Trip Guide to Wisconsin's Great River Road | Midwest Living

Trip Guide to Wisconsin's Great River Road

The Mississippi River is your constant companion along the Great River Road, but the river towns between La Crosse and Prescott lure you off the road.
Great River Road
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Muddy Waters Restaurant and Bar
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La Crosse Queen
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Bogus Creek Cafe and Bakery
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Art and Soul Paintings of rural scenes and imports from Africa and Asia fill this Alma shop.

Big River Theatre Storytelling, live music and comedy sketches come together to form hour-long variety shows each week in Alma.

Birding The Wings Over Alma Nature Center ( and Prescott’s Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center ( share info on the best viewing spots. 

Buena Vista Park Grab your camera and follow signs from State-35 along County-E, or walk from Second Street to reach a park 500 feet above Alma for a great view of the Mississippi River.

Great Alma Fishing Float Flip a sign to signal the fishing crew to pick you up and take you to this floating island of docks; there, go fishing and dine on The Float Cafe’s snacks (or bring your own).

Great River Road Wine Trail Pick up a Wine Trail Passport and visit the 11 wineries.

Ingebretsen’s av Stockholm Scandinavian Gifts This satellite of a popular Minneapolis store carries handwoven textiles and blown glass.

La Crosse Queen The paddle-wheeler departs on daily cruises from La Crosse.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum Learn about the Little House in the Big Woods author at the Pepin museum, see a re-creation of the wood cabin where she was born, and celebrate her life during the town's Laura Days September 10–11, 2016.

Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery The complex and surprising ciders include the sweet Honeycrisp Hard and robust Scrumpy.

Mississippi River Pearl Jewelry Company Shop jewelry designed using rare, natural Mississippi River pearls in Alma.


Bogus Creek Cafe and Bakery Get Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, or try stuffed toast made with Swedish doughnuts. In Stockholm.

Monarch Public House Wisconsin’s oldest bar (open since 1894), the Monarch in Fountain City has a familiar menu, including old Irish family recipes like potato soup.

Muddy Waters Restaurant and Bar Steaks, seafood, pasta or smoked ribs satisfy diners, but they come for the live blues and three decks overlooking the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. In Prescott.

Nelson Creamery Don’t miss a stop at the 19th-century dairy building that holds a modern shop with wines, cheeses and fresh ice cream.

Pier 4 Cafe and Smokehouse One step above a river shack, it serves the tangy sauces and smoky flavors of Memphis-style BBQ but overlooks Alma’s Lock and Dam No. 4.

The Stockholm Pie Company and General Store The slices of peanut butter fudge, double lemon or apple pie are large enough to be lunch, but try the hearty potpies and quiches at this Stockholm eatery.


Blue Door Inn A sense of history settles around guests as solidly as original 1853 rock walls—carved into a Mississippi River bluff in Alma.

Great River Bed and Breakfast You get the entire Swedish stone cottage to yourself outside Stockholm.

Hotel de Ville Housed in three restored historical buildings, this Alma hotel’s elegant suites have antique furnishings, wood floors and flat-screen TVs.

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