Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Chippewa Falls, WI

  • Published 2022/08/16

Where mighty Duncan Creek meets the calm Chippewa River, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, lies in wait for curious and adventurous travelers.

It’s the seat of Chippewa County and has a small population that thrives on agriculture, fishing, tourism, and retail.

The area’s rich resources, such as Lake Wissota and the Chippewa River, have allowed this city to flourish over the years.

The first Ojibwe Native Americans, the European-American settlers, and the present-day communities of the town understood the importance of these resources.

So they’ve made parks, built dams, created special events, and did a whole lot more to celebrate and preserve what they have.

You’re welcome to partake in all these blessings by visiting this charming city.

So when planning for a weekend getaway, make this your top choice!

Here are the 15 best things to do in Chippewa Falls, WI:

Try the Famous Beers of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Welcome sign of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Ken Wolter /

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is an institution in Chippewa Falls, having been around since the lumber industry flourished in the city.

Brewing fine drinks since 1867, the famous attraction has also become one of the biggest and oldest companies of its kind in the US.

Leinenkugel beers are made in traditional German fashion, so every sip is an adventure for your tastebuds.

Exterior of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Pat McGinley /

You can try many seasonal and mainstay flavors on their facility in Chippewa Falls, which offers beers on tap.

Interior of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Pat McGinley /

They also offer tours where you can get a glimpse of how they brew their high-quality and famous ales.

Just don’t bring the kids!

Before you leave, grab a pack or two to drink at home whenever you need a refreshing chug.

Signage of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Ken Wolter /

Marvel at the Sights of Old Abe Trail

Mile marker along Old Abe Trail

Maarten Daams /

Old Abe Trail is a 19.5-mile paved route that starts from the Chippewa Falls and ends in Cornell.

It’s named after Old Abe, a bald eagle who was first the pet of a Native American Chief before becoming the mascot of an entire regiment during the Civil War.

This trail is as majestic as its namesake, running parallel to Chippewa River and through forested areas.

You can hop on a bike and pedal your way from the city all the way to Cornell, or you can simply walk a few miles and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

Whatever your preference, you’re guaranteed an exhilarating experience.

You’d get to see the western banks of Lake Wissota, cross the Chippewa River, and marvel at the hydroelectric dam in Jim Falls.

There are also opportunities for wildlife encounters and short visits to the historical sites along and near the trail.

Commune With Nature at Lake Wissota State Park

Scenic view of Lake Wissota State Park

Jacob Boomsma /

The premier outdoor destination in town is Lake Wissota State Park, a 1,062-acre attraction located east of the city.

It houses Lake Wissota, a reservoir of the Chippewa River and one of the region’s chief sources of water and fish.

Aside from the lake, the surrounding forests are rich in various flora and fauna, owing to the region being a transition zone that has both prairie and temperate forests.

Bird on a tree at Lake Wissota State Park

Harold House /

Water-related activities are the favorite things to do here, with several small beaches for swimming and docks for boating into the lake.

For those who want to stay for more than a day, there are campgrounds on the bank opposite the city, making for a quiet and relaxing experience in nature.

While here, you’re also welcome to explore the trails along the banks and into the forests for a chance to meet the many animals roaming the wilderness.

Sample Fine Wines at River Bend Vineyard & Winery

Chippewa Falls’ fertile and well-irrigated soil, complemented by the climate, has made it an excellent location for growing grapes.

In fact, there are many vineyards on the city’s outskirts and rural areas.

But one of the most visited among these is the well-loved River Bend Vineyard & Winery.

There’s a lot of factors that have elevated the status of this young business, which was only started in 2009.

It could be the award-winning wines, the magnificent riverside location, or the fun events held in the facility; it could be all three!

Whatever the winning formula is, it sure has made River Bend Vineyard & Winery one of the best winemakers in the city and even the whole state.

So visit their scenic building and sample some of their aromatic, fruity, and full-bodied alcoholic beverages.

Don’t forget to bring home a bottle to open on special occasions.

Catch a Show at Heyde Center for the Arts

Outside View of Heyde Center for the Arts

Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On what was once the original site of the McDonell Central Catholic High School, Heyde Center for the Arts stands in Neoclassical elegance.

This building is where all forms of art are appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

But aside from that, it’s also a marker of the communal efforts of the city’s people, who volunteered to restore and fund the center into what it is today.

You can catch dance recitals, theater plays, live music performances, and art workshops by some of the most talented artists of Chippewa Falls.

The halls, on the other hand, serve as galleries where master painters and sculptors showcase their most magnificent works.

On particular days, some of these artists hold workshops where everyone is invited to learn the basics of movements, genres, and styles.

Join one during your trip, and you might even discover a hidden talent!

See Chippewa Falls From Above at Skydive Wissota

If whitewater rafting is not enough of an adventure to you, then dropping from an airplane might just do the trick!

Skydive Wissota is a trusted skydiving company that will give you this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

They have trained instructors and pilots who have been in this industry for years, so you can be confident that you’re at the hands of professionals.

Once you’ve done away with any hesitations, it’s time to jump into the skies of Wisconsin and feel the wind rush around your ears.

Freefalling is one of the most exhilarating experiences that anyone can try, and it’s a rare treat that only the most adventurous would dare to do.

And it’s not just the thrill that people chase when skydiving.

The birds-eye view of Chippewa Falls, Lake Wissota, and the lush forests and fields all around elevates the experience and imprints into your memories.

So if you’re looking for the ultimate heart-pumping experience, book a flight with Skydive Wissota.

See the Animals at Irvine Park

A cabin at Irvine Park

Awinek0 /

Irvine Park is a large park with borders beside Duncan Creek and Glen Loch Lake.

Because of its size and distance from the city proper, this destination has become a local favorite, especially for those who want a quick escape to nature.

The expansive grounds, scenic trails, and riverside views are just some of the things waiting for you to visit.

But the crowning glory of them all is Irvine Park Zoo.

The grounds of Irvine Park

Awinek0 /

It houses a wide range of species, some of which you can’t find in any other zoo in the country.

This includes the regal Bengal tiger, the curious coatimundi, and intimidating mountain lions.

For those who want to cuddle and play with more friendly and familiar animals, the facility also has a petting zoo with pot-bellied pigs, chickens, Cheviot sheep, and more.

A sleeping hyena at Irvine Park Zoo

Patrick Lansing /

Grab a Drink at Chippewa River Distillery

While it does not have the longevity or reputation of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company or the peaceful ambiance of River Bend Vineyard & Winery, Chippewa River Distillery still attracts a lot of people.

It may be because it’s less crowded and intimidating, with its quaint building, riverside setting, and cozy interiors.

This business also boasts a wide range of alcoholic products, including spirits, gin, rum, and whiskey.

So if you aren’t particularly fond of beer or wine, this is the perfect place to try other types of beverages.

Drinking a shot or two of your favorite drink here would be the ideal way to cap off a day’s worth of touring.

Tour the Halls of Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry & Technology

Not only is the city a hotspot for natural attractions, but it’s also the home of many innovations and brilliant thinkers.

This part of the town’s history is showcased at Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry & Technology.

Here, you’ll find groundbreaking advancements, advanced technologies, and other wonders that were developed on Chippewa Falls.

One of the most prominent displays here is the life and inventions of Seymour Cray, the father of supercomputing and an influential figure whose work changed the computer industry forever.

There are also displays about the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, which focus mainly on the equipment and processes needed for making beer.

Another famous exhibit is the shoe collection by Mason Companies, featuring an array of footwear that comes in functional yet beautiful designs.

Join the Fun at Northern Wisconsin State Fair

View of Northern Wisconsin State Fair

PJ Nelson from USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When Chippewa Falls’ citizens found the Wisconsin State Fair too inconvenient to reach and participate in, they started the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in 1897.

Over the years, it has grown into its own thing.

It originally celebrated the rich agricultural heritage of this region before eventually turning into a large, much-anticipated celebration with carnival rides, live shows, and competitions of all kinds.

In the past years alone, almost a hundred thousand people have come to the event to join in the festivities and fun.

You’ll see the freshest produce and highest-quality livestock on display when you come to this fair.

There are also carnival rides and circuses, weekend live music, beauty pageants, and many other attractions on the fairgrounds.

It’s a memorable family-oriented activity that you definitely shouldn’t miss!

So schedule your vacation around this celebration, which happens every July.

Stay Awhile at Glen Loch Lake

Glen Loch Lake, located north of the city proper, is much, much smaller than Lake Wissota.

Because of its size and relative isolation, this destination is often less visited than its larger counterpart, making it a more secluded attraction for those who want peace and fewer crowds.

One of the favorite activities here is fishing, with game such as largemouth bass, trout, and northern pikes swimming in the depths.

Or you can simply board a kayak and cruise along the banks that are sometimes covered by patches of floating aquatic plants.

There’s also a dam on the lake’s southernmost end, near Emerson Park.

The endlessly flowing water framed by the tall trees along the banks creates a beautiful sight, especially during fall when the leaves have shades of orange, red, and yellow.

Fish Freshwater Game at Chippewa River

Aerial view of the Chippewa River

Matthew A Reddy /

Chippewa River is the primary source of irrigation and water supply for the residents of Chippewa Falls and surrounding cities.

It feeds Lake Wissota and the Wissota Hydroelectric Dam, making it an important source of sustainable electricity.

Once it passes the dam, the waters cleave the center of the city, flow into Eau Claire, before finally meeting with the Missippi River.

It’s relatively wide, so the waters are calm most of the time.

Kayaks docked at Chippewa River

Bryan Neuswanger /

This has made the river a favorite destination for boat cruises, water-related sports, and fishing.

If you want to test your angling skills, join a local fisherman and head to the best spots or less-trafficked areas.

You can spend all day trying to catch species like panfish, walleye, sturgeon, and northern pikes.

If you’re lucky, you might even hook a large game that you’d be proud to bring home.

Explore the Sights of Area 178

For those who want a closer look at the Wissota Hydroelectric Dam, make a stopover at Area 178.

This small patch of land didn’t exist a hundred years ago, and it only emerged when the Chippewa River was dammed and Lake Wissota filled with water.

Today, this quiet destination offers the best views of the lake and the dam.

It also has unusual features caused by human intervention and redirection of water flow.

The most prominent of these are the bare, exposed rocks that serve as stepping stones among the small streams winding their way back into the main river.

From biking to nature walks, there are many ways you can try to explore the sights of this attraction.

Brave the Rapids of Duncan Creek

Daytime view of Duncan Creek

Amcc0619, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Compared to the Chippewa River, Duncan Creek is narrower and more turbulent, making it an excellent destination for whitewater adventures.

It’s easy to access, with launches at Emerson and Irvine Park as well as Duncan Creek Campground up north.

Bring a kayak or rent one from the many outdoor outfitters in Chippewa Falls and head upstream.

It’s where most of the more challenging rapids are located, with some drops going as high as two feet.

And while that might not be as treacherous as Class III or IV rapids, it’s enough to give you an adrenaline rush and an upper-body workout.

What’s best is that the creek is relatively unknown even though it’s in an urban area.

So you’re welcome to enjoy the ride with a few close friends or family without worrying about other kayakers and rafters along the way.

Play a Few Rounds at Lake Wissota Golf & Events

This outdoor destination is composed of a scenic, 18-hole golf course and events place that caters to any occasion.

The course itself is one of the premier facilities in the region, sitting on the northern edge of Lake Wissota.

In this setting, the views are simply stunning, complemented by the well-maintained fairways, covered bridges, fountains, and streams.

The well-planned layout makes for an excellent gameplay, challenging the skills of both amateurs and professionals.

Because of the picturesque scenery and peaceful ambiance, this place has also become a favorite events destination.

Many people hold lakeside weddings, parties, and other events to take advantage of this location’s beauty.

Engage in a Nature Shopping Spree at Klinger Farm Market

The fifth generation farm, Klinger Farm Market, has been operating for over a century.

The farm underwent a fascinating transformation with each shift in the seasons.

Each season at Klinger’s is distinctive, from springtime bedding plants to wintertime displays of Christmas trees and festive wreaths.

When springtime rolls around, the store is stocked with bulk and packed seeds, seed potatoes, and just about everything else you would need to grow a garden.

In their 50-acre garden, they raise a wide variety of potatoes, peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers of all colors, sweet corn, and other homemade foods.

Fresh, homemade produce is best enjoyed in the summer.

Winter provides an opportunity to observe birds and care for your pets and animals, and many different types of birdseed and bird feeds are available.

Order a Drink at Dixon’s Autumn Harvest Winery and Orchard

Dixon’s Autumn Harvest Winery is the first winemaking business in the Chippewa Valley, tucked away in the rolling hills of Chippewa Falls.

The winery is where they make all of their wines and their famous hard cider, sold all across the state.

They feature a wide range of wines from white to crimson, from sweet to dry.

Their local orchard’s apples are used to ferment their fruit wines.

Manufactured, bottled, corked, and branded right here at their facilities; everything is done by hand from beginning to end.

Along with their wines, they also provide a selection of beers, specialized wine cocktails, sodas, and regional foods.

Host an Event at Lake Hallie Golf Club

Lake Hallie Golf Club offers a beautiful course, a bar and restaurant with an extensive menu accessible daily, and enough room for special occasions.

Members and guests may enjoy delicious food and beverages in the Clubhouse.

The 18 Hole Layout at Lake Hallie Golf Club in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, was created by golf course architect Art Tangen and opened in 1925.

From the longest tees, it measures 5,885 yards and has a par of 70.

It is a fantastic location for special events, including weddings, banquets, parties, business meetings, and much more for various reasons.

The Lake Hallie Golf Club is the ideal location for your entire family simply because it is appropriate for all ages and events.

Taste the Famous Chicken Wings of River Inn Bar

In Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, River Inn Bar is well recognized for its mouthwatering jumbo broasted chicken wings.

The pub began offering all-you-can-eat gigantic, broasted chicken wings a few years back, and it now offers them four nights a week.

Chicken wings are available every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evening, along with fries, wedges, or curly fries.

Enjoy a Friday night fish fry, fantastic burgers, pizzas, snacks, and a selection of sandwiches.

The River Inn Bar has played a significant role in the neighborhood’s history and serves as a hub for gatherings of friends and family during happy and challenging times.

Purchase Items at Collective Charm

Are you seeking one-of-a-kind presents for friends and family or something to keep and treasure for yourself?

In the center of the charming old town of Chippewa Falls, Collective Charm is a multi-dealer, family-owned shop that sells handmade gifts, restored furniture, vintage products, and antiques.

The innovative collectors and interested consumers of West Central Wisconsin are gladly served by their charming antique business.

Their market is guaranteed to impress, including unique items expertly displayed by the savviest sellers in their neighborhood!

If you’re looking for somewhere in Chippewa Falls to browse for random items, you must stop by this place!

Final Thoughts

Nature and modernity blend together seamlessly here in Chippewa Falls.

From scenic lakeside beaches to skydiving trips, from technology museums to exotic zoos, this city has lots of hidden wonders in store.

So when planning your vacation, reference this guide and list down the top spots.

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