If you don’t mind the cold winters, Eau Claire is a great place for retired people to live. Located 86 miles west of St. Paul Minnesota and 193 miles west of Green Bay, Eau Claire (meaning “clear water”) sits where the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers come together.
What brought Eau Claire (pronounced “O’Clair”) to our radar was the University of Wisconsin where seniors can audit classes for free and the fact that the cost of living is a good 10% below the national average. There are some 67,000 people in town and 11.7% are over the age of 65.
Housing: The median list price of a home in this area is $149,900, but we easily found this 3/bed, 2/bath home listed on Zillow for $174,900 with six acres of property!
Crime: The crime rate is almost nil and is very low for Wisconsin compared to the national average.
Healthcare: There are two fully accredited hospitals in town with all the specialties you need.
Recreation: One of the locals favorite things to do is cross-country ski. There are miles and miles of trails and parks to explore in the winter. Many people ride their bikes and snowshoe! In the summer, there is plenty of fishing, hiking, golf and all manner of water activities.
Weather: The only negative we found to Eau Claire is the winter weather – which is a draw for some. The average high in January is 23.4 degrees F, but it dips to 5 degrees and lower at night. In the summer the average high is 83 degrees F. The spring and fall seasons are glorious! Eau Claire sees 31″ of rain a year and 44.2″ of snow.
Cultural Activities: There are plenty of museums, festivals, art exhibits, sporting events, festivals and fairs in Eau Claire. The natives are really nice and welcoming no matter what you choose to do. Take a brewery tour, visit a vineyard. Take an art class or a scenic drive. Check out the Farmer’s Markets for locally grown produce and more.
This is a great part of the country!