Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Onalaska, a city guide for meeting professionals. Conveniently located off of I-90 between Chicago and the Twin Cities, Onalaska is a scenic, recreation-rich destination that offers a variety of meeting venues and plenty of after-meeting adventure. Considered one of the most affordable and convenient locations in the Midwest, this Wisconsin city sits at the confluence of the Mississippi River, Black River, and 7,700-acre Lake Onalaska, and is surrounded by protected wetlands and nature areas, all providing places to enjoy the outdoors and serving as the perfect backdrop for meetings, conventions, events, and other group gatherings. When it's time for a break, business travelers can explore the 101 miles of interconnected state biking trails, shop at the largest retail district in a nine-county region, and bird-watch on the Mississippi River Flyway, among many other options.
Meeting participants can fly into the La Crosse Regional Airport, which is located about 15 minutes outside of Onalaska in nearby La Crosse. The three-gate airport offers daily nonstop flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, and Chicago, and features direct access to the regional Municipal Transit Utility bus line, which runs in La Crosse, French Island, Onalaska, and La Crescent, Minnesota.
Once in Onalaska, meeting participants can gather at the Onalaska Omni Center, located in the middle of Van Riper Park and spanning 50,000 square feet of total event space, including a 28,000-square-foot and a 22,000-square-foot arena (which can be combined via connecting corridor). The center also features four conference rooms totaling more than 5,100 square feet, as well as a 4,000-square-foot semi-enclosed outdoor shelter.
In addition to its Onalaska Omni Center, the Onalaska area is home to a variety of unique venues, ranging from riverboat cruises to a local brewery, which can both accommodate group events and showcase the city's best attractions and adventures. Groups can tour the Pearl Street Brewery in nearby La Crosse, as well as hold events and sample award-winning brews at the brewery's tasting room. La Crosse is also home to Copeland Park, the home field for the Northwoods League's La Crosse Loggers, part of the summer baseball league composed of top college players. Groups can watch the games from deck and cabin areas, including a two-tiered, open-air deck along right field and a private seating area atop the outfield wall at right center field. La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in nearby West Salem serves as the only NASCAR-sanctioned track in Wisconsin, as well as a location for group events, thanks to its rentable party deck, hospitality chalet, picnic terrace, and exhibition building.
Groups can also charter private cruises along the wild and scenic Mississippi River backwaters courtesy of Mississippi Explorer Cruises. The fleet of 39- to 98-passenger riverboats pass through the protected Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, stopping at bald eagle nests, beaver lodges, and lotus fields, and focusing on regional history and ecology. Groups can also charter cruises aboard a modern-day, 149-passenger replica of the 19th-century grand riverboats aboard La Crosse Queen Paddlewheel Cruises; the cruise company offers sightseeing, brunch, dinner, cocktail, and moonlight cruises. Both riverboat companies depart from Riverside Park in nearby La Crosse.