Eau Claire Visitor 101:
The Best of Eau Claire

You made it to Eau Claire, WI! Welcome! You may be thinking, "Now what?" Let us take it from here. This right here is your guide to everything you need to know about Eau Claire (well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but we ensure you that all the important stuff is here). We're giving you all the hot spots for live music, mouth-watering burgers, stretchy cheese curds, tasty Bloody Marys, crispy fish fries, delightful brunches, and scenic photo stops. This is a little something we like to call... Eau Claire Visitor 101. 

A band playing during the Eau Claire Jazz Festival at the Mousetrap in downtown Eau Claire

Best Places in Eau Claire for Live Music

1. Stones Throw - a historic downtown Eau Claire bar with a stage, specialty beers on tap, shuffleboard, pool, darts, and lots more to keep the good times rolling. Learn more.

2. The Lakely - Eau Claire's hip little hub for craft cocktails, Midwest comfort food, and live entertainment. Read all about it here.

3. The Mousetrap Tavern - a small bar in the heart of downtown Eau Claire on Barstow St. where live music and a stocked bar are always guaranteed. Learn more.

4. The Plus - more than just a place to go for a ridiculously good pizza. It's also known for having ridiculously good entertainment too. Learn more.

5. Acoustic Café - you know a place is made for live music when they have "acoustic" in their name. Visit this café in downtown Eau Claire to see how it's built to ensure top-notch sound quality. Learn more.

A burger and fries served at Valley Burger Company

Best Places in Eau Claire for Burgers

1. Valley Burger Company -  a small burger joint that has all the local rave. Their menu is limited but rotates and definitely never disappoints. Plan your visit.

2. Court'n House Bar & Grill - considered one of Eau Claire's most iconic locations for burgers (and cheese curds, and fish fries; this place does it all). Try their Mel Burger - a juicy patty topped with mushrooms, olives, Swiss and American cheese, and bacon. Learn more.

3. Amber Inn - Eau Claire's oldest bar. Their Peanut Butter Bacon Burger landed a spot on "10 Iconic Eau Claire Eats". Yes - peanut butter on a burger. Don't knock it 'til you try it. Learn more. 

4. The District - a casual restaurant in downtown Eau Claire that does everything well, but especially their burgers. Grab a bite at The District.

5. Hangar 54 - known for exceptional burgers and a great place to be before/after a flight. Hangar 54 is located at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport and knows exactly what you need before/after your travels. Try their f-18 burger. Learn more.

A woman pulling apart a fried cheese curd at Ellsworth Cheese Factory in Menomonie, WI

Best Places in Eau Claire for Cheese Curds

1. Northern Tap House - where locals say to get the best cheese curds in Eau Claire. Wow your senses by dipping them in their sweet chili sauce. Go to Northern Tap House.

2. Reboot Social - home to many games, but they don't play around when making their cheese curds. Visit Reboot Social.

3. Court'n House - this old-time Wisconsin bar does cheese curds well. Nothing fancy needed; these fried balls of cheese speak for themselves. Try Court'n House.

4. The Livery - caters to any and all cravings. We suggest you give The Livery a shot when you're craving curds. Learn more.

5. Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub -  one of Eau Claire's premier restaurants that features premium cut steaks, fresh seafood, and some of the best cheese curds a diner can ask for. Fine dine at Houligans.

Bonus: Some great places to go for cold, squeaky-as-can-be cheese curds or just cheese in general in or around Eau Claire include Eau Claire Cheese & Deli, 3rd & Vine, House of Gouda, or Ellsworth Cheese Factory in Menomonie. 

A Bloody Mary served with pickle, olive, mini donuts, hard-boiled egg and bacon at Northern Tap House

Best Places in Eau Claire for a Bloody Mary

1. Big T's Saloon - a place where Sundays are the best day of the week. Their Bloody Marys are essentially a lunch buffet. Learn more.

2. 44 North - why have one Bloody when you can have three? 44 North in River Prairie serves Bloody Mary flights. Discover your new favorite flavor. Learn more.

3. Ray's Place - there's nothing better than a Ray's Bloody Mary. Actually, a Ray's hot beef sandwich may top the list. Guess you have to try both. Visit Ray's Place. 

4. Northern Tap House - a Bloody Mary topped with a sugared donut and a hardboiled egg? Count us in. Find this and other Bloody Mary specials at Northern Tap House. Learn more.

5. Court'n House - a place to go for good burgers and cheese curds. Might as well add Bloody Marys to their list of things they do well. Experience Court'n House.

Fish Fry served at 4 Mile Bar & Restaurant in Eau Claire, WI

Best Places in Eau Claire for a Fish Fry

1. 4 Mile Restaurant & Bar - say hello to the #1 fish fry in Eau Claire according to locals. 4 Mile delivers a good meal and the ultimate classic Wisconsin supper club vibes. Learn more. 

2. Wild Ridge Golf Course - order an Old Fashioned and the Wild Ridge fish fry after a round of 9 holes. We can't always guarantee a good day out on the golf course, but we can guarantee a good meal here. Visit Wild Ridge.

3. Happy Hollow - like your fish beer battered with a local brew? Try the Leinenkugel's beer battered fish fry at Happy Hollow over in our neighbor's neck of the woods - Altoona, WI. Learn more. 

4. Court'n House - here it is again. Court'n House makes its way onto another list. Yes, we promise - this place is really that good and now you have a lot of different eats you must try while here. Discover Court'n House.

5. Northern Tap House - fill up on delicious Walleye at Northern Tap House. Pair it with a crispy brew and have yourself one heck of a time in Eau Claire. Learn more.

Brunch served at The Informalist at the Lismore Hotel in downtown Eau Claire

Best Places in Eau Claire for Brunch

1. The Nucleus - don't be surprised if you see a line out the door. Also, don't make the mistake of not getting in the line. Breakfast at The Nucleus is definitely worth waiting for. Learn more. 

2. The Informalist - offers plant-based, vegetarian and gluten-free options on their brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am - 2 pm. It's a place with something for everyone and it's all scrumptious. Learn more.

3. The French Press - expect an extensive menu and pure perfection on your plate. The French Press makes everything from scratch and it shows. Here on a Friday? Indulge in coffee flight. Visit The French Press. 

4. Chick-A-Dee's - a family-style restaurant that will not only fill your stomach but your heart too. Omelets, pancakes, hashbrowns, you name it - it's all delicious at Chick-A-Dee's. Learn more. 

5. The Good Wives - a foodie's dream. Brunch is only offered here on the weekend, but it will be so good that you'll be thinking about it into the next week. Visit The Good Wives.

People biking on High Bridge around sunset

Most Scenic Spots in Eau Claire

1. High Bridge - a place you'll likely come across during a nice walk or bike ride through Eau Claire and you'll catch one heck of a view while you're here. Learn more.

2. Haymarket Plaza - the area encompassing the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. Come here at night to see the city glow. 

3. S Bridge - "S" is for scenic views. S Bridge gives you a nice window into historic Banbury Place surrounded by the natural scenery of the Chippewa Valley.

4. Dells Mill - just a short drive from Eau Claire located in Augusta, WI. Considered to be one of the most photographed spots in the state of Wisconsin. Visit Dells Mill.

5. Town of Union Conservancy - a hidden gem. Hit the trails at this conservancy and stumble upon a treetop view of the Chippewa River. Learn more.

Desserts sold at the Nostalgic Bean in Altoona, WI

Best Places in Eau Claire for Coffee

1. SHIFT Cyclery & Coffee Bar - full-service bicycle repair shop AND craft coffee bar. Grab a cup of joe and a new ride all in one spot. Learn more.

2. The Goat Coffee House - it's cute, it's cozy, and it's widely loved by Eau Claire's students considering its close proximity to the UW-Eau Claire campus. Get your brew here.

3. ECDC - located in downtown Eau Claire and perfect for a coffee date, business meeting, or a little study session. Visit ECDC.

4. Nostalgic Bean - transport yourself to Paris, France at this Altoona cafe. Nostalgic Bean makes french baked goods from scratch and pours a tasty cup of coffee too. Learn more.

5. Kahvi Coffee House + Cafe - immerse yourself in the Scandinavian culture at Kahvi with their signature "Fika Mocha". Visit Kahvi.

A flight of different flavored mimosas at City Eats at Action City

Best Places in Eau Claire for Mimosas

1. The Nucleus - Pair a 5-star breakfast or brunch with a mimosa or two. The mimosas at the Nucleus are not only tasty but incredibly photo-worthy too. Learn more. 

2. The Good Wives - A foodie's dream restaurant. Come for the mimosas on the weekends, but stay for one of the best brunches you can get in Eau Claire. Learn more.

3. The Informalist - Start your morning with a refreshing mimosa from the Informalist in downtown Eau Claire. Brunch is only available here Saturdays & Sundays from 8 am - 2 pm. Learn more.

4. City Eats - Serves up one mean Mimosa flight. Discover your new favorite flavor at City Eats at Metropolis Resort. Learn more. 

5. Foster's Fireside - You'd think it's an airport with all these "flights"! Foster's Fireside in Osseo also serves Mimosa flights (on Sundays only) featuring a variety of flavors. Learn more. 

Two people sitting at the bar at Amber Inn

Best Dive Bars in Eau Claire

1. Amber Inn - Eau Claire's oldest bar. Great food, good drinks, and an amazing atmosphere. What more can ya ask for? Learn more.

2. Ray's Place - Their hot beef sandwiches are all the locals rave about. So much so that they landed a spot on the list of 10 Iconic Eats in Eau Claire. Find a spot at the bar and dig into a cheap, delicious lunch and a drink or two. Learn more.

3. Wigwam Tavern - Some things just get better with age. That includes this bar. Wigwam has been around for over 80 years. Get in on all the fun times during your next visit. Learn more.

4. The Depot - Just a few steps from the Wigwam. The Depot has lots of outdoor seating and games to keep you entertained. Learn more.

5. Do Dodge Inn - Ever been to a bar that opens at 6 AM? Consider it the Wisconsin way. Whether it's for a morning Bloody Mary or a night out for drinks with friends, there's no bad time for the Do Dodge. Learn more.

More Bars in Eau Claire: Looking for something a little more classy? Check out the Dive, a rooftop bar overlooking Eau Claire's beautiful downtown. Right down the block is also The Fire House, a casual bar with over 30 beers on tap and some darn good popcorn. Some more honorable mentions include: The Mousetrap, The Joynt, Dooley's Pub, Burly & Bucks, Happy Hollow, & more.

A group of women riding e-bikes on a bridge in downtown Eau Claire

Best Outdoor Activities in Eau Claire

1. Bike the trails - Eau Claire is home to 70+ miles of connected bike trails that could take you all the way to different surrounding cities. Use the Chippewa River State Trail for a smooth ride around our city or use the trail systems at our local parks like Lowes Creek, Centennial Park, or Putnam Park. Learn more.

2. Take a stroll - Eau Claire is an incredibly walkable city. Need a quick circle to stroll? Try the downtown Eau Claire Riverwalk that begins in Phoenix Park or the loop that surrounds River Prairie in Altoona, WI. On your walk, look out for sculptures that make up the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour. Need more suggestions of where to walk/run? Go here.

3. Go tubing - One activity that needs to be on everyone's Eau Claire summer bucket list. For a shorter float, hop in the Chippewa River in Phoenix Park and get out near Hobb's Ice Arena. Looking for some more time on the water? Rent your tubes + cooler tubes at Loopy's and explore more of the Town of Wheaton area. Learn more about tubing here.

4. Hammock -  Grab a good book, hang your hammock, enjoy the weather, and get some rest. Find 6 perfect spots to hang your hammock in Eau Claire here.

5. Cast your rod - For a city that translates to "clear water" in French, there are plenty of places to go fishing. Find a guide for fishing in Eau Claire here.

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