COMING TO A NEW CITY CAN BE TOUGH, especially figuring out where your regular spots are. We mined our annual Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll to find out where the locals say you should shop.

Where do I buy groceries?

3007 Mall Dr., Eau Claire

The Midwest chain offers a massive variety of food, including a huge organic section. By the time you read this, Festival should have taken over two additional locations at 2717 Birch Street and 2615 North Clairemont Ave (west side).

2855 Woodman Ave., Altoona

This enormous, employee-owned grocery store is packed to the gills with just about any kind of food item you’d ever need.


1117 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire

The downtown co-op offers a variety of locally produced and organic products, including fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and milk. They also have organic cleaning and bath products.

Where do I buy music?

Sure you can load up your iTunes, but sometimes it’s nice to talk to a real person and get some new recommendations.

128 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire

The downtown record store offers a massive collection of new and used vinyl and used CDs with a friendly staff to boot. They also host occassional all-ages shows and signing events.

205 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire

The Local Store offers music from hundreds of local and former local musicians on CD, vinyl, and cassette. Plus lots of in-store performances of all kinds – concerts, readings, art openings, film screenings and more.

The weekend after Thanksgiving has “Small Business Saturday,” and local shops roll out all kinds of great deals.

The First Friday of every month, downtown businesses stay open later and have special sales.