La Crosse (Photo:Scruggelgreen/Shutterstock)
La Crosse (Photo:Scruggelgreen/Shutterstock)
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

Cruise Critic Staff

Port of La Crosse

Located in a small, flat prairie valley and surrounded by 500-foot bluffs -- a surprise in the flat Midwest -- La Crosse was named by an explorer in 1805 after he spotted a group of Native Americans playing a sport with sticks he thought resembled the staff traditionally carried by the Bishop of Notre Dame. The city, which was settled some 35 years later, went on to become one of Wisconsin's largest centers for lumber and sawmills.

Today, the city, a stop on Upper Mississippi River cruises, offers visitors a mix of historic homes, scenic vistas and an intriguing blend of Scandinavian, German and Irish cultures. If you've got the legs for it, take a hike up Grandad Bluff, mentioned by Mark Twain in "Life on the Mississippi," where the view of the Mississippi valley below encompasses three states: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

Shore Excursions

About La Crosse


This scenic port has several fun and unique attractions, including an auto museum and a botanical garden


Walking will allow you to get the most out of your visit, but it can be time consuming and tough on the feet

Bottom Line

This historic port is ideal for a leisurely day of exploring on foot or via historic trolley

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Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The United States dollar is the only currency accepted in La Crosse; credit cards are also widely accepted.


English is the official language.

--By Dori Saltzman,Senior Editor