Eau Claire (pronounced: O'Clare, French for clear water) is a city of about 62,000 in Northwest Wisconsin.
Eau Claire is served by Greyhound. The bus "terminal" is located inside a McDonalds restaurant at the far outskirts of town at 6251 Truax Lane, so you will need to hire a taxi from there to your accommodations unless you feel like walking 7 mi to downtown.
Eau Claire is on Interstate 94 and U.S. Highway 53 and is 90 miles (145 km) east of the Twin Cities.
Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (IATA: EAU) (ICAO: KEAU) is a public airport on the north side of town. Most U.S. destinations are available within 2-3 hours of transfer. As of March 2010 service is available to Chicago O'Hare with several flights each day.
Airport Passenger Service, . Terminal in Eau Claire is at the far western end of town.
Chippewa Valley Airport Service, . Terminal in Eau Claire is the Ramada Hotel (downtown).
Like most U.S. cities of its size, all Eau Claire offers by the way of mass transit is a relatively anemic municipal bus system. The buses have bike racks.
The downtown and Water Street areas, and most of the University academic buildings, are located within a river valley. Other parts of the town are located on higher ground. Walking and biking is an option in and between downtown, Water Street, and the University lower campus. However, for most folks (particularly in the winter) travel to other parts of the city will be by auto, taxi, or bus.
Chippewa Valley Museum, (located next to the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp in Carson Park), ☎ 715/834-7871 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Award-winning exhibits, beautifully preserved historic structures on the grounds, fun activities, a working turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor, and more.
Idea Gardens, 5530 Fairview Dr. (at Eau Claire County Expo Center, across from Action City). Presented by Eau Claire Master Gardeners and UW-Extension.
Paul Bunyan Logging Camp, (located next to the Chippewa Valley Museum in Carson Park), . A museum.
Chippewa Moraine Interpretive Center, New Auburn, Wisconsin (7 miles (11 km) east of New Auburn and 1.9 miles (3 km) east of State Highway 40 on County Highway M), . Glacial history - exhibits, videos, live and stuffed animals.
Crystal Cave, Spring Valley, Wisconsin (about 45 miles (72 km) west of Eau Claire), .
National Eagle Center, Wabasha, Minnesota (about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Eau Claire), ☎ 651/565-4989, . 10-5 daily.
Leinenkugel Brewery, 1 Jefferson Avenue, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729-1318 (about 15 miles north of Eau Claire), ☎ 715/726-0346, . 9am–5pm daily. Free.
For a fairly complete listing of current events, pick up a copy of Volume One, a free magazine available at more than 200 locations throughout the area. Another listing can be found in the Thursday edition of the local Eau Claire Leader-Telegram newspaper.
Action City, . Indoor/outdoor amusement center, including a climbing wall, arcade, laser tag, go karts, mini bowling, bumper cars, and mini golf.
L.E. Phillips Planetarium, Phillips Hall on UW-Eau Claire Campus, .
Ski Sprites, . Water ski shows offered in the summer months.
Wise Nature Center, [[Fall Creek]], Wisconsin (Highway 12 east to Fall Creek (about 12 miles, 19 km), then north on County Road K (about 4 miles, 6 km)), . Hands-on learning stations, interpretive displays of local fauna and flora, live animal exhibits, and a butterfly house.
State Theater, . Plays, musical performances, occasional headline acts.
Chippewa Valley Railroad, (located in Carson Park), .
Eau Claire Children's Theatre, 1814 Oxford Avenue (West Madison Avenue, north on First Ave), .
See also the Fairfax Pool listing in the "Recreation" section below, and the Crystal Cave and Wise Nature Center listings in the Northwest Wisconsin article.
Festivals and Events
These listings are presented in chronological order.
Sawdust City Days, Carson Park, . A family festival. Third weekend in June.
Country Jam, . A country music festival. Third weekend in July.
Summerfest, (downtown), . Celebration of the 1950's and 60's featuring food, live music, chalk art, and classic cars. Fourth Saturday in July.
Pioneer Days, ☎ 715/834-5983. Tractor pulls, antique cars, steam engines, etc. Second weekend in August.
Western Wisconsin Pride, Riverview Park, . A family (traditional and otherwise) festival. Third weekend in August.
Festival in the Pines, Carson Park, . A family festival. Fourth weekend in August.
International Fall Festival, (downtown), . Third Saturday in September. Bazaar, performances, and parade.
Coalition Blues Festival, ☎ 715/577-4197, . Third Saturday in September. 11am-8pm. Free.
Chippewa Valley Renaissance Faire, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (North of Eau Claire off Hwy 129), . 10am-6pm. Jousting, juggling, comedy, minstrels, magic, stage shows and more! You’ll find gourmet delights and entertainment fit for a king! Our artisan village is filled with merchants offering pottery, stained glass, jewelry, costumes & finery and other handmade wares. Plenty of fun for the wee ones too! Saturdays & Sundays 10AM-6PM Mid-May to Mid-June
CountryFest, [[Cadott]], Wisconsin (about 24 miles (36 km)) northwest of Eau Claire), . A country music festival held in the fourth weekend in June.
Rockfest, [[Cadott]], Wisconsin (about 24 miles (36 km) northwest of Eau Claire), . A rock music festival held in the third weekend in July.
Village of Terror, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (North of Eau Claire off Hwy 129), . 5pm-11pm. 2012 Village of Terror Attractions: Magic, Music, Mayhem & More! Unlimited Carnival Rides Every Night. One Price—All Attractions!!! Friday and Saturday nights for Five Frightful Weekends, Sept. 30-Oct. 29.
City Parks. Eau Claire has many city parks. Carson Park is in the center on the city, surrounded by an oxbow lake. Home to Eau Claire baseball and football teams, Chippewa Valley Museum, Chippewa Valley Railroad, and Paul Bunyan Camp. Phoenix Park is the newest park at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. It is home to the Eau Claire Downtown Farmer's Market and features free concerts on Thursday evenings in the summer Other city parks include Mount Simon, Rod & Gun, Boyd, Owen, and Riverview.
Bowling. Two public bowling alleys, Wagner's (South Hastings Way, East side) and Bowlwinkles (North Clairemont Ave, West Side)
Chippewa River State Trail, (trail head is located at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers in downtown Eau Claire), . Bicycling, walking, running, in-line skating, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Connects to the Red Cedar Trail to the south, and planned expansion will link it to Chippewa Falls to the north, and eventually to the Old Abe State Trail
Disc golf, . Three courses, one in town at Mount Simon City Park, another just a few miles east of Eau Claire at the Tower Ridge Recreation Area, and the final located an North Star Middle School.
Fairfax Municipal Swimming Pool, . The facility includes a main pool with zero depth entry and an olympic size, eight lane, 50 meter swimming area. A stationary waterslide, 22 feet high with a flume extending 150 feet, is one of the main attractions of the pool. The pool also features a "Raindrop" in the zero depth area of the pool. A separate diving well includes both a one meter and a three meter diving board. Also located on the grounds are a sand volleyball court, a concession stand, and a covered pavilion.
Golf, . Six public courses. Pine Meadows (Par 3 course), Mill Run, Wild Ridge, Lake Hallie Golf, Hickory Hills (a few miles south of town, on Hwy 93), Princeton Valley Golf. Two private clubs, Hillcrest Country Club and the Eau Claire Country Club (both in nearby Altoona)
Riverside Bike & Skate, 937 Water Street (at the end of the Water Street district), ☎ 715-835-0088. Offers rental bicycles, canoes, kayaks, rollerblades, child trailers, and ice skates. It also offers one to four hour canoe and kayak trips on the Eau Claire or Chippewa Rivers.
Chippewa Valley Predators, . Great Plains Football League (April - August).
Eau Claire Cavaliers, . Wisconsin State Baseball League(May - August).
Eau Claire Crush, . Great Plains Football League (April - August).
Eau Claire Express, . Northwoods League Baseball (May - August).
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Athletics, . Collegiate sports events.
Oakwood Mall, (south of town near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Highway 53), . The Oakwood Mall commercial area includes Target, Walmart, and Best Buy stores.
Water Street District. Small shops primarily catering to the nearby University population.
Downtown Farmers Market, (downtown), . May: Sa 7:30AM-1PM; Jun-Oct: W & Sa 7:30AM-1PM, Th 1PM-5PM.
Festival Foods Farmers Market, 3007 Mall Dr, ☎ +1 715 838-1000, . May-Oct: Su 7AM-2PM.
Oakwood Mall Farmers Market, ☎ +1 715 878-4328, . mid-June through late October: W & Sa 7:30AM-1PM.
Winter Farmers Market, . Dec-Apr: second Saturday of the month, 9AM-1PM.
Eau Claire has its share of the usual chains. For more unique dining try:
Acoustic Cafe, Barstow St, . Coffee house and sandwich shop.
Dessert First, 210 S Barstow St, ☎ +1 715 833-8440, . M-F 7:30AM-5PM, Sa 8:30AM-3PM. Bakery and cafe.
Grand Avenue Cafe, W Grand Ave (Near the courthouse). Coffee house and cafe. Sidewalk seating available.
Houligans, S Barstow St. Steak and seafood. Upscale casual.$10-30.
Oakwood Mall Area
Northwoods Brewpub, 3560 Oakwood Mall Dr, ☎ +1 715 552-0510, . Eau Claire's only brewpub. 10 beers and seasonal brews crafted on the premises. Norske Nook food and pies.
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