You could argue whether the city has achieved many “marvels” since Twain penned those words, but the interconnected bridges and distant bluffs that dominate its skyline are certainly marvelous to look at. Plus, it’s become one of the largest cultural hubs in western Wisconsin. And the river that captivated Twain all those years ago is still as mighty as ever.
Where to Stay
YOU CAN SEE evidence of the Charmant Hotel’s (101 State St.) history as a candy factory in its gold and chocolate-colored furnishings and – more literally – in its on-site, 24-hour chocolate counter. And you’ll find savory as well as sweet flavors at its rustic French restaurant and rooftop terrace and bar.
What to Do
THE AREA IS beautiful year-round, even during the winter. There’s an 18-slope ski resort, Mt. La Crosse, near the city. And be sure to visit Grandad Bluff. From its peak a few miles east of La Crosse, you can see the Mississippi River and the rolling hills of eastern Minnesota rising up behind it.
Then check out Turtle Stack, a local brewery with a focus on sustainability, which is as cute as its name. After knocking back a few of its brews, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to appreciate the World’s Largest Six Pack, a roadside attraction located nearby at the site of the now-shuttered G. Heileman Brewing Co. The “six pack” is, in fact, six gigantic storage tanks painted to look like beer cans. They aren’t exactly fine art, but they’re free and more than worthy of a pre-dinner pit stop.
Continue your evening at Lovechild, a James Beard Award-nominated restaurant that was named Wisconsin’s most romantic restaurant by Food and Wine. Floor lamps planted by each of its banquettes cast warm light across its cozy, golden-hued interior.