What Makes Eau Claire "Eau Claire"
Eau Claire, WI is everything you'd expect from a city in Wisconsin. But there's a handful of attractions, events, accolades, and natural landmarks that make Eau Claire "Eau Claire". Browse our list of the top 12 things to do for any visitor who wants an authentic taste of Eau Claire. Prepare to be blown away.
This is an easy feat. Eau Claire's music venues span from large-scale festival grounds to quaint riverside parks, to hole-in-the-wall bars, each offering a tempting variety of musical genres from indie to hip hop to country to bluegrass to jazz. Immerse yourself in the music festival energy at annual festivals like Jazz Crawl, Country Jam, or Blue Ox Music Festival. Opting for a more intimate show? Check out bars like Stones Throw or The Mousetrap. If you're here in the summer months, check out outdoor summer concert series like Kickin' It Country, Tuesday Night Blues, Rock'n On The River, or Sounds Like Summer.
2. Spin some vinyl
As a city that knows music, Eau Claire understands the comfort and good vibes that come from listening to a vinyl record. The Oxbow Hotel features a record player in every suite and a vinyl lending library in the lobby. If you have some extra room in your suitcase, stop by Revival Records in downtown Eau Claire to browse their endless selection of music and get yourself a little souvenir to remind you of your time in Eau Claire.
3. Gaze upon art in the making
Experience the tire-factory-turned-creative hub, Banbury Place, where you can take a pottery class, browse through artist studios or visit an exhibit dedicated to telling the Uniroyal Tire Factory story. In the city's budding uptown, Artisan Forge Studios is home to an art gallery and studios of more than 50 artists. It also features outdoor art displays and a variety of garage murals. Speaking of outdoor art displays, Eau Claire is also home to the #1 largest Sculpture Tour in the nation! The Eau Claire Sculpture Tour features over 100 sculptures made by local and international artists that are scattered throughout various parts of the city.
It's pronounced koob; rhymes with tube. And when you're in the Kubb Capital of North America, you can't leave without learning how to play. This lawn game is sometimes referred to as "Viking Chess". Whether you're feeling competitive enough to try your hand at the U.S. National Kubb Championship every July or are more interested in a casual game on the patio at The Lakely, we'll leave that up to you.
5. Cool off in the Chippewa River
The Chippewa River runs right through the heart of Eau Claire and presents a perfect way to spend a summer day. Grab a tube or a kayak, some friends, and a cooler stocked with some cold beverages and hop in the river at Phoenix Park. Sit back and enjoy the views, water and sunshine. Pro tip: don't forget your sunscreen!
It's no secret that Wisconsin is known for its beer culture. Experience what Eau Claire's local beer lovers have brewing. For a more traditional experience, try Lazy Monk Brewing, where Bohemian and German beers are the big draw. Craving a more unique brew and an industrial taproom where you can see the brewing process? Hit up The Brewing Projekt to try their Piña Colada Milkshake IPA or, the one Eau Claire locals just can't get enough of, the Gunpowder IPA. Find all the local breweries in our area here.
8. Eat horseradish... yep, horseradish
It's a weird claim to fame, we know. But where's the fun in being run-of-the-mill? In 1929, Ellis Huntsinger planted a half acre of horseradish, the start of what was to become Silver Spring Foods, Inc., an award-winning maker of horseradish and mustard. Silver Spring is also the largest grower and processor of horseradish in the entire world. It would be a shame to not have or buy some Silver Spring products while visiting Eau Claire.
Pablo Center at the Confluence is Eau Claire's premiere major arts center located in the heart of downtown. Their season line-ups include dance productions, family-friendly performances, hit Broadway shows, concerts, literary and film events, and so much more. It even includes art galleries featuring regional and national visual art displays in a variety of mediums. Yes, it is as cool as it sounds.
Eau Claire is a haven for biking enthusiasts. 70+ miles of bike trails in our area will not only connect you to beautiful nature scenes but to other cities too. The Chippewa Valley State Trail spans all the way to Durand, WI and the Old Abe State Trail could take you over to Chippewa Falls! For those seeking a bit more adventure, Lowes Creek County Park boasts a network of mountain bike trails that wind through lush forests and offer exhilarating descents with challenging terrain. Additionally, the city itself is highly bike friendly with designated bike lanes and available bike rentals. You can even rent e-bikes! Use our trails to connect with nature, stay active, and immerse yourself in our welcoming community.
Take a stroll at this 134-acre peninsula that juts into horseshoe-shaped Half Moon Lake. Carson Park is also home to two museums, the Chippewa Valley Museum, and the Wisconsin Logging Museum, that are perfect for diving into Eau Claire's history. Carson Park has some history of its own too. This was home field for Hank Aaron in the summer of 1952 as he debuted his baseball career with the Eau Claire Bears. Today, Carson Park is home to our Northwoods League team, the Eau Claire Express and you can catch a game from Memorial Day through August.