Fall Colors, Then Fluffy Snow Means Loads of Activities in Wausau, WI
Best Places for Leaf Peeping in Wisconsin
Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area has an excellent mountain bike trail system, putting you right in the midst of the colorama. If urban biking is more to your liking, then the many miles of routes running through the Wausau metro area are right up your alley.
Rib Mountain State Park, one of the oldest rock formations on earth, offers a great hiking workout. Dells of the Eau Claire County Park is a jewel too, with rock palisades and falling water and a five-mile trail that runs along both sides of the Eau Claire River.
Bitzke Waterfowl Refuge is a birder's and wildlife watcher's delight, especially in the fall, as is the Mead Wildlife Area with 270 documented species of birds.
Get out on the water while the weather is still glorious. The Wisconsin River here is a kayaker's paradise. There's also the world-class canoe and kayak competition site at Whitewater Park in downtown Wausau, one of only two urban whitewater race courses in the country and just a block walking distance from the Jefferson Street Inn.
Area golf courses just beg you to bring your camera and clubs. And let's not leave out disc golf, with high-flying rounds to be played at Memorial Park, Yellow Banks Park, and our favorite, Big Eau Pleine Park.
Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report
Skiing in the Midwest doesn't get any better than Granite Peak in Rib Mountain State Park. It has the greatest drop at 700 feet of any ski area in Wisconsin. With 75 runs, 50 jibs and jumps, and multiple high speed lifts, you'll find the hours flying by. Open every night until 9 p.m.
Cross country ski at Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area, with 20 miles of trails, some even lit for nighttime skiing. Trail difficulty ranges from beginner to challenging, making this attractive to skiers of all abilities. At 4,900 acres, you can also spread out for snowshoeing and skijoring (pulled on skis by dogs).
Try a luminary-lit snowshoe walk at Monk Botanical Gardens. Dogs are welcome too. Warm up with a bonfire, hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows at the end of the walk.
Glide across the ice at the rink on the 400 Block. There's also open skating inside at Marathon Park.
The Wausau Curling Center, described as the finest in the world, hosts annual bonspiels. Don't know what a bonspiel is? Here's your chance to find out!
Nearly 900 miles of snowmobile trails in Marathon County are maintained by 30 snowmobile clubs. Can you tell we love snowmobiling here?
No skills required, just a penchant for fun, when snow tubing at Sylvan Hill Park. There's even a wire tow to get you back to the top with ease.
Shepherd & Shaller Sporting Goods should be your first stop before hitting the slopes or snowy trails. The selection of brand name performance gear and apparel are some of the best we've ever seen. The store originally opened in 1949 - the locals call it Shep's for short - and it's still locally owned and family-operated with a sales staff of enthusiastic experts who know their sports.
Holiday Shopping Finds
Evolutions in Design offers an incredibly artful selection of home décor items along with creations from local artists. It is not to be missed.
The Lamplighter Fine Gifts puts the art of Swarovski and Waterford crystal on display, letting you select just the right amount of sparkle for your spring décor.
Janke Book Store is Wisconsin's oldest bookseller, established in 1874. This independent bookseller carries local history books which make for some fascinating reading. It's also known for its interesting window displays. Grab favorite games, greeting cards, even globes at this wonderful shop, and don't forget to pick up puzzles and plush toys for the little ones.
Katzenbarkers is a pet's best friend. Stock up on treats, toys and collars for all the fur babies in your life.
Black Purl carries custom designed patterns and a wide variety of specialty yarns and knitting accessories.
What's the holidays without sweets, which is where Sweets on 3rd comes in. Enjoy locally roasted coffee too.
Bonus: Holiday Open House is Nov. 2-4, with carolers, door prizes, free trolley and refreshments. A nice way to get a jump on your holiday shopping. That's followed by Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25. Remember, being an eco-conscious traveler also includes shopping local. Find a unique gift and give the gift of a sustainable community at the same time.
De-Stress from the Hustle and the Bustle
Dayspring Health Spa is located in the same building as Jefferson Street Inn, so when you emerge from that relaxing spa treatment you can just glide back to your room. Try the deeply hydrating Rose of Sharon Body Wrap which incorporates rose clay from the Provence region of France.
Verve Salon & Spa is on-trend and committed to treating you head to toe. Lots of massages and facials to choose from.
Studio E offers walk-in manicure and pedicure appointments. Get party-ready with a make-up application.
Get Dressed Up
Isaac's Fine Apparel, in the same complex as the Jefferson Street Inn, is known for its upscale women's fashions and beautiful accessories, all designed to make you feel like a million bucks. The personal service here is exceptional.
Campbell Hanies Menswear offers the finest names in men's suits, sportswear and formal wear. It's locally owned and operated, which we appreciate. Located on the same block as our inn.
Blackash Urban Goods boutique features women's clothes with an emphasis on contemporary fashion and accessories.
Stoned & Wired Bead Shop offers a dazzling selection of beads, Swarovski crystals, embellishments and supplies. If you're not a jewelry maker but love handmade jewelry, then you'll love shopping the array of custom pieces here.
Celebrate with Fine Dining
City Grill Bistro is a dining destination in the truest sense of that term. Foodies will love signature entrées like the walleye and New York strip. Insider tip: The bleu chips appetizer is a must-devour.
Back When Café serves farm-to-table cuisine in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Wausau. This is a spot the locals love for its slow food philosophy and its take on Mediterranean and French cuisine.
Thrive Foodery takes farm-to-table to art form with its delicious dishes that support the community.
Daly's Restaurant serves an eclectic menu - think duck wontons to red curry noodles - with a fine wine and cocktail menu.
Try the Italian specialties at the 2510 Restaurant.
Take in a Show
The Grand Theater has an incredibly busy and diverse performance schedule for fall and winter. We especially like The Illusionists on Oct. 2, Tracy Lawrence on Oct. 17, The Music of Cream Nov. 13, and Mannheim Steamroller Dec. 12.
The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum is a real treasure for art lovers. Through Nov. 25 is the renowned "Birds in Art" exhibit. Then Dec. 1 through Feb. 24 is the work of Victor Vasarely, considered the father of the optical-kinetic art movement. Admission is always free.
The Center for the Visual Arts, just steps from the Jefferson Street Inn, has three distinct galleries, each showcasing the work of regional artists. All gallery events are free and open to the public. Be sure to shop the original art in the gift shop.