The city of La Crosse sits along the Mississippi River on the state line between Wisconsin and Minnesota and is surrounded by wooded bluffs. It’s worth a stop if you’re driving the Great River Road. I was surprised by how much there was to do and see. You could ride the ferry, attend Oktoberfest, visit the Dahl Auto Museum, drink local craft beer, the list goes on. I’m here to highlight a few dog-friendly activities from my recent visit. Let’s get into it!
Take a walk
Riverside Park has walking paths, open green space and a bandshell for live music. It’s a great place to take a walk and hang out with your dog.
Riverside International Friendship Gardens
At the north end of Riverside Park is the Riverside International Friendship Gardens. According to their website, “this collection of public gardens celebrates La Crosse’s sister-city relationships with communities in China, Germany, France, Russia, Norway, Ireland and Cameroon.” It’s quite beautiful and leashed-dogs are welcome.
Grab a snack
La Crosse Distilling Co.
Most, if not all, of the restaurant patios in La Crosse are dog friendly. La Crosse Distilling Co. was my personal favorite. It has a great atmosphere and serves unique and yummy cocktails with a creative food menu.
Looking for something a little more low-key? The Crow is known for their burgers, beers and bourbon. The cheese curds were next level!
Hit the trails
Grandad Bluff Park
Grandad Bluff is a 600-ft high bluff overlooking the city of La Crosse. You can apparently see Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa from the top. You can drove to the peak or hike up from a number of gateway trails. As you can see from the map, all of the marked trails allow hikers and also dogs.
Looking for even more bluffs? Great River Bluffs State Park is about a 20-minute drive north of La Crosse on the Minnesota side. I have a post about Great River Bluffs and a few other Minnesota State Parks in this area if you’d like to learn more!
Hixon Forest Multi-Use Trails
La Crosse is a popular destination for cyclists and there are over 100 miles of trails among the bluffs. That means there are tons of trails to explore with you dog. Out near Grandad Bluff, there’s an entire trail system of hiking and multi-use trails in the Hixon Firest that provide stunning views of the some of the other bluffs. If you and your dog are up for a challenge these trails are a fun way to gain some elevation on your walk.
Where to stay
Grand Stay Hotel & Suites
There are quite a few options when it comes to dog friendly hotels in La Crosse. I highly recommend Grand Stay Hotel & Suites. There is a free continental breakfast. It was fairly affordable, the staff was super friendly and it’s steps from a huge grassy area and the Riverside Park.
I visited in late summer but I imagine this town stays hopping throughout the fall and winter months as well!