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The La Crosse statue looking up a street in downtown La Crosse

Why call La Crosse home?

Small-town vibe, big-city benefits

With just more than 50,000 residents, La Crosse combines the perks of small-town living with the draws of a much larger metropolis. Think friendly, quiet neighborhoods tucked a few minutes away from La Crosse's city center: historic downtown. There, just steps from the Mississippi River, you'll find ever-expanding options for unique shops, spirited entertainment, craft breweries and various restaurants, including Mexican, French, Creole, Irish and more. All without hours-long traffic jams, smog alerts and other urban annoyances.

To make getting around the city easier, La Crosse also offers options for actively commuting and taking public transportation. In fact, the Gundersen La Crosse Campus was recertified in 2019 as a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists, and Gundersen employees have access to steeply discounted bus passes through the La Crosse Municipal Transit.

Bonus: Major corporations, scrappy start-ups and leading universities all call La Crosse home, making the city attractive for a spouse or partner who may be relocating with you and looking for a new career opportunity. Discover the top employers by size in La Crosse County.

Innovative schools

From elementary schools to universities, La Crosse boasts strong and innovative education systems. The city is home to public and private institutions, including Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist and non-denominational Christian schools in the area.

Elementary, middle and high schools

Higher education

Outdoor enthusiast's paradise

Ask any of our community members what makes La Crosse so special and there's one thing guaranteed to grace almost every list: the natural playground that comprises the Mississippi River Valley. From rolling bluffs to winding rivers, the landscape sets the stage for an outdoor enthusiast's dream. During the spring, summer and fall, it's common to see people:

  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Fishing
  • Golfing
  • Stand-up paddle boarding
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Bird watching
  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Hunting
  • And more

Bonus: Enjoy any of the above activities in late September through October and you'll be treated to a vibrant display of foliage as our oaks, birches, poplars, maples and other trees paint the hillsides red, yellow and orange.

The adventures don't stop when the snow flies either. Popular winter activities in La Crosse include:

  • Downhill and cross-country skiing
  • Snow shoeing
  • Sledding
  • Ice skating
  • Ice fishing
  • And more

Prefer a less rugged outdoor experience? La Crosse boasts dozens of city parks, including Riverside Park—the city's landmark destination for soaking up the outdoors, you guessed it, riverside.

Arts and culture

While COVID-19 may have canceled and postponed some of La Crosse's most-loved arts and entertainment events in 2020, we're proud to offer some of the best in the Midwest and look forward to their return.

Theater: La Crosse is home to the Pump House Regional Arts Center, the La Crosse Center and the Weber Center for the Performing Arts—premiere venues in the Coulee Region for visual and performing arts. Likewise, there are countless opportunities for arts and theater at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Music: Whether you prefer an acoustic set in the lounge of a historic hotel or to be captivated by a symphony, La Crosse is bursting with chances to listen to live music. If you're looking for something a little more unique, such as the unmistakable notes of Irish folk music, we've got that covered, too. Speaking of which…

Festivals: While you may have heard about La Crosse's Oktoberfest—one of the longest-running and top-ranked in the United States—the area also houses a variety of other festivals that celebrate the region and many of its residents' heritage. Irishfest, Riverfest, Kornfest, June Dairy Days, Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine, & Cheese Festival, and more all take place throughout the year.

Explore La Crosse

Want to learn more about La Crosse? Check out these great videos by Explore La Crosse.

what to expect

We've taken steps at all our locations to keep you and our staff healthy and safe. Here's what to expect when you visit us.

Stay safe