festive.
Three majestic rivers and the beautiful bluffs surrounding them make La Crosse County the perfect outdoor recreation area. You can kayak, fish, or just cruise the Mississippi, and Hixon Forest is full of trails for hiking and biking. Work on your short game at any of our six area golf courses, or visit in winter for some of the region’s best downhill and cross-country skiing. If spectating is more your style, the La Crosse area is home to three semi-professional teams: the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods Baseball League, the River City Rough Riders of the Northern Elite Football League, and the Coulee Region Chill of the North American Hockey League, not to mention plenty of NCAA action at UW-La Crosse and Viterbo University. Whatever you’re into, any time of year, La Crosse County has something for you!
Vineyards & Breweries
La Crosse’s brewing tradition is nearly as old as the state of Wisconsin, dating back to the 1858 founding of the G. Heileman Brewing Company and the iconic Old Style brand. Since Heileman’s doors closed in 1996, City Brewing Company has taken up the standard, and today you can see the World’s Largest Six-Pack dressed up as their popular La Crosse Lager. Despite the tradition behind City Brewing, the darling of the local industry is undoubtedly Pearl Street Brewery, a craft brewery operating out of the historic La Crosse Footwear Building. Visit their tasting room to try any of their outstanding microbrews. Or if wine better suits your palette, Lost Island Wine has more than 30 varieties, and several more vineyards in our neighboring counties or across the river in Minnesota await your visit.
Arts & Culture
From the Pumphouse Regional Arts Center to the La Crosse Center and the Weber Center for the Performing Arts, La Crosse has some of the region’s finest venues for experiencing visual and performing arts. Home to the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, the La Crosse Community Theatre, and top-tier arts, music, and theatre programs at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University, there is no shortage of opportunities for a night of cultured entertainment.
If you like big-name shopping centers, you can find all the largest commercial retailers in La Crosse and Onalaska. Or if you prefer to support independent, local businesses, historic downtown La Crosse has a vibrant shopping district full of the region’s finest specialty shops. Bargain hunters have their work cut out for them, with dozens of thrift and consignment stores to choose from, not to mention one of the largest antique malls in the state.
Places of Worship
La Crosse is home to a diverse offering of religious centers, including the Sons of Abraham Synagogue, the Diamond Way Buddhist Center, Othman bin Affan Mosque, and the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, which headquarters the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse. Visitors might also be interested in exploring the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a 70-acre pilgrimage site just south of La Crosse featuring a classical style church, a votive chapel, a rosary walk and the Culina Mariana restaurant.