Wausau, the heart of north central Wisconsin, is a city that’s small enough to be friendly and big enough to have a lot of things to do. Nestled on the Wisconsin River, the city is one of the best places in the state to connect with history, enjoy the great outdoors and go skiing. Whether the snow is falling or it’s a sunny summer day, you’ll find a laid-back city worth spending some time discovering.
Before the French explorers arrived, the land around along the river was settled by the Ojibwe people, also called the Chippewa. The name Wausau, in the Ojibwe language, means “a place that’s faraway.” When the fur traders arrived, they were struck by the bubbling rapids. By the 1830s, a treaty with the Ojibwe transferred ownership to the federal government. By the middle of the 19th century, more settlers arrived and sawmills sprung up around the river. The fate of some sawmill towns did not befall Wausau Wisconsin, because the city began to welcome more businesses, especially when the railroad arrived. As the city grew up, it became more diverse, welcoming many Hmong immigrants after the Vietnam War. At the beginning of the 21st century, the city embarked on an extensive renovation project to keep the city relevant for decades to come.
Wausau long has been preserving its history, much to the delight of history buffs. Today, Wausau is home to a delightful collection of beautiful old homes collected into historic districts. The town’s most visited historic district is the Andrew Warren Historic District, filled with elegant homes built between 1868 and 1934. The Marathon County Historical Society leads walking tours of the district, home to more than 20 styles of architecture. They also operate two house museums in the Wausau Wisconsin historic downtown, the Yawkey House Museum and the Woodson History Center, located in a fine example of Prairie Style architecture best associated with Frank Lloyd Wright. In this case, Wausau’s most elegant home with designed by George Mahr, one of the few architects to rival Wright.
Wausau Skiing– Granite Peak Ski Area
Wausau Skiing– Granite Peak Ski Area Image: vxla (flickr)
When winter to comes to Wisconsin and the snow starts flying, Wausau’s residents and visitors prepare for adventure. The city serves as a base for all kind of winter sports, including snowmobiling, snowshoeing and downhill skiing. Wausau’s favorite place for skiing and boarding is Granite Peak Ski Area, located at Rib Mountain State Park and featuring the highest vertical drop in Wisconsin. If you don’t have all the gear you need for skiing, the equipment shop is located right at the mountain, and another is found in downtown Wausau.
Wausau Wisconsin Hotels
After a day on the slopes or connecting with history, it’s nice to have a place to relax. Wausau’s collection of accommodations includes hotels, budget-friendly accommodations as well as RV parks and camping. You’ll also find bed-and-breakfast inns nestled in the historic district. Wausau’s innkeepers can provide more than a nice place to sleep and breakfast in the morning. They know their city better than about anyone else, and they’re happy to provide suggestions for things to do in Wausau and other nearby communities in North Central Wisconsin.
Top image: Visit Wausau CVB