Best Places to Live

Eau Claire, WI

Population: 70,157
Photo Courtesy of Visit Eau Claire

Once a lumber town, Eau Claire has transformed into a creative hub, with indie music and art galleries shaping the thriving arts and culture scene. (Also worth noting? Eau Claire is the proud host city of the US Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championship — yes, it’s exactly as cool as it sounds). With plenty of hiking and biking spots and groomed cross-country skiing trails, plus rivers to go kayaking and tubing in, outdoor lovers have no problem filling up their weekends here, too. Also, thanks to high-rated schools and the presence of of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the city scored high in the education category.

Local Obsession: Singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, the frontman for indie folk band Bon Iver. Eau Claire is his hometown and the city is proud of its indie spirit.

Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Experiences all four seasons, especially winter.

Top Industries and Employers: Retail, education, recreation and medicine contribute to a diverse economy in Eau Claire. Menard home centers, the Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire Area School District and University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire are among the city’s top employers.

Local Dream Job: Look good in lumberjack plaid? How does a job as a guide at the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum sound?

Quintessential Meal: Plan a meal around the cheese curds at Milwaukee Burger Company.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Dancing on Water Street or listening to live music in one the city’s many venues.

After-Work Meetup Spot: Sip local beer at the Fire House while playing darts, foosball, trivia or board games.

Best Brewery/Local Beer: The Brewing Projekt

Beloved Bookstore: Dotters Book, which also has a book club.

Free Way to Have Fun: Tubing near Phoenix Park

Truly Hidden Gem: Eau Claire itself has been referred to as Wisconsin’s hidden gem. The labyrinth at Phoenix Park is also special.

- Brittany Anas

Read More:

10 Reasons to Move to Wisconsin

Best Places to Live in Wisconsin

“Eau Claire is great city to live in. There's always something exciting going on from live music, to shows and performances, to hiking, biking, kayaking, and much more. The overwhelming sense of community and good-natured people make it feel like home to both locals and visitors while the emphasis on arts and culture keep it fun and interesting.”

Lindsey Quinnies
Program Manager with Volume One Magazine

Eau Claire, WI Ranking Data