15 Best Things to Do in Chico, CA

15 Best Things to Do in Chico, CA

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The word Chico is derived from the Spanish word which means little. It was a little city which went on to become a metro today. Though very highly populated, it is also very beautiful. Geographically, it is very rich and is near to the Sacramento Valley, which is one of the richest agricultural areas in the whole world. It is also blessed with mountains on one side and a river on the other. The city of

Chico has a Mediterranean climate, with hot dry summers and mild winters. Owing to its beautiful, nature and natural features, it is also nicknamed as the city of roses. It is also a great place for tourists since it has museums and gardens alongside activities like kayaking, canoeing and others to try out at the lakes.

Learn about aviation at the Chico Air Museum

Chico Air Museum
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Located on the campus of the Chico Municipal Airport, is this chic museum. It has various artifacts and exhibits related to aviation and aircraft. There are also space aircrafts kept on display, which educate visitors about space and the various hazards faced by the aviation industry while sending rockets to space. The hangar has been recreated and set in a world war two theme, giving it a beautiful aura and an aesthetic appeal.

There is also a static display area on the outside where huge and large scale aircraft models are on display. There is also a research library located inside the campus. The museum remains open only from Thursday to Sunday. So time your visit accordingly.

Fun recreational activities at Bidwell Park

Bidwell Park
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A huge municipal park located in Chico, the Bidwell Park is spread over nearly 3670 acres of land, making it one of the largest city parks in the entire USA. What makes it interesting is there are a variety of different points of interest located inside the park.

For example, you can try fishing or swimming at the Sycamore pool. Then there is the Caper acres playground, which is set in a fairytale theme, making it for a really interesting and fun place for children to play in. The Cedar Grove grow is a tree experimentation farm where a variety of trees are planted and taken care of. Pack a picnic to take to the five mile area which is really beautiful with water on one side and sitting space on the other. Another interesting and aesthetic place to visit inside the park is the monkey face rock formation which resembles a monkey head. It makes for some really beautiful nature photography. The Chico Creek Nature Center is the interpretive center of the park and features many non-releasable wildlife species at its animal museum alongside foreign plant species at the native plant garden.

Visit the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park

Bidwell mansion State Historic Park
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Essentially a museum located inside the Bidwell mansion, it provides an insight into the lives of General John Bidwell and his wife, Annie Bidwell, what makes it interesting is that it was one of the most modern mansions to be constructed during its time.

It is an architectural beauty and set in an Italianate style. A guided tour lasting an hour is given wherein you can explore the entire mentioned interior.
The second and third floors are almost 50 stairs high. It is very beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. The visitor center inside the mansion is really great and fully accessible. They have a gift shop, a theater and the lobby area for seating.

Take your kids to the Gateway Science Museum

A kiddie oriented museum, the Gateway science museum is a really fun and interactive museum for you to visit with your kids. It offers exhibits which can give you a hands on experience at learning some scientific facts in a fun way possible.
It helps educate children about science, technology and engineering and is a must visit for children of all ages. The traveling exhibits are also really wonderful, and a class apart. It's a great spot to visit if you're on a family trip.

Canoeing on the Bidwell Sacramento River State Park

Bidwell Sacramento River
Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the Sacramento River, and its tributary, the Big Chico Creek, the State Park is a really wonderful park that preserves the riparian type of terrestrial biome. Canoeing and kayaking are two really fun and thrilling activities that you can do on its waters. It is also aesthetically pleasing, and the scenic beauty looks straight out of a postcard.

With trees like oaks and cottonwoods, towering high above and providing the much needed shade during summers, it is a perfect example of a great natural habitat preserved. Some of the bushes that grow include wild grape, blackberry and wild rose. Nature photography enthusiasts would surely love visiting this part. Other popular activities are fishing for the local species like salmon and steelhead.
You can also try hiking and picnicking. Birdwatching is also a great activity and you can spot some really rare species at the lake. The waters are also completely accessible and can be used for outdoor recreation sports like jet skiing and water skiing.

Buy fresh fruits at the Chico Certified Farmers Market

A part of the four farmers market of Butte county, the Chico certified farmers’ market is the perfect spot to buy some fresh fruits and veggies. It is open on Saturdays and Wednesdays only. For those looking to take back some goodies back home, you can buy the locally produced, organically made honey or some homemade olive oil. Baked goodies like artisan bread can also be bought. There are also shops selling hand crafts and handmade items that you can take back as souvenirs for your friends and family.

Learn facts about the rich history of Chico at the Chico Museum

Chico Museum
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Located near to the California State University. The Chico museum honors the history and culture of Chico with many permanent exhibits and beautiful rotating exhibits. It provides an insight into the rich history of Chico. The museum itself is divided into two main galleries which are the Patrick gallery and the Carnegie gallery that hosts a variety of exhibits and displays. One of the most beautiful exhibits is a Native American exhibit.

Watch a car racing competition on Silver dollar Speedway

One of the famous car racetracks of Chico this Speedway has been hosting competitions, right since its inception in 1962. With the huge stand and the seating of up to 7000 people it's a once in a lifetime experience. Weekly shows on Friday nights are held from early April till August end and a variety of cars are used in the racetracks like sprint cars, pure stocks and dirt modified cars.
Other than this, it hosts the main events related to car racing. One of the main and significant events that are held here also include the silver dollar fair, where three days of racing fun can be watched.

An interesting and quaint gallery this gallery that features really different and quirky artworks and exhibits in the modern and contemporary style. It facilitates and supports artists to make art forms in a completely different fashion.
Since its inception in 1981, it has come a long way and today hosts many types of exhibits and installations, focusing on a variety of themes and cultures. The gallery displays local and international artists both and is an important element for maintaining cultural diversity in Chico.

Watch a musical at the Chico Theatre Company

This theater company hosts many musicals and comedies alongside drama performances throughout the year. It was established in 2003 and seats about 200 to 250 people at a time. It was also established with the sole purpose of creating a theatrical mindset and allow for the encouragement of the arts among the local people. Moreover, it also helps spread cultural diversity and awareness, since it encourages local youth to perform in it’s in its performances. It is closed on Sundays, but remains open from Monday to Saturday throughout the year.

Play volleyball at the 20th Street community park

Another public park in the south of Chico is this community park spread over 40 acres of land. It has various courts but it’s most famous for its volleyball court. There is also a pickle ball and tennis court here. The playgrounds are of two types depending on the age of the kids. So don't worry if you're getting a toddler along.
There are also cute horseshoe pits. You can also pack a picnic and picnic in the designated areas where tables and barbecues are set up. Other games that can be enjoyed include softball, soccer, basketball and dodgeball. There is also a gymnasium.

Sample some ale at the Secret trail brewery

Famous for its authentically brewed brews and ales, this brewing company produces art in a glass. Located in the barber area, it is spread over 3200 square feet and has a production facility with as many as 15 barrels. The tasting room is modern and well equipped. Some of its signature brews that you must try are the Lights out Baltic Porter, the Delta breeze kolsch and many more. The taproom is very beautifully built and aesthetically pleasing to the eye with a welcoming atmosphere. The brewery remains closed on Tuesdays.

Kayaking on the Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake
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Though it's a manmade lake, it is a thriving area for a variety of natural animal and plant species. It is located in the upper Bidwell Park, just near the observatory, and is very well built. It was originally built as a reservoir to store water, but today is used as a lake for recreational purposes. You can enjoy kayaking and swimming in its waters. Canoeing is another fun option to try. The warm waters are swarming with catfishes so fishing is another great sport. Restrooms and water fountains are also provided nearby.

Meet a furry friend at the DeGarmo Park

What sets this park apart is that it is one of the few parks which also has specially designated area as a dog park. Here dogs can be unleashed from their hooks. So if you are a dog lover you would love visiting this place. Make some new furry friends while you take a walk in these peaceful premises.

There are also softball fields and turf fields. The Walking paths are also well built and very aesthetically pleasing with trees on either sides. Picnic shelters are also made well accessible with spots all around the park. Moreover, it is spread over a huge area of 36 acres of vast green spaces and lawns making it great for walking and hiking.

Buy a piece of art glass at the Orient and Flume Art glass company

Art glass making is a very intriguing and detailed process, but the amount of work and patience is worth it since it gives rise to some really beautiful pieces of artwork which are very pleasing to the eye. You can find a variety of styles and themes made on the artworks here. The main gallery hosts a variety of artifacts and exhibits which can be bought by customers and visitors for their personal collections.

With such a variety of things to do and places to visit, we would surely recommend booking Chico as your next holiday destination or weekend getaway!