Winter Bucket List
What Eau Claire winter lacks in warmth, it makes up for in beauty and adventure. With an abundance of snowy trails to explore, local shops to spend money at, and events to attend, Eau Claire is the perfect haven for winter family fun or just a weekend getaway. Here are the top things to do in Eau Claire this winter:
1. Experience Wintertime in the City
The Clearwater Winter Parade is BACK! Join us in downtown Eau Claire at 6 pm on Friday, December 3, 2021, for the parade as it travels along West Grand Ave. and First Ave.! Once the parade comes through, don't leave quite yet! There will be fireworks to follow! The following day (Saturday, December 4, 2021), make a return to downtown Eau Claire for the Run, Santa, Run 5k, and Haymarket Holiday. Here's what you can expect:
- Run, Santa, Run 5k | 10:30 am in Phoenix Park
- Music in the plaza | 12-6 pm
- Hot Chocolate, Cider & Smores | 12-6 pm in Haymarket Plaza and the downtown loop
Pack your fam into the car, crank the Christmas tunes, and pull up the Chippewa Valley Parade of Lights event on your map! All December long, you can drive through the streets of Eau Claire and find homes and businesses sharing their holiday cheer as they light up their buildings with holiday lights and other winter decorations. Get all the participating addresses here and take in the entire experience during the most wonderful time of the year!
3. Shop for presents in downtown Eau Claire
Shopping local has always been important, but it is now more than ever before. Downtown Eau Claire is the prime place for gift shopping. There is sure to be a local gift that everyone on your list will love, and you will never have to risk getting your loved ones the same thing as someone else. Plus, treat yourself too! For music lovers, grab a record from Revival Records. For art lovers, find an original piece of work at Tangled Up In Hue. For the fashionistas, Red's Mercantile will blow you away with their style. If you're just looking for a great variety of all locally made items, The Local Store is guaranteed to have what you're looking for. It doesn't stop there; there's plenty of local businesses in the area for you to fall in love with. Visit this page to plan your entire shopping trip in Eau Claire.
4. Go to the Silver Mine Ski Invitational
If you need a little bit of an adrenaline rush this winter, the Silver Mine Ski Invitational is the place to go. This 130+ year tradition is a can't miss. The Silver Mine Hill in Town of Union is home to the ski jump that brings skiers and spectators from near and far each year to watch an unbelievable ski jump competition. While the skiers compete, you can watch them soar through the sky from the bottom of the hill. Keep in mind, this is a family affair. So, bundle up the kids and head to the hill for some heartbeat-skipping winter fun on January 14-15, 2022.
Throw on those snow pants and pull on your hats and mittens because what's a winter bucket list without some sledding? You'll bring out your inner child while racing down Eau Claire's sledding hills and laughing as you take some tumbles at the bottom. Find your hill on this map and embrace a day of rosy cheeks, runny noses, and warm memories!
Sledding AND ice skating? You bet! That's the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon in Eau Claire. Head over to Pinehurst Park, Putnam Heights Elementary School, or Roosevelt Elementary School to find a boarded ice rink for you and the crew to glide on or Boyd Park where a frozen puddle of water is made into a rink each year. You'll be making laps around the rink in NO time! You may take a few hits to the ground but always remember: it's not about how you fall; it's about how you get up!
Don't spend this winter cooped up inside! Eau Claire deserves to be explored in every season. Snow covering a trail never stops the outdoor enthusiasts from getting out and staying active. All you have to do is grab a pair of snowshoes and put one foot in front of the other on the trails. Plus, our furry friends need some dog-friendly winter activities this season too!
Spending the day in the middle of a frozen lake in the winter? Doesn't get more Wisconsin than that! Grab your fishing gear, your warmest clothes, and your best pals to do some ice fishing at the annual JIG's UP Ice Fishing Contest put on by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 12, 2022! If you don't get lucky with fish, you may get lucky with some of the raffle prizes. A catch of the day and prizes? Definitely worth a day out on the ice!
9. Play a game of winter Kubb
The wonderful thing about Kubb is that you can set up your pitch anywhere at any time and start your game. Challenge your friends and family to a game in your backyard or even at some of Eau Claire's most iconic places like River Prairie, Pinehurst Park, or Phoenix Park. Losers have to shovel the driveway when they get home?
10. Stroll through the Christmas Village at Irvine Park
When you need to add a little sparkle and shine to your winter, you must head to the Christmas Village at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls. The park gets wrapped in over 100,000 Christmas lights and covered with over 100 life-size Christmas scenes that help tell the story of the city's early history. The display is available to drive/walk through on Monday-Sunday from 7 am-9:30 pm from Thanksgiving through January 1, 2022. It will also be open until midnight on Christmas Eve (12/24/2022). The Christmas Village is free to attend but donations are always appreciated to help keep this tradition alive in the Chippewa Valley.
Have you ever tried your hand at Crokicurl before? Unless you've lived in/visited Canada, chances are your answer is no! Crokicurl is a game that is a combination of curling and a Canadian board game called "Crokinole". River Prairie Park in Altoona, just 3 miles from downtown Eau Claire, now has their very own Crokicurl rink that you can play on each winter. Everything about this cool winter game (no pun intended) can be found here including instructions on how to play. If you notice that you're really skilled, sign up a team for the U.S. Crokicurl Championships that will take place right here in River Prairie on Saturday, January 29, 2022! Find more event details.
Share your warm winter moments with us with #CaptureEC!