What's it like to live in La Crosse, WI?
January 10, 2010 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Tell me about La Crosse, WI.

Considering a move, what do you think? Is it mostly natural beauty, bluffs etc.? It's a college town, does it act like one? What do people do there for fun? What other cities in the U.S. would you compare it to?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
LaCrosse has more bars per capita than any other place in the US. There's a brewery there.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:03 AM on January 10, 2010

We lived there for a summer. I liked it! But read on: although I didn't see much of school in session, there is a feel of 'college town'. Lots of frat dude type bars and then the standard college-town shops: the nice coffee shops, the boutique ice cream shops, new-age crystals, bike shops, natural food co-op etc.

If you are a bit old-fashioned, you will enjoy LaCrosse. Much of it is quiet and conservative. At times, I likened it to living in the 60s. Not super cosmopolitan. It's definitely what you make it: I spent a quiet summer of contemplation, fishing in the Mississippi.

Oh, and natural features: the Mississippi river runs through it! And those bluffs are impressive! The surrounding country is beautiful. The summer we were there it was crazzy hot and humid. (And I'm used to hot and humid summers.)

It is not much of a city, more like a big town. There is a calm, small-town community there. Nice, very down to earth people. Not a lot of action will come to you if you just stand around. We lived in Missoula, MT before that and the two towns were not dissimilar. (of course LaCrosse did not have a lot of the cultural demographics Missoula did: hippy, outdoors, etc.)

Hope that helps a bit!
posted by bobbyno at 10:09 AM on January 10, 2010

I've only been there once (a cousin lives there), but a friend helped start roller derby there so they have that going for it.
posted by drezdn at 10:36 AM on January 10, 2010

Born there. I've never seen it as a college town. Quite pretty with the bluffs and the river. Lots to do if you're an outdoors kind of person. Obviously lots of bars and the brewery is worth a tour.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 11:09 AM on January 10, 2010

I lived near there when I was a kid, in Sparta, but have only been back a couple of times since. My brother moved back to the area a few years ago and likes it just fine. It really is quite pretty there; the old Old Style Beer slogan, "Brewed in God's country", derives from the bluffs and whatnot that weren't ground down by Ice Age glaciers like most of the Wisconsin countryside. The fall colors there and across the river in La Crescent, Minnesota are spectacular.

WRT the drinking culture, there was a thread on the blue about a rumor that some serial killer was stalking college age men in the Upper Midwest and drowning them, which was sparked by numerous cases--including several in La Crosse--in which college guys got drunk and fell in the water, in this case the Mississippi. Also, although the Stephen King/Peter Straub collaboration Black House is actually set in a fictionalized version of Trempealeau, which is north of La Crosse on the river, the "World's Largest Six Pack" (storage tanks formerly used by G. Heileman for Old Style and painted to look like the beer can, now used by City Brewery, which makes La Crosse Lager according to the original Old Style recipe.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:14 PM on January 11, 2010

Hmmm... didn't quite finish my last sentence--the World's Largest Six Pack is in La Crosse.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:15 PM on January 11, 2010

This area of Wisconsin has quite a bit going for it. If you like 4 distinct seasons of weather, you'll love it here. Summers routinely have temps in the 80's and 90's, occasionally topping 100. Fall is wonderful, lots of foliage, crisp evenings, warm days. Winters can be brutal, but temps generally hover in the 10's and 20s for most of it, sometime's dropping to -30. Spring is always such a relief that they seem prettier than they actually are.

I live about an hour north of La Crosse and have family there. It's a nice town, with a good university, a good healthcare system, and easy access to the interstate system. Msp/St Paul is about an hour away, and Madison is pretty close too.
Property values are cheap compared to the rest of the country. Here, $150,000 still buys you a lot of house, and retail prices are still pretty reasonable as well. For reference, a sit down meal in a decent restaurant will cost you roughly $10-$15 per person, not including booze. Municipal services are high quality. The people are friendly. It's not as diverse as Chicago or St Paul, but there are several relatively large minority groups.

MeMail me if you have specific questions.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:28 PM on January 11, 2010

I have many relatives in La Cross, most of whom are fire fighters or cops. When I was very small, I thought it would be the best place in the world to live but that was because I got to ride on the fire truck which was the most awesome thing I could consider at the time.

It's a good place; totally midwestern in the best sense. Yes, there are lots of bars, but also lots of friendly people.

You won't get the latest fashions from Paris, but if you ever get a flat tire someone will stop and help you with it. I'd take that over fashion any day. Not a good place if you're a vegetarian.
posted by answergrape at 4:00 PM on January 11, 2010

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