While Chico is mostly known as a sleepy college town, it's also really easy to fall in love with. There's a beautiful college campus, the third largest municipal park in the United States, and a great sense of community. I've rounded up a few of my favorite things to do in Chico for visitors or those new to the area.
- 5 Mile [375 Centennial Avenue, Chico, CA 95928]
- Monkey Face [take Wildwood Ave to the last parking lot before you hit a gate]
- Bear Hole [Follow Wildwood Ave to Upper Park Road which turns into Fenced Road]
Lower Park: My favorite spot in lower park is One Mile. There are park benches and grass surrounding a swimming pool and a flowing river. It's a great place to read a book, swim or wander around the paved paths through the surrounding park area.
Chico is also lucky to have plenty of farmer's markets to choose from. Each market has a great variety of fresh produce and flowers, food trucks and an assortment of locally-made products.
- Saturday (rain or shine): 2nd and Wall St. from 7:30 am-1:00 pm.
- Wednesday (rain or shine): 8:00 am-12 pm on Pillsbury Road.
- Thursday (April-Sept): 6:00pm-9:00pm downtown
Sierra Nevada Brewery Tour
This is the kind of tour that turns non-beer drinkers into craft beer connoisseurs. You do typically need to book the tour at least a couple weeks in advance, but it's free and allows you to sample a huge variety of brews on tap. Besides the free buzz, you'll learn about the awesome history of craft breweries, get your hands dirty rolling hops and be truly wowed by their sustainability efforts. After the tour, I highly suggest making your way over to the adjoined restaurant for some amazing eats. Sierra Nevada prides itself on a locally-sourced (and delicious) menu. I recommend the Beer Cheese Burger and whatever seasonal salad they currently have (they grow their own veggies and pick them fresh). Enjoy!
Fork in the Road:
On the first Wednesday evening of every month from April through September, there's a tasty gathering of food trucks at Manzanita Place. It's a fantastic way to sample a variety of local bites and sweet drinks. Grab a blanket and steal a spot under a tree for a little alfresco dining!
Honey Run Bridge
A little history lesson: the bridge itself was built in 1886 and covered in 1894. You can walk through it and peer through the sides to see gorgeous views of the stream. There are surrounding sandy beaches and when the water is high enough, it's a great spot to tube down the river, making Honey Run the perfect place to spend a Summer afternoon.
California State University Chico:
I really valued my time at Chico State and love showing out-of-towners around here. Not only is there a creek that runs through the middle of campus year-round, but there are tons of trees, a fantastic rose garden and sprawling lawns for plenty of easy strolling.
A Few Noteworthy Stops:
Coffee: The Naked Lounge or Coffee Ranch // Indie Films: Pageant Theater // Non-generic gifts + souvenirs: Made in Chico + Wild Ink Press //Treat yourself: Shubert's Ice Cream & Candy // Cocktails on a patio: Argus and B. Street Bar
- Wine tasting in Vina, California! So, while technically this is outside of Chico, it's a very short drive and you can make your way to New Clairvaux Winery (a beautiful winery) in just twenty minutes.
- Table Mountain: If you're visiting Chico in the Spring -- Table Mountain is a must! There's nothing quite like frolicking in a giant field of flowers. Plus, it's dog friendly.
Have you visited Chico, Ca before?