February 3, 2018

Perfect 48 hours in Sparta

Posted by: Jennifer

Sparta is a small town with a lot to do. To help you make the most your stay with us, we have planned out the Perfect 48 Hours in Sparta, Wisconsin. In just two days, you can take beautiful bike rides, enjoy delicious food, visit a unique local museum, and explore the great outdoors. Follow this guide and we promise you will fall in love with Sparta, just like we have.

Day 1


Start off your day with a delicious and filling breakfast at the Franklin Victorian. You can eat in our welcoming dining room or for a little privacy, have your meal delivered straight to your room. Each morning, we cook up something memorable and unique. We base our menu on what is seasonally available, so depending on the time of year you visit, you could be served baked grapefruit, a fresh fruit parfait, apple dutch pancakes, creme brulee french toast, wild rice quiche, and more. Our breakfasts come with complimentary coffee, assorted teas, and a variety of fresh breads and pastries. If you are ready to get your day started, we can also pack you a breakfast to-go.

See the World’s Largest Bicycle

America is well-known for its over sized roadside sculptures. You’ve probably heard of The World’s Largest Cowboy Boots in San Antonio and the world’s largest Ball of Twine in Kansas. It only makes sense that Sparta, the Bicycling Capital of America, is home to the world’s largest bicycle. No trip to Sparta is complete without seeing this famous and quirky landmark. This statue depicts a mustached man in a red jacket and bright yellow pants riding an old-fashioned bicycle. It honors Sparta’s history as a cyclist’s paradise. The statue is located in a nice park with many great surrounding trails.

Bike the Elroy-Sparta Trail

You can hop on the popular Elroy-Sparta Trail straight from the World’s Largest Bicycle site. This 32.5 mile trail stretches through 5 small towns and three rock tunnels. The trail is our favorite way to get some exercise and see some of the region’s most beautiful sites. The Elroy-Sparta Trail was the first Rails to Trails project, in which old railroad tracks are converted into cycling trails. Whether you tackle the first few miles or the entire thing, this a must-do for any Sparta visitor.


Dinner at the Sparta Family Restaurant

After a day of cycling, you’ve likely worked up quite an appetite. The Sparta Family Restaurant is a classic Sparta dining establishment serving up hearty Midwestern fare in a friendly and casual setting. This no frills eatery is known for its great service, low prices, and mouth-watering comfort food. We love their American dinner classics like mashed potatoes, roast beef, and meatloaf. Sparta Family Restaurant is also known for having one of the best breakfasts in town.


Day 2

LaCrosse River Trail

Get up early and take a walk or bike ride along the LaCrosse River Trail. The LaCrosse River Trail is a popular trail in town for walking, running, and biking. It follows the LaCrosse River , along abandoned railway lines, through farmlands and forests, and across prairies and wetlands. It is 22-miles in total but you can make the trail as long or as short as you wish.

Grab lunch at Ginny’s Cupboard

Located on Water Street, Ginny’s Cupboard is a charming old-fashioned soda shop serving up sandwiches, salads, soups, ice cream sundaes, and more. Though it was established in 2003, the restaurant features a real 1957 soda fountain, a restored tin ceiling, and an espresso bar. At Ginny’s, you’ll find friendly service, old fashioned charm, and of course, delicious American comfort food. It is located in the 1929 M.C Steel building, so stepping inside Ginny’s Cupboard is like stepping inside a piece of Sparta history.

Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle Museum

The Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle Museum is a unique museum is dedicated to transportation, whether that is by bike or space ship. The museum is named after Deke Slayton, one of America’s first astronauts. In this museum, you’ll find informative exhibits about the history of the bicycle where you can trace its evolution over time. There is also an exhibit dedicated to the history of Deke Slayton as well as Wisconsin’s only piece of the moon. It is a great way to spend the afternoon looking at vintage bikes and learning about space travel.



Taste Some Authentic Wisconsin Cheese

No trip to Wisconsin is complete without trying a little cheese. The Northwood Country Market is Sparta's go-to stop for cheese. This family owned and operated market sells all sorts of speciality food items, including meats, spices, produce, homemade bread, and pastries. However, they are best known for their amazing assortment of high-quality cheeses. Their knowledgeable cheesemongers will help you find the perfect, tastiest cheese, whether that is brie, cheddar, gouda, or blue. Many of the cheeses on their shelves are locally made. We especially love the market’s friendly and helpful employees. Foster Cheese Haus is another great place to pick up tasty Wisconsin cheese (they sell over 500 types!) or enjoy wood-fired pizza and delicious local wines in their restaurant.

Catch a flick at the Sparta Cinema 6

Sparta Cinema 6 is Sparta’s best (and only) movie theater. They show a wide range of blockbusters, independent hits, and art house films. Top off your day in Sparta by catching up on the latest Oscar nominations or enjoying a fun popcorn flick. It's a great way to relax and observe the locals. 

Planning a trip to Sparta, Wisconsin? Book a stay at the charming and historic Franklin Victorian Bed & Breakfast.

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