Eau Claire has everything you want in a Midwestern city: nature, art, culture and history, plus that Wisconsin charm that will make you feel welcome the moment you roll into town.
If you don’t get to all 17 activities on our Eau Claire list, then you might as well start planning your trip back—you won’t want to miss a thing!
Kids and Family
With fun and exciting activities for all ages, Eau Claire is a wonderful city for families. These ones are sure to become family traditions:
1. Children’s Museum of Eau Claire
Right in the middle of downtown Eau Claire, you’ll find the beloved Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, a center for exploration, learning, and fun.
CMEC offers rotating special exhibits, summer camps, daily activities, and permanent installments that are sure to engage and wow your kiddo. Some of the most popular parts of the museum include:
- the Art Cafe, where kids can paint or draw according to themes and learn from helpful resident artists who can help them unlock their creativity,
- the Our Family Farm area, complete with a giant tractor and Oreo the cow, and
- the Body Smarts room, where they can explore a giant gasto-instestinal tract maze designed to get kids excited about biology!
2. Family fun at the Metropolis Resort
Throughout the year, the Chaos Water Park is your family’s go-to indoor water wonderland.
There’s a relaxing lazy pool, aquatic playground for kids of all ages, water slide, activity pool with basketball nets, and cabanas to watch the fun from the sidelines.
Also located at the Metropolis Resort, you and the family can enjoy one of the exciting activities offered at Action City.
Within this fun-filled adventure center, there’s a huge list of things to try:
- a 30,000 square foot trampoline park—with basketball stations, dodgeball courts, and more inside
- a state-of-the-art arcade
- outdoor and indoor go-karts
- mini golf
- a zipline
- bumper cars
- a laser tag arena
Action City stands out as one of the best family fun centers in Wisconsin! Your kids will love exploring some of the endless activities offered here.
If you’re a frequent visitor in Eau Claire, make sure that you save with their annual family pass options!
3. Take a tour of the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire
Are your kids old enough to start thinking about college? Then why not hop on a tour of the beautiful UW-Eau Claire campus?
The admissions office offers in-person student-led tours of the campus, so that your future college grad can feel the excitement of one of Wisconsin’s best higher education institutions!
Eau Claire’s Rich History
Once you dig into the history of Eau Claire, you’ll be fascinated by how much there is to learn! Here are a few must-dos for history enthusiasts:
4. Chippewa Valley Museum
Before it became known as “Sawdust City,” Eau Claire was an important region for another reason: water.
Thanks to the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers, this rich land became home to bison and other wildlife, as well as the Chippewa Valley People.
The Chippewa Valley Museum covers this fascinating history from 1650 onwards, with some amazing permanent exhibits.
They also offer rotating programs so that every trip to the museum has something new and exciting to explore.
From mid-April to mid-October, you can also see the historic Anderson Log Home on the museum grounds.
The site dates back to the mid-1800s and is believed to be the oldest log cabin built with Scandinavian notch joints in the country. You don’t have to be an architectural historian to appreciate this amazing log home!
5. Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum
If you’re looking for a fun, immersive look at history, the Wisconsin Logging Museum should be your first stop.
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see a larger-than-life fiberglass statue of the fictional logger, Paul Bunyon and his blue ox, Babe.
From there, you’ll be able to step back in time with this living museum’s 1890’s logging camp recreation.
But don’t worry—while this engaging museum is popular with kids and school field trips, there’s nothing childish about the Wisconsin Logging Museum.
The artifacts and exhibits they have on display are the real deal, and you’ll get a full helping of historical facts during your visit.
One thing to keep in mind is that, much like in the old logging days, the museum is open seasonally, from May to September.
6. Take a tour of Banbury Place
The name Uniroyal may not be a household name anymore, but the United States Rubber Company (later called Uniroyal) was a huge operation in Eau Claire back in the early 20th century.
Between 1917 and 1991, the factory-made rubber tires and tubes, as well as ammunition during WWII.
Today, over 25 years after the doors closed on Uniroyal, Banbury Place is home to a collective of Eau Claire WI artists and small businesses
It’s this eclectic history that makes a tour of Banbury place a truly unique experience.
Your tour guide will be a resident artist with a full knowledge of the building’s layered past, so you can get a great blend of history and the current art world of Eau Claire.
Fun and Games
7. Battlefield Paintball
A short drive south of Eau Claire will bring you to the location of your paintball mission: Battlefield Paintball in Osseo WI.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery, spend quality time with friends and family, and get ready for an exhilarating day of paintball!
With 70 acres, Battlefield Paintball has an array of different scenarios, with enticing names like Tie Forest and Toxic Village.
They even have an ax-throwing course if you want a break from the battlefield.
You don’t need any special equipment or experience to participate in this high-energy sport. Simply show up and let the staff get you ready for the big showdown.
8. Lake Wissota Golf & Events
If golf is more your speed, the Lake Wissota Golf Course is absolutely stunning.
The 18-hole course overlooks Lake Wissota and is surrounded by Wisconsin’s beautiful wooded landscape.
The complex also includes a practice green, full driving range, and pro shop for a perfectly outfitted day of golf.
9. Axldog Acres Disc Golf Course
Swap out the clubs for a more casual game of disc golf at the Boyceville Axldog Acres Disc Golf Course, just to the west of Eau Claire WI.
This is a permanent private course featuring 21 baskets spread out over 6,000+ feet of rolling, sparsely wooded hills.
To book a tee time, make sure to reach out in advance. After all, this one of the best-rated disc golf courses in Wisconsin!
Nature and Adventure
Rolling hills, leafy woods, and glassy lakes are all that makes Eau Claire WI one of the best places to enjoy nature in the state.
Get out there with these fun outdoor adventures.
10. Town of Union Conservancy
Looking for 40 acres of peaceful Wisconsin forest where you can get away from it all with nothing more than a pair of binoculars and a packed lunch?
This conservation area is the site of the Kiwanis Youth Forest, a very special project of planted pines meant to honor WWII fallen soldiers.
Trails are well marked, and you can have your choice of a leisurely stroll through the woods or a more challenging trek up to the Chippewa River viewing point on the River Top Walking Trail.
Either way, you’ll feel absolutely in tune with nature.
11. Wilderness Pursuit Horseback Adventures
The folks at this Neillsville-based horseback riding business are committed to giving you a truly unique horse riding experience.
And, they’ve got a pack of the sweetest, gentlest horses who know the woods even better than their handlers!
You can choose the basic 2-hour ride that will take you into the picturesque Clark County Forest, opt for an all-day ride with a steak dinner, or go for one of their overnight trail rides.
Wilderness Pursuit Horseback Adventures also offers themed rides, such as Mother & Daughter Weekends, 4th of July rides, and more.
12. Kayak the Eau Claire River
The Eau Claire River is well-known as a wonderful place for canoeing and kayaking.
Especially exciting is the stretch of river between Altoona Lake and Hobbes Landing, a 6-mile kayak trip that will give you a fair share of rapids and mellow sections.
Over the course of your trip, you’ll see some amazing scenery: it’s not uncommon to see bald eagles, cranes, and an array of other wildlife.
And, once you hit the Chippewa and Eau Claire River confluence, you’ll get a great view of the city and the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire campus.
13. Bike the Chippewa River State Trail
If you’d rather enjoy the great outdoors on a bike than on the water, then head over to the Chippewa River State Trail.
This 26-mile bikeway runs along the Chippewa River all the way from Eau Claire to Durand WI.
You’ll see all the natural scenes and glimpses of wildlife that you’ve come to expect from this part of Wisconsin. It’s a truly magical ride!
And, if you arrived in Eau Claire without your biking equipment, there are plenty of places to rent in town.
The Riverside Bike & Skate Inc is located within a couple of blocks of the Chippewa River State Trail so that you won’t waste any time starting your adventure!
Find Out What the Locals Are Up To
We get it… you want to know what the locals are up to in Eau Claire WI! Well, here’s a slice of local culture that you’re going to love:
14. A night out at the Lakely
Frequently called the best food in town, the Lakely is one of those restaurants the locals are sure to recommend to visitors.
It’s located with the Oxbow Hotel and offers farm-to-table food and live jazz.
Sounds swanky, but the delicious and reasonably-priced food and warm atmosphere attract everyone from families to groups of friends to date night couples.
15. The US National Kubb Championship
What can you expect from the annual US National Kubb Championship held every July in Eau Claire?
How about… over 120 teams. 450+ Kubb players. Friendly competition and a whole weekend of fun.
And if you’re not sure what Kubb is, even better!
After all, in the Kubb Capital of North America, you’re bound to find die-hard Kubb fans who will explain the rules to you.
Kubb is played on open grassy fields, and in the middle of July, so you can expect plenty of sunshine.
This is a uniquely Eau Claire tradition, so you won’t want to miss it!
16. Live Music at The Plus
Sure, you might be able to find more upscale venues, but the Plus is where the local music scene is really buzzing.
If you’re wondering where the locals are on the weekends, chances are, many of them are at the Plus!
Every Friday and Saturday night, you can enjoy live music while chowing down on a delicious meal of pizza and wings.
In Eau Claire during the week? The Plus has you covered with Karaoke, Open Mic Night, trivia, and comedy shows from Monday through Thursday.
17. Float down the Chippewa River
Come Summer, you can bet that a huge part of the Eau Claire community will be spending their days kicking back in an inner tube on the Chippewa River.
Water-lovers of all ages can be found enjoying this relaxing tradition, often tied together in large groups of families and friends and with an ice-cold beverage in hand.
You can join in on the fun by renting your own inner tube at one of the rental shops in downtown Eau Claire, like Loopy’s.
Just make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and a hat!
Time to put together your Eau Claire bucket list!
Will you opt for the peaceful scenic activities or jump right into the exhilarating white water rapid-type attractions? Whatever your speed, Eau Claire WI is full of unique, fascinating things to see and do so that your trip is one to remember!