Altoona Travel Guide

Discover the beauty of Altoona through this comprehensive travel guide. From natural attractions to cultural landmarks, this guide covers everything you need to know to plan your next trip to Altoona.

Introduction to Altoona

Altoona is a small city nestled in the northwest region of Wisconsin, in the United States of America. While not as famous as other Wisconsin cities like Milwaukee or Green Bay, Altoona has plenty to offer visitors seeking to explore the natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality of the Midwest. Visitors can enjoy miles of hiking and biking trails, learn about the city’s history at museums and historical landmarks, taste local cuisine and craft beer, and more.

List of Places to Visit in Altoona

Here are some of the best places to explore in Altoona:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Chippewa Valley Museum: This museum tells the story of the region’s history through exhibits and artifacts dating back to the 19th century.
  • Dells Mill Museum: This museum is home to a historic grist mill that dates back to 1864. Visitors can learn about the mill’s history and watch the water-powered mill in action.
  • Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum: Explore the living history museum that pays tribute to the logging industry that built the state of Wisconsin.

Natural Attractions of Altoona: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Lake Altoona: A beautiful reservoir with beaches, fishing, and water sports activities including canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
  • Eau Claire River: A popular spot for fishing and kayaking, the river also offers beautiful views as it winds through Altoona.
  • River Prairie Park: This scenic park hosts live music every Thursday in summer and fall and also has a farmer’s market, outdoor games, and trails for walking and biking.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Altoona

  • Erickson Park Loop: A 2.4-mile trail with a mix of paved and dirt paths that winds through natural prairies and wetlands.
  • Otter Creek Nature Trail: A scenic 2.5-mile trail following the Otter Creek with views of wildlife and a waterfall.
  • Old Abe State Trail: This 20-mile trail runs through Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties, offering great views of the countryside and small towns along the way.

Best Things to Do in Altoona: Activities and Tours

  • Hike the Ice Age Trail: A 1200-mile trail that winds through Wisconsin, with several segments that pass through the nearby area of Chippewa Falls.
  • Take a brewery tour: Many craft breweries are located in the Chippewa Valley area, including Lazy Monk Brewing, The Brewing Projekt, and the Leinenkugel’s Brewery.
  • Attend a local festival: With events from summer arts festivals to winter holiday parades, there is always something happening in Altoona.

Week-Long Itinerary for Altoona

Day 1: Explore the natural beauty of Lake Altoona and Eau Claire River. Day 2: Visit Chippewa Valley Museum and the historic Dells Mill Museum. Day 3: Take a hiking or biking trip through Erickson Park Loop or Old Abe State Trail. Day 4: Taste local beer at Lazy Monk Brewing or another local brewery. Day 5: Learn about the logging history of the region at Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum. Day 6: Visit River Prairie Park and enjoy outdoor activities like games or a farmer’s market. Day 7: Spend the day at Eau Claire, a nearby cultural hub with many restaurants, shops, and galleries.

Food and Drink Scene of Altoona

Must-Try Dishes

  • Kringles: A traditional Danish pastry found at local bakeries like Bloomer Bakery, in the nearby city of Bloomer.
  • Cheese curds: A classic Wisconsin snack that can be found at many restaurants throughout the state.
  • Beer Brats: A local delicacy, found on many menus at bars and breweries.

Local Beverages

  • Lazy Monk Brewing: An award-winning brewery with German-style beers and live music events.
  • The Brewing Projekt: A popular brewery with a unique taproom and a range of craft beers on tap.
  • Infinity Beverages Winery: A winery that produces small-batch wines made with grapes from California, Washington, and nearby Minnesota.

Where to Stay in Altoona: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Holiday Inn Express: A budget-friendly hotel with a heated indoor pool and free breakfast.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Eau Claire: A comfortable hotel with an indoor pool, fitness center, and free breakfast.
  • Bur Oak Motel: A classic motel option with good value for travelers on a budget.

What to Buy in Altoona: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Fresh produce: The Chippewa Valley area is known for its locally grown produce, including corn, pumpkins, and squash.
  • Local beer and wine: Pick up a few bottles of wine or a pack of beer from one of the local breweries and wineries.
  • Local art and crafts: Shop for unique gifts and art objects at local farmer’s markets and artisan galleries.

Local Culture and Customs of Altoona

The people of Altoona are known for their friendly hospitality, and visitors are welcomed with open arms. Be sure to engage in friendly conversation with locals and take the time to learn about the region’s history and culture.

Best Time to Visit Altoona

Altoona is a beautiful destination to visit throughout the year. The summers are warm and sunny, perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the natural beauty of the region. Fall, with its changing leaves, is perfect for hiking and enjoying local festivals, while the winter brings opportunities for snowshoeing and skiing in nearby northern Wisconsin.

Do’s and Don’ts of Altoona


  • Take advantage of the numerous hiking trails and outdoor activities available in the area.
  • Explore the region’s museums and cultural landmarks.
  • Try the local beer and cuisine.


  • Litter or harm the natural environment.
  • Ignore the friendly locals, who are a highlight of any visit to Altoona.

Safety and Health

Safety in Altoona

Altoona is a safe city with low crime rates. Visitors should exercise caution when traveling in unfamiliar areas and keep valuables secure.

Health in Altoona

Medical facilities are available in Altoona and nearby Eau Claire, with several hospitals and clinics available for urgent care and emergencies.

Getting to Altoona: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Altoona

  • Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU): Located in nearby Eau Claire, with flights to and from Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Bus Stations Near Altoona

  • Greyhound Station: Located in Eau Claire, with daily routes to and from major cities across the United States.

Other Options

  • Car rental: Many rental car companies operate out of Chippewa Valley Regional Airport and Eau Claire.
  • Train: The nearest Amtrak station is located in nearby Tomah, Wisconsin, approximately 85 miles from Altoona.

How to Get Around in Altoona

The best way to get around Altoona is by car, although there are also several taxi services available in the area. Biking and hiking are also popular modes of transportation.

Where to Go Next from Altoona: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Eau Claire: A vibrant city with a range of cultural activities, including music festivals, art galleries, and museums.
  • Bayfield: A charming town located on Lake Superior, known for its apple orchards and seafood restaurants.
  • Apostle Islands: A group of 22 islands located off the coast of Bayfield, with opportunities for kayaking, boating, and hiking.


Altoona is a charming and welcoming destination, perfect for travelers seeking to explore the natural beauty, rich culture, and friendly hospitality of Wisconsin and the Midwest. With a range of outdoor activities, cultural landmarks, and local delicacies to discover, there is something for every visitor to enjoy in Altoona.