Fun and creative, Eau Claire is the perfect destination for families and artists alike.
A former lumber town nestled in the western part of the state, Eau Claire is a hub for indie music and cutting-edge culture. Music festivals are the highlights of summer here, but you can hear local bands and original music all year round.
Besides a vibrant music scene, Eau Claire also has unique museums, an outdoor sculpture tour and plenty of family-friendly events. Prepare to be inspired here.
Fun Anytime of Year
In Eau Claire, festivals and events, as well as natural attractions, are always in season.
Attend the River Prairie Festival to make lasting family memories, and if you’re looking for some friendly competition, run in the annual Bridge2Bridge racing event. Nearly all year long, you can see more than 50 original sculptures on display in downtown Eau Claire on the Sculpture Tour.
During the summer, see an outdoor concert or two. The Blue Ox Music Festival, for instance, brings music lovers together in August for a three-day celebration of bluegrass, roots and Americana music. Art festival by day, music fest by night, Forge Fest highlights the best of our indie spirit. Summertime is also when the downtown farmers market is in full swing with fresh, local produce.
When the leaves turn orange, gold and red in the fall, see the bright colors on full display with a hike up Mt. Simon Park's highest point. Then, pay a visit to a nearby apple orchard for fresh pickings and attend the River Prairie Ginormous Pumpkin Festival.
In the winter, there are just as many outdoor activities and events. Go ice skating at a local park, snowshoeing on a nature trail or sledding down a hill. Shop for artsy finds in downtown shops and then walk through a winter wonderland at the Christmas Village at Irvine Park with light displays and holiday scenes.
Local Brews, Outdoor Dining
Dress up to dine at a steakhouse or dress down to enjoy a locally crafted beer at a brewery. However you do it, eating out in Eau Claire is an experience, and no two restaurants are the same.
The Lakely at The Oxbow Hotel, for instance, serves up farm-to-table comfort food. Dine indoors or outdoors, where lawn games and fire pits are available to patrons. For a supper club experience, make a reservation at Jake's Supper Club on Tainter Lake offering specialties like surf n’ turf and prime rib.
Everywhere you look in Eau Claire, there are breweries and distilleries, each with a unique flavor. The Lazy Monk, for instance, is a European brewery with a focus on Bohemian and German lagers. Kid and dog-friendly, enjoy a pint in the hall or the garden overlooking the Chippewa River.
Getting Here, Where to Stay
Book a room at a downtown hotel or a bed-and-breakfast. Arrive here by plane or car. It doesn't matter where you choose to stay or how you get here, as long as you do.
In the heart of downtown, you can stay at the Lismore Hotel near restaurants, bars and coffee shops. For more intimate accommodations perfect for couples, stay at the Otter Creek Inn Fireplace & Jacuzzi Suites, a Victorian-style B&B.
Eau Claire is accessible by car from cities like Milwaukee, the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul), Chicago and Madison. Nearby airports include the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport with direct flights to and from the Chicago O'Hare International Airport and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, about a 1.5-hour drive to Eau Claire.
However you choose to spend your time here, rest assured that inspiration, creativity and unforgettable memories await you and your family.