The Great River Road National Scenic Byway winds 3,000 miles along the Mississippi River, from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Wisconsin is home to 250 of those miles, which unspool through a wealth of inviting river towns. Several of these towns and neighboring areas have garnered a reputation for hosting lively Pride celebrations in addition to having LGBTQ+-friendly lodging, restaurants and shops. So grab your besties and celebrate at some of these premier Wisconsin Pride events and extra stops along the gorgeous Great River Road.
Lake Pepin Pride - Stockholm
The charming town of Stockholm is known as a haven for artists and craftspeople, along with having Swedish roots. Every June the town hosts Lake Pepin Pride, a free and family-friendly event celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Head to the village park with your favorite friends to listen to speakers and live music, take in a drag show and browse the wealth of vendor booths. Plenty of food is available for purchase, and you may even be able to enjoy entertainment at an evening cabaret.
While your group is in town, make sure to stop in at the LGBTQ+-owned Stockholm Pie & General Store. Known nationwide for its delectable, scratch-made pies, this is the place to score staples like apple crunch and pecan, plus inventive flavors like peppermint marshmallow and mint mocha brownie. The shop also sells sandwiches, savory pies and more.
Pride in the Park - La Crosse
Keep the Pride celebrations going beyond June at Pride in the Park. La Crosse's free annual Pride celebration, held in the city's Riverside Park every September, offers visitors a family picnic, live musical performances, kids' activities and unique events like "So You Think You Can Drag?" This popular show, which often sells out, is open to both experienced drag performers and newcomers. La Crosse PRIDE also hosts Queer Halloween every October, a kid-friendly party with a costume contest, food and raffles.
You and your group should plan to spend the night in town, as La Crosse is home to the luxe (and LGBTQ+-owned) Castle La Crosse, a bed-and-breakfast inn located in one of the city's historic homes. The impressive Queen Anne-styled house features five spacious guest rooms and delectable breakfasts. You may be visiting when stuffed squash is on the menu, filled with soft-cooked eggs, sausage and veggies. Or you may score empanadas stuffed with cheese, ham and leeks. No matter what’s on the menu, you won't leave hungry.
Viroqua Area Pride – Viroqua
Another prime locale for celebrating Pride Month is Viroqua. While not on the Great River Road proper, this cute town lies just 20 miles east of the Mississippi and is the home of Viroqua Area Pride. Corral your family or friends and head over for the event, where you'll be treated to family-friendly drag performances, live music and lots of vendors selling colorful items ranging from rubber duckies to cupcakes topped with rainbow-colored sprinkles. You and your loved ones may be able to enjoy some karaoke, a dance party and even a photobooth.
Stay the night at the LGBTQ+-owned Kickapoo Valley Ranch in nearby La Farge. When you open the door to your luxuriously appointed guest cabin, you'll find a small basket of chewy, delectable cookies that were created by Cowboy David, one of the owners. To remember your stay once back home, you can always order more cookies (plus cakes and cupcakes) from the owners' special-order bakery.
Discover more LGBTQ+-owned businesses throughout Wisconsin to visit while traveling!