The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Eau Claire Wisconsin
Eau Claire Wisconsin is one of the best Midwestern cities to visit for a weekend getaway. At just under 2 hours from Minneapolis, under 3 hours from Madison and under 5 hours from Chicago, it’s within road trip distance for many people. With tons of activities, boutique hotels and fantastic restaurants and shops, all set alongside the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers, it’s a must visit Midwestern city. Read on for the ultimate weekend guide to Eau Claire Wisconsin.
Note: this article is sponsored by Visit Eau Claire. I planned the itinerary and all opinions are my own.
Where to Stay
Eau Claire has great boutique hotel options! We stayed at centrally located at The Oxbow Hotel and loved it. It had a retro feel, the friendliest staff, a spacious suite for our family of three, record players with records you can check out the lobby, on site parking and a restaurant off the lobby. We enjoyed dinner on the restaurant patio one night and loved hearing the live music inside. They also include a light breakfast which helped fuel us before we got to our bigger breakfast spots.
Another popular option is The Lismore, which is also very centrally located with beautiful rooms.
Activities to Do
Eau Claire has so many fun activities, a weekend is hardly enough time. That being said, we packed our days and managed to fit all of these great activities in:
Stroll around the Farmers Market
We loved exploring the Farmer’s Market – it’s one of the best we’ve been to! With live music, farmer’s selling fresh products, artist vendors, local flower growers, local food vendors and more, it’s the perfect way to spend a morning. I especially loved the gorgeous flowers, goat soap from Abundant Acres Farms, fresh pasta from Jill and Lily’s and delicious produce.
Ride e-bikes from The Local Store along the gorgeous paths
I had so much fun taking out a new e-bike from The Local Store and cruising the paths! I saw a lot of other bikers too on the paths alongside the rivers and in the downtown area. The whole city is easily navigated by bike.
Check out River Prairie Park
This park is a complete gem and a really fun destination. Set alongside the Eau Claire River, there are spots to grab food, dinner, listen to music outdoors, and a little river perfect for kiddos to wade in.
Sample Leinenkugel’s at the Leinie Lodge
Leinenkugel’s is a staple of Wisconsin (really of the Midwest and beyond too) so it was awesome visiting The Leinie Lodge. We shared a sampler, toured the grounds and got to sit in the iconic giant Adirondack chair. It’s the perfect place to add to your weekend guide to Eau Claire!
Check out the Sculptures around the city
Fun fact – Eau Claire has the largest outdoor rotating sculpture tour in the nation! You don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to see them as they’re located all around the city. However, if you’d like to plan a fun tour, check out the website here.
Where to Shop
Eau Claire has so many great local boutiques – I want to come back back just to shop! Below are a couple that we popped into and loved.
Hello Adorn – I spent probably an hour shopping here I loved it so much, which when you’re traveling with a 9 month old is a long time. I LOVED everything and would like to decorate my house to have the same vibes. They make fine jewelry on site so I took home a gold necklace. I also took home some home goods that they carefully and beautifully curate.
The Local Store – they’ve completely nailed the store with every single one of my favorite local makers goods included in their storefront. I also discovered some new makers too! It’s so fun to peruse and support local.
Where to Eat & Drink
I was blown away by how much of a foodie destination Eau Claire is and would recommend every one of the places we visited be added to your weekend guide to Eau Claire.
Eau Claire Downtown Coffee – great drinks and light breakfast. I loved the matcha-chai (I had never tried that combo before!) and the sweet toast.
SHIFT Cyclery & Coffee Bar – loved the great drinks and bike shop vibes.
The Nucleus – the most popular spot in town for breakfast, and for good reason!
The Nostalgic Bean – definitely pick up a pastry here as it’s been named the best bakery in the Chippewa Valley! We picked up a pastry from the Farmer’s Market.
The Lakely – located right inside the hotel we stayed at which made it a super convenient dinner spot. The food was delicious and we loved their outdoor patio.
Valley Burger Co. – a MUST visit! Some of the best burgers we’ve ever had and they work hard to supply everything from local partners.
The Informalist – a nicer restaurant while still feeling casual, The Informalist was one of my favorite stops. The cauliflower starter and pizza were fabulous. Next time, I’d love to try their weekend brunch.
Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery – great drinks and a local favorite!
Helix – located right in River Prairie Park (and now has a rooftop!) is a great spot for wine, craft cocktails, cold brews, coffee and light bites.
The Lakely – also serves delicious and fun cocktails and cocktails.
Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor – loved this old fashioned ice cream parlor! The ice cream is delicious too and they have a patio on the backside to enjoy your treat.
Olson’s Ice Cream – another fabulous ice cream option is Olson’s. Grab your cone to go and enjoy it by the river!
Next time we’ll visit The Good Wives which also gets great reviews.
Are you ready to visit Eau Claire, Wisconsin?