Onalaska, Wisconsin homes for sale

Onalaska, Wisconsin Real Estate and Community Info.

The city of Onalaska, Wisconsin, is about six miles north of the city of La Crosse. Nestled near the confluence of the La Crosse and Black rivers and hugging the banks of the Mississippi River, Onalaska contains about 18,000 residents, according to the 2010 census.

Onalaska’s residents enjoy a multitude of recreational and cultural activities, including fishing on Lake Onalaska, exploring the massive bluffs that rise hundreds of feet above the mighty Mississippi River, and participating in or simply reveling in many of the fun festivals put on in Onalaska and nearby La Crosse.

The Onalaska name derives from Scottish poet Thomas Campbell’s poem entitled, “The Pleasures of Hope,” which talks about an island among the Aleutians called “Oonalaska.” The town owes much of its success to water. Founded in 1851 by Thomas G. Rowe from New York and John C. Laird from Pennsylvania, Onalaska utilized its proximity to the Black and Mississippi rivers to become a thriving lumber town.

Shopping and Dining

Its close proximity to La Crosse, one of the largest urban areas in the state, has played a major role in elevating Onalaska to a leader in retail shopping and eclectic dining opportunities in the nine-county region near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. Valley View Mall, with its 90 stores and restaurants, is right in Onalaska’s backyard, along with other one-stop indoor shopping centers like Center 90 and Sand Lake Road, Crossroads Center and Marsh View Center. Onalaska also offers scores of independent specialty shops, art galleries, antique stores and gift shops.

As one might imagine, a community so chock-full of shopping alternatives is all the more likely to offer visitors and residents a wide variety of dining options to accommodate them. Regardless of your tastes in food and ambiance, Onalaska can assuredly fulfill your desires. More than 40 eateries, from locally-owned and operated diners, delis and elegant supper clubs to fast food restaurants serve up an eclectic array of culinary delights.

Parks and Recreation

There’s a truism you might have heard relating to real estate investment, be it purchasing a home or a tract of land, namely that the three most important factors are location, location, location. Well, the same is true in the realm of recreation. When looking at a map of Wisconsin, you will find that Onalaska’s location near rivers and lakes create a natural outdoor paradise.

Onalaska’s Parks Maintenance Division manages about 300 acres of parkland in and around the city’s limits. There are more than 20 parks in the area, providing facilities such as picnic sites, volleyball, tennis and basketball courts, baseball and softball fields, skating rinks and an outdoor pool.

The Great River State Trail snakes through the lush countryside from Onalaska to Trempealeau. Along the way, it joins the La Crosse River State Trail and together they provide more than 100 miles of biking, walking and jogging pathways. Breathtaking scenery surrounds you on these wilderness trails. Majestic river bluffs tower over vast wetlands bursting with wildlife, plant life and, at one point, a 287-foot former railroad trestle bridge.


Onalaska plays host to many of the qualities most Americans desire to have in their home town. With less than 20,000 citizens, it’s a relatively small community, which translates to friendly, peaceful and serene neighborhoods with affordable housing options.

However, it’s a large enough urban environment, especially when you include the rest of the La Crosse metro area, to have accessible shopping and dining, art and culture, and parks and recreational opportunities of a large metropolis.

Onalaska’s OmniCenter serves as the community’s cultural hub. It contains two arenas that combine to span more than 50,000 square feet. It’s used for numerous activities and events, such as business conferences, trade shows and wedding receptions. Because OmniCenter is located in a large (Van Riper) park, it also hosts summertime festivals, concerts and sports tournaments.

Onalaska’s main employers include Gundersen Lutheran health care center, Metallics, Inc., and the Onalaska School District.

Schools, Health, Transportation

The Onalaska School District and the Holmen School District join forces to serve the city’s elementary, middle and high school needs.

The aforementioned Gundersen Lutheren health care center serves as the primary medical facility for the Onalaska area, along with the Franciscan Skemp La Crosse Hospital and the Franciscan Skemp Sparta Hospital.

Interstate 90 cuts a wide swath of highway south of the city, dividing it from La Crosse. Several state highways and county roads also offer Onalaska residents and visitors plenty of automotive transportation options. An Amtrak train station offers an alternative mode of travel.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, give us a call at (608) 781-7714 or send us an email to explore your options and to find out when is the best time for you to make a move.

Contact Information

Photo of Judy Gull Real Estate
Judy Gull
RE/MAX First Choice
757 Sand Lake Road
Onalaska WI 54650
Direct: 608-781-7714
Fax: 608-783-4263