Introduction to La Crosse, Wisconsin
La Crosse is situated along the Mississippi River in the western portion of Wisconsin in La Crosse County. The city consists of the north and south sections which are divided by a prominent marshland. Picturesque bluffs surround the city's prairie landscape. It's recognized as a college town and is also a prominent commercial center.
Due to the three colleges the municipality is recognized as a technology and medical center. In 2005 Forbes placed the town at the 25th position on its "Best Places" list. In 2007 Country Home magazine ranked La Crosse 12th on its 25 Best Green Cities in America list.
In 1765 Lt. Zebulon Pike lead an expedition along the Mississippi for the United States. He gave the name "Prairie La Crosse" after watching Indians involved in a contest utilizing sticks which were similar to a bishop's crozier or la crosse in the French language. The first non-native settlement was established in 1841 as a fur trading post by Nathan Myrick. La Crosse was incorporated in 1856.
In the second half of the 19th century the municipality became one of the largest cities in the state. The lumber and the brewing industries were thriving. Various manufacturing businesses were established due to the nearby transportation provided by the Mississippi River and the railroad. La Crosse became a prominent education center with the establishment of three colleges between 1890 and 1912.
Entertainment and Culture
La Crosse serves as the cultural base for the Three Rivers area and includes a large number of art organizations. The Pump House Regional Arts Center features a variety of art exhibits as well as jazz, blues and folk music. The La Crosse Community Theater has received national acclaim. Residents and visitors enjoy the music performed by the local symphony and chamber chorale. The downtown has numerous restaurants, shops, upscale hotels and a very active nightlife which features a large number of bars and nightclubs. The La Crosse Center hosts a variety of events.
Skiing enthusiasts enjoy the Mount La Crosse ski area. Riverside Park provides an extensive walkway which offers scenic views. Numerous trails traverse through the bluffs and provide excellent views. Pettibone Park includes a beach and is situated on an island in the Mississippi River. Taking a riverboat ride is popular with visitors.
The nearby Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is a very popular site for bird watching and boating. The notable Goose Island Park and Campground is situated on a wooded island in the Mississippi River and provides excellent opportunities for fishing, canoeing, waterfowl hunting, hiking and camping. Great River & La Crosse River Bike Trails passes through prairie and forest areas. Archeological sites as well as an abundance of wildlife can be seen along the trails.
- City Brewery provides tours of their facility.
- Hixon House was formerly the home of a lumber tycoon and features interesting architecture and original furnishings.
- Riverside Museum.
- Valley View Mall is a major shopping location.
- Mississippi Valley Archeology Center showcases a variety of artifacts including items from the Ice Age.
- Onalaska Museum features a wide variety of noteworthy exhibits.
- Bangor Commercial Historic District.
- Hussa Brewery Complex.
The city is served by the La Crosse Municipal Airport.
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the Western Technical College and the Roman Catholic Viterbo University are located in the city.