Downtown Chippewa Falls personifies the charm of small town life in Middle America, with thriving businesses nestled in beautiful old brick buildings and friendly locals that will take time to see how your day is going. Despite having a population of just 14,000, there are still plenty of things to see and do here, whether you’re looking to shop or to head a little out of town and commune with nature. Here are some of the favorite attractions in Chippewa Falls:
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Let’s start with the city’s oldest business, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. The nearly 150 year old brewing company has more than 6 generations of Leinenkugel family history wrapped into an hour-long tour. You can see the original brewery building, see where the fermentation happens, and even watch the bottling process as your guide leads you through this impressive craft brewery. Back at the Leinie Lodge, you can look at decades of Leinie memorabilia before diving into samples of the Lodge’s award-winning beers. For just $5, you can sample 5 5-oz. pours of the Lodge’s best; a portion of the proceeds go to conservation efforts at Little Lake Wissota. Well worth the trip!
Irvine Park & Zoo
After the brewery tour, it’s time for some family fun so grab the kids and head over to the Irvine Park & Zoo. The park is FREE and features over 300 acres of local scenery to absorb. The zoo portion features cougars, bison, bear and tigers, while a petting zoo allows you get up close to local wildlife. After the zoo, head over to one of the many picnic shelters and have some lunch. Here is a video of the petting zoo so you know what you can expect.
After lunch, there’s still plenty to see. Step back in time as you wander through the Sun Valley Schoolhouse or the Pioneer Norwegian Log Home; both are open on weekends throughout the summer months. If you come later in the year then the family will love the Christmas Village, open from Thanksgiving until New Years. Here, you can enjoy more than 100 displays and over 100,000 Christmas lights.
Back to some grown up fun. The River Bend Vineyard and Winery is a local producer that uses cold hardy grapes that grow locally in Chippewa County. They have a wide selection of wines from sweet to dry. There is a tasting room where wine connoisseurs can enjoy some complimentary samples, and you can grab a bottle or two to take home with you.
No vacation is complete without a little bit of shopping. Check out Main Street for some shops and boutiques with goods made by local craftsmen and artisans. For the ladies, gentlemen are welcome too, head over to Mason Companies Shoe Outlet Store for some great deals on name brand footwear.
While it might be a small town, make no mistake there is plenty of charm here and lots to do.