Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
The Bidwell Mansion, a three-story Italianate villa, was completed in 1868 and was the home of Chico founders, John and Annie Bidwell. Many famous historical figures, including John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and William T. Sherman, were guests at this restored mansion located adjacent to Chico State University in downtown Chico. Guided tours are available daily.
The Blue Room
The Blue Room theatre is an independent theatre group dedicated to challenging artists and audiences with plays of depth and vibrancy in an intimate environment.
Chico Art Center
Located in the renovated old Chico railroad depot, the Chico Art Center has ongoing visual art displays featuring California artists. The center also offers classes, lectures, and workshops.
Chico Creek Nature Center
Chico Creek Nature Center is the interpretive center for Bidwell Park. Programs feature nature walks and a Live-Animal/Living History Museum designed to encourage responsible interaction with the environment.
Chico Creek Theatre Company
Chico Theater Company (CTC) produces family oriented shows with a heavy emphasis on musical theater. Their goal is to get people to stay in this area and enjoy the wonderful local theater that the Chico area offers. They also want to foster and grow an interest in the performing arts through their youth theater program, Chico Children's Theater Company (CCTC).
Chico's Golden League professional baseball team plays at Nettleton Stadium on the CSU, Chico campus.
The museum is located in the beautiful Arts and Crafts Carnegie Library building. The history of Chico is featured as a permanent exhibition. Many rotating historic exhibits are also featured. There is no cost but donations are appreciated.
Chico Performing Arts offers a wide variety of live performances from jazz and musicals to drama and dance. Please call or visit the website for current listings of events.
Chico is home to many fabulous murals. They are a delightful touch to an already charming downtown. A complete mural map is available at the Chamber of Commerce, located at 500 Main Street.
The Farmer's Market, a long-time Chico tradition, features fresh fruit, produce, flowers and more. Held at the Municipal parking lot on East 2nd Street and Wall Street from 7:30 am -1 pm . Come rain or shine all year long.
For 28 years, Chico's favorite summertime tradition has been the Friday Night Concerts. Held weekly from 7 until 8:30pm, the Friday Night Concerts are Chico's best place to hear live, local music. The concerts will be held in Children's Park adjacent to the CSU, Chico campus. The concerts offer entertainment to suit every musical preference - styles range from blues to swing and from country to reggae.
Gold Nugget Museum
The Gold Nugget Museum is a history museum of the Paradise Ridge. While the Museum covers the full range of human history on the Ridge, its focus is on the Gold Rush years. The largest almost pure gold nugget ever found in California, weighing in at 54 pounds, was discovered here in 1859. The Museum is a community leader in commemorating California's 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold and becoming a state.
One of the few covered bridges left in California and the only tri-span bridge in the United States, Honey Run Covered Bridge is located in beautiful Butte Creek Canyon just outside of Chico.
This is the home of the Duncan Family collection and features yo-yos from the 1920s through the 1950s. The world's largest yo-yo can also be found here.
Tours are available to view the world renown Orient and Flume glass artwork being created. Studios are open for individual tours or guided tours of groups of 15 or more.
Studios are open Mon-Sat 9am-4pm. Hand-blown art glass and studio demos available.
Sample award-winning ales produced on-site and enjoy fine dining in Sierra Nevada's taproom and restaurant. Tours of the brewery are available.
A guided tour is available of the 1883 former home of Dr. Oscar Stansbury. The Victorian home is beautifully preserved. Tour prices: $1 adults, $0.50 children. The house is located on the corner of Fifth and Salem streets, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
The Downtown Chico Business Association presents, The Thursday Night Market, a farmers market and entertainment for all. Held between Main and Broadway and 2nd 4th Streets. For more details contact the DCBA at 345-6500.
Bidwell Park, Chico's crown jewel, was established in 1905 by Annie Bidwell, wife of Chico's founding father, John Bidwell. Originally the land was part of the Bidwell's Rancho del Arroyo Chico, one of the first major agricultural proprietorships in California. After John Bidwells death, Bidwell Park was donated to the City of Chico via a series of deeds between 1905 and 1911. The original property was approximately 2,300 acres. Since that time, the City has purchased additional land, such as Cedar Grove in 1922 and 1,200 acres of land south of Big Chico Creek in Upper Park in 1995. Today, the total Park size is 3,670 acres (nearly 11 miles in length along the banks of Big Chico Creek), making it the third largest municipal park in the United States. The park features an 18-hole golf course; baseball fields; swimming holes; and a children's playground; plus roads and miles of trails for jogging, hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding.
Movies, such as the 1937 filming of the original Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, gave the park national attention with its towering oaks, bubbling creeks, and miles of majestic views. Other movies filmed in Bidwell Park include Gone with the Wind and Red Badge of Courage
Bidwell Park is comprised of three major sections: Lower Park, Middle Park and Upper Park. Bidwell Park is divided by Manzanita Avenue. The area west of Manzanita Avenue is referred to as Lower Park and the area to the east is referred to as Upper Park.
Lower Park is flat and level with a thick canopy of Valley Oak woodland and riparian vegetation, which provide ample shade for visitors. Lower Park is a treasure trove of recreational opportunities for the public, including playgrounds; natural swimming areas; and vehicle-free roads for runners, cyclists, rollerbladers and walkers all which are within walking distance to downtown and the university.
Middle Park features ball-playing fields, picnic areas, the World of Trees walk (which is accessible to the physically challenged) and the Chico Creek Nature Center, the park's environmental and informational headquarters. This portion of Bidwell Park is open to motorized traffic, providing the perfect venue for some of Chico's unique outdoor cultural events, such as Shakespeare in the Park performances and the Chico World Music Festival.
Upper Park remains relatively untouched with majestic canyons overlooking Big Chico Creek, which contains some of the most spectacular swimming areas in Northern California. Upper Park is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada with dominant plant communities of chaparral, blue oak woodland, riparian vegetation, mixed evergreen woodland, and ponderosa pine forest. The terrain varies from rolling to steep, with many rock formations, including the unique Chico Sandstone and Lovejoy Basalt rocks. In recent years, Upper Park has become a mecca for mountain bikers with 25 of its 35 trails open to cyclists. Equestrians and hikers also share this vast playground of recreational opportunities.
Recreation in Bidwell Park
Bidwell Park caters to many recreational past times. For those interested in swimming, the Sycamore Pool, located at the One-Mile Recreation Area, is an uncommon swimming experience. It is a concrete pool built around Big Chico Creek with lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend each year. When swimming in Big Chico Creek be sure to use caution. Water which may appear to be shallow and/or slow moving can actually be swift and powerful. Stay in areas where there is no white water and when possible, swim with friends. Also, as with all other activities, bring enough drinking water to stay hydrated.
Mountain biking is one of the most common activities that takes place in Bidwell Park. There are miles upon miles of trails to ride on. Some of the basic bike rules are:
Hiking in Bidwell Park is a perfect way to spend a day. All trails in Bidwell Park are open to pedestrians. The pedestrian-only Yahi Trail in Upper Park is a recommended visit. Yahi Trail offers hikers miles of scenic views along Big Chico Creek. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and to bring plenty of drinking water.
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