Growing up, Eau Claire, Wisconsin was the largest city near my hometown (about a 30 minute drive). I associate it mostly with running errands that couldn’t be done closer to home (i.e. Sam’s Club and Menards), shopping at the Oakwood Mall, and orthodontist appointments from when I had braces…
It wasn’t until I was older that I realized there’s a lot more to do in this college town than just shopping. And as it is the central city hub for a lot of small, surrounding towns, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things to do in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Sip and Paint at Cheers Pablo
When I discovered Cheers Pablo, it was my go-to gift for birthdays, Mother’s day (all the days!) because I enjoyed my experience there so much. Now you might be thinking, “I’m not artistic. I wouldn’t know where to start.” But that’s okay! Cheers Pablo classes are designed for all levels, including beginners. The classes are usually led by an artist or former art teacher, who give step by step directions on how to create your masterpiece. The canvas, paint colors, and brushes are all provided for you when you arrive.
Classes run about $35 each. To secure your spot for a particular day or painting, be sure to check out the calendar on their website and purchase your spot online. There’s only a certain amount of seats available per project, and some paintings and/or times are more popular than others.
Attend an Express Baseball Game at Carson Park
Love these minor league events! What goes better with summertime than baseball and beer? Head to the concessions for drinks and snacks, grab your seat, and enjoy the game. There will be plenty to entertain you, from the music, to engaging the crowd in mini competitions between innings, and sometimes even dueling pianos and fireworks!
(Disclaimer: Don’t become friends with someone who works there or they’ll make you put on the sumo suits and race….
JK…it ended up being pretty fun. That’s me on the left…who can’t get up.)
If you’re really lucky, you might get a chance to see the Express Mascot, Trax and his wife Trix! (Don’t ask what they’re supposed to be…no one knows…)
Have a Coffee and a Pastry at ECDC
If you’re looking for some good coffee, I highly recommend ECDC , a downtown cafe located at the Lismore Hotel. Open and modern atmosphere with a fireplace lounge, locally sourced ingredients, and high quality coffee: the perfect place to catch up with a friend, meet a client, or just relax with your morning cup of joe.
Visit the Eau Claire Downtown Farmer’s Market
If you’re in the area from May to October, check out Eau Claire’s Farmer’s Market in Phoenix Park. You’ll be surrounded by local vendors, yummy samples, fresh, local produce, and beautiful flowers.
If you feel like wandering off a bit to enjoy the summer air, take a stroll across the Madison Street Bridge to enjoy some scenic views of the Chippewa River.
River Bend Vineyard and Winery
Okay, so this isn’t right in Eau Claire. It’s about twenty minutes north, but totally worth the drive. This is my favorite winery to date, possibly because I spent the most beautiful summer afternoon here last June.
They have a pretty wide variety of wines, and offer free tastings to help you decide how to narrow your choices down! I believe they were split up into sweet and dry flights. Once you find your favorite, grab a bottle or a glass and head out to their gorgeous patio! (Note: There is limited seating available, but customers are invited to bring blankets or chairs of their own to enjoy their wine on-site, overlooking the vineyards…which is exactly what we did!)
Fun Fact: All of their wines are produced, bottled, and labeled on-site. Check out their website for hours and more information.
If liquor is more your thing, River Bend Distilling is right next door. They offer various drink specials using their spirit products, including a white whiskey sour which I highly recommend.