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La Crosse and Onalaska Wisconsin are two rapidly growing cities located within minutes of each other. La Crosse lies in between two large bluff sections and sits right along the Mississippi River. Onalaska is minutes to the North. Whether planning a day trip or a few more days in the two cities, there's plenty to do.
In La Crosse, there are several hotels, most being quite new, such as The Charmant Hotel and The Radisson. Another plus of these new hotels is the fact that most are built right alongside the river providing spectacular views. Onalaska also has several hotels. Some of these hotels are out of the way and a little more secluded, but most are within walking distance of restaurants and shopping centers.
As for restaurants in these two cities, there are options aplenty. If you're looking for more La Crosse style cuisine, I recommend Huck Finns or Castaways. They are on French Island which is also where the airport is. Buzzard Billy's in Downtown La Crosse is also an excellent restaurant for La Crosse cuisine. There are coffee shops in town like the Root Note which is also downtown. Good breakfast places in town are the Hungry Peddler on the South side of La Crosse or the Breakfast Club downtown. For Mexican in La Crosse and Onalaska, there is Iguana Café near UW-L, which I highly recommend, or Manny's in Onalaska. Both are outstanding restaurants. Just to note; Manny's is a little more on the expensive side. For Italian, there is Ciattis which is located right next to Manny's. Very, very good food but again it's a little on the expensive side. Good pizza places in town are Marcos or Kate's Pizza Amore. For more elegant, fancy dining, I would suggest The Waterfront which is located along the river, The Freight House, or The Charmant restaurant. All are tranquil places to dine. For a quick bite, I would suggest Culver's. It is sort of the In & Out of the Midwest. There is a Culver's in both La Crosse and Onalaska. For desserts and ice cream, I would suggest The Pearl in downtown La Crosse or the Great River Popcorn Company also downtown. As you can see the area has PLENTY of dining options!
There are several adventures I would recommend you do while in La Crosse. Starting with Riverside Park. This is a large park located right along the river. One can look through the Friendship Gardens or play catch in the large grassy area or take a boat ride on the paddle wheel the La Crosse Queen. This boat will take you on a short journey up the river a little ways then back down. The whole ride is about an hour. You can also go up Grandad's Bluff. This is the largest bluff in the city, and it has a great observation view on top of it. From there one can see the whole city. If you want to go for a little exercise, you can hike Hixon Trails or walk through the La Crosse River Marsh. Both have trails. There are also beaches such as Pettibone or the Black River Beach where people can go and swim. If you're looking to fish, it's harder to fish without a boat, but there are places. You can fish in Riverside from shore or fish in the La Crosse River Marsh. One can also fish at Goose Island Park on the Southside. Downtown, there are also Segway Tours you can take to explore Downtown La Crosse. There are also two different Escape Rooms downtown.
If one wishes to go shopping, there are lots of places to do that. Downtown La Crosse has many more local stores. Onalaska has more of the shopping malls and more well-known big box stores.
While these two cities seem small, there is plenty to do here. I hope this guide makes your trip here a little less stressful and allows you to cover the basics. Enjoy La Crosse!
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