downtownlax

Photo by Mary Shill

Antique lovers should visit the Antique Center on 3rd Street with three floors to browse. On 2nd Street, there’s easy parking available.

Main Street is in the heart of downtown La Crosse. Immerse yourself in history while shopping for consignment goods of all kinds at Treasures on Main.

Take the family to visit the Children’s Museum, the Swarthout Museum in the public library, and during the summer, the Riverside Museum in Riverside Park.

Downtown La Crosse has an excellent selection of eating establishments. At 4th Street & Pearl is Fayze’s, a local favorite serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Take home some of their fresh bakery goods. Pickerman’s on Jay offers delicious sandwiches on freshly baked bread, gourmet soups, and salads. At the Holiday Inn, Ebeneezer’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Grille is a great gathering place. An impressive beer and wine selection adds to the experience. Grounded Specialty Coffee has superb sandwiches, wraps and salads in addition to great beverages. For a family restaurant, try the King Street Kitchen, known for its friendly service and hearty entrees. Lindy’s Subs and Salads, on Main, has tasty subs and accompany that with their fresh salads.

Above the People’s Food Co-op, on Fifth, try Hackberry’s Bistro for lunch or dinner and pick up the best fresh produce on your way out.

Treat yourself to Piggy’s, an award-winning restaurant on Front Street that specializes in hickory-smoked entrees. You’ll have your choice of casual or fine dining.

Just next door from Piggy’s you’ll find La Crosse’s original wine bar, Wine Guyz offering 36 wines by the glass. Their Back Alley Deli is open for lunch at 11a.m. Mon.-Sat with paninis, soup, appetizers, pizzas, and cheese plates. Shop while you sip! Hundreds of labels and great gifts. They are located on King Street.

The Freight House is La Crosse’s premier steak and seafood restaurant and is a national historic site. Enjoy their weekend entertainment.

Along the north end of Riverside Park you’ll find great food and spectacular service for lunch and dinner at The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern. What a view!

riversidebronzekids

Photo by Mary Shill

La Crosse has the distinction of partnering with four “sister cities”; Epinal, France; Luoyang, China; Friedberg, Germany; and Dubna, Russia. The Riverside International Friendship Gardens were developed to celebrate those relationships and edu- cate the public about plant life that can be found in these countries. The Gardens are located on the north side of Riverside Park in La Crosse’s Downtown area. Representative plantings from more nations are in the works, so watch for future additions!

La Crosse is unique in that it is the home of two early 1900s era riverboats, both of which are located in Riverside Park and are available for sightseeing cruises to overnight excursions up and down the Mississippi River. Boarding each of the riverboats is truly an adventure.

The La Crosse Queen is a modern day replica of the grand riverboats which used to regularly ply the Mississippi. In keeping with early traditions, she was built with sternwheels, which are her only means of propulsion and makes her a “true” paddlewheeler.

The Mississippi Explorer is an eco tour boat that can cruise the backwaters of the river to see an abundance of area wildlife. One Explorer boat is docked at Riverside Park and a second boat is locat- ed on the Black River at the Best Western Hotel on La Crosse’s northside.

Great memories of the Mississippi River can be made aboard these fine tour boats.

Other great parks in La Crosse inclued Pettibone Park and Myrick Park. Pettibone Park was originally part of the state of Minnesota. In 1857,
Alzono Barron filed plans with Houston County for “Island City”, an attractive well plotted out city, but these plans never developed. Buffalo Bill Cody also owned land on Barron Island during the late 1800’s. And about the same time, “White Beaver” Powell bought four acres on the island, reviving the dream of “Island City”, but nothing developed (1885).

All the land on Barron Island was acquired by A.W. Pettibone for $62,000 in 1901. In July of the same year, Mr. Pettibone deeded Barron Island to the Pettibone Park commission for $1.00 to oversee that this land would be used as a public park for the citizens of La Crosse. Along with the land, Mr. Pettibone set up a $50,000 trust fund to be used for the upkeep and park development.

In 1902, Mr. Pettibone appointed a committee to draw up papers to have Barron Island deeded to Wisconsin from Minnesota. One year later, 1903, a gazebo pavilion made of native Minnesota sandstone was constructed by Mr. Pettibone.

In 1904, the bathhouse was constructed through the efforts of G.A. Keller, at a cost of $1,200. Finally, after 16 years (1918) an act of Congress transferred the land to the state of Wisconsin. An island in Buffalo County, Wisconsin was traded to Minnesota for Barron Island. Just one year later, 1919, the land was annexed by the City of La Crosse. Although, the beach makes it well known there are many other amenities there including shelters, volleyball, trails, a disc golf area, fishing, and plenty of open space.

La Crosse has been “going green” for many years with its Tree City USA designation. The National Arbor Day Foundation recognizes communities that meet the standard they require. Stroll through La Crosse’s “Arbor Walk” in Myrick Park to learn about our area trees. Then, let the younger children play in the Kid’s Coulee Playscape. Also at Myrick, you will find Myrick Park Center which hosts a nature center, environmental education and facility rental. You contact them at 608-782-2494, www.myrickparkcenter.org.

pearlst

Photo by Mary Shill

Between 3rd and 2nd you’ll find Pearl Street West, a group of specialty shops. Stop in and enjoy homemade ice cream, voted locally as La Crosse’s best, and delicious homemade

chocolates at The Pearl, an authentic 1930s Ice Cream Parlor and Confectionery. On the corner of Pearl and 2nd is Satori Arts Gallery where you will find many pieces of art, ancient Chinese artifacts and on-site handcrafted jewelry.

Pearl Street shopping and dining is conveniently located just across from the La Crosse Center and a short walk from Riverside park.