Wouldn't it be nice to find a city that satisfies your love for the outdoors and your need to be in a more populated area? Imagine a city that is large enough to feel like a city, but is surrounded by vast forests, beautiful bluffs and the Mississippi River, sounds perfect, right? Look no more, my city is the city for you. I was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin, a city of about 50,000 located in South-Western Wisconsin right on the Mississippi River. La Crosse has a little bit of everything to satisfy all different types of peoples needs. Between the arts, La Crosse's historic significance, regional festivals, and more, the locals are always willing to welcome travelers to the city we are proud to call our home. If you grew up in La Crosse, you know of all the nooks and crannies, the ins and outs, and the best places to suggest to visitors. Here are 13 signs you grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
1. Your childhood was spent at Erickson Pool.
You didn't grow up in La Crosse if you weren't considered a "pool rat" at Erickson Pool. With two tall slides, a drop slide, and a diving board, it felt nearly impossible to ever become bored at the pool when you were younger. Many of us "pool rats" would eventually go on to become lifeguards. It is a never-ending chain.
2. You remember when Myrick Park had it's own miniature zoo.
If you grew up in La Crosse, you remember the old Myrick Park Zoo that had the monkeys, the ostrich and the big brown bear. It was truly a heart break when the park closed the zoo, however, the jungle-gym play area still remains and will always hold a piece of your heart.
3. The only acceptable place to get ice cream from is The Pearl.
The 1930's Soda Fountain and Confectionery is home to homemade ice cream, sundaes, truffles, homemade waffle cones, candies and phosphates. The Pearl is iconic to La Crosse and a must to all travelers in the area. When asked to get ice cream, The Pearl was always the answer without a doubt!
4. The perfect middle school date was a Loggers baseball game.
In middle school, The Lumberyard was the perfect destination to meet up with friends and the cute boy from math class. With tickets being affordable to kids (and anyone for that matter), Logger's baseball, part of the Northwoods League, was home to many memories as a teenager.
5. You hate the Vikings more than the Bears.
Yes, I understand that Packer fans do not tolerate anything South of our border. However, La Crosse is right on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. Therefore, as La Crosse natives, we naturally have more hate toward our neighboring Vikings rather than the Bears.
6. Pettibone is a beach.
Yes, we get it... Pettibone Beach is no Malibu or South Beach. However, it is a fairly well-maintained beach right on the Mississippi River that has a beautiful view of downtown La Crosse. Pettibone is a hot destination for a day in the sun filled with beach volleyball, frisbee, or catch in the water.
7. You cannot count the amount of times you were invited on Facebook to Night Storm.
Remember all of those Facebook notifications inviting you to the Night Storm club for teenagers? I can honestly say out of the hundred of invitations, I never attended one of these "teenage club parties." But if I had a penny for every invite I ever received, I'd be able to pay for my college tuition!
8. School was never cancelled.
Growing up in La Crosse, you know that you always need to do your homework regardless of the weather. School was never cancelled, even when the roads were covered with several feet of snow and ice. By chance there was a snow day, it was celebrated to the max and that day would go down in La Crosse School District history!
9. Grandad's Bluff is a normal venturing destination.
On the contrary to visitors traveling to La Crosse, Grandad's Bluff is just one of the many bluffs in La Crosse. For a first-time La Crosse goer, Grandad's is definitely a must see. For us natives, we've driven, hiked, and some have even climbed to the top several times.
10. You know how to celebrate Oktoberfest accordingly.
Oktoberfest is a very important event in La Crosse due to a high concentration of German heritage. La Crosse is known to celebrate Oktoberfest accordingly whether it be the Maple Leaf parade, singing and dancing at the fest grounds or eating one-too-many bratwursts.
11. Riverfest is the time to see either "fight or flight."
In lieu of the Fourth of July, La Crosse holds Riverfest, an annual fest held at Riverside Park. If you're from La Crosse, you'll know that Riverfest ignites your flight or flight response. Everyone who is anyone attends Riverfest, meaning you may see the people you have been longing to see, or the people you've been avoiding since high school graduation!
12. You know the actual trail that leads to Rim of the City rather than the paved (cheaters) trail.
Many people love to see the iconic Rim of the City outlook on one of the several bluffs in La Crosse, but many people do not know that there is an actual trail that leads up to the outlook. There is a paved trail that you are able to drive to at the top of the bluff, but what fun is that? All of the La Crosse natives are aware of the TNT trail in Hixon that leads right up to the outlook, and feel much more accomplished after hiking it.
13. When in doubt, you head to riverside.
Riverside Park is located downtown La Crosse right on the Mississippi River. It is home to the La Crosse Queen, the International Gardens and a beautiful view of the "Big blue bridge." You are definitely from La Crosse if you spent more than a decent amount of time at Riverside. Whether you were on a first date, playing soccer or frisbee with friends, or feeding the ducks left over bread, Riverside was always there for your entertainment and fun.