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Wausau, Wisconsin

Local Details

Learn more about Wausau, Wisconsin using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Wausau, Wisconsin so great!

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City Guide

Wausau is in Wisconsin. It is about 180 miles east of Minneapolis, Minnesota. While the metropolitan area has a population of around 80,000, the city has about 40,000 and the town just over 2000.

Get in

Traveling north and south, Wausau can be reached from I-39/US-51, and traveling east and west, Wausau can be reached by State Highway 29. Wausau can be reached from Minneapolis in about three and a half hours via I-94 and State Highway 29. Milwaukee is about three and a half hours away as well via I-94 and I-39. Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA), 12 miles south of Wausau, provides daily service to and from Detroit (Northwest Airlines), Minneapolis (Northwest Airlines), Chicago O'Hare (United Airlines) and Milwaukee (Midwest Airlines). There is no Amtrak service to Wausau. In cooperation with Greyhound, Lamers Bus Lines offers a daily trip to Milwaukee via the Fox Valley.

Get around

By Bus

Public transportation is very limited in the Wausau Area. Metro Ride (formerly WATS or Wausau Area Transit System) operates eight bus routes in the City of Wausau which run at 30-minute intervals; one bus route in the Village of Weston, which runs at 30-minute intervals; and one bus route to Rothschild and Schofield, which operates at 60-minute intervals. Passengers can transfer between routes at the Metro Ride Transit Center, which is located at 555 Jefferson Street in the downtown Wausau, one block from the Wausau Center Mall. Passengers can also transfer between Route C and Route K at Shopko in Rothschild and between Route E and Route I at Aspirus Clinic in Wausau. Buses are clean and uncrowded but the limited schedule makes them somewhat impractical to all but the most dedicated transit user.

By Car

Travel by car is very easy in the Wausau area and the preferred method of transportation. Roads are well maintained and marked. Ample, free, at-door parking is available everywhere outside of the downtown area. Downtown, parking is easy to find and very inexpensive. As the city and surrounding area are oriented north/south, for trips from the far north to far south side or visa versa, it is quicker and easier to use the US 51/I 39 expressway which runs along the west edge of the city.


  • Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, 700 North Twelfth Street, Wausau, phone number (715) 845-7010, Tuesday - Friday: 9am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday: Noon - 5pm. The Museum's permanent collection is known for its focus on nature with historic and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and works on paper that focus on birds. The annual Birds in Art exhibition in September and October attracts both international artists and visitors. The gardens dotted with sculpture invite visitors to "outdoor galleries." The museum building itself is impressive. In 1976, John and Alice Woodson Forester transformed their English Cotswold-style residence into a museum to display her mother's collections of Royal Worcester porcelains and Victorian glass baskets. Consult the schedule of events section of the web site for specific exhibition and program information. Free Admission.
  • Marathon County Historical Museums, 403 and 410 McIndoe St., Wausau, (715) 848-6143, Tuesday - Thursday: 9 am - 4:30 pm, Saturday - Sunday 1 pm - 4:30 pm, Closed Monday, Friday and major holidays. In 1954, Leigh Yawkey Woodson and her daughters donated the home of her late parents, lumberman Cyrus C. Yawkey and Alice Richardson Yawkey, to the Historical Society. The house was built in 1900 in the Classical Revival style and later remodeled in the Prairie School style and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The Yawkey House is currently being renovated to its original rooms, an authentically furnished music room, dining room, and parlor give a taste of gracious living of a bygone era. The formal gardens displaying a colorful array of native wildflowers, perennials, annuals, and herbs and carriage house are open throughout the summer. The home of A.P. Woodson and Leigh Yawkey Woodson, located across the street at 410 McIndoe Street was built in 1914 and designed by Prairie School architect, George W. Maher. The Woodson House contains the Historical Society’s library, archives, administrative offices, artifact storage, and the educational exhibit area. $2.00 donation.
  • Rib Mountain State Park, Four miles southwest off of Highway 51, Exit 188 to Rib Mountain Drive (follow signs), Contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - phone number (715) 842-7522. Daily: 6am-11pm. Covering over 860 acres, Rib Mountain State Park boasts a well-maintained network of hiking and nature trails that allows visitors to enjoy many wildflowers and other plants growing throughout the park. Campsites, picnic areas, an interpretive center, scenic overlooks, and a 60 foot observation tower provide a spectacular view of the Wausau Area and surrounding countryside. Featured events include “Concerts in the Clouds” at the amphitheater during the summer and in the winter, ski down one of the many runs at Granite Peak Ski Area on the north side of Rib Mountain. Fees apply. Special hourly sticker available at park entrance from mid-May through August.
  • The Wausau Depot, 720 Grant Street, Wausau, no phone. Interior not open to the public. When most people think of Wausau, they probably envision the railroad depot created by Wausau Insurance Companies for a corporate logo. They can't find the depot pictured in the ads because it was drawn by an artist combining one depot building with the view of the city skyline from another depot. The depot featured in the logo still stands at 720 Grant Street. After Wausau Insurance Companies bought the building in 1977, a faithful reproduction was constructed at its corporate headquarters (Bridge Street exit of US Highway 51) for advertising purposes and the Grant Street depot was donated to the Boy Scouts. The Washington Street depot (Washington Street at the Wisconsin River) with the city backdrop depicted in the logo has recently been restored and used as office space.

Additional suggestions can be found at the City of Wausau web site.


  • Granite Peak Ski Area, 3605 North Mountain Road, P.O. Box 5010, Wausau (North Mountain Road (County Highway NN) one mile west of the US 51/SR 29 exit), (715) 845-2846 ( Daily except Sunday 9 am - 9 pm, Sunday 9am - 5pm, in season only (usually mid-November to mid-March depending on conditions - see web site for details). 74 runs with a 700 foot vertical drop making it one of the largest ski areas in the Midwest. Extensive snow making equipment and lighted runs for night skiing. Base area has a variety of food outlets and bars as well as a ski shop, rental area and ski school. Lift tickets start at $52 for one day - 9 am - 4 pm ($28 for night skiing - 5 pm - 9 pm) for an adult and $99 for two days. Additional days are $36/day. Special internet prices available via the web site include free night skiing and a discount for additional days. Family discounts available.

For a city of its size, Wausau host an unbelievable number of festivals and activities. For a current listing of activities, visit Wausau Visitors and Convention Bureau web site. One of the largest events annually is Wausau's Artrageous Weekend, usually held the first or second weekend in September (check the Wausau Visitor's and Convention Bureau web site for exact dates). The event has gotten so big that it is held at three venues throughout the city with shuttle bus service between all locations. This event attracts thousands and it will be difficult to obtain lodging in the area that weekend unless one reserves well in advance. There is an extremely strong arts tradition in the Wausau area and the city's old wealth has given very generously to keep the tradition alive and well. The city's Performing Arts Center is located in downtown's Grand Theater, a fully restored 1,200 seat house dating from 1927. A recent expansion has created a facility that covers nearly an entire city block and attracts diverse talent. Recent performances included Mozart's Marriage of Figaro by the Bulgarian State Opera and concerts by Mannheim Steamroller and Blues legend B.B. King. See the Wausau Performing Arts Foundation web site for more information.


Like most other American cities, Wausau and the surrounding area is dominated by national chain stores. The 3rd Street pedestrian mall downtown has a number of locally owned stores. The stretch north of Scott Street, in particular, has an off-beat resale shop and a few housewares stores that would fit in any major metro area. For high quality crafts from local artisans, try the Center for the Visual Arts downtown at 427 4th St. (corner of Scott St, phone (715) 842-4545, open Tuesday-Friday 10am - 5 pm and Saturday-Sunday 12pm - 4pm, Wausau is known for its dairy industry but most locals buy their cheese and other dairy products at the grocery store. Small country cheese factories where one could see cheese being made are quite rare now but the modern Mullins Cheese factory has a decent sized shop and windows that overlook the production floor. The factory is located about four miles south of the airport. Exit I-39/US-51 at State Highway 34 and go less than a half mile west to County Highway DB. The factory is less than a half mile south just off County Highway DB at 598 Seagull Drive, Mosinee. Phone (715) 693-3205. Open Monday - Saturday 8 am - 5 pm and Sunday 9 am - 5 pm.

The Wausau Center Mall downtown [15], with 60 national retailers, is anchored by three department stores. Washington Square, across from the mall, is a renovated department store that is home to a number of locally owned businesses and restaurants on its three floors. National big box retailers tend to cluster along County Highway N/Rib Mountain Drive just north of its junction with US-51 on Wausau's southwest side.


Very good restaurants in Wausau include the Back When Cafe, the Wright Place and the City Grill. The Pinewood Supper Club in nearby Mosinee offers "northwoods" dining overlooking a wooded lake.

==Drink==An upscale "martini bar" has opened downtown named III (three) for it's location on Third Street. The City Grill, also downtown, hosts a comfortable bar.


Most of the lodging in the Wausau area is similar to what you would find along any Interstate highway but the last ten years have seen an increase in bed and breakfast inns close to downtown as well as one major hotel at its very center. Highest rates tend to be found on weekends during the ski season and during some of the major festivals in summer and autumn. The greatest number of motels can be found at or near the following US-51 exits starting from the south: Business US-51/Rothschild, County Highway NN/North Mountain Road and Stewart Avenue/State Highway 52/Sherman Street. A few options follow. Grandma's House, LLC- sleeps 10 in a house with all the conforts of home. 2 bathrooms, large kitchen/dining, fully furnished. For rental information contact Diane Schultz 715-432-7381

  • AmericInn Lodge & Suites, 4115 Barbican Av., Weston (SR 29 at Camp Phillips Rd./County Highway X exit), (715) 355-0077 or (800) 634-3444. Newer but typical roadside motel with indoor pool and a large water slides. 67 Rooms. $59-$104.
  • Comfort Inn, 1510 County Highway XX, Rothschild (US-51 "Rothschild/Business US-51" exit), (715) 355-4449. Newer motel with indoor pool. Many restaurants in the immediate vicinity. 60 Rooms. $63-$113.
  • Everest Inn Bed and Breakfast, 601 McIndoe St., in downtown Wausau , (715) 848-5651 or (888) 848-5651. Seven rooms, some with shared baths, in a renovated 1908 Queen Anne style home in a substantial residential area just north-east of downtown. Private bath $79-$135, Shared bath $55-95.
  • Hampton Inn, 615 S. 24th Av., Wausau (exit US-51 northbound at Sherman St. or southbound US-51 at WI-52/Stewart Av.), (715) 848-9700 (reservations call (800) HAMPTON). Indoor pool and whirlpool. Near to a variety of restaurants. 89 rooms. $69-$115.
  • Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 1000 Imperial Av., Rothschild (US-51 "Rothschild/Business US-51" exit), (715) 355-1111 or (888) 272-2792. The old Wausau Holiday Inn was finally replaced by this version around the year 2000. 148 rooms on four floors with a full service casual restaurant and bar as well as an indoor pool, whirlpool and small fitness room. Close to a variety of restaurants. $72-$179.
  • Jefferson Street Inn, 201 Jefferson Street, downtown Wausau (Exit US-51 at WI 52/Stewart Av. and follow WI 52 downtown), (715) 845-6500 (Reservations only (866) 855-6500). Wausau's first attempt at quality downtown lodging on a larger scale in almost 50 years. The success of this new hotel has led to talk of expansion. 62 rooms with a decent restaurant and bar, the hotel is located in the heart of downtown and within walking distance to a number of restaurants, bars and shopping as well as the Marathon County History Museum, the Arts Block/Performing Arts Center and the Kayak course. Indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna and fitness room. Of the larger hotels in Wausau, this is the nicest. $90-$215.
  • Lodge at Cedar Creek, 805 Creske Av, P.O. Box 156, Rothschild (Exit I-39/US-51 at "Rothschild/Business US-51 exit), (715) 241-6300 or (888) 305-6343. Newer, northwoods themed, hotel with 140 rooms, some with fireplaces. All rooms have sitting areas as well as bedroom areas separated by half height walls. Restaurant and lounge. The big draw here is the decent sized indoor water park that kids and audlts seem to enjoy. Many restaurants in the area. $129-$250 (rates include water park admission).
  • Rosenberry Inn Bed & Breakfast, 511 Franklin St., downtown Wausau, (715) 842-5733 or (800) 336-3799. Another large, restored house in the Andrew Warren historic district on the north-east edge of downtown. Eight rooms, all with private bath, air conditioning, CD players and wireless internet. Some rooms with TV and fireplaces. $90-$150.
  • Stewart Inn Bed and Breakfast, 521 Grant Street, downtown Wausau, (715) 849-5858. Five rooms in a listed, early 1900s Arts and Crafts style home designed by George W. Maher, an associate for Frank Lloyd Wright. Located in the Andrew Warren Historical District on the north-east edge of downtown. Rooms furnished with period furniture, flat screen TVs, CD/DVD players, wireless internet, Sterns and Foster mattresses, central air conditioning and hot water heat. All private baths with steam spa. Some rooms with fireplace. Converted in 2002. Wausau's most luxurious and expensive accommodations. $110-$215.

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