Weekend Getaway: La Crosse, WI
La Crosse, WI is a beautiful city right on the edge of the Mississippi River. It is located about 3 hours northwest of Milwaukee and about 2.5 hours northwest of Madison.
I personally went to La Crosse to attend their Between the Bluffs: Frothbite Beer & Bites festival at the La Crosse Center. In addition to the festival we had a chance to check out a few awesome bars and restaurants, beautiful nature, and cute local shopping. Oh, and Sunny the Sunfish. More on that later.
The main event of our trip was the festival and it was so much fun! We got to try a ton of craft beer that we have never had before, and even taste-tested vodka from La Crosse Distillery via a mini Bloody Mary. I mean come on, how cute!
We also got to taste-test a bunch of fun things like mini cupcakes, beef sticks, and of course... CHEESE! I had some of the best steak of my life and could not stop "sampling" fudge from Pearl Ice Cream Parlor.
There were plenty of activities to keep us busy as well - Anchor 1 band playing live music, Hammer-schalgen, axe throwing and a giant Connect-4 game. Side note: I played Connect-4 more than a handful of times and lost every. single. time.
There are lots of hotels right downtown La Crosse, but we had the pleasure of staying at the Radisson. It was extremely convenient as it was right next to the La Crosse Center. It is also a very short walk to a lot of the bars, restaurants, and local shops - so much to do!
FOOD & DRINK
Speaking of food and drink, Three Rivers Lodge is located right inside of the Radisson. They serve breakfast and dinner and have a full bar with lots of wonderful cocktail options. We tried their cheese curds served with zesty dill ranch dressing.
We had breakfast on both Saturday & Sunday and each restaurant was delicious. The Breakfast Pub & Club had a major 80's vibe with the decor. The menu was extremely creative which made dining very fun. I ordered pancakes stuffed with yogurt and topped with fruit and granola. They also have $1 off Mimosas on Saturdays - WIN.
On Sunday we had breakfast at Fayze's - a STAPLE in La Crosse. It gave major supper club vibes and the food did not disappoint. They double as a bakery and are famous for their Talame buns. I had one for breakfast and bought some to take home - that's how good they are. I would highly suggest checking out this spot during your visit.
On the same "supper club" note, we had dinner at Diggers Sting. It's decor is based on the gangster era and you will most likely hear Frank Sinatra playing in the background. We tried both the char-grilled salmon and the deep fried cod. Both meals were exceptional and came with so much food! If you order one of their martinis, be careful! They taste so good you almost forget they have vodka in them.
Another fantastic spot we checked out was Uno Venti Pizzeria. They make the pizza in a stone-fired over right in the middle of the restaurant. This is a popular spot and they do not take reservations, so there may be a wait. It's worth it, though, trust me. Pro tip: order the focaccia.
One of the best Brandy Old Fashioneds I've ever had was at David Reay's. This is technically in Onalaska, but it's a quick 15 minute drive from downtown La Crosse. I ordered one of their "healthy bowls" although there were many things on the menu that I wanted to try. Their cheese curds are more like deep fried blocks of cheese, but the paprika aioli they were served with was fantastic.
Remember when I mentioned Sunny the Sunfish? Lucky for you, he is also located in Onalaska - the Sunfish Capitol of the World. Pay him a visit after your lunch at David Reay's!
Unfortunately, the weekend we spent in La Crosse was a frigid weekend - a whopping 23 degrees. That being said, we didn't do much hiking. But we did head to the Grandad Bluff to check out the best view of the city. Some even refer to it as "the most scenic view of the state." When I visit La Crosse in the future, I am going to make sure that it's warm enough for me to hike these beautiful trails.
Although we weren't able to hike, this time of year gave us the opportunity to visit Rotary Lights, which is located right behind the Radisson in Riverside Park. You can walk, drive, or take a carriage ride (ADORABLE) through the beautiful light display. They have additional events sometimes, so check out the website before you go!