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Although its population is barely 100,000, Chico buzzes thanks to its California State University campus and as a base for active adventures. In the middle of the Central Valley, north of Sacramento, Chico is a center for production of almonds. Flat and easily negotiated, the bicycle-friendly town is laid out in a grid chock-full of yesteryear buildings, making for joyful strolling downtown. Culture vultures are amazed at all the art galleries, museums, theaters, gourmet restaurants and brew pubs – the city is renowned for producing quality beers. The youthful South Campus district is a center of student life, while Mansion Park boasts ...

Although its population is barely 100,000, Chico buzzes thanks to its California State University campus and as a base for active adventures. In the middle of the Central Valley, north of Sacramento, Chico is a center for production of almonds. Flat and easily negotiated, the bicycle-friendly town is laid out in a grid chock-full of yesteryear buildings, making for joyful strolling downtown. Culture vultures are amazed at all the art galleries, museums, theaters, gourmet restaurants and brew pubs – the city is renowned for producing quality beers. The youthful South Campus district is a center of student life, while Mansion Park boasts high-end mansions that include the Albert E. Warrens Reception Center (designed by noted architect Julia Morgan) and the Bidwell Amphitheater. Other sites to keep visitors engaged include Chico University Arboretum; National Yo-Yo Museum; the modern art and railroad miscellany at Chico Art Center; the Chico Museum, which traces the region's history; the Chico Air Museum, for its WWII warbirds; and Bidwell Mansion, today a state park. Nature lovers can hike Bidwell Park (named for the U.S. General who founded the city in 1860), a rugged canyon that extends east to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, and autumn. Winter can be dreary and foggy.