Best Known For:
The Wausau area enjoys a combination of big-city amenities with the look and feel of the great Northwoods, and small-town hospitality. Four seasons of outdoor recreation, a thriving arts community, entertaining festivals and events, diverse shopping, and dining are just some of the many things to discover in the Wausau area.
Year Established: organized 1852, incorporated 1861
What is the most surprising fact about your city?
The location of the city is where the Chippewa Tribe went on their yearly hunts and called it "Wausau," translated to mean "far away place." Stories that question that interpretation state the word "Wausau" means "noise like thunder" in another Native language. This would make sense due to the noise of water rushing over the falls on the Wisconsin River.
Do you have any famous residents?
Marissa Mayer – Yahoo CEO/Tech Mogul
John McCutcheon – An American folk musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist
Chris Wimmer – Nascar Driver
Scott Wimmer – Nascar Driver
Elroy Leon “Crazylegs” Hirsch – An American football player and sport executive
John Altenburgh – An American jazz and blue pianist, composer, arranger and producer
Nika Roza Danilova – Stage name Zola Jesus is an American singer-songwriter and producer
Jeffery Alan Dellenbach – Former NFL center; member of the Green Bay Packers when they won Super Bowl XXXI
What are the biggest annual events in Wausau?
Wausau's BIG Weekend takes place annually, the second weekend of July and includes Sidewalk Sales (Th-Sun), Chalkfest (Sat-Sun), the Balloon Chase 5K (Sat), and the Balloon and Rib Fest (Fri-Sun).
Concerts on the Square is an ongoing outdoor concert series that takes place on the 400 Block (City Center Square) each Wednesday over 8 weeks from June to August.
For a full listing of events - year-round - in Wausau, visit Wausau Events!
What do you want visitors to discover in your community?
We have an awesome mix of walkable eclectic shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation right in our downtown. From the 400 Block (center point in downtown Wausau) you can walk to 75 storefront businesses, a world class kayak course, Fern and/or Stewart Islands along the Wisconsin River, and various other parks - all within 10 minutes. We truly are a city nestled in the northwoods.
What initiatives is Wausau currently working on?
Wausau is currently working on the East Riverfront Redevelopment – it is the next generation of Wausau’s successfully revitalized urban waterfront along the Wisconsin River. We are currently completing extensive ramp and surface parking facility improvements and creating parcels of all sizes for restaurants, entertainment, residential, commercial, office and mixed-use development.
Where would you take someone on a first date in your town?
Depending on the time of year, there are any number of things you could do. In the summer, plan a night around any number of outdoor music events. Take your date to First Thursdays to experience live local music and art throughout downtown Wausau. Work together to solve the scavenger hunt while exploring the area and buy a momento from Janke Book Store to remember the night. Afterwards, go out to Back When Cafe for an outdoor bistro dinner in the heart of downtown, nestled among beautiful flowers. Then catch a great band (usually for no cover) at Malarkey's.
In the winter, take your date downtown and experience old school Norman Rockwell charm. Walk under the draped holiday garlands softly glowing in the early darkness, grab a hot drink at Malarkey's or The Mint, rent skates from Shepherd and Schaller and skate hand in hand on the ice rink on the 400 Block while experiencing views of the Christmas tree and The Grand Theater. End the night with a show or performance at the Grand and dinner at any number of great restaurants. You can often catch an after-show party at Malarkey's as well.