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 safely 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. Explore Wintertime in the City
Eau Claire looks like a scene from all your favorite holiday movies during the winter season. So, get into the holiday spirit at Wintertime in the City! Taking place Saturday, December 5th from 1pm-6pm in downtown Eau Claire and throughout Phoenix Park, Wintertime in the City will feature holiday-themed things to see and do safely throughout the area. You can walk the mile long loop and gaze at the different featured ice sculptures (with hot chocolate in hand, of course) and take in the wonders that the new season brings to the Chippewa Valley. Rumor has it that Santa Clause MAY be making an appearance in Eau Claire at that time as well!
While we can't gather this year to watch the annual tree lighting at Phoenix Park, you can enjoy and appreciate the lights at anytime during the holiday season at your convenience because we know seeing Phoenix Park aglow is always a highlight in Eau Claire during the holiday season. Although, there is one bonus this year! Tree lights will also illuminate the streets of downtown Eau Claire through the winter. Sip on your hot cocoa, stroll through the downtown business district in awe of the lights, and maybe do a little bit of shopping too. Speaking of shopping...
2. 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 the music lovers, grab a record from Revival Records. For the 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.
3. 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 22-23, 2021.
4. Take on a sledding hill
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!
5. Master the art of ice skating
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. 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!
6. Go on a winter hike with some snowshoes
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. Plus, our furry friends need some dog-friendly winter activities this season too!
7. Try out ice fishing
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. 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!
8. 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?
9. 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 7am-9:30pm from Thanksgiving night through January 1, 2021. The Christmas Village is free to attend but donations are always appreciated to help keep this tradition alive in the Chippewa Valley.
10. Get in the holiday spirit with spirits from Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery
Some of you may be dreaming of a "wine Christmas". If that's the case then Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery has just what you need. Their winter open house will take place all day on December 12th and will feature $10 winter cocktail flights. Sign us up! When you've gotten your cocktail fix, make your way over to the register to pick out a bottle or two of wine to bring home for the holidays. Sipping a glass of wine near the fire at Infinity is always a vibe but you also don't want to skip out on getting a bottle to pour for when you're all cozied up in your own home watching those Christmas classics.
Well, there you have it - a list of must-dos this winter in Eau Claire! Get outside, try new things, explore the city, make some memories and stay WARM. Share your memories with us with #eauwinter!