Wausau is a city in North Central Wisconsin. While the metropolitan area has a population of around 80,000, it has a big city feel and often leads one to believe they are in a larger city. Wausau has many great man-made and natural features, such as Dudley Tower/First Wausau Tower, the tallest commercial building in the state outside of Milwaukee, and Rib Mountain State Park/Granite Peak Ski Area.

Get in

Traveling north and south, Wausau can be reached via 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 (Delta Air Lines ), Minneapolis (Delta Air Lines ), Chicago O'Hare (American Airlines or United Airlines ). Lamers Bus Lines offers a daily trip to/from Milwaukee via the Fox Valley which may be ticketed through Greyhound (or Amtrak if connecting to a rail leg).

Get around

By bus

Public transportation is 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 vice versa, it is quicker and easier to use the US 51/I 39 expressway which runs along the west edge of the city.



For a city of its size, Wausau hosts a large 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 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, www.wausaucva.org). 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 , 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.


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


An upscale "martini bar" has opened downtown named III (three) for it's location on Third Street.


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.

Additional options can be found at the Wausau Visitors and Convention Bureau web site .

Go next

Routes through Wausau

Hurley Merrill ← ends  N  S  Stevens Point Madison
Chippewa Falls Abbotsford  W  E  Shawano Green Bay

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, November 18, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.