A chill in the air and a layer of snow on the ground shouldn't keep you locked up inside. Especially not in Altoona, WI! Altoona has its very own list of recreational winter opportunities that will make winter fun easy on you. Before we get into the list, let's get oriented. If you're not familiar with the area, Altoona is a quick drive east from Eau Claire, so you definitely won't need to go far to get your snow fix. Let's break down all the things to do in Altoona in the winter!
Photo: Centennial Park
Centennial Park in Altoona is every winter enthusiast's dream! The trail system here allows for winter biking and snowshoeing. Each year, a candlelit snowshoe hike is hosted here too as a part of the Altoona Frosty Fun Series! Mark your calendars for February 10, 2024 (weather permitting)! Find a map of Centennial Park's trails here.
Go for a winter stroll on the River Prairie Trail
The list of things to do in River Prairie in the winter is actually quite long! So, let's start with something simple: going for a nice walk on the River Prairie Trail! The paved trail is an approximate 2.9-mile loop that takes about 59 minutes to complete by foot. This loop is plowed with high priority after snow events, so no worries about having to trek through the snow. Parking can be found underneath the HWY 53 bridge or underneath the River Prairie Drive bridge.
Photo: Jelly Bean Hill
Looking to chase some winter thrill? Try taking on the Jelly Bean sledding hill! The hill is located right behind Altoona Family Restaurant and offers a decently sized slope that is perfect for kids (or adults) of any age! Check out a full list of sledding hills in our area here.
You're probably asking yourself, "what is Crokicurl?". Well, let's dissect what this game is before we show you where to get the instructions on how to play. Crokicurl is a combination of curling and a Canadian board game called Crokinole. River Prairie was actually the first place to get a Crokicurl rink in the United States! To read more about the origin of this game and learn how to play, click here! One more thing to add: River Prairie hosts the US National Crokicurl Championships each year! If you want to participate, mark your calendars for Saturday, January 27, 2024 and stay up to date for registration details on the City of Altoona's Facebook page!
Lake Altoona is a 720-acre lake with a maximum depth of 25 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Smallmouth Bass and Walleye. Find a good spot, set up your tip-ups, and hope for the best!
Photo: Kubb at River Prairie
Some lawn games aren't just made for the summer. Kubb, or otherwise known as Viking's Chess, can be played no matter the season. We even think playing it on snow is more fun than on grass! But, that's just us. Eau Claire is, after all, the Kubb capital of North America. Borrow a Kubb set from several area hotels or community attractions and set up your pitch in River Prairie!
Our friends at the city of Altoona have a great lineup of winter events that make up their Altoona Frosty Fun Series. The events include a snowman building contest, Crokicurl family tournament, a candlelit snowshoe hike, a rays of sunshine find, an ice fishing classic, the Jelly Bean challenge, and a fat tire race. To get dates and details for each event, click here!
Photo: 44 North
Cozy Food & Drink Spots
Sometimes winter can make us feel like we're cooped up in our homes too much. Get out and about for your next meal and visit any of the restaurants in River Prairie for a real treat! Here's a short summary of what the River Prairie restaurants have to offer:
A go-to for lunch or dinner with an incredible outdoor, heated patio and killer happy hour specials.
An ideal place to go for groups with kids! The first floor of their restaurants features an arcade and their menu has something for all ages.
Photo: Tacos Juanita
Craving Mexican cuisine? Tacos Juanita has exactly what you need - tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, you name it!
!"Cozy" is Cabin Coffee's middle name! Grab your morning (or afternoon) cup of joe from this sweet, little coffee house and conquer the day!
A wholesome little spot to grab a nutritional and savory lunch! Their menu features artisanal sandwiches, soups, salads and more. This is also one of the only places in the area to get gelato!
Looking to escape the winter blues and go somewhere tropical? Find delicious Caribbean-style cuisine and drinks here making you feel like you're far, far away from the Midwest!
Cafe by day and craft bar by night! Helix in River Prairie pours everything from coffee to wine and is widely loved for its welcoming and modern ambiance.
Some prefer coffee to get nice and warm, and some would rather snuggle up with a beer. Step into Ombibulous - a brewery in Altoona artfully designed with speakeasy inspiration. Savor both the brews and the mystique of this unique gem!
Nothing warms the heart like the genuine conversations had and connections made at a local Wisconsin tavern! Pop over to Happy Hollow for exceptional food and drinks and a hub of camaraderie.
Brunch isn't just a meal - it should be an experience too! Altoona Family Restaurant celebrates the timeless tradition of brunch by offering its breakfast menu all day long. This breakfast joint serves up hearty classics and offers a delightful and homey atmosphere; what more can you want?!
Photo: Nostalgic Bean
Anyone with a sweet tooth will love this one! Nostalgic Bean in Altoona makes all of their baked goods from scratch and it's hard to find pastries like theirs anywhere else in the Chippewa Valley. No matter your age, you'll feel like a kid in a candy store looking at all their goodies through the glass and deciding what to pick.