9+ Unusual Things to Do in Eau Claire

Embark on Eau Claire's Sculpture Tour, where art intertwines with the city's pulse. But the final piece hides a secret...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Ever wondered what hidden treasures lie in the heart of Wisconsin? Well, hold onto your cheese hats, 'cause Eau Claire is not your run-of-the-mill small town—it's a vibrant hub bubbling with the unexpected! From braving the whispering pines to feasting like a true Wisconsinite, this under-the-radar city is rich with unique experiences. Now, let's talk about the real kicker—did you know that Eau Claire is a simmering pot of public art? That's right! It's as if the streets were splashed with color and history, leaving you mesmerized and reaching for your camera at every turn.

Whether you're itching to test your Viking spirit with a game of Kubb, paddle serenely down the Chippewa River, or munch on some heart-warming local grub, you've stumbled into the right nook of the Midwest. And for the cherry on top, imagine a rustic footbridge where you're engulfed by panoramic views that look like they've been plucked right out of a painting. Intrigued? You should be. But that's just the teaser, because Eau Claire's Instagram-worthy mural scene and lush trails are whispering your name. So lace up your adventure shoes, we're diving headfirst into the charming city of Eau Claire—where every visit unfolds like a new page in your favorite storybook.

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Unearth Eau Claire's Sculpture Tour

Picture this: you're strolling through the heart of Eau Claire, sun on your face, when suddenly you're face-to-face with a giant, awe-inspiring statue! Welcome to the Sculpture Tour, a vibrant explosion of creativity tucked on the streets of this cozy town.

Every corner here whispers (or sometimes shouts) the stories of local artists who've poured their hearts into eau claire public sculptures and murals. Expect the unexpected as you meander - a cluster of whimsical creatures here, a thought-provoking abstract piece there - this isn't just a walk, it's an adventure for your imagination!

So grab your besties, your family or just your splendid solo self and dive into the artistic spirit of the city. The beauty of this tour? It's ever-changing - new pieces pop up regularly, so repeat visits are a must.

Feast your eyes on everything from towering metalwork to soulful stone carvings. And when your feet need a break, there's plenty of Insta-worthy spots to smash that 'like' button. Don't rush through; give yourself a good hour or two to soak it all in. Whether you're a hardcore art aficionado or just looking for a chill afternoon, this tour hits the spot.

Now, who's it for? Everyone really - kids dig the funky shapes, adults appreciate the artistry, and photo hounds... well, this is your playground. Oh, and it’s perfect for a little date action (just saying).

Ready to add some color to your day? Check out the Sculpture Tour and make sure your phone’s charged – these are memories you'll want to keep. Just a heads up, some sculptures are like the popular kids - they won't stick around forever. So make your move, art lovers, and make it now.

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Play the Ancient Game of Kubb

Step right up, folks! Welcome to a blast from the past where Viking chess meets your backyard barbecue! No need for time machines here; Eau Claire has its very own time capsule with the ancient game of Kubb. Imagine tossing wooden batons under the same sun that kissed the faces of fierce Norsemen – feel that adrenaline?

Kubb isn't just any leisure activity; it's an immersive experience that transports you to the age of Vikings—minus the longboats and pillaging, of course. Can you picture yourself strategizing to knock over wooden blocks, called "kubbs," on your opponent’s side of the field? That's right, you're not just mingling here; you're embarking on a conquest for honor, glory, and a ton of fun!

So, why should you join in on this ancient play? It's simple:

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  • Kubb is a game for everybody – whether you’re chilling with friends, bonding with family, or challenging a random traveler claiming to be a Kubb warrior from the Northlands.
  • It's easy to pick up. A few rounds of tossing batons, and you’re all set to rule the field!
  • You get a taste (figuratively, of course) of Eau Claire's rich cultural offerings that fuse history with modern leisure activities.

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Picture this: The sun is dipping low, your team is up, and the final kubb stands defiantly across the pitch. With the precision of a Viking warrior, you hurl your baton and – BAM! – victory is yours. Feels good, doesn't it? That's Eau Claire for you – always a win when it comes to unique experiences.

Whether you're after a rib-tickling competition or a laid-back match with newfound friends, Kubb promises an unforgettable time. So, grab your batons and get ready to make memories that echo through the ages! Now, how long should you plan for this escapade? Give it an hour or two, and you'll be a pro by sundown. And hey, this isn't just for the grown-ups – kids get in on the battle too, making it the perfect family showdown.

Alright, warriors, the field awaits. Your journey to becoming a Kubb legend starts here in the heart of Eau Claire. Onward to glory!

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Savor Flavors at the Cheese & Deli

Got a craving for something cheesy and utterly delightful? Well, park yourselves at Eau Claire's iconic Cheese & Deli for a dining experience that's about to tickle your taste buds in a way only cheese can. And, folks, we're talking about the kind of cheese that'll have you dreaming about it for weeks after you leave!

What's on the platter? Plunge into a paradise of cheeses—some locally produced and others from around the world. It's not just a meal; it's a full-flown cheese adventure. Your cheese-loving heart will swoon over the creamy, the crumbly, and the oh-so-rich choices. And let's not forget the charcuterie that accompanies those delightful dairy hunks. Smoked meats, tangy olives, treats that are savory, sweet, and everything in the middle, all ready to create the perfect bite.

But wait, it's not just cheese! This spot is perfect for when you're famished after exploring Eau Claire. Indulge in freshly made sandwiches, scrumptious soups, and delectable deli salads that make use of all the goodness available at the deli counter. Whether you're a local, a tourist, with your gang, or loving your solo adventure, everyone agrees that this deli is a must-do dining spot.

Time your visit so you can mosey around with your meal or take a picnic to go. If you're lucky, you might even catch some local events happening nearby that could use the accompaniment of a tasty deli snack. Whether you're here to chill for a few minutes or hang for an hour, this eatery sets you up for some good ol' Wisconsin lounging.

So who's this cheese haven for? Well, if you're a dairy devotee, here's where your cheese dreams come true. It's a paradise for foodies, a hit with families thanks to the fuss-free but utterly delicious menu, and a treasure for anyone who simply adores a meal with character and charm.

Now, what are you waiting for? It's time to let your taste buds do the happy dance at Eau Claire's Cheese & Deli, because hey, life's too short to eat bad cheese!

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Phoenix Park Footbridge Views

Picture this: You're standing mid-span on the Phoenix Park Footbridge, the gentle Chippewa River flowing below, a canvas of sky unrolling above. You've found one of the best views in Eau Claire. This isn't just any ol' footbridge; it's a passage to panoramic pleasures, where the city's charm unfolds before your eyes.

You should totally bring your camera, folks. You'll want to capture the sparkling waters at sunset—pure magic, I tell you. Whether you're an early bird catching the dawn light or a night owl watching the city twinkle, this bridge is the spot. And let's talk about the people! Whether solo travelers, adorable families, or couples whispering sweet nothings, everyone seems to find a slice of joy here.

Just a stone's throw away, downtown Eau Claire awaits with its quirky boutiques and eateries. So, if you're pondering over how long to revel in this view, I say, "How long does it take to fall in love?" Because that's what you'll do—with the view, the vibe, and maybe even a duck floating downstream. But don't rush off; when the light's just right, the footbridge isn’t just a connection between two riverbanks—it's a bridge to enchantment. Plus, you never know when you’ll get swept up in a spontaneous game of guitar and sing-alongs—this place is vibe central!

Whether adrenaline-junky or chill-seeker, trust me, the Phoenix Park Footbridge is for y'all. Indulge in the views, breathe in the serenity, and maybe, just maybe, you will see the river wink back at you, echoing the sparkle in your eyes. It's not just about crossing; it's about experiencing. Now go on, get your stroll on and let those bridge vibes roll!

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Engage with Eau Claire's Mural Scene

Imagine strolling down the streets of Eau Claire, your eyes feasting on the vibrant colors that splash across buildings – welcome to the city’s dynamic mural scene! Eau Claire’s murals aren't just Instagram-worthy; they’re storied canvases that paint the town with creativity.

Boldly standing out among the eau claire photography spots are these urban masterpieces. Tucked in alleys, wrapped around corners, and showcased on prominent facades, the murals offer a visual journey through the heart of the city. As you explore, each mural tells a tale, reflecting the community, history, and local legends of Eau Claire.

Grab your camera and capture shots that scream 'art enthusiast', or simply admire the blend of artistry covering vast walls. Discover hidden gems around every corner and interact with the pieces that call out to you—the murals are conversation starters, a background for thought, and perfect for opportunistic selfies!

You'll want to dedicate a good part of your day for mural-chasing, especially if your social media aesthetic begs for a touch of urban artistry. Engage with fellow explorers as you figure out the stories behind each piece—chat up the locals to uncover tidbits you won't find in guidebooks. Whether you're solo or with friends, these murals provide a culturally rich backdrop for all.

Here's the kicker: Eau Claire's mural scene is ever-evolving. What you see today might be a different vista tomorrow. So, your visit turns into a snapshot of the city's artistic evolution—a moment in time that's uniquely yours to keep.

Not just for the artists at heart, this exploration is a delight for families, couples, and solo adventurers alike. Eau Claire's murals are more than just pretty pictures; they're landmarks of civic pride and collective imagination. Now, doesn't that sound like a wall-worthy experience?

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Paddle the Chippewa River

Time for an adventure? Paddle through the heart of Eau Claire on the Chippewa River for an afternoon filled with nothing but good vibes and great scenery. Grab a kayak or canoe, and let's glide!

This river's gentle flow is perfect for both first-timers and seasoned paddlers. Whether you're craving solitude or a social float with friends, this is where you'll find your zen. The Chippewa River offers calm waters most of the year, making it a go-to for eau claire kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts.

Paddling here isn’t just about the exercise; it's about the epic journey. Glide under bridges, past lush parks, and if your timing's right, you can catch the golden hour as it kisses the tree-lined banks. That's the kind of stuff your camera lives for. And, hey, it’s not all about what's on the water – peek shoreside to eyeball some of Eau Claire's charm.

But what about the practical deets, you ask? Expect to spend about 2-3 hours on a typical excursion, perfect for working up an appetite for the local grub. Families, solo adventurers, or couples looking for a splash of romance – the Chippewa is your oar-some destination. And don't sweat the logistics; downtown rentals have got you and your fellow paddlers covered.

So, check the map, pick your launch spot, and maybe, just maybe, make sure someone’s phone is ready for those insta-worthy shots. Be brave, be bold, and remember, the river is calling – it’d be rude not to answer. And for those looking for a guided experience or rental info, just click right here to get connected with local river experts. Happy paddling!

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Hike Northwest Park Trails

Picture this: you're wandering through a forest, birds are chirping, and the scent of fresh pine tickles your nose. Welcome to the Northwest Park Trails! This is where nature lovers and trailblazers unite for an outdoor extravaganza right in Eau Claire's backyard.

Northwest Park isn't your average walk in the park. It's home to some of the most serene nature trails Eau Claire has in its treasure trove. Strap on those hiking boots, because here, the trails cater to every level of hiker, from the casual walker to the intrepid adventurer.

What makes it special? It's a slice of wilderness nestled within city limits, offering an escape that feels miles away but is right around the corner. Planning to explore these trails? You'll want to carve out at least a couple of hours to truly immerse yourself in the tranquility.

It's a hit for everyone – families love it for the easy paths where tots can scuttle and explore; singles find it peaceful for a reflective stroll or a zestful jog; and groups of friends rally for a challenging hike or a nature photography session. It's not just about the adrenaline; it's about savoring the moment, lungful by lungful of crisp, clean air.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife! Deer sightings are a bonus treat, and birdwatchers, bring your binoculars. Numerous winged wonders call these woods home.

Whether you're a local or just a seeker of the quaint and curious, the Northwest Park Trails are Eau Claire's open secret. Don't forget your water bottle and a snack – with so much to explore, you'll need the fuel. And who knows? You might just find your new favorite spot to reconnect with Mother Nature. Ready to hit the trails? Lace-up, take a deep breath, and step into the embrace of the forest.

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Cycle the Chippewa State Trail

You know that invigorating feeling of wind in your face while you pedal down a serene path, surrounded by nature's finest? Get ready for that! Cycling the Chippewa State Trail isn't just a workout; it's a way to become BFFs with the beauty that Eau Claire has to offer.

Let's delve into what makes this trail a must-ride:

Scenery: While pumping the pedals, you're treated to a diverse banquet of views—from lazy rivers to quiet woods, and maybe even a deer playing peek-a-boo. Whether you’re a selfie-snapping enthusiast or someone who appreciates some good ol’ fashioned nature, the trail’s got you.

Who’s it good for? Everyone. Seriously. If you’re a solo adventurer looking to clear your mind, a couple wanting some “we time,” or a family teaching the little ones to ride, this trail doesn't discriminate. The Chippewa State Trail is a biking nirvana for all sorts and sizes.

Nearby Attractions: When the appetite for exploration (or literally, food) strikes, the trail gives you easy access to local eateries where you can recharge. Do it for the foodie in you!

Time Investment: Walk it, bike it, or take breaks to count the clouds – you decide your own pace and time here. Whether it’s a quick morning ride or a day-long tour, the trail’s flexibility fits any schedule.

The Crowd: From laughter-loving families to fitness fanatics, the trail is peppered with folks that share your zest for outdoor adventure. Embrace the community spirit!

And picture this: just when the sun starts saying goodbye with its crimson wave, you’re there, on your bike, in the middle of it all. Beats a treadmill, right? For the full scoop on making the most of your trail time, saddle up and click right here for all the deets.

Remember, on the Chippewa State Trail, every turn is a new adventure. Ready, set, pedal!

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Shop Local Downtown Eau Claire

Listen up, shoppers! Brace yourselves for an eclectic shopping adventure because downtown Eau Claire is where your credit card might just hit its own personal best. Here, local isn't just a buzzword; it's the heart and soul of the community.

Imagine strolling down streets lined with one-of-a-kind shops that beckon with the sort of treasures you won't find at a big box store. From vintage finds to artisan crafts, downtown Eau Claire's shopping scene is chock-full of places where you can snag items as unique as your style. Plus, you know each purchase is a high five to local entrepreneurs!

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  • Fashion Forward Finds: Twist your way through boutiques with clothing that'll make your closet do a happy dance!
  • Artsy Essentials: Snap up handcrafted jewelry and art that scream 'conversation starters'!
  • Bookworm's Paradise: Scoop up some reads from local bookstores where the smell of pages competes with the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

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And just when you think your bags are loaded, there's always room for one more quirky souvenir, right?

Here's the skinny: shopping downtown isn't just a spree; it's an experience. The vibe? Utterly welcoming. The selection? Unbelievably diverse. The time to spend? Give it at least an afternoon; trust me, the time will fly by as you chat with friendly shop owners.

This stretch is perfect for the leisurely browser to the sniper shopper, suited for families looking for holiday gifts, to fashionistas on the quest for rare gems. And when your shopping hunger is satisfied, there's always a nearby cafe or bakery to celebrate your finds.

So flex those shopping muscles and get ready to explore downtown Eau Claire's local shopping spree - it's a perfect way to score some finds and support the pulse of this vibrant community. And guess what? You’re about to be the MVP of gift-giving with all those one-of-a-kind treasures. Ready, set, shop local! 🛍️

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Thai Orchid's Culinary Delight

Ready to tantalize your taste buds with some Eau Claire culinary delights? Then you've gotta check out Thai Orchid. It's not just a meal; it's a palate adventure, folks! Here’s the lowdown:

Thai Orchid is a slice of Thailand right in the heart of Eau Claire, and yes, it’s the real deal. This place is perfect for foodies and anyone who appreciates a spice challenge. Whether you’re solo or with your squad, get ready to bond over some seriously good pad thai. And if you thought your mom's meatloaf was the only dish that could warm you up on a chilly day, wait until you try their tom yum soup—it’s like a hug for your insides!

The menu is a treasure trove of authentic Thai flavors, from savory to sweet and everything in between. You'd probably want to set aside a good hour or two, because this isn't just about refueling – it's an experience. Whip out that phone and snap some pics, because every plate is Instagram-gorgeous.

Located just a hop, skip, and a jump from the buzz of downtown, it's an ideal spot to start your night or wrap up a busy day touring the town. The vibe here? It's cozy, peaceful, and just what the doctor ordered after a day of traipsing around Eau Claire.

Whether you're talking spring rolls or red curry, Thai Orchid caters to a range of diners—families, date nights, or just treating yo'self kinda days. And adrenaline junkies, guess what? There's a spice level for you too. Just be brave, pick your heat, and dive in!

Before you race off to your next adventure, be sure to sip on some Thai iced tea. Trust me; it's the cherry on top of this culinary escapade. And, boom, just like that—you've got a food memory you’ll be drooling over for days.

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The Lakely's Craft Cocktails & Live Music

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Imagine sipping on a unique, handcrafted cocktail as velvety smooth jazz envelops the room. That's the vibe at The Lakely, a beacon of Water Street nightlife in Eau Claire. It's not just a place. No, no, no! It's an experience that tickles your senses with its artisanal drinks and live local music.

At The Lakely, you're not just grabbing a drink; you're elevating your night to a whole new level of cool. This joint is famous for its original cocktail creations—think fresh, local ingredients that are mixed, muddled, and miraculously transformed into liquid art. Your taste buds will dance the night away with every sip!

And let's talk ambiance. The Lakely is that perfect spot where Eau Claire's creative souls gather. You'll feel the energy the moment you step in. Solo adventurers, date-night duos, and friends on the town all find common ground here. Get ready to nod your head to the rhythm of live tunes six nights a week. From blues to indie and jazz, there's always a beat to match your mood.

Just around the corner from other Water Street hotspots, The Lakely invites you to linger a little longer. Spend your evening here, dive into the menu, maybe share a charcuterie board with new friends, or swing solo with a signature Old Fashioned in hand.

Perfect for the culture-seeking crowd, this is a slice of Eau Claire that you'll want to relive night after night. Skip the movie - real entertainment is found within the soulful walls of The Lakely. And if you're feeling extra snazzy, why not dress up a bit? It’s the type of spot that deserves a little pizzazz.

So come on, live a little. Join the parade of pleasure seekers and make your evening anything but ordinary. 🍸🎷

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Experience the Pablo Center Shows

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Get ready to be dazzled because the Pablo Center at the Confluence is the cornerstone for the artsy vibes in Eau Claire. This isn't just some run-of-the-mill theater, oh no; this is where creativity splashes across the stage like paint on a canvas. Imagine sitting in a state-of-the-art theater, the lights dim, and the curtain rises—pure magic, right in front of your very eyes.

Here's the deal: The Pablo Center hosts an array of live performances that span from jaw-dropping theatrical productions to concerts that'll have your toes tapping long after the encore. Whether you're a fan of Shakespeare or stand-up, ballet or blues, there's something here that'll tickle your fancy.

So grab your squad or that special someone, because this place is all about those feel-good vibes. Whether you're a local or just swinging through town, spending an evening here is like hitting the Eau Claire jackpot. And, oh, for the shutterbugs out there, the architecture of the Pablo Center is a sight to behold. Snap a pic as the sun sets on the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers—a view you won't want to miss.

And if you’re now thinking, “But how long should I spend there?” Well, let’s just say the length of the show is your best bet. But why rush off after? The area is humming with post-show energy. Find a cozy spot to chat about the highlights of your night, or walk along the rivers and let the night air add a perfect encore to your evening.

This place is great for everyone—from families to date nights, from the artsy types to those who just dig a killer performance. Trust me, a night at the Pablo Center is the kind of memory you stash in your "Epic Nights" folder.

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FAQ

Q: What are some things to do in Eau Claire today?

A: You'll find plenty to do, from strolling in Phoenix Park to visiting the Children's Museum of Eau Claire.

Q: What can I do in Eau Claire this weekend?

A: Check out local farmers' markets, catch a show at the State Theatre, or explore the Chippewa River Trail.

Q: What are some weird things to do in Eau Claire, WI?

A: Weird but fun, try the Sculpture Tour, or get spooky with a visit to the reportedly haunted Banbury Place.

Q: What are things to do in Eau Claire today for adults?

A: Taste local brews at a craft brewery or enjoy live music at a local venue for a fun adult day out.

Q: Are there free things to do in Eau Claire?

A: Absolutely! Enjoy hiking in Putnam Park, art at the Sculpture Tour, or summer concerts at Owen Park— all for free.

Q: What are some unique things to do in Eau Claire?

A: Explore the antique shops on Water Street or try a cheese curd tasting, they're a Wisconsin specialty.

Q: What is Eau Claire famous for?

A: Eau Claire is known for its music scene, arts community, and as the home of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon.

Q: Is Eau Claire worth a visit?

A: Yes, it's a hidden gem with a vibrant arts scene, beautiful parks, and a rich Wisconsin heritage.

Q: What is the quality of life in Eau Claire?

A: Eau Claire offers a high quality of life with great schools, low crime rates, and a strong sense of community.

Q: What region of Wisconsin is Eau Claire in?

A: Eau Claire is in the Northwest region of Wisconsin, nestled along the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers.

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Final Words

Well, there you have it—your insider's guide to the coolest spots and unmissable experiences in Eau Claire. From getting your art fix among the city's sculptures and murals, to challenging buddies to a round of Kubb, we've covered some pretty awesome ground. You've learned where to treat your taste buds, nab the best selfies with breathtaking views, and soak up nature on verdant trails.

Don't forget to hit the water for a paddle, pedal the Chippewa State Trail, or shop till you drop downtown. Spice up your evenings with Thai flavors or craft cocktails while grooving to live tunes. And for a dash of culture? The Pablo Center's shows are a must-see.

Remember, the real magic happens when you step out and explore. So go ahead, embark on those things to do in Eau Claire and create memories that'll stick with you longer than a Wisconsin winter. Until next time, keep adventuring!

Meet the Author
Isabella Kai
Isabella Kai, the Instagram wordsmith, crafts tales that captivate hearts worldwide. A dedicated foodie, she whips up culinary delights and pairs them with stories that make your taste buds dance. Beyond the screen, she's on a mission to visit every artisan bakery in town.
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