Summer in Wausau is Really Quite Wonderful
If you took the best of a small town with its wide open spaces and combined it with a great urban destination that's definitely on the rise, you'd come up with a place like Wausau, Wisconsin. Spring here is really quite wonderful. Here are some of our favorites so you can vacation like a local.
Stretch Your Legs and Your Limits
Biking There are so many bike trails to choose from-stop at the front desk and we'll give you a map of all the options. For families, we recommend the downtown River Walk path. For enthusiasts, make a day of it at Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area. And if you're into mountain biking challenges, head to Rib Mountain.
Hiking Really stretch your limits with a hike at Rib Mountain State Park, one of the oldest rock formations on earth. We also like Dells of the Eau Claire County Park, a real jewel with rock palisades and falling water, where a five-mile trail runs along both sides of the Eau Claire River.
Kayaking The Wisconsin River 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.
Golf and Disc Golf Golfers on our staff favor these three 18-hole courses: Tribute, Indianhead, and Crane Meadows. Disc golf is more popular than ever, so for you disc golfers, try Memorial Park, Yellow Banks Park, or, our favorite, Big Eau Pleine Park.
Golf tip: When spring showers fall, try the golf simulator at Premier Sports Academy.
Art That Celebrates Nature
Woodson Art Museum Now thorugh August, an exhibition of oil paintings, watercolors, and sketches revealing Owen Gromme's lifelong passion for nature and wildlife. Make time to view the garden sculptures too. Always free admission.
Monk Botanical Gardens A 21-acre property that seeks to promote understanding of the aesthetic and ecological role of plants. Picnic near the pond. Go geocaching. Meditate in tranquility.
Microbreweries with Patios
Bull Falls Brewery Craft beers using authentic German ingredients, best enjoyed in their outdoor beer garden.
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company Known for an award-winning ales and lagers and yes, the same as the original Great Dane in Madison. Sample beers on the outdoor deck or in the 100-seat beer garden.
Red Eye Brewing Company You'll find an urban industrial vibe here. Sip a sampler on the patio. Howlers and growlers to go.
Dining on the Lighter Side
The 319 Get great art with your food at this combo gallery and bistro, a best kept secret really. The work of local artists is juried and offered for sale. The menu is ever-changing with daily features bursting with flavor.
Back When Cafe Serving 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 accent on Mediterranean and French.
Be Well Bakeshop at Downtown Grocery Yes, bakery is allowed when it's prepared gluten-free and vegan with simple, healthful ingredients, no preservatives and, when possible, Wisconsin-grown and organic ingredients.
Becca's Cafe Tasty and healthy lunch and dinner options dominate the menu here, including a nice selection of signature wraps, but we recommend making a special trip for the smoothies. They're blended to order with fresh fruit, yogurt and juice.
City Grill Bistro Try the petite version of the City Grill Chop Salad tossed in maple mustard vinaigrette, then move on to the grilled salmon with orange lavender glaze. The soup and sandwich combos are very tasty too.
Thrive Foodery "Chef-owned, community driven" is the mantra here. And the dishes are nothing short of delicious. Share some starters, munch on the Sunny Side Caesar, or opt for the veggie burger with spicy vegan mayo.
Farmers Market of Wausau Opening May 7th, then every Saturday and Wednesday, 7 a.m. until sold out. Browse among 50 vendors offering fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as baked goods and cheese.
Spring Décor Refresh Finds
Evolutions in Design The shopping experience here is so cool. The owners pride themselves on changing the merchandise every few weeks in this two-story boutique. You're sure to leave with a new piece of art or home accessory.
The Lamplighter Fine Gifts Swarovski and Waterford home décor items to bring some sparkle to your spring décor. Plus art glass and porcelain pieces. Oh, and it looks like they have grillware and serving accessories too, just in time for warm weather grilling.
Black Purl While you're sprucing up your home, why not pick up some beautiful yarns at this specialty knitting shop to make something just for you in pretty spring pastels.
Spas for Spring Renewal
Dayspring Health Spa Ready for a body polish treatment to get rid of winter weary skin? Or maybe a pedicure-sandal season is just around the corner. Located in the same building as the Jefferson Street Inn.
Hot Waters Spa Insipred by the mountain resorts of Colorado, only in the shadow of Wausau's Rib Mountain, this spa has outdoor whirlpool soaks. Follow a soak with a massage to soothe muscles sore from overdoing it on the hiking and biking.
Studio E A relaxing massage, pomegranate exfoliation, rehydration body treatment, and age-defying facial all sound irresistible.
Mark Your Calendar
Grand Theater Performances Golden Dragon Acrobats from China, the Improvised Shakespeare Company, country star Rosanne Cash and comedian Lewis Black are just a few of the headliners this spring.
Whitewater Recreational Release Weekend of May 14-15, 2016. Any paddler can use the whitewater kayak course in downtown Wausau.
Guided Bird Walk at Monk Botanical Gardens Saturday, May 21, 2016. In celebration of International Migratory Bird Day.
Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge Saturday, May 28, 2016. Teams run, bike and paddle their way through the rugged wilderness only using a map and compass.