Eau Claire Summer Bucket List

One could argue that the best way to experience the greatest parts of Eau Claire is in the summers. There's just so much to do; tubing down the Chippewa River, catching the sunset at Mt. Simon, and enjoying an evening at Phoenix Park at the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series are just the start of what you can do in Eau Claire in the summer. Check out this Eau Claire Summer Bucket List and challenge yourself to cross off the entire list before the season ends. 

Two girls holding ice cream cones in front of a mural in Eau Claire

1. Cool down with ice cream

There is nothing better than some delicious, cold ice cream on a hot summer day. Luckily, there is no lack of options around Eau Claire. Plus, these are not your run-of-the-mill ice cream shops. If you head over to Ramone’s, you'll feel like you stepped back in time at the old-fashioned parlor. You could try some homemade ice cream at Olson’s Ice Cream, which was founded in 1923 and has been a staple in the Chippewa Valley ever since. If you're looking for a little something more than ice cream, Acoustic Café is a must. Not only do they have great ice cream options, but they also have delicious food (you have to try the hoagies) and sometimes even some live music.

Taking a picture of the view on top of Mt. Simon

2. Spend the day at Mt. Simon

You'll need a whole day to really experience  Mount Simon Park. Start the day with a hike and check out the beautiful view from the rock at the top, and then cool off on your way down by doing some cliff jumping. For lunch, you can grill out and play a game of volleyball or disc golf while you're waiting for your food to cook. The wide-open spaces are just waiting to be used. Just make sure to snag a picnic table before they're all gone.

The Eau Claire Express baseball field during a game at Carson Park

3. Cheer on the Eau Claire Express

Ah, yes; the beloved Eau Claire Express! It's truly not summer in Eau Claire without a night at the iconic Carson Park cheering on the local baseball team. See the field where Hank Aaron once played, try some signature Eau Claire Express beer, Kurve, created by Lucette Brewing Company, and enjoy the night with some friends. Trust us on this one though, you don't want to miss out on their mac and cheese. Click here to view the 2024 Express schedule and to get tickets for your crew.

Fresh flowers sold at the downtown Eau Claire farmers market in Phoenix Park

4. Shop at the Farmers Market

Pick up some flowers, artwork or treats for your friends at the downtown Eau Claire Farmer’s Market and Artisan Market. Fresh fruits and veggies, local artwork and friendly locals are always guaranteed at this downtown favorite.

A group of three tubing at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers

5. Kayak or float down the Chippewa River Water Trail

A favorite summertime activity of Eau Claire residents includes spending the day on the water via the Chippewa River Water Trail. Grab your preferred method of travel (tube or kayak) and hop right in at the Phoenix Park landing. A cooler of cold beverages and lots of sunscreen are highly suggested during this adventure. For an even greater Chippewa River experience, hit up the tube, canoe, and kayak rentals at Loopy's for the perfect summer float.

The crowd at Volume One's Sounds Like Summer outdoor concert series at Phoenix Park

6. Check out outdoor music series

Three things Eau Claire can't get enough of: live music, the outdoors and food trucks. Unsurprisingly, all of these things get combined almost every weeknight. Hundreds to thousands of people gather for weekly music in various Eau Claire parks. Country lovers should head to River Prairie Park on Mondays for a night full of line dancing and classic country music at Kickin' It Country. Tuesday's are for the blues listeners at Owen Park for Tuesday Night Blues. All the rock'n rollers should head back to River Prairie on Wednesdays for Rock'N on the River. Thursday nights consist of the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, which provides a different genre of music every week. As you can see, there is no shortage of live music here.

Holuy Donuts food truck at Fall Festival in downtown Eau Claire

7. Buy food from a food truck

If you attend an event in Eau Claire during the summer, chances are you're going to run into plenty of food trucks. Whether it's at music in the park, or a music and arts festival, you'll get your food truck fix. If you want to see even more options, just head to Food Truck Friday. Yes, that is an event dedicated to just food trucks, and yes, we love Eau Claire too.

Couple shopping together at The Local Store in downtown Eau Claire

Photo Credit: Travel Wisconsin

8. Read a book by a local author

Eau Claire is home to many talented artists, including a plethora of great authors. Head to The Local Store and pick out a book written by a local author. Some of these include Michael Perry, Nickolas Butler and B.J. Hollars, plus many more. Dotters Books in downtown also offers books of all genres for all reading levels. Bonus points if you read it in an Eau Claire park. Hammocks not required, but strongly suggested. Find some great places to hammock in Eau Claire here.

A young girl swimming at Big Falls County Park in Eau Claire

9. Spend an entire day at Big Falls 

Big Falls is so magical it deserves a full day. Hang out at the beach, take a dip in the water and enjoy the views of the rapids. Bring your friends, a speaker and a cooler, and you're good to go! 

A group of guys cheers their beers on the outdoor patio at The Brewing Projekt in downtown Eau Claire

10. Support local breweries

Grab a locally brewed beer at one of the many local breweries. We sure have plenty to choose from. Check out Lazy Monk Brewing, The Brewing ProjektK-Point Brewing, or Northwoods Brewpub in Osseo for a delicious local brew. Are we forgetting something? Oh, yeah. The famous Leinenkugel's is just right down the road in Chippewa Falls. To join in on the beer madness, download the Brew Pass to win prizes just for drinking beer in the Chippewa Valley!

A group of four women enjoying a picnic outside at Riverbend Winery in the Town of Wheaton

11. Embrace your inner wine connoisseur

If you're more of a wine person, we have good news for you; there are also plenty of wineries in the area. Head to Autumn Harvest Winery, River Bend Vineyard and Winery, Infinity Beverages, Helix, or The Rev for local wine and lots of live music on the patios. 

Chaos Water Park in Metropolis Resort

12. Slide down a water slide

What's summer without a day at the water park? Checking out Fairfax Pool or Chaos Indoor Water Park at the Metropolis Resort is a must, especially during the hot summers in Wisconsin. 

A girl riding an e-bike on the High Bridge

14. Bike along one of Eau Claire’s gorgeous bike trails

Calling all bikers! You'll love an Eau Claire summer. There are miles and miles (70+ miles of connected trails to be more specific) of beautiful biking trails around the city to explore. Whether you're looking for a relaxed bike ride around the city, or a more adventurous one through the woods like at Lowes Creek County Park, we got you covered. For a different take on biking, you can rent e-bikes at The Local Store and ride their recommended routes around Eau Claire to check out bridges, country trails, artwork, and more!

3 girls dining outside at Cowboy Jacks in River Prairie

15. Eat a meal on one of the restaurant patios 

Eau Claire has so many restaurant patios to check out; it's hard to choose where to start. If you're looking for a more formal dining experience, head over to The Informalist or Stella Blues. For a more casual night out, The Livery, Valley Burger Company, or Monk's Bar and Grill will be the place for you. If you're in the Altoona area, head to HelixCowboy Jack's, The Island Parkside, or 44 North for a patio dining experience with some unbeatable views. 

Couple taking a selfie in front of the "22 a Million" mural in downtown Eau Claire

Photo Credit: Travel Wisconsin

16. Enjoy Eau Claire's Public Art

Eau Claire is bursting with it! There's not a corner of downtown Eau Claire where you won't find a form of public art. Hunt down all the different murals in Eau Claire using this map or make it a goal to see all of the sculptures that make up the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour. If that's not enough, visit more murals in the area on ColorBlock, and choose your favorite! Find everything you need to know about the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour here.

Think you can check all of them off? We believe in you. Oh, and make sure you take plenty of pictures and share them with us on Instagram using #CaptureEC!

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