Eau Claire in Wisconsin is an independent-minded university town that offers an array of things to see and do as well as great shopping, unique dining experiences, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Located at the confluence of the crystal-clear Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers, Eau Claire is home to an alternative community of artists and entrepreneurs who welcome visitors with open arms and leave lasting memories. Whether you are interested in enjoying good food, exploring farmer’s markets, wandering through art galleries and museums, or just sitting at a sidewalk café with a cup of coffee and watching the world go by, Eau Claire has something for everyone.
1.The Ager House
© The Ager House
The Ager House is a museum dedicated to the life of author and writer Waldemar Ager, displaying the home where he wrote all of his seven novels and chronicling his life and career. Located on Madison Street, the 1890s Victorian-era cottage in which Ager and his wife lived and raised nine children has been beautifully restored to its former early 1900s glory and is currently managed by the Waldemar Ager Association and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can enjoy guided tours around this Literary Landmark and learn about the works of Waldemar Ager and the contributions made by other immigrants in the Chippewa Valley.
514 W Madison St, Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-834-3985
2.Beaver Creek Reserve
© Courtesy of Harold - Fotolia.com
Bordered by the Eau Claire River and two trout-stocked streams in Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley, Beaver Creek Reserve is a beautiful 400-acre reserve of pristine landscapes and wilderness that is home to a multitude of diverse flora and fauna. The preserve features an array of terrain, ranging from river bottom forests and wetlands to upland woods and savannah areas as well as nearly 9 miles of hiking trails and a modern Nature Center. Beaver Creek Reserve also boasts a citizen science center, the Hobbs Observatory, Wildland’s Charter School, a youth camp, and a seasonal butterfly house. Activities in the reserve include hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, outdoor play pods for children, and group activities such as animal tracking, archery, and bird banding.
S1 County Road K, Fall Creek, WI 54742, Phone: 715-877-2212
© Courtesy of Daniel Thornberg - Fotolia.com
Situated on a 134-acre peninsula formed in the oxbow Half Moon Lake, which was once part of the former course of the Chippewa River, Carson Park is a beautiful green space that is home to several sports fields, including baseball, softball and football fields, as well as the Chippewa Valley Museum and the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum. Named in honor of lumber baron William Carson, the park has a variety of things to see and do, including fishing at Braun's Bay, visiting the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum, snacking on a famous Butterfinger Dilly Bar from the Dairy Queen, and catching amazing sunsets and photographs. Other activities in the park range from hiking and mountain biking to waterskiing and horseshoeing.
100 Carson Park Dr, Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-839-5039
4.Children's Museum of Eau Claire
© Children's Museum of Eau Claire
The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire is an interactive institution for children and their families to inspire imagination and creativity through play. Spanning three floors, the museum features a variety of interactive exhibits and displays that encourage children to see, touch, play, think, and grow in a colorful and friendly environment. Permanent exhibits include the sizeable digestive system of BodySmarts, the wonderful world of water in WaterWorks, and designing and building a fort in the Imagination Playground in addition to such exhibits as Bitty City, Kidstruction, and Show Business. The museum also offers a range of daily programs for children of all ages, such as art classes, planetarium shows, face painting, and science workshops.
220 S Barstow St, Eau Claire, WI 54701, Phone: 715-832-5437
5.Chippewa River Trail
© Courtesy of Bryan Neuswanger - Fotolia.com
The Chippewa River State Trail is a 26-mile urban-rural trail system that follows the path of the Chippewa River in western Wisconsin. The trail begins in Phoenix Park in downtown Eau Claire, at the point where the Eau Claire River meets the Chippewa River, and runs all the way to the town of Durand, where it meets the Red Cedar State Trail. Once a railroad corridor, the Chippewa River State Trail passes through beautiful landscapes and terrains, including prairies, wetlands, and sandstone bluffs. The trail also connects with smaller trails in and around the city, including a lovely walking trail through Putnam Park and an access pathway to the ever-popular farmers market in Phoenix Park, which is open on Saturday mornings. The path is paved for about 11 miles from downtown Eau Claire to near Caryville and is ideal for mountain biking, cycling, and in-line skating.
6.Chippewa Valley Museum
© Chippewa Valley Museum
The Chippewa Valley Museum is a museum dedicated to highlighting the history and the intertwining stories of the Chippewa Valley and the people who have inhabited it through time. Set in Eau Claire's beautiful Carson Park, the museum features several galleries and award-winning exhibits, a 1950s ice cream parlor, a museum store, and a variety of educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages. Exhibitions include the Barland Gallery, Farm Life, Object Theater: This Day, Ayres Associates Gallery: Picture of Health, and the RCU Children’s Gallery: History Quest, and the grounds around the museum feature beautifully preserved historical structures.
1204 E Half Moon Dr, Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-834-7871
7.Chippewa Valley Railroad
© Chippewa Valley Railroad
The Chippewa Valley Railroad (CVRR) is an historic 1880 mini steam locomotive with coaches that offers fun rides around a forested park. Pulled by coal-fired steam locomotives and a diesel engine, the mini train is made up wooden 1880-style passenger coaches, a gondola car, and a caboose. The quarter-size working railroad includes a depot, a roundtable, a passenger waiting canopy, a turntable, a switchyard, and the oldest interlocking tower in the state, all of which visitors can experience on their ride around the park. The vintage train station has suspender-clad conductors wearing pin-striped engineer's hats to complete the experience.
Carson Park, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1266, Phone: 715-831-0900, Eau Claire, WI 54703
8.Downtown Farmers Market
© Courtesy of smashingoats - Fotolia.com
Located next to the Madison Street Bridge in the north section of Phoenix Park, the Downtown Farmers Market features 70 vendors who sell a variety of organic produce, ranging from fruit, vegetables, fresh flowers and bread to butter, eggs, meats, cheeses, and more. Established to supply the citizens of Eau Claire with farm-fresh products of the highest quality, the market was created in 1994 by Philip Arthur Chute. The Downtown Farmers Market hosts an array of events throughout the year as well as a unique winter market, which sells a variety of seasonal produce and other homemade goodies, such as honey, popcorn, baked treats, and more.
300 Riverfront Terrace, Eau Claire, WI 54701
9.Eau Claire Brew Hop
© Eau Claire Brew Hop
Bus Bros. Tour Co. is a craft brewery and winery that offers unique and fun-filled bus tours of western Wisconsin's best local craft breweries and wineries. All-inclusive tours cater for a maximum of 14 people and include stops at three or four locations, including breweries and wineries in the area. Tours are led by expert guides who share their knowledge of the city and their passion for beer and wine and are conducted in comfortable air-conditioned buses or vans with bottled water and snacks available throughout the trip. Visitors can enjoy sampling and tastings at each stop, with glasses of wine or flights of beer, along with a souvenir Bus Bros. pint glass or wine glass to take home. Private tours for special occasions can also be arranged.
370 Galloway Street, Downtown Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-533-9396
10.Mount Simon Park
© Courtesy of Al - Fotolia.com
Located on Dells Pond, Mount Simon Park is a 49-acre green urban space that runs along the banks of the Chippewa River. The park features a variety of recreational and outdoor activities, such as two picnic pavilions, two sand volleyball courts, two Frisbee nine-hole golf courses, and a boat landing and dock. Other activities to be enjoyed in the park include fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, boating, and water-skiing in the river, along with hiking, biking, tennis, and golf. There are plenty of restrooms and parking throughout the park, and it can be accessed from Birch or Madison Streets.
1100 Addison St, Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-839-5032
11.Paul Bunyan Logging Camp
© Paul Bunyan Logging Camp
The Paul Bunyan Logging Camp is a living museum with a whimsical Paul Bunyan theme that brings the world of 1890s logging to life, highlighting the history of Eau Claire and showcasing preserved historical structures. Established in 1934, the museum is spread across several expertly recreated buildings, including a blacksmith’s shop, a bunkhouse, a cook’s cabin, and a heavy equipment shed, each of which houses original artifacts, objects, and items from the era. The museum features a delightful theme, with oversized fiberglass statues of Paul Bunyan and his companion, Babe the blue ox, and a variety of attractions, such as shooting galleries, flumes, and more.
1110 E Half Moon Dr, Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-835-6200
12.The Brewing Projekt
© The Brewing Projekt
Founded in 2013, The Brewing Projekt is a local taproom that produces specialty crafted and artisan beers and brews in an eclectic, industrial atmosphere. The Brewing Projekt's TapRoom boasts a welcoming vibe where visitors can sample some of the brewery’s finest ales and beers, with a bar counter and stools and an outdoor patio with tables and chairs. Products include an ever-changing lineup of beers, including Chamomile WitBier, GunPowder IPA, Dare Mighty Things IPA, Skull Duggery IPA, and WISCoast Hybrid Pale, as well as seasonal brews like Double GunPowder, IPA Wet Hopped GunPowder, MidNight Oil, and the Stolen Mile.
2000 N Oxford Ave, BLDG 3 BOX 7, Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-214-3728
13.The Living Room Coffee House and Roastery
© Courtesy of Maksim Shebeko - Fotolia.com
The Living Room Coffee House and Roastery is a friendly neighborhood coffee shop and café that serves locally roasted coffee and other hot brews in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Owned by the Lovelien family, the Living Room Coffee House has four stores around town that all serve delicious coffee, espresso, macchiato, latte, mocha, chai tea, other hot beverages as well as home-baked snacks and treats. Cold drinks such as iced latté, iced mocha, blended iced coffee, blended iced cream, fruit smoothies, and Italian sodas are also available. The Living Room Coffee House and Roastery host a variety of events throughout the year, including live music and other performances.
2006 Cameron Street, Eau Claire, WI 54703, Phone: 715-831-0425
© Acoustic Cafe
The Acoustic Café is a bright and spacious corner café on Barstow Street in downtown Eau Claire that serves delicious homemade cuisine and drinks in a friendly, relaxed setting. The casual vegetarian-friendly menu features staples such as gourmet sandwiches, hot hoagies, pitas, homemade soups, and fresh salads as well as baked-from-scratch cookies, muffins, and artisan coffees and espresso. The café hosts live music on the weekends and offers outdoor seating during the summer months, and there is complimentary wireless Internet on site.
505 S Barstow St # A, Eau Claire, WI 54701, Phone: 715-832-9090
15.Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery
© Courtesy of caftor - Fotolia.com
Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery is owned by proprietor, distiller, and winemaker Matthew Rick and features a tasting lounge where visitors can enjoy samples and tastings, wines by the glass, and flights of specialty drinks. Guided tours of the facility are also offered, highlighting the history of the operation as well as the story of Infinity and how Matthew grew the business from its humble beginning to the burgeoning company it is today. Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery produces a variety of products, including grape, fruit and port wines, whiskey, vodka and flavored vodka, experimental drinks, and custom-labeled wines for special occasions. The winery can be booked for private events and tailormade group tours.
3460 Mall Dr, Eau Claire, WI 54701, Phone: 715-895-8020
15 Best Things to Do in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
- The Ager House, Photo: The Ager House
- Beaver Creek Reserve, Photo: Courtesy of Harold - Fotolia.com
- Carson Park, Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Thornberg - Fotolia.com
- Children's Museum of Eau Claire, Photo: Children's Museum of Eau Claire
- Chippewa River Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Bryan Neuswanger - Fotolia.com
- Chippewa Valley Museum, Photo: Chippewa Valley Museum
- Chippewa Valley Railroad, Photo: Chippewa Valley Railroad
- Downtown Farmers Market, Photo: Courtesy of smashingoats - Fotolia.com
- Eau Claire Brew Hop, Photo: Eau Claire Brew Hop
- Mount Simon Park, Photo: Courtesy of Al - Fotolia.com
- Paul Bunyan Logging Camp, Photo: Paul Bunyan Logging Camp
- The Brewing Projekt, Photo: The Brewing Projekt
- The Living Room Coffee House and Roastery, Photo: Courtesy of Maksim Shebeko - Fotolia.com
- Acoustic Cafe, Photo: Acoustic Cafe
- Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery, Photo: Courtesy of caftor - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Jason - Fotolia.com