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FALL 2019 WINTER 2020

A guide to visiting and living in the North Valley



A tour of downtown Chico’s public art PAGE


2 Discover

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Escape to majestic waterfalls and serene scenic lookouts

Taste some of the state’s best olive oils, fruit, rice and nuts at undiscovered farms

Connect with the Butte County’s warm and friendly towns

Sample hoppy fares at the birthplace of modern American craft brewing

Plan Your Trip at


The activities are endless, the crowds are sparse and the memories are priceless. Whether you are a local, or visiting our beautiful region, there’s always more to explore in Butte County.

adventures of all types for spontaneous getaways

#ExploreButteCA Discover 5

Welcome to Butte County! FALL 2019/WINTER 2020



all in the North State is simply majestic. The leaves start turning bright orange and red and the temperature is that perfect mix of sunny and brisk. So it’s a wonderful time to get out into nature, to have a picnic in the park or take a long bike ride on one of the many trails that traverse Butte County. The autumn months also mark a change in the harvest season in this agriculturally rich region. The markets are flush with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and the farmers welcome visitors to their homesteads to taste their bounty and see their work firsthand. Once fall gives way to winter, the weather gets chilly and holiday cheer takes hold. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the season, and many opportunities to explore the local culture while staying indoors when it’s cold and rainy—from art galleries to theater performances to local museums. Read through this guide for a primer on the cities and towns throughout this fair region, plus all of the restaurants, activities and attractions that make Butte County such a beautiful and historically rich place to live, work and play. Sadly, the town of Paradise and surrounding foothills communities sustained substantial damage during the Camp Fire in November 2018. So, the affected areas are in the midst of cleanup and rebuilding efforts. New businesses are opening and reopening regularly, so keep that in mind as you travel. —Meredith J. Cooper Discover Butte County editor 6 DISCOVER

Events ....................................... 8

Mark your calendar! Fall and winter are packed with activities.

Chico ........................................ 14

Butte County’s largest city and a university town to boot, Chico boasts plenty of entertainment, outdoor activities, artistic adventures and culinary delights.

Oroville ................................... 42

Explore the county seat, known for its rich agriculture offerings, historic downtown core and range of lake activities.

Paradise .................................. 54

The Paradise Ridge is in recovery mode following the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, though businesses are opening and events are being held regularly.

Gridley .................................... 56

Home of the county fairgrounds, Gridley is rich in history—and growing fast!

Biggs ....................................... 60

Butte County’s smallest city, Biggs embodies small-town charm.

County highlights .................... 62

Beyond the big cities, Butte County is made up of dozens of old mining and timber towns, many of which have maintained their identities to this day.

Public art show ....................... 70

Downtown is the cultural hub of Chico, as evidenced by its vast amount of public art.

Agritourism ............................. 74

For those hoping to get a taste of what this region produces, there are lots of options when it comes to spending a day on the farm.

Outdoor adventures ................ 82

Butte County is home to two major rivers, countless creeks and other terrain ideal for hiking, biking, swimming and just being in nature.

Higher education ..................... 88

Explore the Chico State and Butte College campuses, plus other educational opportunities.

Maps Chico ................. 36 Butte County ...... 64

Discover Butte County Editors and writers: Andre Byik, Jason Cassidy, Meredith J. Cooper, Melissa Daugherty, Ashiah Scharaga Design: Tina Flynn Photography: CN&R staff, contributors Advertising staff: Brian Corbit, Jamie DeGarmo, Laura Golino, Adam Lew, Jordon Vernau Discover Butte County is published twice a year by the Chico News & Review (530) 894-2300 Copyright ©2019 Chico Community Publishing On the cover: Fishing on Lake Oroville by Paula Schultz/

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What’s going on? F

all and winter in Butte County mean cooler temperatures and college is in session. No matter your pleasure, there is a lot going on in this area during these seasons—from live concerts and arts festivals to agritours and, of course, the traditional holiday events. So get out and join community for some fun!

Tourism information There are so many things to do in and around Butte County that we can list only the highlights in this guide. Some of more popular places for live music and art to keep an eye out for include the Big Room and Hop Yard at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the Senator Theatre, El Rey Theater, Lost on Main, 1078 Gallery, Museum of Northern California Art, the Blue Room Theatre and the many venues at Chico State. Also check with local chambers of commerce for community events or individual venues for special activities. For those new to the area—and even seasoned locals— if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, you definitely want to pick up a free copy of the Chico News & Review (every Thursday) or visit the newspaper’s website at for our extensive calendar of activities, concerts and art happenings.

Throughout the season Farmers’ markets Many of the local farmers’ markets are seasonal, running roughly May-October. For local produce sales year-round, check out the centerpiece market—in Chico on Saturdays, rain or shine, in the parking lot at Second and Wall streets downtown. This market features a wide range of fresh, local fruits and veggies, crafts, locally prepared hot foods, top-notch coffee, beer tastings and more. Hours: 7:30 a.m.1 p.m. And on Wednesdays, the North Valley Plaza Farmers’ Market offers produce 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round as well, rain or shine. 893-3276.


Winter migratory waterfowl tours Each year, from September through March, more than 150 species of birds, including mallards, cranes, geese and California gulls, migrate to Butte County. By following a self-guided tour, visitors can view 9,100 acres of the nature-filled preserve. Guided 90-minute walks—departing from the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area outside of Gridley—are available as well. Call 846-7500 (846-7505 on the weekends) or visit for more info.

September Chico Beer Week Sept. 12-23. Chico News & Review presents Chico Beer Week 2019. For 10 days, Chico’s breweries, bars and restaurants will host an array of special events, including tap takeovers, beer/food pairings, specialty releases and style nights in cel-

Sierra Nevada hop harvest

ebration of the area’s growing craft-beer scene. Co-presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Pick up the CN&R or go online for a full calendar of events.

Taste of Chico Sept. 22. The Downtown Chico Business Association closes off the downtown streets and fills them with Chico’s restaurants and bars and invites the community to come taste their wares. Plus live music and local art. Tickets: $25-$35. 3456500,

Salmon Festival Sept. 27-28. It’s all salmon all over Oroville. The fish are running at the hatchery and

there are community events both Friday (dinner at Feather River Nature Center) and Saturday (street fair, a river float, live music and dancing and a 3k Salmon Dash). visit html

Johnny Appleseed Days

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest Sept. 27-28 & Oct. 4-5. Sierra Nevada’s annual fall celebration has been expanded to two weekends of Oktoberfest food, beer and music under the tent in the brewery’s hop field. Visit the website for more info: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 1075 E. 20th St., Chico, 893-3520. EVENTS continued on page 10 DISCOVER 9

EVENTS continued from page 9

Touch of Chico Sept. 29. Local massage therapists gather for a festival of healing bodywork to raise awareness of holistic health options, as well as funds for local community radio station KZFR 90.1 FM. Also featuring live music, organic foods, artisans, vendors and skill-share classes. Visit for more info. Chico Creek Nature Center, 1968 E. Eighth St.

October Book Family Farm pumpkin patch Oct. 1-31, Tues.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Educational trips for classes and community groups—feed the chickens, learn about rotational grazing, etc. Call to reserve a spot. Pumpkins available for purchase throughout the month. 153 Heavy Horse Lane, Durham, 342-4375,

TJ Farms Pumpkin Patch Oct. 5-31, Mon.-Fri., 2-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Choose from 16 different varieties of pumpkins (while supplies last) and enjoy hay rides and obstacle courses, a blacksmith shop, farm animals to feed and a bounce house. New this year: pony rides! Gift shop on-site. 3600 Chico Ave., Chico, 343-2294,

Asylum of the Dead haunted house Oct. 5-31, Fri.-Sat. (and Halloween), 7-10 p.m. No house is more haunted than one that used to be an insane asylum. 3163 Esplanade, Chico.

Zombie Wrecking Crew Oct. 18-28, weekends. The Paintball Thrill Ride is a big black bus that carries guests armed with paintball guns into the heart of zombie country. It’s fun for the whole family! 4444 Pacific Heights Road, Oroville. (209) 918-9209,

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend

traces its roots back to an annual fair first held in 1888. Nowadays, in preparation for the festival, Paradise residents bake apple pies and make ice cream to celebrate the area’s apple heritage. Plus, vendors, entertainment and a kids’ play area. Terry Ashe Park, 6626 Skyway, Paradise,

Harvest sidewalk sale Oct. 11-12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Downtown Chico Business Association organizes this event, in concert with downtown stores, to offer shoppers great deals on merchandise before the holidays get into full swing. 345-6500,

Oct. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Hay rides, a pumpkin patch and other fun farm-centric activities. Hosted by North State Parent magazine. Patrick Ranch, 10381 Midway,

Oct. 12, noon-5 p.m. Annual reunion of people who call Chico home, with live music, food and craft vendors and the Chico Icon Awards. City Plaza, downtown Chico.

Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend Oct. 12-13. One of the most anticipated agriculture-related weekends in the area, local farms and wineries open up to visitors. Go out and taste the very best they have to offer.

Johnny Appleseed Days

Sierra Nevada Hop Harvest Festival


Kids’ Farm Day

You Know You’re From Chico Festival

Oct. 4-5. See September. Visit the website for more info: sierranevada. com/oktoberfest. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 1075 E. 20th St., Chico, 893-3520. Oct. 5-6. Johnny Appleseed Days

tion of the fall hop harvest, featuring special hop-heavy releases from dozens of the best brewers in the world. Cost: $55-$75. sierranevada. com/event/hop-harvest-festival. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 1075 E. 20th St., Chico, 893-3520.

Oct. 19. Sierra Nevada’s celebra-

Zombie Wrecking Crew

Durham, 342-4359. patrickranch

Open Studios Art Tour

Coffee Pastries Breads Pies Sandwiches Soups Salads

Oct. 19-20 & 26-27. Chico Art Center’s popular annual event brings all of Butte County’s visual artists into one art-walking guide (with some driving), allowing patrons to visit the artist studios, galleries and other art spaces in Chico and throughout Butte County over the course of two weekends. Kick-off reception Oct. 18, 5-7 p.m., at the gallery.

Treat Street Oct. 31, 2-5 p.m. Downtown Chico gets into the Halloween spirit for Treat Street, when businesses open their doors and hand out treats to costumed children.


Fresh as a country morning!

Celebrating over 40 years of the Art of Glassblowing.

Farm City Celebration – Harvest Festival Nov. 2, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The centerpiece event of the annual Farm City Celebration is this free family-friendly harvest festival featuring bee demos, butter churning, antique farm equipment, carriage rides, plus kids’ arts and crafts, a bounce house and more. Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park, 525 Esplanade,

Christmas Preview Nov. 24, 4-8 p.m. A downtown Chico tradition since 1978, Christmas Preview is the official kick-off of the holiday season. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, downtown shops get festively dressed up and filled with cheer to show off their holiday wares, and the streets are closed to traffic to allow the musicians, dancers, Santa and revelers to gather and enjoy a night of communal celebration. 345-6500,

December Art Glass Studio

A Very Chico Nutcracker Dec. 5-8. Chico Community Ballet and Chico Performances present a EVENTS continued on page 12

(530) 345–7985


819 Wall St, Chico


Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 9 to 4 Viewing of Glassblowing usually available Tuesday through Thursday during non-summer months! DISCOVER 11

Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico

EVENTS continued from page 11

Chico-centric rendition of the classic ballet. Tickets: $15-$28. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State, 898-6333,

Glorious Sounds of the Season Dec. 6-8. Chico State’s music and theater faculty and students perform a wide-ranging selection of holiday music—from jazz and musical theater to various string/brass/woodwind ensembles and sing-a-long hymns—in this popular annual scholarship fundraiser. Harlen Adams Theatre, Chico State. 898-6333, csuchico. edu/soa

Gridley Tree Lighting & Holiday Parade of Lights Dec. 4, 5 p.m. The annual treelighting ceremony starts at Orchard

Hospital with live music and refreshments, followed by the parade (at 6:30 p.m.) down Hazel Street to see all of the festive holiday décor. Vendors line up along Kentucky Street, extending the fun into the night. gridley

Pink Martini: Joy to the World Dec. 19 at Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. The high-energy big band returns to Chico for the holidays and night of celebratory music. Tickets: $15-$64. 898-6333, chico

Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico Dec. 21 at Laxson Auditorium. Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar collaborate on a holiday program of music, dance and beautiful cos-

tumes. Tickets: $15-$38. 898-6333,

January Polar Bear Swim Jan. 1, 1 p.m. Every year, many folks show up with their swim gear and a towel to start off a new year at Sycamore Pool at the One-Mile Recreation Area for this Chico tradition of swimming across the chilly creek. Why don’t you join them?

Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway Jan. 22-26. Bird-watch in one of the most diverse wildlife corridors of the Sacramento Valley. This popular four-day event includes field trips, presentations, workshops, a banquet and a silent auction. ●


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Celebrating 35 ye

Serving Dinner Tuesday thru Sunday at 5pm A Chico Tradition Since 1984 Reservations Recommended Private Parties, Caterings and Special Events

Call 345-CAFE • 1020 Main Street • Chico 12 DISCOVER

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City life C

hico is the cultural, economic and educational epicenter of Butte County. It’s the largest municipality in terms of population, the go-to destination for shoppers throughout the region, and home to a California State University campus and a community college satellite campus. In addition to many of the typical food and retail stores found in larger metros, Chico is home to a bevy of quaint local, independent shops. That’s particularly true in the downtown core—a popular destination for shopping, dining and viewing rotating works at several galleries and cafes that contribute to the city’s recognition as an arts town. Chico has long been honored as a Tree City USA community. The designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation 14 DISCOVER

recognizes its ample urban forest, including the massive heritage oaks and other trees lining streets and in beloved Bidwell Park—an expansive municipal green space with year-round opportunities for swimming, hiking, biking and more. To learn about local history, visit Bidwell Mansion, a state historic park, adjacent to the university. The city— incorporated in 1872—dates to 1860, when Gen. John Bidwell settled this area 90 miles north of Sacramento, originally inhabited by the Mechoopda tribe of Maidu Indians. Ahead of his wedding in 1868, Bidwell built a lavish Italianatestyle mansion on his 26,000-acre Rancho del Arroyo Chico. Annie Bidwell, who outlived her husband, bequeathed to the public the majority of the land in the now 3,670-acre Bidwell Park.

approximately 17,200 students. Recently, developers have begun eyeing downtown for the construction of apartments—at least two projects are in the works—that will expand urban-living options. Outdoors and in, there’s always a lot going on in Chico. * The dining and nightlife listings in this guide are not comprehensive; we’ve included a mix of Best of Chico winners and editors’ picks to provide options. For full listings, check out Savor, a comprehensive dining and nightlife guide the CN&R produces annually.

Service office on Fifth Street is a major downtown landmark, featuring a beautiful arched entrance and Renaissance revival architecture. It was built in 1916, offers passport services five days per week and is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. 141 W. Fifth St., 342-5038.


The Hotel Diamond is a beautifully renovated homage to the original luxury hotel, which was constructed on this site in 1904. Now, the hotel offers standard rooms and luxury suites, and you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy its fine bar and restaurant, Diamond Steakhouse. 220 W. Fourth St., 893-3100,

Chico Chamber of Commerce The Chamber of Commerce serves as a gateway to learning about Chico, offering visitors brochures detailing everything from bike paths to downtown businesses. 180 E. Fourth St., Ste. 120, 891-5556,

Fred Davis Municipal Center Chico City Plaza

Chico’s city limits encompass 33 square miles and approximately 92,000 residents. Unincorporated pockets within and around the city add nearly another 10,000 permanent residents. Following the Camp Fire, however, according to a state demographic report, there are an additional 20,000 residents living in town. This fall, the university has Senator Theatre

Outside Chico’s municipal center, named for longtime former City Manager Fred Davis, sits one of Chico’s most recognizable sculptures—“Our Hands,” a giant pair of hands with iconic images of Chico embedded in the surface. Inside are city offices and featured local art. Municipal Center hours: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 411 Main St., 896-7200,

Old Municipal Building Built in 1911, the facility is home to a Chico Police Department substation and houses conference rooms on its second floor that are regularly used for city-affiliated and other community group meetings. 441 Main St.

Senator Theatre One of Chico’s most photographed buildings, the Senator Theatre was built in 1928. The theater is a gem of art deco architecture and once hosted traveling vaudeville shows. It became a movie theater in the mid-20th century and now attracts big-name touring bands. 517 Main St., 898-1497,

Chico City Plaza Located in the heart of downtown is Chico City Plaza, a one-block park that’s one of the public’s favorite outdoor gathering spaces.

Hotel Diamond

The Phoenix Building This downtown fixture located at the southwest corner of Fourth and Broadway houses a variety of stores, including a yogurt shop and a long-beloved restaurant on its second floor. The building, built in 1889, was gutted by a fire in 1975. It earned its name after rising from the ashes.

El Rey Theatre This historic venue built in 1906 was Chico’s first vaudeville theater and served as a first-run movie theater for several decades until 2005. It reopened as a performance venue in 2017 under new owners, after going dark for several months during renovationtions that include an open dance floor. 230 W. Second St.,

Shop Local Made in Chico The name of this downtown store says it all. Made in Chico specializes in locally made gifts, including foodstuffs ranging from jams and spreads to nuts and rice chips. Open daily. 127 W. Third St., Chico, 894-7009,

Downtown post office More than just a place to buy stamps, the United States Postal

CHICO continued on page 16 Discover 15

CHICO continued from page 15

The Outlet

Chico Art Center

This weekend-only store in downtown sells discounted women’s clothing from local company Lulus (check out the flashy “Love” mural at its headquarters on Humboldt Avenue). 232 Broadway St., 999-2254,

Established in 1956, this nonprofit gallery produces regular group exhibits featuring local and visiting artists and offers classes for all levels. Hours: Mon.-Fri., noon-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 450 Orange St., Ste. 6, 895-8726,

Upper Park Clothing and Provisions

Chico Art School & Gallery

Chico- and Butte County-themed apparel and other locally designed and created items, from backpacks to wine glasses. 122 W. Third St.,

Arts & Culture ART GALLERIES 1078 Gallery Chico’s most adventurous local gallery was founded in 1981 at 1078 Humboldt Ave., and has since moved three times, settling most recently at 1710 Park Ave. The volunteer-run nonprofit’s mission is to present “exciting exhibitions of contemporary and experimental artworks in visual, musical, literary, film, and performance mediums.” Check website for calendar. Gallery hours: Thurs.–Sun., noon-4 p.m. 1710 Park Ave.,

Offers adults and children ongoing instruction in painting and drawing in various mediums. Classes taught by Janet Lombardi Blixt, regularly voted Best Local Artist by Chico News & Review readers. 261 E. Third St. 570-3895,

Chico Paper Company In the heart of downtown, this custom framing and retail shop features works by local artists, plus an excellent selection of greeting cards, handmade jewelry and more. 345 Broadway, 891-0900, chicopaper

G-Town Hot Shop Opened in 2018, G-Town Hot Shop—the “G” stands for “gratitude”—is a community-oriented glass-blowing studio. Stop by on Sundays when the gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or sign up for a workshop to join the fun.

2280 Ivy St., Ste. 120, 899-9533,

Idea Fabrication Labs A member-driven maker space featuring an array of workspaces and state-of-the-art equipment (3-D printer, Shopbot, etc.), as well as rotating exhibits of works created in the lab. Hours vary. Open house Mondays, 6-8 p.m. Call or visit website for more info. 603 Orange St., 592-0609,

Jacki Headley University Art Gallery “A laboratory and exhibition space for contemporary practices,” this campus gallery features exhibits by local, national and international artists. Arts & Humanities Building, Chico State. Hours: Mon.-Sat., noon4 p.m. 898-5864, universityart

Ninth Avenue Gallery & Studio Local-artist studio and gallery. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. 180 E. Ninth Ave., Ste. 1, 3182105,

Orient & Flume Art Glass This Chico gallery offers a variety of world-class vases, bowls and assorted glassworks. Call for information about glass-blowing demonstrations. 2161 Park Ave. 893-0373,

Provisions Gallery G-Town Hot Shop

A white-wall gallery with painting and illustration exhibits that change every quarter. In the back of Upper Park Clothing. 122 W. Third St.

Sally Dimas Art Gallery & Studio This shop/gallery features original paintings, pottery, etchings and jewelry by local and regional artists. Hours: Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., or by appointment (or chance, as the sign says). 493 East Ave., Ste. 1, 345-3063,

Satava Art Glass Studio For more than three decades, Satava has created world-class hand-blown and solid-form glass art. Their glass vases and colorful jellyfish pieces are particularly popular. Gallery hours: Tues.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 819 Wall St., 3457985,

CHICO continued on page 19 16 DISCOVER


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Support your local farmers and shop every week at the certified farmers markets in Chico and Oroville! Find everything from fresh, delicious produce, select meats, seasonal fruit and berries, nuts, rice, honey and juice to spices, baked goods, fresh cut flowers and herbs. You can also find unique artisan crafts, freshly prepared foods, plants for your garden and gifts for friends. Visit our website for locations and times. Stop by the markets and say hi to your farmers! | 530.893.FARM

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801 Main Street


Blue Room Theatre

$20 Minimum

This longstanding community theater in downtown Chico specializes in cutting-edge works, with scripts ranging from the locally written to contemporary and modern favorites. 139 W. First St. (upstairs), 895-3749,

Open Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years Day!

Chico Theater Company Chico Theater Company has been producing family-friendly musical theater productions since 2003. The company also produces nonmusical comedies and children’s theater shows. The space is intimate, with seating for 200, and a great view of the stage from anywhere in the house. 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F, 8943282,

Slow Theatre A different kind of company committed to a deliberate approach to producing theater. Performances, including the Butcher Shop and Garage Fest theater festivals, are staged at various local venues.




Since 1918

We deliver the best Chinese Food in Chico. 530.345.8862 | 2201 Pillsbury Rd. #100 | Chico Sun-Mon, Wed-Thu: 11-9pm Fri-Sat: 11-9:30pm

EmpowEring You to LivE Your bEst LifE

MuseuMs Chico Children’s Museum Broken into sections, this museum in the heart of downtown Chico offers fun learning activities for kids of all ages. Plus, a sensory room created with autistic kids in mind. Available for private parties. A variety of memberships—or day passes—available. 325 Main St., 8091492,

Stansbury Home This gleaming-white Victorian home, built in 1883, sits at the corner of West Fifth and Salem streets. This is Chico’s most well-preserved example of late-19th century Italianate architecture. Hours: Sat.Sun., 1-4 p.m. 307 W. Fifth St., 3423037,

Janet Turner Print Museum In addition to housing nearly 4,000 prints by such artists as Goya, Rembrandt and Renoir—as well as the museum’s namesake—this museum hosts themed showcases of its collection, as well as curated exhibits of contemporary works, including

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CHICO continued on page 20 Discover 19

Museum of Northern California Art

CHICO continued from page 19

the annual Janet Turner National Print Competition and Exhibition. Hours: Mon.-Sat., noon-4 p.m., or by appointment. Arts & Humanities Building, Chico State. 898-4476,

Museum of Northern California Art This museum, in the refurbished Veterans Hall building, features contemporary and modern art in a variety of media—paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and more. Hours: Thurs.-Sun., 11 a.m.5 p.m. $5 admission. 900 Esplanade, 487-7272,

Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park Bidwell Mansion is Chico’s most famous home. The three-story, 26-room, pink-and-brown Victorian mansion was built in 1868 and named for its first occupants, John and Annie Bidwell. Now a restored state park, on-the-hour tours and a local-history display are available in the Visitor Center. Tours are $3 for children ages 5 to 17, $6 for adults. Children 4 and younger are free. Visitor Center hours: Sat.-Mon., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 525 Esplanade, 8956144,

Chico History Museum Housed in a 1905 Carnegie Library, the Chico History Museum features permanent exhibits on Chico’s history, including a 19thcentury Chinese temple. Suggested donation: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students and children ages 5-12. Open Thurs.-Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 141 Salem St., 891-4336, chico

Chico Air Museum This museum, located at the Chico Municipal Airport, includes an outdoor exhibit space featuring jet- and propeller-driven aircraft, as well as an indoor space with historic displays and artifacts. Hours: Thurs.Sun., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 165 Ryan Ave., 345-6468,

Gateway Science Museum

in the country. It’s also home to the world’s largest wooden yo-yo, dubbed “Big-Yo,” as well as the Chico Yo-Yo Club. Stop by its meetings Saturdays, from noon-2 p.m. for a “walk the dog” lesson. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. 320 Broadway (at the rear of Bird in Hand), 893-0545,

Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology Located on the first floor of Meriam Library, this teaching museum features rotating exhibitions, photos and artifacts, with the aim of promoting respect and appreciation for human diversity. Admission free; donations welcome. Check site for hours (vary by season). 898-5397,

The Gateway Science Museum offers a range of ongoing and special exhibits focused on our region’s natural heritage, from local flora to Ice Age skeletons. Hours: Wed.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 625 Esplanade (next door to Bidwell Mansion), 898-4121,


National Yo-Yo Museum

This downtown Chico landmark presents art-house films, cult classics and documentaries in a casual

The National Yo-Yo Museum is the largest public display of yo-yos

Cinemark 14 Chico’s big theater, with 14 screens showing first-run films. 801 East Ave., Ste. 2. 879-0143,

Pageant Theatre

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Baby Ballet • Ballet-Pointe • Tap • Hip Hop • Jazz Lyrical/Contemporary • Mommy & Me • Adult Dance Kinetics Dance Company • Birthday Tea Parties Open enrOllment

530-345-2505 • 627 Broadway St. #100, Chico •

F R A M E W H AT Y O U L O V E New owners. New location. Same amazing service. 256 East 1st Street, Chico · 530-895-1161 · ·

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Caper Acres

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atmosphere. Get there early for the couches in the front row, and don’t miss out on Cheap Skate Mondays: all seats just $4. Now serving beer. 351 E. Sixth St., 343-0663,

Parks & Recreation PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS Bidwell Park Bidwell Park is a 3,670-acre preserve and the natural heart and soul of the community. Divided by Manzanita Avenue, the park comprises two distinct sections. The area to the west of Manzanita bordering Big Chico Creek is known as Lower Park, while the land to the east, which extends into the Sierra Nevada foothills, is known as Middle/Upper Park. Lower Park’s thick canopy of trees provides shade for its many grassy knolls and creekside hideaways. Middle Park is a relatively small section of the park composed of developed features immediately east of Manzanita, including Bidwell Golf Course, an observatory, FiveMile Recreation Area and Horseshoe 22 DISCOVER

Lake. From there, the park gets much more wild. Upper Park—which extends 5 miles along both sides of Big Chico Creek Canyon—ranges from lush riparian habitat to rugged rock faces. Here are some special places within Lower and Middle Bidwell Park. For the more adventurous, see Outdoor Adventures (page 82) for details on Upper Park hikes: • Caper Acres A much-beloved playground with swings, slides, Humpty Dumpty on his wall and a soft, spongy central area with a ship and a dragon for kids to climb on. The playground’s “crooked house” structure recently reopened after sustaining damage from a fallen tree. Open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tues.-Sun. 500 S. Park Drive. • Cedar Grove Cedar Grove Picnic Area and Meadow offers easily accessible picnic tables and barbecues along with an open green space to relax near the creek and access to the World of Trees Independence Trail. Open 7:30 a.m. till an hour after sunset. 1890 E. Eighth St. • Chico Creek Nature Center The family-friendly Chico Creek Nature Center features a nonreleasable living animal collection—the Janeece Webb Living Animal Museum—as well as the Howard

S. Tucker Exhibit Hall and Kristie’s Nature Lab. There’s also creek access and picnic tables. Museum hours: Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1968 E. Eighth St., 891-4671, chico-creek-nature-center • One-Mile Recreation Area Soaking up the sun, swimming in the creek-filled Sycamore Pool or picnicking beneath the towering valley oaks and white-barked sycamores is what One-Mile is all about. With its barbecues, horseshoe pits and playing fields, this iconic part of the park is located just a few blocks from downtown and is easily accessible by automobile through entrances on Fourth Street or Vallombrosa Way. • Lower Bidwell Park trails Foot, bicycle and equestrian paths run the length of Chico’s Lower Bidwell Park. Trails run through stately oak groves and near the riparian zone of Big Chico Creek, where creekside paths offer beautiful views of the water and seclusion amid the trees. Take South Park Drive or Peterson Memorial Way to any turnoff. • Chico Community Observatory The Chico Community Observatory is a delight for astronomers and amateur stargazers alike. CHICO continued on page 25

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The observatory is home to two huge telescopes and the world’s first outdoor planetarium. Open from sunset to park closing on clear nights Friday-Sunday. Located near Horseshoe Lake in Middle Park (off Wildwood Avenue/Upper Park Road on Observatory Way), 487-4071 • Five-Mile Recreation Area At the foot of Upper Bidwell Park, Five-Mile is a more relaxed and less populated family recreation area than One-Mile. Picnic tables, barbecues, a shallow swimming area and ample space make it a popular spot for group gatherings. Accessible from Centennial Avenue.


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• Hooker Oak Recreation Area This recreation area is home to the beautiful baseball facility Doryland Field, several softball fields, a children’s playground and the Sherwood Forest Kids’ Disc Golf Course (which is often full of adults). Take Vallombrosa Avenue east and turn left on Manzanita— Hooker Oak will be on your right. 1928 Manzanita Ave. • Horseshoe Lake A perfect place to walk the dog (complete with a designated offleash area) or go fishing, Horseshoe Lake also serves as a jumping-off point for Upper Park’s miles of rugged trails.

Chico Seed Orchard A 1-mile, self-guided loop through the Mendocino National Forest’s Genetic Resource & Conservation Center (commonly referred to as “the tree farm”) in south Chico. The walk features many varieties of stately trees bordering a fast-flowing creek. Don’t miss the bamboo forest! Most of the trail is wheelchair accessible. Open weekdays. Drive to the gate at the end of Cramer Lane. Main gate open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; pedestrian gate open all week, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. 934-3316

Children’s Playground Just steps from downtown, this city park adjacent to Chico State features lots of safe, modern playground equipment, picnic tables and a large grassy area for running

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CHICO continued on page 26 Discover 25

Bidwell Golf Course

CHICO continued from page 25

and playing. It’s a good, shady place for an afternoon break from a busy day shopping downtown or touring campus. For those into disc golf (a popular Chico pastime), there’s a practice basket, and the Bidwell Bowl Amphitheater is located nearby. 202 W. First St.

Community Park Officially named Community Park, but also called “20th Street Park” and “MLK Park,” this popular 20-acre space features tennis and pickleball courts, baseball, softball and soccer fields, a large playground, barbecues, picnic tables and a sculpture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1900 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 895-4711,

DeGarmo Park This park in north Chico features the town’s only dog park, a fully fenced grassy area complete with doggie drinking fountains. For people, the site also includes three ball fields, walking paths, a playground, restrooms, benches and a sheltered picnic and concession area. Take The Esplanade north to Leora Court. 8954711, 26 DISCOVER

Dorothy F. Johnson Center

Wildwood Park

Located near the heart of Chico’s southside Chapmantown neighborhood, the center—named after the employee that managed the center from 1970 to the late ’90s—comprises 3 acres and features a playground, an indoor gym, a picnic area office space and kitchen. 775 E. 16th St., 895-4707,

A gateway to Upper Park, this 17-acre park features play structures, Little League fields and the Wildwood Pump Track, a 240-by180-foot dirt course for BMX and mountain bikers. The site, which was built in 1995, also has covered picnic areas and two softball fields. 100 Wildwood Ave. 895-4711,

Humboldt Avenue Skate Bark The park was completely remodeled in 2018 and now includes a bigger bowl and expanded street features. 370 Humboldt Ave. 8954711,

Teichert Ponds Teichert Ponds is home to wood ducks, beavers, herons and other wildlife. The well-kept secret comprises three ponds, includes several bike and walking paths and is visible on the east side of Highway 99, between the 20th Street and Highway 32 exits.

Verbena Fields This 21-acre, rough-hewn nature park was formerly a gravel quarry. Located between Lindo Channel and East First Avenue near Verbena Avenue, it features native plants, a trail loop and the colorful Mechoopda Trail Youth Mural.

PUBLIC GOLF COURSES Bidwell Park Golf Course A picturesque 18-hole, par-72 course in Chico’s Bidwell Park. Professional lessons are available, along with apparel and equipment. Open every day except Christmas from dawn to dusk. Stop into the on-site Bidwell Bar & Grill after your round. 3199 Golf Course Road. 8918417,

Skyway Golf Park This six-hole Chico course offers lights for night golfing, a driving range and three golf pros on staff. Reservations recommended. Open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. (closes at 8 p.m. Sundays). 1 Longest Drive, 899-8108 CHICO continued on page 28

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Cakes Discover 27

Fast Eddie’s

CHICO continued from page 26

Dining ASIAN Aonami Sustainable Sushi Aonami offers Asian fusion and Japanese cuisine made mostly from North State ingredients and served in a sleek, modern atmosphere. As the name implies, the fish is sustainable (nothing on the “red” list!). Lots of vegan options, too. 128 W. Second St., 924-3168, $$

Big Tuna Sushi Bistro A cozy restaurant featuring traditional Japanese sushi, plus a variety of appetizers. Sister restaurant Izakaya Ichiban is on Notre Dame Boulevard. 1722 Mangrove Ave., 345-4571, thebigtuna $

Chan Pheng’s Mandarin Cuisine Traditional Mandarin, Hunan and Szechuan cuisine. Delivery avail-


Entrées less than $10 Entrées priced $10-$15 Entrées priced $15 and up


able. 1140 Mangrove Ave., 894-6888, $

Cocodine Thai Cuisine Specializing in flavorful and healthy authentic central and northeastern (Issan) Thai cuisine. 2485 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 250, 891-1800 $

Coco’s Ramen A real-deal ramen shop (with a sister restaurant in San Francisco) featuring build-your-own ramens (the rich tonkatsu is a great start), a nice sampling of appetizers (pork katsu, gyoza, fried baby squid, etc.), sakes and more. Open for dinner only. 1008 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. 1A, 965-5541. $-$$

Halo Hawaiian BBQ & Poke Bar Halo serves up two distinct flavors of the Hawaiian islands: barbecue (chicken, pork, fish, you name it) and poke (raw fish salad). Mahalo! Closed Tuesdays. 1354 East Ave., Ste. P, 592-3898 $

Happy Garden This family-run restaurant specializes in delicious Chinese cuisine served in generous portions in a nice atmosphere. Dine-in or take-out available. 180 Cohasset Road, 8932574, $

Japanese Blossoms Creative Japanese cuisine with local ingredients. In addition to sushi and sashimi, there’s a nice list of fully cooked entrees. Vegan and allergen-friendly dishes available. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with nightly happy hour specials. 2995 Esplanade, Ste. 104, 891-9022, $$

Momona Noodles + Bao Specializing in ramen, bao (steamed buns) and other Asianinspired dishes. Plus a sake bar! 230 W. Third St. $$

Noodle House Delicious Vietnamese and fusion cuisine, including soups, bowls and wraps. 605 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 130, 345-2022, $

Ojiya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar Sit around the hibachi and watch the chefs grill steaks, seafood and vegetarian fare, with flair. There’s a sushi bar, too. 2477 Forest Ave., 899-1199 $$

Pho C & C A variety of Vietnamese cuisine, including soups, rolls, noodles and traditional grilled or barbecued CHICO continued on page 30

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530.898.5927 Discover 29

CHICO continued from page 28

meats. 3211 Cohasset Road, 8921415 $$

The Rawbar Fab downtown sushi bar and Asian grill, offering a full bar, happy hour and affordable lunches. Reservations accepted. Undergoing remodel at press time. 346 Broadway, 897-0626, rawbarchico. com $$

Rice Bowl A sit-down restaurant serving Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Also featuring a sushi bar, tatami rooms, beer and wine. 2804 Esplanade, 8999098 $$

Thai Express Good food, large portions and inexpensive prices. Regulars rave about the red curry. Be warned: “Thai hot” means hot! 305 Nord Ave., 342-8842 $$

Tong Fong Low Offering authentic Chinese cuisine, Tong Fong Low has been a staple in Oroville for more than a century, and well-established in Chico as well. 2072 E. 20th St., 8981388, $$

Nash’s Restaurant Unique omelet selections made with fresh and local ingredients, as well as traditional breakfast fare. 1717 Esplanade, 896-1147, nashs $$

Old Barn Kitchen Known for its Benedicts, but serving up plenty of other delicious breakfast and lunch fare as well. Plus a full espresso bar. 301 Main St., 762-2224, $$

The Roost Café Specialties include eggs Benedict, corned beef hash and Roost burgers. Full espresso bar. Real food, real butter and real good home cooking. Where the locals go! Serving breakfast all day and lunch at 11 a.m. 1144 Park Ave., 892-1281 $-$$

Sin of Cortez Enjoy specialty coffees or teas at one of Chico’s favorite breakfast and lunch places. With a full bar, Sin also serves Irish coffees, Bloody Marys, mimosas and more. Cash only. 2290 Esplanade, 879-9200, $$

Vietnam Bistro

Burgers, Delis & Dogs

Fresh, authentic Vietnamese food, from summer and spring rolls to vermicelli soup. Patio seating available. 788 East Ave., 433-7108 $

Burger Hut Burgers

Breakfast Nooks Café Coda Serving breakfast, including scrambles, omelets, burritos and more; lunch served weekdays. French-press coffee, espresso, beer and wine. 265 Humboldt Ave., 5669476, $$

Mom’s Satisfy cravings for Mom’s homecooked specialties morning, noon or evening. Featuring breakfast favorites, fresh salads and sandwiches and delicious supper creations. Conveniently located near campus. 209 Salem St., 893-3447, moms $$

Morning Thunder Café A popular breakfast (and lunch) café at the foot of Bidwell Park. 352 Vallombrosa Ave., 342-9717, $-$$ 30 Discover

Serving ground beef with no hormones and no antibiotics. All food is cooked to order and burgers are basted with Burger Hut signature barbecue sauce. Pair with piping hot fries or onion rings and thick milkshakes. Two locations: 3211 Cohasset Road, 342-4555; 2451 Forest Ave., 891-1430, burgerhut. com $

Burgers & Brew Grass-fed beef burgers (plus other meat and meatless options) and a huge selection of world-class brews in a modern downtown setting with a great outdoor patio. Plus, they have vegan and vegetarian items. Don’t miss their happy hour fries! 301 Broadway, 879-9100, $$

Fast Eddie’s Featuring tri-tip and pulled-pork sandwiches in addition to a large menu of specialty burgers and sandwiches, taters, flatbread pizzas and salads. Try the Roscoe Jenkins. 1175

East Ave., 342-8555, fasteddieschico. com $

Kinder’s Custom Meats & Deli Go for the marinated ball-tip steak sandwich, a Kinder’s specialty. Plus, killer sweet-potato fries (don’t forget the in-house sauce). Catering available. 221 Normal Ave., 3423354, $$

Nobby’s Their motto is, “Nobody does burgers better than Nobby’s.” Ask about the “cheese skirt.” The veggie burger is outstanding. Now serving cheesesteak sandwiches. Closed Sunday and Monday. 1444 Park Ave., 342-2285 $

Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ Smokin’ Mo’s is a fixture in downtown Chico. Ribs, chicken, tritip and more, all slow-smoked for hours. Plus, four barbecue sauces to slather on your favorite “Q.” 131 Broadway, 891-6677, $$

Spiteri’s Delicatessen A longtime Chico fave, Spiteri’s serves a variety of sandwiches, along with daily specialty salads, beer and wine. Closed Sunday. 971 East Ave., 891-4797, $

Zot’s Hot Dogs and Deli The last original tenant of the Garden Walk Mall (for more than 40 years!) in downtown Chico, momand-pop shop Zot’s Hot Dogs and Deli offers tradition, quality and affordability. 225 Main St., 3452820, $

Casual DiNiNg B Street Public House Delicious gastropub fare, along with an extensive list of craft brews and specialty cocktails. Plus, brunch. Ramen Mondays during the cold months. 117 Broadway, 899-8203, $$

Bacio Catering, Carry Out & Biz Box A popular south Chico eatery that turns out an array of healthful, seasonal, local and delicious food. Take home or dine in. Catering and lunch deliveries available. 1903 Park Ave., 345-7787, $$ CHICO continued on page 32

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CHICO continued from page 30

Fresh Twisted Café

The Banshee

Also known as Hernandez Farms, Fresh Twisted Café offers fresh juices and nondairy smoothies that locals have come to love. Also serving up sandwiches and organic beef burgers. 156 Eaton Road, Ste. E, 8092489, $

A selection of more than 40 teas and fusion favorites, including hoisin barbecue salmon, London broil, pork tenderloin, sweet chili chicken bowls and wraps. 250 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-8100; and 555 Flying V St., Ste. 1, 809-1545, $

Hudson’s Gastropub

Coffee Houses

Serving up burgers and a variety of other pub eats (don’t miss their mac ’n’ cheese and delish fish and chips), along with an impressive menu of draft and bottled beers. 132 W. Second St., 895-9670, $$

Big Hot Crab A Cajun-style seafood restaurant on the edge of downtown. They serve shrimp in a bag! Great place for small groups, and prepare to get dirty—you’ll wear a bib, plus there’s a hand-washing station in the dining room. 701 Main St., 879-1822 $$

Bill’s Towne Lounge One of downtown Chico’s newest hotspots, Bill’s Towne Lounge is a reimagining of a longtime bar that used to sit a few blocks down Main Street. Killer food and drinks, plus old-school arcade games. And a pool table on the enclosed patio! 131 Main St., $$

Broadway Heights California Cuisine Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet salad or something comforting, like Cajun meatloaf, Broadway Heights doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy it with a bird’s-eye view of downtown Chico. Plus, happy hour specials. 300 Broadway, 8998075, $$

Cozy Diner Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Cozy Diner favorites: crepes, Cobb salad, prime-rib burger, broasted chicken, steak, espresso, beer and wine. 1695 Mangrove Ave., 895-1195, $

Foodie Café This eatery by the airport offers a unique dining experience, from the repurposed furnishings to the eclectic breakfast and lunch items. Features specialized menus for hashes, burgers and sliders. 999 Marauder St., 433-5539, thefood $

Franky’s Pizzeria & Lounge Locally owned for 25 years, serving pizza, Italian dishes, beer and wine. Open late on weekends, plus delivery available. 506 Ivy St., 8989948, $$

This north Chico hotspot offers an eclectic menu of small plates, pizzas and burgers, alongside an impressive wine and beer list in a chic environment. 2760 Esplanade, 636-4562, $$

Italian Cottage Restaurant Family-owned and -operated since 1965, serving local favorites: sandwiches, pizza, pasta and salads. Also serves breakfast. Two locations: 2234 Esplanade, 3437000; and 2525 Dominic Drive, 342-7771, $$

The Lab Bar & Grill The Lab is no ordinary bar. The glasses are beakers—it is a lab, after all—and it’s also the home base for the Chico Beer Enthusiasts club, so there are always some new and different brews on tap. Great food, too—the chicken sandwich is killer! 250 Cohasset Road, Ste. 10, 8945729, $-$$

La Salles Reopened in 2018 after a complete renovation, La Salles has transformed into an upscale bar and eatery, with two impressive patios—one along Broadway and another in the back. Serving lunch and dinner, plus happy hour daily, brunch on weekends. 229 Broadway, 487-7207, $$

OM Foods Fresh, healthy, organic, vegetarian and vegan-friendly food. Fish options, too! 142 Broadway, 2284074, $-$$

The Pour House New American cuisine served in a casual atmosphere featuring a full bar, several taps of craft beer and a big selection of wines by the glass. The patio features a huge TV screen. 855 East Ave., 893-3000, $$

Bidwell Perk Serving coffee, tea and delectables in a café-style setting. Also features a wine bar. 664 E. First Ave., 899-1500, $

Blackbird A bustling community space that operates as an anarchist bookstore, coffee shop, art gallery and performance space with live music and more. 1431 Park Ave., 433-1577 $

Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse Serving mouthwatering mochas, cappuccinos and fresh-brewed coffees, along with premium loose-leaf teas and gluten-free treats. 118 W. Second St., 895-0676, naked $

Tender Loving Coffee House-roasted coffees, teas, and a full bar. Plus delicious pizzas and sandwiches, including vegan options. Live music some nights. 365 E. Sixth St., 433-0414, tender $$

fine Dining 5th Street Steakhouse A full-service steakhouse featuring USDA prime beef, fresh seafood, house-made desserts and an extensive wine list. 345 W. Fifth St., 8916328, $$$

Basque Norte Family-owned since 1975, Basque Norte offers steak, lamb, chicken, quail, ribs and seafood served family-style in a rustic Basque atmosphere. 3355 Esplanade, 891-5204, $$$

Christian Michaels Ristorante Featuring a California-style, Mediterranean and Italian menu, with a full bar and extensive wine list. Happy hour daily. 192 E. Third St., 894-4005, chicochristian $$$ CHICO continued on page 34

32 Discover

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Diamond Steakhouse Inside the Hotel Diamond, this restaurant uses heirloom ingredients from small local family farms, with fresh, responsibly sourced seafood and prime cuts of steak front and center. It all pairs well with the wine, bourbon and scotch offerings. 220 W. Fourth St., 895-1515, $$-$$$

Grana Wood Fired Foods


Mountain Sports 18

176 East Third Street • Downtown Chico • 345-5011 Serving Chico Since 1975 •

Farm-to-table-inspired Italian ostería featuring locally sourced, sustainable small plates, salads, entrees and traditional Neapolitanstyle pizza. Italian-focused wine list and craft beers. 198 E. Second St., 809-2304, $$

Leon Bistro

Small School,

Big Results! now accepting applications

Freshly prepared California bistro cuisine made from locally sourced and organic ingredients. Menu items include steaks, fish, poultry and vegetarian options. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Inquire about the cooking class schedule. 817 Main St., 899-1105, $$$

Red Tavern Offering delicious and innovative dishes based on influences from all over the world. Fresh, locally grown, seasonal, organic produce and meats. Full bar. Relaxing outdoor patio, with a bocce court, all-night happy hour on Tuesdays and live music April-October. 1250 Esplanade, 894-3463, $$$

Sierra Nevada Taproom & Restaurant

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Recently remodeled and with a revamped menu, Sierra Nevada boasts bistro fare, award-winning ales and lagers, and an excellent wine list. Try a beer sampler. 1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739, sierranevada. com $$-$$$

Unwined Kitchen & Bar Restaurant/lounge specializing in roasted, wood-fired dishes, from starters to meals. Plus, more than 60 different wines from around the world, as well as craft beers on tap. 980 Mangrove Ave., 809-2634, $$$

Wine Time A renovated early 1900s pig barn is the home of this wine bar serving a variety of small plates, including

farm-fresh salads, flatbreads and appetizers. Live music on Saturdays. Closed Sunday and Monday. 26 Lost Dutchman Drive, 899-9250, wine $$

InternatIonal eats

Open Minds, Loving Hearts, Helping Hands Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Chico

Sunday Worship 8:30am & 11:00am

Inday’s Filipino Food Filipino specialties, from pork adobo to lumpia to halang halang. Breakfast and lunch daily, in addition to dinner and brunch on weekends. Plus, find Inday’s food cart at local events. 1043 W. Eighth St., 520-2593, $

Priya Indian Cuisine Specializing in northern and southern Indian cuisine, served in a comfortable setting. Try the amazing lunch buffet! 2574 Esplanade, 8991055, $$

Roots Restaurant & Catering A breakfast and lunch restaurant specializing in cuisine inspired by 15 food cultures from around the world. Authentic food, exceptional service. Closed Saturday. 3221 Esplanade, 891-4500, $$

Sipho’s Restaurant & Café Fresh, spicy, healthy Jamaican fare served at a groovy eatery on the edge of town. Patio dining available and occasional live reggae music. 1228 Dayton Road, 895-1866, $$

God’s work, our hands...

A Welcoming Congregation Sunday services at 10:30 1289 Filbert Ave., Chico, CA (530) 343-1693 •

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Aca Taco Authentic Acapulco-style food, including tacos, burritos and housemade enchiladas. Cash only. Two locations: 133 Broadway, 894-0191; and 1000-D W. Sacramento Ave., 343-0909, $

Casa Ramos Specializing in borrego (lamb shank) and fresh fajitas: steak, chicken and shrimp. Two locations: 216 W. East Ave., 894-0119; and 2490 Fair St., 893-5050, casaramos. net $$

Gordo Burrito Serving burritos, tostadas, tortas, tacos, quesadillas and chimichangas. Awesome shrimp specials and friendly service. Inside the Valero CHICO continued on page 36

All are Welcome... Trinity United Methodist Church We endeavor to be a church that is open, loving, welcoming, and accepting of all persons. Worship Services Sunday 8:30 and 10:30am Children, Youth & Adult Sunday School As followers of Jesus, we seek to help all people cultivate and deepen their relationships with God and each other.

285 E 5th St. ChiCo, California (530) 343-1497 • Discover 35

CHICO continued from page 35

gas station 1295 E. Eigth St., 809-1211, $

well beyond the fish taco. 1141 Forest Ave., 342-3627 $$

La Comida

Sol Mexican Grill

Mexican-style food made fresh daily and served quickly. Voted Best Cheap Eats by CN&R readers for more than a decade. 954 Mangrove Ave., 345-2254, $

Burritos, tacos, enchiladas, tostadas and chimichangas served in a relaxed north Chico location. Hang out with friends on the patio or in the cantina. Plus, there’s a mobile app. Family-run since 2011. 3269 Esplanade, 342-4616, $

Bidwell Park Pizza

Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

Celestino’s New York Pizza

La Hacienda Traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine. Make sure you try the restaurant’s signature pink sauce. Yum! 2635 Esplanade, 8938270, $$ $$

PIZZA With pizzas named after local landmarks, how can you go wrong? Served by the slice or whole pizza. Also offering salads, pasta, sandwiches and calzones. 800 Bruce Road, Ste. 100, 894-0400, bidwell $$

Guacamole, ceviche, sizzling fajitas, seafood chile rellenos, abundant vegetarian options all hand-made, fresh every day. Awardwinning margaritas and over 120 premium tequilas. Sidewalk patio seating and private banquet facility available. 100 Broadway, 342-0425,

Mariscos la Costa Mexican Seafood Grill Specializes in coastal Mexican fare and features shrimp, calamari, lobster, snapper and more. Think

Award-winning New York-style pizza available by the slice or as a full pie, along with fresh salads, hot sandwiches, lasagna, calzones and more. Additional pasta menu at East Avenue location. 101 Salem St., 8961234; and 1354 East Ave., 345-7700, $-$$ CHICO continued on page 38












Chico Certified Farmers’ Market


Hotel Diamond


Old Municipal Building


Senator Theatre


Pageant Theatre


El Rey Theater


Bidwell Mansion


Chico Chamber of Commerce

Public parking D



• Now Open Thursday and Friday Lunch • Tuesday All Night Happy Hour • Early Bird Three Course Dinner 5-6pm Each Night • Wine Wednesdays with Live Music • Sunday Champagne Brunch • Wine Maker’s Dinners and Fun Events Such as Spanish Flamenco Nights, Portuguese Dinner and Tastes of France”

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Discover 37

CHICO continued from page 36

Farm Star Pizza Artisan pizzas where the farmer is the star. Featuring local, organic, seasonal toppings; fresh, organic salads; and beer and wine served in a casual, fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Regularly hosts live music, too. 2359 Esplanade, 343-2056, $$

Woodstock’s Pizza Award-winning pizza, cold beer on tap, fresh salads, appetizers, sandwiches and desserts. Dine in, take-out and delivery. Moving to 240 Main St. in the fall, but still available for take-out or delivery in the old spot in the meantime. 166 E. Second St., 893-1500, woodstocks $$

SWEETS La Flor de Michoacán Palatería y Nevería A Mexican ice cream shop with many flavors and toppings, plus other sweet treats. Three locations: 1080 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. C; 1354 East Ave.; 893-9999; and 668 Mangrove Ave., $

Live Life Juice Co. Located in the heart of downtown, Live Life Juice Co. offers up pure, fresh juice and elixirs daily. Wonderfully tasty and healthful fruit and vegetable juice blends high in nutritional value. 220 Broadway, 566-3466, $

Lovely Layers Cakery Freshly baked cupcakes and cookies available daily. Made-toorder specialty cakes and wedding cakes. Dozens of flavors on a monthly rotating menu—just get there early, as they sometimes sell out. Open Tuesday-Saturday. 131 Meyers St., Ste. 120, 828-9931, $

Midnite Munchies Cookies, brownies, milk—everything you’re craving at midnight but don’t have the energy to bake yourself. Delivers 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Mon.Sat., $

Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy This local favorite has produced ice cream and confections for 75 years and running. Enjoy banana splits or root beer floats on the 38 DISCOVER

The Allies Pub

benches and at the tables out front. Open till 10 p.m. daily! 178 E. Seventh St., 342-7163; and 1950 E. 20th St. (inside Chico Mall), 3427163, $

Sweet Chico Confections An old-fashioned candy store with more than 5,000 treats, including gelatos and sorbettos. 121 W. Third St., 332-9866, sweetchico. com $

Tin Roof Bakery & Café If you’re in the mood for a flaky pastry or decadent tart, look no further than Tin Roof. Also serving up French macaroons, cookies and cakes, in addition to a full espresso bar. 627 Broadway, 892-2893, $

Upper Crust Bakery & Eatery Serving fine pastries, specialty cakes and pies from scratch, as well as cookies and cupcakes. 130 Main St., 895-3866, $

Nightlife DRINK UP The Allies Pub Chico’s newest establishment, the Allies Pub is British Bulldog Brewery’s public face. Pop in for a true English pint of British Bulldog or The Specialist beers and some bangers and mash. Also serving as the tasting room for Chico’s Roney Wines—plus, a dozen or so other wines available. 434 Broadway, Ste.

130, 892-8759, britishbulldog

Argus Bar + Patio One of downtown Chico’s hipper hotspots, Argus offers premium cocktails, a beautiful patio and live music. 212 W. Second St.

Bella’s Sports Pub Great pub food and full bar along with sports on big-screen, high-definition TVs. Don’t miss Wing Wednesdays! 134 Broadway, 893-5253,; scheduled to move around the corner, to Main Street between Second and Third, this fall.

The Brew Kettle Taproom and Bottle Shop A laid-back beer bar where you can bring your crew to watch the game or just chill out and relax with a pint. Beer to go, too! 995 Nord Ave., Ste. 150

Chico Taproom Serving “craft beer for everyone, from craft beer beginners to craft beer nerds,” with 40 beers on tap. No food service, but customers are encouraged to bring their own meals or snacks. Open Wed.-Mon., lunchlate. 2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. 114, 774-2943,

The Commons Social Empourium Chico’s only pour-your-own beer bar, The Commons sells booze by the ounce—you choose among the many taps flowing with craft beers, CHICO continued on page 40

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Discover 39

Lost on Main

CHICO continued from page 38

ciders and wines. Food trucks serve in the parking lot. 2412 Park Ave., 774-2999,

The DownLo A sports bar with pub grub and sports on TV, The DownLo’s claim to fame is its expansive billiards room with 10 Diamond tables, darts and occasional live music and comedy shows. 319 Main St., 892-2473

Duffy’s Tavern A local institution, Duffy’s features an old-school jukebox and an odd medley of wall decorations. Order the bloody Mary! Wednesday is dance night (10 p.m.) and Friday happy hour (4 p.m.) features live traditional Irish music ($1 entry). 337 Main St., 343-7718

The Handle Bar Offering a German-inspired pub menu to complement a large selection of specialty craft beers. 2070 E. 20th St., 894-2337,

LaRocca Vineyards Organic Wine Tasting Room The oldest and largest producer of 100 percent USDA-certified organic wine in the North State offers its selection in a satellite tasting room in downtown Chico. Open Wed.-Sun. 222 W. Second St., 899-9463, 40 DISCOVER

The Lost Dutchman Taproom A craft beer bar to complement Wine Time across the parking lot. A small menu of comfort foods, plus 19 beers on tap. Open Mon.-Sat. 25 Lost Dutchman Drive,

Parkside Tap House Parkside Tap House has 24 taps with a bar that opens onto a vast outdoor patio. Also serving up some killer small plates (including Bella’s legendary wings!). 115 Third St., 632-4875,

Madison Bear Garden Enjoy mouth-watering burgers and sandwiches and a selection of draft beers and cocktails. Open every day, right next to campus. Fun décor, billiards upstairs and a great outdoor patio. 316 W. Second St., 891-1639,

Oasis Bar & Grill “Chico’s oldest college beer joint” serves up great hand-pressed burgers, munchies and sandwiches and boasts seven pool tables—and regular leagues and tournaments—15 flat-screen TVs and a full bar. 1007 W. First St., 343-4305,

Park Avenue Pub Features half-pound, groundprime burgers, fresh-cut french fries,

killer tots and a full bar. Catering available. 2010 Park Ave., 893-3500,

Studio Inn Cocktail Lounge This no-frills bar on the north end of town next to Priya Indian Cuisine hosts live rock bands and a great outdoor patio. 2582 Esplanade, 343-0662

CLUBBIN’ The Beach The Beach features a swanky VIP area on the second floor, complete with couches and bottle service. Downstairs, you’ll find a large dance floor and access to The University Sports Bar and Panama Bar & Cafe. 191 E. Second St., 898-9898,

Crazy Horse Saloon This large bar specializes in country music. There’s occasional live music and even a mechanical bull to ride (after you sign some legal paperwork). 303 Main St., 894-5408

Peking Chinese Restaurant A Chinese restaurant by day, Peking transforms into a full-fledged dance venue on Friday nights during BassMint, a weekly EDM showcase. 243 W. Second St., 895-3888

LIVE MUSIC El Rey Theater This historic venue has housed a Vaudeville theater, an Elks Lodge and a movie theater. It is now used for national touring music acts, local events and films. 230 W. Second St., 342-2727,

Lost on Main This bar and nightclub features local acts in addition to bigger-name, dance-friendly touring acts at its spacious downtown location. Also, they have lasers! 319 Main St., 891-1853,

Maltese Bar & Tap Room This south Chico watering hole’s stainless-steel and wood décor gives it the look of a classic neighborhood bar. It also boasts a nice patio and regular live music and other eclectic entertainment. 1600 Park Ave., 343-4915,

Come check out our newly renovated back room! Voted Best Bar, Mixologist, Place to Be Seen, Watering Hole for Townies & Bloody Mary!

337 Main St

(corner of 4th St. & Main)


Senator Theatre The ornate Senator Theatre not only offers some great musical shows, but it’s also a major landmark in Chico’s history. Devil Makes Three, POD and Snoop Dogg all have performed there. 517 Main St., 898-1497,

Sierra Nevada Big Room The world-famous Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is home to a much-loved concert venue—the Big Room. Watch for an eclectic mix of national indie, Americana, rock and folk acts—from Neko Case to Of Montreal—in the state-of-the-art, 350-seat facility. 1075 E. 20th St., 892-4647, sierra

Sierra Nevada Hop Yard During the nonrainy months, head out to the Hop Yard at the brewery, which has been transformed into a playground for adults and children alike (and dogs, too!). Live music on weekends, plus ticketed shows once a month or so. 1075 E. 20th St., 892-4647, sierranevada. com/events

u o y s e v sa oney! m

Tackle Box Bar & Grill A south Chico hotspot featuring exotic appetizers like frog legs and fried alligator, along with traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner options and a full bar. Live music, line dancing and pool tables, too. 379 E. Park Ave., 345-7499, ●


Buy online anytime with a credit card or in person with cash, check or credit card M-F 9am – 5pm at 353 E. Second Street, Downtown Chico. DISCOVER 41


Table Mountain

Gold Rush town


ike much of Butte County, Oroville traces its roots— and its name—to the Gold Rush. Remnants of those times can be readily found in local museums, street names and historic buildings. Today, visitors are attracted there for its recreation—Lake Oroville offers plenty of opportunities for watersports, plus trails abound for hikers, bikers and horseback riders.


Downtown is a growing district, with shops, eateries and the Oroville State Theatre as attractions. Historic homes, including Victorians, line the streets. Businesses ranging in size from mom-andpop shops to large manufacturers operate in Oroville. It’s also home to a number of agricultural enterprises, from wineries to olive and citrus orchards (see the Agritourism section on page 74 for more listings). The city proper has a population of almost 20,000—plus about 5,000 Camp Fire-displaced residents. Including unincorporated communities in the vicinity, the greater Oroville area comprises 55,000 (roughly one-fourth of the county’s population). The city’s boundaries encompass 17.1 square miles. Oroville sits below the lake, which is fed by four branches of the Feather River and in turn feeds the main stem of the river that winds through Oroville. The city is home to the Berry Creek Rancheria of Maidu Indians, who operate Gold Country Casino. The Concow-Maidu of Mooretown Rancheria, who operate Feather Falls Casino in town, descend from the Northwestern Maidu.

OROVILLE continued on page 44

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Oroville 533-1488 Chico 898-1388 DISCOVER 43

celebrating Oroville’s history. It was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of the city’s incorporation in 1906. 1800/1802 Arlin Rhine Memorial Drive, 538-2415

Rotary Park This park takes up an entire city block and features two baseball diamonds, a covered picnic area, barbecues, a basketball half court and a playground. 1200 Safford St., 538-2415

Clay Pit State Vehicular Recreation Area

Feather River Fish Hatchery

OROViLLe continued from page 43

Downtown Miners Alley Once traversed by 49ers (of the Gold Rush variety) bringing their loot to the bank, Miners Alley spans about five blocks downtown. There’s an archway commemorating the history—and a brewery/restaurant that shares its name.

Oroville inn This historic hotel was built in 1930 and over the past four years has experienced a renaissance. The exterior of the building and the residential wing were renovated first, with careful attention paid to historical features. The main building features a ballroom and large parlor area, where events are held. The residential wing opened to students of the Northwest Lineman College in 2016. Work is still underway on the street-side eateries and shops. 2066 Bird St., 990-7002

Oroville State Theatre Downtown Oroville wouldn’t feel complete without the State Theatre’s iconic marquee, which is being restored to its original grandeur. Built in 1928, the theater was once a bustling entertainment hotspot. In 2014, the city handed the keys over to the 44 Discover

Oroville State Theatre Arts Guild, which runs the space with volunteers. 1489 Myers St., 538-2470,

Washington Block Building The oldest commercial building still standing in Butte County, the Washington Block Building also is experiencing a renaissance. The large, two-story structure on the corner of Myers and Montgomery streets was built in 1856 and was originally home to a bank and a popular gambling parlor and saloon called the Bank Exchange. Bought in 2015 by Sean and Lori Pierce, it’s slowly coming back to life after sitting vacant for at least three decades. The Exchange, a popular tapas bar and cocktail lounge, opened in summer 2017 in a portion of the space.

Parks & Recreation Bedrock Park Located along the Feather River, this park offers access to swimming, as well as picnic areas, an outdoor theater and shaded spots to just sit and relax. 1101 Fifth Ave., 538-2415

Centennial Plaza This circular park overlooking the Feather River offers shaded seating, along with informational plaques

This large, shallow depression pit was created during the construction of the Oroville Dam, when clay was mined from here. Now the area, which encompasses 220 acres and includes shade ramadas, picnic tables and restrooms, is a great place to ride your 4x4, motorcycle or ATV. Open 8 a.m.-sunset daily Sept. 1-June 30. 4900 Larkin Road, 538-2212

Cycleland Speedway Open since 1963, Cycleland is home to a 1/8-mile banked-clay Outlaw Kart track, as well as a motocross track with supercross features. 47 Nelson Road, 342-0063,

Lake Oroville State Recreation Area California’s second-largest reservoir offers activities like boating, water skiing, swimming and camping. Fishing is a favorite pastime at Lake Oroville, and it’s allowed yearround with a valid fishing license. The lake is a prime spot to catch chinook salmon, catfish, mackinaw, sturgeon and brown trout. For larger boat rentals, including houseboats, check out Bidwell Canyon Marina (589-9175, bidwellcanyonmarina. com) or Lake Oroville Marina (1-800255-5561, And for more information on biking and personal watercraft rentals at the Forebay Aquatic Center or the Loafer Creek Horse Camp, see Outdoor Adventures, page 82. Lake Oroville info: 538-2542, lakeoroville. net. Here are some key features: • Feather River Fish Hatchery Built after the Oroville Dam to preserve the chinook salmon and OROViLLe continued on page 46

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steelhead trout that spawn in the Feather River, the hatchery features an observation platform, as well as underwater viewing windows. Self-guided and guided tours are available. Salmon spawning can be viewed best mid-September through mid-November, with steelhead best observed mid-December to mid-February. Open Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-3 p.m. • North Forebay The Thermalito Forebay encompasses 300 acres of grass and trees, complete with picnic spots—each one with its own stove—and a 200-yard sandy beach perfect for swimming. • South Forebay There are some picnic tables and a sandy beach at the Thermalito Forebay South, but with its fourlane boat launch ramp, this is really where the boaters go.

Dingerville USA Golf Known for its friendly staff, this nine-hole course near Palermo is open daily. 5813 Pacific Heights Road, 533-9343

Table Mountain Golf Course This public 18-hole course is flat and includes fast greens and wide fairways, providing ample landing areas. The facility offers two practice greens and a driving range, plus a bar and grill overlooking the golf course. 2700 Oro Dam Blvd. W., 533-3922,

Arts & Culture ART GALLERIES Artists of River Town A.R.T. for short, this active local arts group has a small space inside the Feather River Senior Citizens Association, as well as in the lobby of the Oroville State Theatre downtown. 1435 Myers St., 534-3227,

Broken Color Art Gallery Featuring the art of Jon Shult, including paintings, prints and illustrations. Shult also offers private art classes for individuals and groups. 1360 Montgomery St., 534-5474

Diversity Arts Showcase Opened in summer 2018, this 46 DISCOVER

nonprofit gallery offers opportunities for local artists to display and sell their work. 1382 Myers St.

MUSEUMS Bidwell Bar Bridge and Toll House Located at the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area is California’s very first suspension bridge, built in 1855 at Chico founder John Bidwell’s first settlement. Originally perched about a mile and a half away in what’s now Lake Oroville, both the bridge and toll house were relocated when the dam was built. Nearby is a replica of the Mother Orange Tree, which was planted by the bridge—the original is now located at the California State Parks headquarters in Oroville.

Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum A truly unique experience can be found inside Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum. Bud Bolt started in the tool business as a Snap-On representative in the early 1950s. His love of the hand tool—the “most important man-made product on Earth”—has transformed over the years into a collection of over 12,000 tools. Stop in to check out the displays or attend one of the museum’s frequent talks, now led by Bud’s son Steven. 1650 Broderick St., Oroville,


Butte County Historical Society Museum This museum offers a glimpse into the region’s past, including Gold Rush-era artifacts and the jail door that once imprisoned Ishi. 1749 Spencer Ave., 533-9418

C.F. Lott Home—Sank Park This Victorian revival home was built in 1856 by “Judge” C.F. Lott, a Gold Rush pioneer and founder of California’s first citrus exchange. Tours of the home are available and reveal the history of the Lott family, including the love story between Lott’s daughter Cornelia and Jesse Sank (Cornelia willed the property to the city of Oroville upon her death in 1953). The grounds cover a full city block and include a carriage house, gardens, a gazebo and flower garden. There’s also a commercial kitchen on-site, making it a popular location for weddings and other special events (call 538-2415 for reservations). 1067 Montgomery St., 538-2497

Chinese Temple Built in 1863, this registered California landmark was once the place of worship for the largest Chinese community north of

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Ehmann Home Home base of the Butte County Historical Society, this is the “house that olives built.” Freda Ehmann reportedly created the process for preserving olives for shipping, thereby launching California’s olive industry. She and her son, Edwin, built this colonial revival house in 1911. Tours are available on Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., or by appointment. 1480 Lincoln St., 533-5316

Feather River Nature Center & Native Plant Park The bath house, built in the 1930s to serve those fishing and swimming at Oroville’s first city park at the site, is now a nature center providing educational programs, exhibits and docents who give guidance for visitors. Montgomery Street and Old Ferry Road, 538-2415 OROVILLE continued on page 49

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1368 Longfellow Ave 530.342.6421 DISCOVER 47

staple of Oroville over its 30-plus seasons. Productions range from classic dramas to contemporary comedies. 1740 Bird St., 533-2473,

MOVIES Feather River Cinemas Oroville’s go-to spot for first-run movies. 2690 Feather River Blvd., 534-1885,

Dining Betty Cakes and Coffee Feather River Nature Center

OROVILLE continued from page 47

Ishi monument One of the more fascinating stories to come out of Butte County is that of Ishi, the “last wild Indian.” He walked out of the wilderness in 1911, long after European settlers had rounded up or killed the others. He was the last of a small few of his Yahi tribe who had survived despite it all. He was first spotted at a slaughterhouse in Oroville and arrested. (The jail door is on display at the Butte County Historical Society Museum at 1749 Spencer Ave.). Ishi moved to San Francisco, where he became a specimen of sorts, someone who could teach the old ways. A monument now stands near the slaughterhouse site at the corner of Oro Quincy Highway and Oak Avenue.

Lake Oroville Visitor Center The museum at the visitor center, jointly run by the state Department of Water Resources— which manages the dam—and California State Parks, features exhibits and videos about the lake, the dam and the surrounding area. Learn about the building of the dam and how it works in one half of the museum space; another features the Native American tribes that inhabited the area before the Gold Rush brought European set48 DISCOVER

tlers here, as well as the Gold Rush itself. Workshops and speakers take over the theater regularly, which also runs films. And don’t forget to check out the expansive view of the Sierras and the Sacramento Valley from one of the two highpowered telescopes at the top of a 47-foot tower. 917 Kelly Ridge Road, 538-2219

Military Museum, Campground & PaintBall at Surplus City

Stop in to this neighborhood bake shop for a sweet treat and a cup of Peet’s Coffee. Special orders available. 1900 Oro Dam Blvd. East, Ste. 4, 712-9142, bettycakes

Boss Burger Burgers done right, plus a full condiment bar. If you’re going to be a burger joint, you’ve got to have legit fries, too, and Boss Burger doesn’t disappoint. 2484 Montgomery St., 534-8806

The Good Earth Coffee & Tea House

Perhaps the only place on Earth where you can view military memorabilia, play a game of paintball capture the flag, buy some old Jeep parts and then camp out along the river. 4514 Pacific Heights Road, 534-9956

The laid-back atmosphere at Good Earth is warm and inviting. They offer up a nice variety of pastries and sandwiches. Oh, and great coffee and tea, too—all with a dedication to organic, fair-trade ingredients. 980 Oro Dam Blvd. E., 538-8544, thegoodearthcoffee

Pioneer History Museum

Gourmet Kitchen

Opened in 1932, this museum is an ode to everything that came to the region before it, including a large collection of Native American artifacts and items from some of Butte County’s Gold Rush towns— there’s a clock from Bidwell Bar and an organ from the original Oregon City School, to name a few. 2332 Montgomery St., 538-2497

Fresh, cooked-to-order, authentic Chinese cuisine. Good prices and large portions. 2359 Myers St., 533-2609

THEATER & PERFORMING ARTS Birdcage Theatre An all-volunteer nonprofit theater, the Birdcage has become a

The Italian Kitchen Create-your-own pasta bowls and take-and-bake pizzas, along with salads, wraps and Italian favorites, including lasagna. 2275 Myers St., 533-8880

Jake’s Burgers & More Great place for a burger. However, burgers aren’t the only thing on their grill: Jake’s serves a chicken-fried steak breakfast burrito OROVILLE continued on page 50

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OROVILLE continued from page 48

that is big enough for two. 1751 Oro Dam Blvd. E., 534-8588

Jenn’s Cafe This family-owned cafe focuses on service and offers an array of pastries and hot breakfast items, in addition to lunch. 1905 Mitchell Ave., 532-1418

La Costena de Acapulco Fresh, authentic Mexican fare, including fish and shrimp tacos and vegetarian options, too. 1900 Oro Dam Blvd., E., 538-9101

Mike’s Grande Burgers

What can we build for you?

Yes, the burgers are big, but don’t forget about Taco Tuesday. Mike serves a great house chili, too. Plus, a drive-thru! 2896 Olive Highway, 533-5780

Miner’s Alley Brewing Co. This brewery has one of the more extensive menus in town, including pub fare and staple entrees such as prime rib. Plus, house beers on tap! 2053 Montgomery St., 693-4388

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Start your day at a local favorite that serves organic coffee, pastries, breakfast, lunch and dinner. 2040 Montgomery St., 538-8342

Nori Asian Kitchen + Grill


Asian fusion, including fantastic pho, rice and noodle dishes and a unique selection of seafood, including mussels and oysters. 2025 Bird St., 353-3329

Papacito’s A staple in Oroville, Papacito’s has been serving up delicious Mexican fare since 1989. Plus, they cater! 1751 Oro Dam Blvd., Ste. E, 532-9344,

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Serves its namesake but also offers a variety of Thai, Lao and other Asian dishes for its hungry customers. 1898 Bird St., 532-9630

Righteous Burger American burger joint offering 100 percent naturally raised Niman Ranch beef. 3166 Olive Highway, 532-0692

Souper Subs #30 Seville Ct. Chico, CA 95928 Phone: 530-345-7296

Lic# 812173 50 Discover

Subs made with love, with meats OROVILLE continued on page 52

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and cheeses that are sliced fresh daily. 1780 Oro Dam Blvd., 538-8088

Tabletop Restaurant Specializing in breakfast and lunch entrees, this spacious eatery is also home to a full catering business and is available for special events. Try their homemade jams (also available for purchase by the jar) and variety of flavored mimosas. 109 Table Mountain Blvd., 533-9655

Tong Fong Low Consistently voted Best Restaurant in Oroville in the Chico News & Review readers’ poll, Tong Fong Low also has staying power. It’s been serving up authentic Chinese food in historic downtown for over a century (yes, really). 2051 Robinson St., 533-1488

Vallarta Grill Authentic Mexican grill offering a daily taco special and service with a smile. 2100 Fifth Ave., 712-9390

Nightlife Butte County Wine Co. Nearly every winery in the county has a bottle in this joint. Butte County Wine Co. takes pride in offering the bounty of local vintners. Great for before or after dinner. 1440 Myers St., 712-9350

Copa de Oro Reopened in 2018, this longtime local hotspot is experiencing a rebirth. Starting with the front bar and restaurant, it’s slowly reopening and hosts live music alongside offering lunch and dinner menus and a full bar. Don’t miss the second-story pub. 1445 Myers St., 534-7812

The Exchange One of Oroville’s newest downtown hotspots, The Exchange serves up tapas—from crab cakes to artichoke dip—as well as craft cocktails and live music on weekends. 1975 Montgomery St., 693-4276

Feather Falls Casino With gaming aplenty, this casino frequently welcomes touring musicians and other entertainers. Eat at the 52 DISCOVER

Jake’s Burgers & More

friendly staff, pool, darts and karaoke. 1171 Oro Dam Blvd. West, 533-3556

cafe or buffet and stay the night at The Lodge, which has a fitness center and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool area. Check out the Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co., featuring housebrewed beers, gourmet food (including fresh sushi and sashimi) and more live music. 3 Alverda Drive, 533-3855,

Piggs Pub

Gold Country Casino

Seeva’s Pub

This casino boasts an 87-room hotel, plenty of gaming and an array of other entertainment options, including karaoke, bowling, comedy nights, live music and wide-screen TVs. The facility also has a buffet, café and an espresso bar, as well as SaFire, its hot new nightclub/dinner spot which took over the space previously occupied by the steakhouse. 4020 Olive Highway, 800-803-1911,

The Notty Room Known for its frosty glasses,

A dive if ever there was one, Piggs in Southside Oroville has bar games and stiff drinks. 3070 Myers St., 533-9843 Bar games, cold beer, can’t-beatit pub grub. And they have loyalty cards! 6093 Lincoln Blvd., 532-7519

The Spirit Driven by the desire to open a new creative hub for young and emerging artists, musicians Nathan Teboul and Andrew Bernard transformed the old KRBS radio station into an all-ages concert venue in summer 2018, and are now showcasing a variety of live, local music of all genres. 2360 Oro Quincy ● Highway, 764-0359

Discover 53


Resilient Ridge L

ocated “up the hill” from Chico and Oroville, Paradise incorporated as a town in 1979—around 75 years after the county’s cities—but traces its origins as a community to the Maidu Indian tribes who made the foothill forests their home during the scorching summer. Prospectors reached the Ridge in 1848 to seek gold along the Feather River; the 1850s brought lumber mills. A post office opened in 1857, around the time Paradise got its name. (Story goes, William Leonard and his mill crew sought shade under a ponderosa pine, he sat and said, “Boys, this is paradise.”) 54 DISCOVER

Sadly, 90 percent of the town was destroyed in the Camp Fire in November 2018, so it’s currently undergoing a massive cleanup and recovery. Businesses have begun to reopen, so if you’re in the area, be sure to support them. They are listed in a database on the Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s website (, so check there before your trip, as the scenery changes day by day.

Arts & Culture Depot Museum The Gold Nugget was the Ridge’s premiere destination for historical and cultural activities, but it burned in the Camp Fire. As it rebuilds, it’s taken up residence in one of its smaller,

but untouched, properties, the Depot Museum. 5570 Black Olive Drive, 413-9129, goldnugget

Paradise Performing Arts Center The home base of the Paradise Symphony Orchestra, the 762-seat PPAC hosts a wide range of community events, from concerts and ballets to seminars and religious ceremonies. It’s also been known to attract some big-name performers. 777 Nunneley Road, 872-8454,

Theatre on the Ridge This 101-seat community theater puts on up to six productions a year, from comedies to serious dramas. 3735 Neal Road, 877.5760,

Mountain Mike’s Pizza

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Dining Maria’s Kitchen Bille Park

Fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine at one of the few restaurants open on the Ridge. Catering available. 1132 Elliott Road, 876-1086

Meehos Mexican Restaurant

Parks & Recreation Bille Park One of Paradise’s prides and joys escaped the brunt of the Camp Fire, and actually served as a shelter in place for some residents. There’s a large expanse of grass, a gazebo, picnic areas and walking trails with views of the canyon. 501 Bille Road

Terry Ashe Recreation Center Located smack in the middle of town, this facility is home to a basketball court, picnic areas, a kitchen for rent and, in the winter, an ice rink. The hub of the Paradise Recreation and Park District, it also is the site of many special programs and events. 6626 Skyway,

As of this printing, the popular Skyway Mexican eatery was operating out of its mobile kitchen. 6808 Skyway

Mountain Mike’s Pizza Expected to reopen in the fall of 2019, Mountain Mike’s Pizza features all manner of delicious pies. 6626 Clark Road, 872-1991

Secrets of Paradise Previously Gabriela’s Eatery, this establishment is expected to open in the fall of 2019 and feature a beer and wine garden, plus a gift shop. 6433 Skyway

Sophia’s Thai Cuisine The first restaurant to reopen in Paradise following the Camp Fire, Sophia’s is a longtime staple on the Ridge, known for its affordable, delicious food and cozy atmosphere. ● 7641 Skyway, 877-4296

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Small-town vibe I

t’s been a big year for the tiny town of Gridley, which made room for 400 manufactured homes to shelter families displaced by the November 2018 Camp Fire. Subsequently, Gridley, Butte County’s southern gateway for the Highway 99 corridor, is poised to add about 1,000 more residents to its population of 7,000. Fortunately, those new to town will have no shortage of things to do and services to access, as Gridley prides itself on providing a “quiet country lifestyle” while also offering the amenities and conveniences of larger cities. This includes Orchard Hospital, several parks, a museum, a Ford dealership, 55 civic clubs and a chamber of commerce. Gridley also hosts the Butte County Fair each August at the Butte County Fairgrounds. Gridley’s name comes from its founder, sheep rancher George Gridley, who owned 960 acres on the west side of town. In 1870, a railroad depot was established at the ranch, and the town began to grow. Gridley was incorporated in 1905, 24 years after its founder died, and encompasses 2.1 square miles today.


In addition to the county fair, Gridley is home to the annual Snow Goose Festival in January. It draws hundreds of birding enthusiasts to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area west of downtown (see Outdoor Adventures, page 82). Nick Daddow Park also is a popular attraction, as it is the site of the summer farmers’ market and festivities like the family-friendly annual Red Suspenders Days in May, which included a parade, street faire, live music and car show this year. Gridley also offers historic places of interest, such as the Hazel Hotel and Gridley Museum.

Downtown Hazel Hotel The Hazel Hotel is the sole remaining building from Gridley’s railroad era. It was built in 1888 in the Italianate style, and is listed on the National Register of GRIDLEY continued on page 58

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offers a full bar. Plus, its market next door includes a variety of produce and authentic Mexican foods, including Casa Lupe-brand tortillas and salsa, as well as a bakery and deli. Restaurant closed Mondays. 130 Magnolia St., 846-5152

El Tamborazo Restaurant Good, traditional Mexican fare, plus margaritas and fried ice cream. 1761 Highway 99, 846-2041

Gridley Grill & Crab Shack

A well-maintained, modern skate park downtown at the corner of Washington and Spruce streets.

Taking the place of The Gridley Grill, this new restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner starting Sept. 28. Entrees include shrimp, crab and other seafood staples, with choose-your-own flavors and spice levels. 484 Highway 99, 370-3061

Manuel Vierra Municipal Park

Ice Burgie

In addition to a dedicated local following, this hobby shop attracts train and vintage toy enthusiasts from far and wide. It also sponsors the annual North State Model Train Show. 546 Kentucky St., 797-9264

A 13.5-acre park in the heart of Gridley, with expansive oak-shaded fields, a “splash pad,” picnic tables and barbecues, a fenced area for kids’ birthday parties, tennis courts, and baseball and softball diamonds. At the end of Washington and Haskell streets.

Arts & Culture

Los Charros Taqueria

Nick Daddow Park

Gridley Museum

GRIDLEY continued from page 56

Historic Places. Now senior housing, retail businesses and the Gridley Chamber of Commerce call it home. 880 Hazel St.

Packratt Trains & Toys

Gridley Museum Founded with the goal of preserving Gridley’s history, this museum housed in the historic Veatch Building features rotating exhibits depicting the development of Gridley as well as Butte and northern Sutter counties in the 19th and 20th centuries. Pick up a downtown walking tour map here or arrange for a docent-led tour. Open Tues.Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 601 Kentucky St., 846-4482

Gridley Skate Park

This 1-acre park has a gazebo, shaded picnic tables and barbecues. It’s the site of annual Red Suspenders Days and frequent free concerts. At Hazel and Virginia streets.

Railroad Park This popular park includes a large play structure in the shape of a train, as well as a tranquil sitting area with a fountain, benches and tables. Located on Washington Street near Hazel and downtown.

Parks & Recreation Dining Butte County Fairgrounds In August, the fairgrounds are home to the Butte County Fair, which has been around for more than 75 years. A variety of community events also are held here throughout the year. Plus, there’s a swimming pool, RV park and buildings, arenas and stages available for rent. 199 E. Hazel St., 846-3626, 58 DISCOVER

ABC China Restaurant

A Gridley staple that’s been around since the 1950s, with a walkup window and picnic seating. Proud home of the popular Bulldog Burger (on grilled sourdough), crushed-ice sodas and delectable milkshakes. 1575 Highway 99, 846-2939 Known for its Taco Tuesday specials (only $1 each!) and fresh salsa bar, Los Charros is a go-to for its great prices and authentic taqueria fare. Has another location in Yuba City. 1516 Highway 99, 846-8226

Rail House Pub & Grill This family-owned and -operated establishment opened in 2017 and just expanded this summer. Rail House serves up traditional pub food with a twist—garlic fries, fried mac-and-cheese balls, blue-cheese burgers, etc. Plus, frequent specials and chili made from scratch. 1495 Highway 99, 797-9384


Specializing in Hunan and Szechuan Cuisine. Don’t miss the under $10 lunch specials during the week. 1580 Highway 99, 846-2254

The Bungalow Bar

Casa Lupe

KC Bar

The DeLaTorre family has served authentic, fresh Mexican cuisine since 1971. Casa Lupe, which has another location in Yuba City, serves fresh salsa and guacamole daily and

A small-town dive bar with karaoke and pool tables, plus $1 Jell-O shots. 101 Virginia St., 846-4111 This country bar in historic downtown Gridley offers everything from karaoke to duck plucking during hunting season. 955 Hazel St., ● 846-3002

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s Butte County’s smallest municipality, Biggs maintains its rural charm while nurturing its residents and visitors alike. It’s growing, too. With a population of about 2,000, there are a handful of housing developments in the works. The city’s origins trace back to 1871, when it was named Biggs Station after a local political leader, Maj. Marion Biggs. A few years after incorporation in 1903, Biggs received a $5,000 Carnegie grant to build its library. Located 25 miles south of Chico, it covers 338 acres encompassing (among other things) a historic downtown, vintage homes, farms and a school district. The welcome sign doesn’t lie—the city truly is the heart of rice country, with farms and processing facilities on all sides. Prominent businesses include Bayliss Ranch, an organic lavender farm (see Agritourism, page 74); SunWest Foods, a rice-milling operation; and the Victorian Rose, a venue for weddings and events.


Rural retreat

Downtown Biggs Branch, Butte County Library The oldest library in Butte County that’s still in use, this two-story building is also the county’s smallest library. Built in 1908, its high ceilings and brick walls make this book haven feel like one that will last forever. 464 B St., 868-5724

The Colonia Building The site of the old Colonial Hotel, built in 1905 in the heart of Biggs. In 2016, Mike and Marci Shadd bought the building and they’ve been renovating it steadily to accommodate retail businesses. These days, it’s open during special events for tours. 479 B St.,

The Victorian Rose This Eastlake Victorian home in the center of Biggs was built in 1874 and bought in 2005 by Wanda and Robert Nevins and restored to breathtaking effect. Now it serves as a venue for weddings and other special events, with the gardens and a gazebo available April-October. 429 B St., (888) 793-ROSE,


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Dining Big Momma’s #1 BBQ Diane and Melvin Strong opened Big Momma’s barbecue joint in downtown Biggs in August 2018 and it immediately gained a following for not only its ribs, chicken and pulled pork, but also the Southern comfort of its mac ‘n’ cheese, baked beans and collard greens. 490 B St., 868-1500

Pizza Roundup Conveniently located along Highway 99, Pizza Roundup is a family favorite. 2 B St., 868-5500

Nightlife The Pheasant Club A “hometown bar,” complete with pool tables, shuffleboard, karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays and occasional live music. 493 B St., ● 868-5683 DISCOVER 61


More to explore N

o matter where you are in Butte County, it’s easy to find wide-open spaces and outdoor retreats perfect for long bike rides, creek- and lakeside picnics and bird watching. In addition to the bustling city streets of Chico and Oroville, the county also is home to many small towns speckled among all the natural beauty. Butte County encompasses 1,677 square miles along the eastern edge of the north Sacramento Valley, approximately 90 miles north of Sacramento on highways 70 and 99. Urban, rural and natural open spaces run from the Sacramento River banks to


mountain forests as high as 7,124 feet. Much of rural Butte County is steeped in history, built on the promises and riches of the Gold Rush. Evidence of those old mining towns exists today, from old railroad depots transformed into museums and restaurants to quaint corner stores offering the local bounty, along with modern conveniences. As you’ll see throughout this guide, the Camp Fire tore through a large chunk of Butte County in 2018. Be sure to keep in mind that some areas are still recovering, especially if you’re seeking a foothills adventure.

k p -

Butte Regional Transit

Oregon City covered bridge


Moderate temperatures in spring and fall make those seasons the favorites for outdoorsy folks, and winters are fairly mild but can be wet. If you don’t care for the heat, you’re out of luck: Summer temperatures regularly rise past 100-degrees, with balmy days sprinkled throughout the season.


Butte County has approximately 226,000 residents, with most (approximately 112,000) in Chico, according to population estimates released by the California Department of Finance early this year. The county seat is Oroville, the second most populous city (21,000). After the November 2018 Camp

Fire, the population of Paradise is just under 5,000, with many of the displaced residing in nearby communities. The county, which incorporated in 1850, draws its name from the Sutter Buttes, a mountain range to the south that was once within county boundaries. Butte County is served by an elected five-member Board of Supervisors, and most of the county offices are in Oroville, the county seat, including the jail and main courthouse. According to recent data, the average per-capita income is $26,304, and the median household income is $46,516. Approximately 1 in 5 residents live in poverty, and the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent as of July 2019. Though Butte County wages are notoriously low, the cost of living still is considerably lower than in Sacramento or the Bay Area.


Due to Butte County’s rural spread, transportation can be difficult for those without a vehicle, though there are several local taxi companies and ride-share options, such as Uber and Lyft. Butte Regional Transit, or the “B-Line,” the county’s bus system, is also an option. Tickets cost $1.75 for in-town and $2.40 for regional services. Riders ages 6 to 18 receive a discounted fare ($1.25 and $1.75,

for in-town and regional rides, respectively). Children under 6 years old ride free (limited to two children per family). Chico State students, faculty and staff ride for free. Check for complete fare and route information. The B-Line runs every day, except on certain holidays, and some routes are not active each day. Seniors and the mobilityimpaired can catch a ride from the B-Line Paratransit (342-0221). And Greyhound and Amtrak leave from the train station at 450 Orange St. in Chico. For motorists, Highway 99 is the main arterial route through Butte County, running north/south and mainly serving Chico. Highway 70 is the main route for Oroville, also running north/south (to Paradise and Marysville, respectively). Connecting the two highways and cities is Highway 149. And stretching from central Chico westward over the Sacramento River, Highway 32 intersects with Interstate 5, along with running northeast into mountainous regions.


There are six facilities that make up the Butte County Library system, with branches in Biggs, Chico, Durham, Gridley, Oroville and Paradise (which just reopened after the Camp Fire). In addition COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS continued on page 64 DISCOVER 63

Redding 36

Red Bluff Butte Meadows


Butte County 32

Stirling City

Forest Ranch












Yankee Hill

Durham Cherokee Butte Valley


Berry Creek


Lake Oroville 99 162




Sacramento River








COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS continued from page 63

to literacy services and veterans resources, the library also hosts storytimes, virtual reality sessions, movie nights, design lab classes and other family-friendly events. For more information and library hours, or call 855-379-4097.

HealtH care

Butte County has three awardwinning hospitals, in addition to clinics and specialists who provide a breadth of care, ranging from eye and ear care to plastic surgery:

Enloe Medical Center 1531 Esplanade, Chico, 332-7300

Orchard Hospital 240 Spruce St., Gridley, 846-9000 64 Discover

Oroville Hospital

Agritourism on page 74).

2767 Olive Highway, Oroville, 533-8500

Bangor Bake Shoppe

That’s just an overview. Keep reading; you’ll find there’s a lot more to Butte County! Here are a few unincorporated communities with attractions worth visiting:

Bangor This small town of approximately 600 was founded in 1855 and gets its name from the city of Bangor, Maine. The region, which rests on the southern tip of Butte County, has become a hot spot of the local wine scene, with Bangor Ranch Vineyard & Winery, Hickman Family Vineyards and Spencer Shirey Winery opening within the past decade (see

A Mennonite-run bakery and gift shop with fresh, hand-crafted pastries, plus coffees and other goodies. Tip: If the shop is closed, pop into the store next door—they sell goods from the bakery, too! Open Wednesday-Saturday. 5704 La Porte Road, 679-2200

Bangor Church This church is the oldest still standing in the county, built in 1882. It now serves as one of the museums run by the Butte County Historical Society, and can be rented for weddings. Open noon-2 p.m. first and third Saturdays (closed December-January, July-August). 5370 LaPorte Road, 679-2112

Berry Creek Home to about 1,300 people, Berry Creek is the site of the annual Berry Festival, held every August on Bald Rock Mountain, one of two peaks in the town (the other being Bloomer Hill). The town also includes a California Department of Forestry Fire Department station, post office and the 15-acre Berry Creek Park & Community Center.

Butte Meadows This tiny community of approximately 40 people on the far-northern edge of the county is a popular mountain retreat for bikers, hikers, fishermen and really anyone seeking a respite from city life.

Bambi Inn The Bambi Inn is a staple of Butte Meadows, whether you’re stopping in for a beer on the patio (dogs welcome), to play a game of pool inside or to stay overnight in one of the inn’s cabins. 7436 Humboldt Road, 873-4125

Butte Meadows Mercantile & Resort This cafe/general store/rustic retreat was built in 1903 and offers three cabins to choose from, plus RV hookups for those who bring their own accommodations. 7473 Humboldt Road, 873-5016

The Outpost Restaurant & Bar The Outpost serves up delicious food (whole hogs, really!) and ice cold beers and hosts plenty of live concerts and barbecues. Also, three cabins are available to rent. 7589 Humboldt Road, 873-3050

Butte Valley Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation Since 1994, this wildlife sanctuary and educational center has been caring for endangered and exotic animals that cannot be released into the wild. The nonprofit also teaches responsible ownership of companion animals. Visitors on a self-guided tour of the 19-acre sanctuary will spot Bengal tigers, lions, leopards, foxes, lynxes, exotic birds, bears and reptiles. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. TuesdaySunday. 4995 Durham-Pentz Road

Centerville’s Colman Museum

(near Butte College), 533-1000,

Centerville Located along Butte Creek, Centerville offers a nice starting place for hikes along the flumes that once served the Centerville Powerhouse. The schoolhouse and museum are worth a visit, and there’s a nice history-filled cemetery just up the road.

discoveries in America were made here. Today, the population hovers around 70, and there are no known businesses.

Cherokee Cemetery This pastoral cemetery, established in the 1850s, harks to the town’s pioneers, and is said to be haunted by the angry spirit of a murderer burned to death in the mid19th century. 3927 Cherokee Road

Centerville Schoolhouse and Colman Museum


Built in the late 1800s, the historic Centerville Schoolhouse is located alongside the Colman Museum, which presents an impressive amount of regional history. Open Sat.-Sun., 1-4 p.m. 13458 Centerville Road, 893-9667

Durham (population 5,518), a small town built on farming, is located just south of Chico. Drive down the Midway in Chico to “the four-way stop” and you’ve reached downtown. There you will find a general store, antique shops, a couple of food trucks and restaurants. See Agritourism, page 74, for more on the region’s agricultural attractions.

Cherokee A town rich in history, Cherokee was named after a band of Cherokee Indians who traveled here from Oklahoma. In its heyday in the late 19th century, the once-vibrant mining town boasted 1,000 residents, 17 saloons, eight hotels, two schools, a theater, racetrack and brewery. President Rutherford B. Hayes and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman reportedly visited, as well as Thomas Edison (who, for a time, had an electric shop in Oroville). Edison reportedly helped create Cherokee’s effective yet controversial hydraulic mine, and some of the first diamond

Almendra Winery & Distillery The restaurant offers small plates, pizzas, salads and desserts served in a family-friendly atmosphere. Beverages include locally-crafted wines and specialty cocktails. On Fridays, Alemdra hosts live music. Don’t miss the happy hour every Wednesday-Friday. Closed MondayTuesday. 9275 Midway, 343-6893,

Durham House Inn This beautiful 1874 Italianate Victorian is the former home of COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS continued on page 66 DISCOVER 65

Forest Ranch The beautiful foothills community of Forest Ranch is also the home of organic winery LaRocca Vineyards, which has a tasting room in downtown Chico. At last census count, it had about 1,100 residents.

Magalia This quaint mountain town (formerly known as Dogtown) got its claim to fame for being the site of the world’s largest gold nugget discovery. K. Stearns discovered the 54-pound behemoth in 1859.

Hilltop Cafe Having survived the Camp Fire, Jaki’s Hilltop Cafe came under new ownership and reopened in March with a new name and new menu, which includes some old favorites. 14112 Skyway, 873-1275 COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS continued from page 65

W. W. Durham and his wife, Minnie Van Ness, and is now a bed-andbreakfast listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The inn, located just 10 minutes from Chico, features three elegant rooms and a cottage decorated with period furniture, along with lush, expansive grounds. 2280 Durham Dayton Highway, 342-5900,

Chatterbox Cafe A beloved local coffee shop— with some killer food—that’s celebrating its first decade of business this year. 2500 Durham Dayton Highway, Ste. 2, 892-9538

Pueblito Mexican Grill A local favorite serving up authentic Mexican fare. 9402 Midway, 893-8896

Forbestown Once a large mining center, Forbestown was founded in 1850 and named after B.F. Forbes, who opened a store there. Today, this town on the southeastern edge of Butte County has just over 300 residents and boasts an impressive museum complex and bustling general store that serves hot food daily and pizzas on weekends. 66 DISCOVER

Forbestown Freemason Lodge #50 One of the six lodges in Butte County, the local chapter of Freemasons started renting this building in 1862 and continues to meet there today. (The original building it used burned down in a fire that destroyed half of the small gold-mining community in 1860.) It’s one of a rare few chapters that gathers on the ground floor, according to the lodge’s website. 201 Old Forbestown Road

Forbestown Cemetery This old pioneer cemetery no longer accepts new burials, but contains stories galore for those willing to sit a while. It’s maintained by the county of Butte, but feels long forgotten, weeds covering what once were footpaths through the tombstones. Located a short walk behind the Freemason lodge.

Yuba Feather Museum and Gold Trader Flat At this indoor-outdoor museum, visitors will find a variety of exhibits centered around early life in the region, as well as genealogical information. The flat, located outdoors, is a replica Gold Rush town that includes a pioneer homestead, schoolhouse, church, saloon, mercantile, dressmaker’s shop and millinery, and jailhouse. 19096 New York Flat Road, 675-1025

Magalia Community Church This Protestant church’s chapel was built in 1896. Though it has since been moved, it remains intact and in use as a place of worship that is also available for weddings and other events. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 13700 Old Skyway, 877-7963

Oregon City Founded by a group of Oregonians who arrived in 1848, Oregon City is a state historical landmark and one of the first mining camps in Butte County. The group’s leader, Peter H. Burnett, briefly served as the first civil governor of California a year after his arrival, according to a plaque highlighting the town’s historical significance.

Oregon City covered bridge Located on Oregon Gulch Road right outside the city, a plaque commemorates those who built the Oregon City bridge, also known as the Castlebury Covered Bridge.

Oregon City School The deed to this schoolhouse was granted to the Butte County Historical Society in 1981 and it is currently undergoing a restoration. COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS continued on page 69

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Clotilde Merlo Park

COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS continued from page 66

(Don’t miss the original outhouse building behind the school.) Open Sat.-Sun. 1-4 p.m. 2100 Oregon Gulch Road, 533-1849

Richvale Legend has it that this town’s name was created to trick Midwestern farmers into thinking the land was fertile. In reality, it’s more like clay—which is great for growing what Richvale is known for today: rice. It’s no surprise, then, that Richvale, just south of Durham, is the site of the headquarters of the Butte County Rice Growers Association. Lundberg Family Farms is the town’s biggest claim to fame, plus the fact that it’s the home of Congressional Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who also is a rice farmer.

Richvale Cafe A quaint, cozy country cafe that’s been around since 1975. It’s operated by the Richvale Foundation as “a place where [the community] could get good food close to where they work at reasonable prices.” Open Mon.-Fri. for breakfast and lunch. 5285 Midway, 882-4421

historic Butte County town. It was founded in 1903 by the Diamond Match Co., developed at the end of the rail line as a loading spot for lumber. Today, it has about 300 residents.

Clotilde Merlo Park One of the most charming and breathtaking spots in Butte County, Clotilde Merlo Park encompasses 20 acres, including ponds, nature trails, picnic spots, horseshoe pits and a bocce court. There’s a popular outdoor wedding chapel as well. The park is dedicated to the memory of Clotilde Merlo, who ran a boarding house in the town’s mill days. According to the park’s Facebook page, Merlo “always appreciated the beauty of the land and being close to nature.” 22 Retson Road. (Take the Skyway to Stirling City, turn right at the P Line road, then left at the R Line road.) Open May-October, Thursdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 873-1658

Stirling City Museum This museum is run by the local historical society to chronicle and preserve the history of this lumber town. Open Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 p.m., or by appointment. 16993 Skyway, 873-0583,

Stirling City

Stirling City Hotel & General Store

Stirling City, located just up the hill from Paradise, is another

Built in 1903, this historic hotel and general store’s longtime owner,

Charlotte Hilgeman, passed away in October 2016. It’s since been passed on to a new generation of Hilgemans, who have maintained the general store and put the property up for sale in summer 2019. 16975 Skyway, 873-0858

Yankee Hill This old mining town, home to 333 people, was at one time named Spanishtown, after having been settled by a group of Spaniards. It’s said a band of East Coasters came in later and renamed it.

Scooter’s Cafe Having survived the Camp Fire with minimal damage, Scooter’s reopened in early 2019. Back in the hands of its original owners, the cafe has long been a popular stop for bikers and foothills residents. 11975 Highway 70, 5344644

Yankee Hill Historical Society Museum Formed in 2002, the society calls the Messilla Valley School, built in 1856, its home base. It’s also the site of a well-maintained museum and community center. The society also has a great website, complete with historical videos and links to old newspaper stories. 11666 Concow Road, ● DISCOVER 69




C e a t iv e

Public art at the heart of downtown Chico’s character 70 DISCOVER


hico is known for being an art town. Whether it be visual, theatrical or musical, there’s always something creative to be enjoyed when you’re out and about. That’s especially true downtown, the cultural hub of the city. So it should come as no surprise that there is public art on nearly every corner—from murals depicting Chico’s founders to a tile bench memorializing one of its most famous visitors, Errol Flynn (who starred in The Adventures of Robin Hood, part of which was filmed right here in Bidwell Park).


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For the full list of Chico public artworks, visit the city’s site at (pick “city arts” from the drop-down menu, then “public art portfolio”). Also, once a month, the Chico Arts and Culture Foundation leads a walking tour of the public art downtown. Visit the group’s site at or find it on Facebook for more details. Here’s a glance at some of the pieces that make downtown pop.

Our Hands

exp. 3/1/20

Probably Chico’s most famous piece of public art, the large cupping “Our Hands” frame the walkway to the Chico Municipal Center. The 12-foot-tall sculpture covered in granite chips that have been mixed with cement was installed in 2000, and has since become an iconic representation of the city.

Diamond Alley arches Another iconic fixture of downtown Chico, the arches offer an entryway to Diamond Alley, the CREATIVE continued on page 72

Breakfast ~ Lunch ~ Dinner Open Early ~ Open Late


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Love mural

CREATIVE continued from page 71

stretch of sidewalk opposite the Hotel Diamond and between the parking structure and Phoenix Building. Fun fact: Each colorful tile that covers the arches was painted by a local child.

Jake Early’s outdoor art One of Chico’s favorite printmakers, Jake Early has made a career of making prints of local landmarks. Though he doesn’t live in Chico these days, his art continues to win locals’ hearts. His official home base is Chico Phoenix Building mural

Detail from Jake Early’s outdoor art


Paper Co., and on the outside wall of the shop facing City Plaza are a series of Early pieces, permanently on display and framing other prominent pieces of public art.

The Phoenix After the former Toad Hall burned down in 1975, it was rebuilt with an appropriate new name and mural.

Academe This mural by renowned artist John Pugh is beloved enough that it was done twice. That’s right. When Pugh was a student

Diamond Alley arches

B eautiful J ewelry & M uch M ore !

Country SquyreS AntiqueS

164 E. 3rd Street, Downtown Chico | 342.6764 at Chico State, he was commissioned to paint the trompe l’oeil mural on the side of Taylor Hall, which faces downtown at First Street. When the building was leveled to make way for the new Arts & Humanities Building, the community made a stink—but Pugh was able to replicate the work, and so Chico is happy.

Peace and Harmony When Shepard Fairey’s mural crew came to town in 2018 to paint this piece on the long wall of the Chico Peace and Justice Center, the town welcomed it with open arms. The well-known street artist—famous for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster—was in town only briefly, but his team made sure his vision was emblazoned on Chico’s soul.

Sally Dimas Art Gallery

Original Paintings • Etchings • Hand Blown Glass Jewelry • Sculpture all by local artists


gallery Hours: tues - sat 11am - 4pm 493 East Ave Suite 1 • Chico, CA 95928 • 530.345.3063

Love and Unity Before the massive “Love” mural appeared on the side of Lulus’ Humboldt Road offices, that strip of warehouses offered a drab welcome to Park Avenue. Now, it is a colorful and welcoming sight to those entering Chico’s up-and-coming south side. The work, by local artist Jed Speer, is a companion piece to both his rainbow-colored “Unity” mural on the Sixth Street side of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the North Valley, and Fairey’s “Peace and Harmony.” ● DISCOVER73 73 Discover


From the farm C

alifornia agriculture feeds much of the nation and beyond, and Butte County plays a prime role in that effort to fill bellies. The northern Sacramento Valley’s rich soil and local water supplies are a fertile combination for the area’s row crops, rice fields and orchards galore, especially walnuts and almonds. Large ranches and farms abound, as do niche operations that sell their bounty at local grocers and numerous farmers’ markets throughout the county (see Events, page 8). This farming-centric way of life has inspired locals to experiment with foods—such as craft beer and ciders, boutique wine and specialty olive oils. Many farms, ranches and other local food purveyors open their operations seasonally to the public, giving visitors a look behind the scenes. 74 DISCOVER

Attractions Patrick Ranch Museum Patrick Ranch serves as an “interactive agricultural and natural history learning center.” Its stately Glenwood Farmhouse, built in 1877, houses the indoor museum, but the expansive acreage surrounding it boasts all the trappings of a working farm, including antique tractors and outbuildings, bucolic fields and a chicken coop. The ranch also hosts many popular community events. Museum hours: Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m., from mid-February through December. Gift shop hours: Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 10381 Midway, 342-4359,

Breweries Cellar Door Cider This cidery in the “beverage district” block makes handcrafted, barrel-aged ciders using Nor Cal apples. Except for harvest season in the fall—when owner Bryan Shaw is processing apples and brewing—the tasting room usually is open Saturdays, 2-6 p.m. (call ahead). 11 Commerce Court, Ste. 2, Chico, 200-6857

Patrick Ranch Museum

Lassen Traditional Cider

Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co.

Miners Alley Brewing Co.

Located at Feather Falls Casino, this tribe-owned brewery offers a wide variety of regular and specialrelease beers on tap, including the amber Coyote Spirit and the Volcano Mudslide stout. Bar hours: Sun.Thurs.,9 a.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat., 9 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Restaurant open daily at 11 a.m. 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville, 533-3885, featherfalls

This restaurant and brew house in the heart of downtown Oroville features a variety of craft beers brewed on-site, including a chocolate porter, IPA and citrus wheat. Also serving local wines. 2053 Montgomery St., Oroville, 693-4388,

Lassen Traditional Cider Started by Ben Nielsen in 2016, Lassen Traditional Cider is just as its name implies. Using local heirloom apples, Nielsen—who began crafting ciders in 2005—bottles several varieties of cider that are available on tap at local bars and by the bottle at grocery and liquor stores. Tasting room hours: 2-7 p.m. Saturdays. 26 Bellarmine Court, Chico, 593-0555,

Nor Cal Brewing Co. Brewing-industry vet Jim Hardesty brought his homebrews to the taproom in 2018, opening his Chico brewery in a warehouse deep in the “beverage district.” There are several beers on tap at the casual spot that features outdoor seating and rotating food trucks. 180 Erma Court, Ste. 100, Chico, 592-3845

Secret Trail Brewing Co. Secret Trail opened its brewery and tasting room in south Chico in late 2017, and the operation

quickly earned a stellar reputation with local brewhounds. With food trucks often parked outside and a dog-friendly patio, this fun hangout spot is open daily. 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, Chico, 487-8151,

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The ales and lagers brewed at Chico’s flagship craft brewery are world-famous. An extensive miniglass sampler at the taproom is a good way to familiarize yourself with Chico’s most celebrated brews. Numerous guided tours are available: of the brewhouse, the grounds (the Sustainability Tour, offered AprilOctober) and an extensive Beer Geek Tour. Shorter, self-guided tours also are available. Check the website for times and reservations. 1075 E. 20th St., 899-4776, Chico, AGRITOURISM continued on page 76 DISCOVER 75

AGRITOURISM continued from page 75

Wineries & distilleries Almendra Winery & Distillery Family-owned and -operated, Almendra Winery & Distillery offers locally grown wines and spirits, a full bar, pizza and small plates. Live music in the tasting room on Friday evenings. In addition to serving food and drinks, the tasting room also offers Almendra merchandise, locally made wine and spirits to take home, and specialty meats from the family ranch. Open Wed.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.10 p.m., and Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 9275 Midway, Durham, 343-6893,

Bangor Ranch Vineyard & Winery This family-owned boutique winery takes its name from the old Sierra Nevada mining town in which it operates. There, sustainable farming techniques are used to grow several varietals, including primativo, sangiovese and syrah. Open Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 5768 La Porte Road, Bangor, 679-0867,

Cobble Ridge Distillery Run by the Hickman family, Cobble Ridge Distillery embraces the area’s Gold Rush history, as well as the fruit—in this case, wine grapes—of the region with

handcrafted grappa moonshine, rum and neutral brandy. Tasting hours: Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 555 Avocado Road, Bangor, 603-1501,

Dog Creek Cellars Opened in 2011 by Cline Organics in Durham, Dog Creek Cellars offers a variety of estategrown wines made from certified organic grapes. Tasting room open by appointment, and well-behaved (leashed) dogs are welcome. 9975 Garden Creek Road, Durham, 894-8393,

Enjoy responsibly farmed local products in only one-stop at our farmer’s market 6 days a week, or 24/7 at Gift Baskets • California Almonds Walnuts • Cashews Pistachios • Pecans Nut Butters • Honey Pies • Olive Oils • Wine Homewares • Body and Bath

1324 Dayton Road • 530.809.2374 • Chico 76 DISCOVER

Gale Vineyards Steve and Creasia Gale’s boutique winery is nestled among the shadegiving oak trees on their 6-acre property in Durham. The grapes used in Gale Vineyards’ wines are organically grown on-site and processed in a cool straw-bale facility. Tasting room hours: Sat.-Sun., noon5 p.m. 9345 Stanford Lane, Durham, 891-1264,

Grey Fox Vineyards Among Grey Fox Vineyards’ offerings are four main estate-grown varietals. The popular Oroville wine-

OROVILLE continued from page 44

estate is available Ehmann Home for weddings and

Chinese Temple

other special hours: Home baseevents. of the Tasting Butte County Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 77 Orange Historical Society, this is the “house Ave.,olives Bangor, 679-0679, hickman that built.” Freda Ehmann reportedly created the process for

Built in 1863, this registered California landmark was once the place of worship for the largest Chinese community north of Sacramento. Now, the site includes several exhibits showing the region’s Chinese and American cultures through time. It’s also still used as a place of worship on occasion. 1500 Broderick St., Oroville, 538-2496

preserving olives for shipping, thereLaRocca Vineyards by launching California’s indusFamily-owned LaRoccaolive Vineyards try. She and her son, Edwin, built is the oldest and largest producer of this colonial revival house inorganic 1911. 100 percent, USDA-certified Tours arethe available on Saturdays, wine in North State. If you 11 a.m.-3 appointment. can’t makep.m., it to or thebyvineyards in 1480 ForestLincoln Ranch,St., visit533-5316 the tasting room in downtown Chico. Tasting room hours: Wed.-Fri., 1:30-8 p.m.; Sat. noon-8 p.m.; Sun. 1:30-6 p.m. 222 W. Second St. Vineyards: 12360 Doe Mill Road, Forest Ranch, 899-9463,

Live Vine Vineyards & Winery

maker is home to a relaxing live-oak picnic area and a fantastic view of the foothills from the tasting room patio and rooftop chill spot. The tasting room is open noon-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 90 Grey Fox Lane, Oroville, 589-3920,

Among Butte County’s newest wineries, Live Vine offers varietals aged in stainless-steel tanks and oak barrels. The operation has several wines on offer, including a syrah-viogner, barbera, syrah rosé, in addition to a red blend. Plus, cider! Visit Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. for tastings and to see the estate. 652 Luds Way, Oroville, 566-4259,

Hickman Family Vineyards

Long Creek Winery & Ranch

Live Vine Vineyards & Winery

Long Creek Winery is more than your average tasting room—it’s an adventure. Experience the estategrown Long Creek wines. Take a self-guided walking tour to see the vineyards, olive and mandarin orchards and the working cattle ranch. Then sit back and enjoy

As the name implies, the Hickman vineyard and winery is a family affair. With the first grapes planted over a decade ago, the winery officially opened in 2011 and features estate-grown zinfandels along with a wide selection of reds and a few whites. The beautiful


a glass ofRiver wine inNature the oakCenter grove & Feather bordering the 2-acre pond on-site. Native Park noon-5 Tasting Plant hours: Sat.-Sun.,

The323 bath house, built in the589p.m. Ward Blvd., Oroville, 1930s serve those fishing and 3415, to swimming at Oroville’s first city park Nascere Vineyards at the site, is now a nature center Nestlededucational just 10 minutes from providing programs, downtown in Durham, exhibits andChico docents who givethe family-run Vineyards makes guidance forNascere visitors. Montgomery severaland estate-grown as well Street Old Ferry wines, Road, Oroville, as those using hand-picked grapes 538-2415 from around the region. The tasting room is comfortably situated amongst the vineyard. Tasting hours: Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 3471 Durham-Dayton Highway, Durham; 345-9904, AGRITOURISM continued on page 78

Chinese Grey Temple Fox Vineyards

bED & bREakfaStS


Durham House Inn

Private Porches, Lush Gardens & Delicious Breakfast!

Garden Weddings, Delicious Breakfast & Private Porches!

Elegant,historic historic home home in Elegant, in Downtown DowntownChico Chico Wireless Internet ••Wireless Internet • Walking distance to CSUC, Bidwell Mansion & Enloe Hospital • Walking distance to CSUC, Bidwell Mansion & Enloe Hospital • Gourmet Breakfast • Small meetings or office gatherings • Gourmet Breakfast • Small meetings or office gatherings • Weekend Wine Social Hour • Recommended by Sunset Magazine • Weekend Wine Social Hour • Recommended by Sunset Magazine 1362 Esplanade, Hwy at 4th|Ave • 530-566-0256 2280 Durham-Dayton Durham, CA 95938

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46 Discover


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AGRITOURISM continued from page 77

New Clairvaux Vineyard Just north of the county line is New Clairvaux Vineyard, the first Cistercian winery in North America. It’s run by fifth-generation winemaker Aimee Sunseri, along with the Trappist monks of the on-site monastery. New Clairvaux has a variety of red and white varietals, including tempranillo and viognier. The tasting room is open every day (excluding holy days), 11 a.m.5 p.m. 26240 Seventh St., Vina, 8392200,

Odyssey Winery and Vineyards This attractive, Greek-style winery is owned by local dentist Norm Rosene and his wife, Janice. Odyssey features wines made from organic grapes grown on-site, plus a selection of local artwork and locally produced foods. The tasting room is open Saturdays, 1-6 p.m., from May to December. 6237 Cohasset Road, Chico, 891-9463,

Purple Line Urban Winery Located just off Montgomery Street in downtown Oroville, Purple Line Urban Winery offers a variety of wines made with Northern California grapes that are crushed, fermented, barreled and aged on the premises. Regular events include live music, bocce and potluck dinners. See for tasting room hours. 760 Safford St., Oroville, 534-1785

Quilici Vineyards This 10-acre family-run winery in the Sierra foothills has been around for more than 20 years. Tastings are available without charge with the purchase of wine (or $3 without). Tasting by appointment only. 72 Quail Hill Place, Oroville, 5895088,

Roney Wines This small, family-run winery in north Chico gathers grapes from around Northern California to create a variety of delicious reds. Tastings available by appointment. 5900 Anita Road, Chico, 518-9333,; tasting room at the Allies Pub, 434 Broadway St., Chico

Spencer-Shirey Wines Spencer-Shirey Wines is a bou78 DISCOVER

Lundberg Family Farms

tique winery nestled in a serene valley of the north Sierra foothills. Open Sat. and Sun., noon-5 p.m. 6857 La Porte Road, Bangor, 2053579,

Olive oil Bamford Family Farms In 2016, Bamford Family Farms opened its tasting room in downtown Oroville and hasn’t looked back. Stop in Tuesday through Saturday for a taste of a variety of olive oil flavors—from traditional mission to garlic, jalapeño, lemon and blood orange (it’s delicious on ice cream!). They’re all made from century-old olive orchards near Table Mountain in Oroville. Also available for tasting are a hand-picked selection of balsamic vinegars, including flavors like mango, honey and cranberry-apple. Don’t forget to peruse the handmade olive oil soaps, olive wood cutting boards and other locally made goods. It also sells meat from cattle raised on the farm (and fed olive oil byproducts). 1442 Myers St., Oroville,

Berkeley Olive Grove 1913 Named for the group of UC Berkeley professors who invested in Butte County land in 1913 and went on to form the Berkeley Olive Association, this producer of award-winning organic olive oils is owned and run by Oroville locals Darro and Olivia Grieco. Tours and

tastings by appointment. You can also “adopt” one of the olive trees, harvest your own olives, and learn curing methods. 8 Rocky Drive, Oroville, 533-1814, berkeleyolive

Butte View Olive Co. Butte View Olive Co. presses delicious, boutique olive oils from the olives grown in its Palermo and Wyandotte orchards. Taste Butte View’s mission and ascolano olive oils, as well as its various flavored oils—lemon, blood orange, basil and rosemary—in the facility’s tasting/ bottling room. Tours, tastings and shopping by appointments phoned in a day or two in advance. 2950 Louis Ave., Oroville, 534-8320

Lodestar Farms Lodestar Farms, run by the Johansson family, has produced its extra-virgin, California-style olive oil since 1993. Visit Lodestar’s tasting room to try its Late Harvest Mission, lemon and garlic olive oils, as well as its balsamic dipping oil. The tasting room is open noon-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (closed JanuaryMarch). 3719 Foothill Blvd., Oroville, 534-6548,

Fruits, nuts, vegetables & more Chaffin Family Orchards This permaculture-based, fifthgeneration family farm boasts a little of everything—apricots, figs and pomegranates; extra-virgin

Chaffin Family Orchards

olive oil; heirloom-fruit jams; pasture-raised chicken eggs; and grass-fed beef and goat meat. The organic, sustainability-focused farm also offers yarn made from the fleece of its Shetland sheep. Farm tours and field trips by appointment. 606 Coal Canyon Road, Oroville, 533-8239, chaffin

Chico Chai This favorite local beverage can be found in many a coffee shop— and at the Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market. If that’s not enough (and it never is), the first Sunday of each month the friendly folks at Chico Chai open up their brewery for free tours and tastings, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 1919 Park Ave., Chico, 897-0822,

The Lavender Ranch The Lavender Ranch offers a little taste (and scent!) of the south of France in the southern part of Butte County. Experience the beauty of the lavender fields and go home with a few sachets or lotions and relive the tranquility. Tours offered May-July. Call for dates and times. Store hours: Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.4 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 17 W. Rio Bonito Road, Biggs, 868-5151,

Lundberg Family Farms Since 1937, the organic rice farmers at Lundberg Family Farms have championed environmental stewardship. Their products now include rice cakes, risottos, pastas, brown-rice syrup, flour, and glutenfree and non-GMO options, which you can purchase at the swanky visitor center. Group and individual tours available by appointment. 5311 Midway, Richvale, 538-3500,

Mooney Farms Olive trees, fragrant lavender plants and fountains welcome visitors to the family-run Mooney Farms Company Store—a great place to sample healthy Mediterraneaninspired eats, including sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and pasta sauce from their award-winning Bella Sun Luci line. Gift baskets and work by local artists also available. Open weekdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 1220 Fortress St., Chico, 899-2661,

TJ Farms The 15-acre farm is only 3 miles from downtown Chico, but seems like a world away. The immaculate grounds include waterfalls, fountains, ivy-covered trellises, a gazebo and more. TJ Farms has a pumpkin

patch in the fall for kids, and features an on-site gift shop (open during seasonal events) that sells jams, mustards, vinegars, dressings and pickles. Call for a private tour. 3600 Chico Ave., Chico, 343-2294,

University Farm This 800-acre working farm on the outskirts of Chico is used as a teaching facility for Chico State’s agriculture students. Chickens, cows, sheep and pigs all call the University Farm home, and organic vegetables and other crops take up the rest of the space. Open to the public only on special occasions. But the Meats Lab is open Thursday and Friday year-round and offers affordable, fresh, USDA-inspected meat. 311 Nicholas C. Schouten Lane, Chico, 898-6028, university-farm

The Worm Farm Head down to the Worm Farm to see how red worms are raised or sign up for a worm-bin workshop. Don’t eat the worms, but you sure as heck can enjoy the robust vegetables and fruits grown in soil amended with nutritious, worm-casting compost. 9033 Esquon Road, Durham, 8941276, AGRITOURISM continued on page 80 DISCOVER 79

AGRITOURISM continued from page 79

Keep it local Butte County Wine Co. For those who want to taste some of the best that the region’s wineries have to offer but can’t make it out to the vineyards, stop by Butte County Wine Co., a hip wine bar smack in the middle of historic downtown Oroville. Also serving local microbrews and cheese platters. Open Mon.-Sat. 1440 Myers St., Oroville

Chico Natural Foods Cooperative Located in downtown Chico, this cooperative is open to the public and has a wide variety of locally grown, organic produce and other locally made products. Open daily at 7 a.m. 818 Main St., 891-1713, Chico,

Maisie Jane’s Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products has been producing handcrafted quality almond products, as well as other nut products, since 1993. The quaint country store features a range of gift baskets featuring local goods, from artisan foods to giftware. Open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.4:30 p.m. Extended hours around the holidays. 1324 Dayton Road, Chico, 809-2374,


Almendra Winery & Distillery

New Earth Market The locally owned New Earth Market offers a wide array of regional foods, from wines and cheeses to jams and oils. 864 East Ave., Chico, 891-9355,

S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods This full-service grocery store started out as a roadside produce stand in 1968. Its focus is on organic, nutritious foods and it supports

local growers and craftspeople. Open daily. 1924 Mangrove Ave., Chico, 343-4930,

Sohnrey Family Foods Opened in 2015 by fifth-generation farming family the Sohnreys—who specialize in almonds, almond butters (try the snickerdoodle!), walnuts and rice—the gift shop offers a variety of other local foodstuff. 41 Skillin Lane, Oroville, 871-1975, ●


WINERIES Real CideR Made FroM

NoRtheRN CalifoRNia apples

tasting room open sat afternoons several Varieties available t-shirts, Glasses, and hats

On-site tasting room open most Saturdays 2-6pm, and by appointment. 11 CommerCe Ct, Suite #2 ChiCo, CA 95928


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Discover 81


The wild side A

dventures await nature lovers in all corners of Butte County. From the varied landscapes of Chico’s expansive municipal greenspace, Bidwell Park, to the lesser-traveled trails found along the Sacramento River or in the foothills of the national forests, there are virtually endless opportunities for exploration. Swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, boating—you name it and you’ll find it within a short distance of the urban environment. So, go forth and enjoy!

Butte County Big Bald Rock Explore this impressive geological formation on an easy walk along the Big Bald Rock Trail (.5 miles) or by taking a far more extensive and challenging hike to the bottom of the canyon on Dome Trail (2.5 miles), where an upstream slog along the middle fork of the Feather River reveals a series of idyllic swimming holes and eventually Curtain Falls. But beware: The Dome Trail is not well-maintained and poison oak is ever-present. The trailheads are accessed from different points on Bald Rock Road in the Berry Creek area, nestled in the foothills east of Lake Oroville. 534-6500,

Bidwell Park Bidwell Park is a 3,670-acre preserve and the natural heart and soul of the Chico community. Divided by Manzanita Avenue, the park comprises three dis82 DISCOVER

Feather Falls

tinct sections. The area to the west of Manzanita bordering Big Chico Creek is known as Lower Park, while the regions to the east, which extend into the Shasta Cascade foothills, are known as Middle/ Upper Park. Lower Park’s thick canopy of trees provides shade for its many grassy knolls and creekside hideaways. Middle Park is a relatively small section of the park. It’s composed of developed features immediately east of Manzanita, including Bidwell Park Golf Course, an observatory, Five-Mile Recreation Area and Horseshoe Lake. From there, the park gets much wilder, with the landscape of Upper Park— which extends 5 miles via a canyon along both sides of Big Chico Creek Creek—ranging from lush riparian habitat to rugged rock faces. To reserve picnic areas, call 8967800. For more information, including trail and road conditions, call 896-7899 or visit (select “Bidwell Park”) or bidwell For more on this attraction, see Parks within the Chico section of this guide (page 14). Here are some special places within Bidwell Park for the adventurers out there: • North Rim Trail Skirting the north edge of Big Chico Creek canyon, the North Rim offers one of the area’s most popular trails. There are a few minor (and rugged) trails that descend from the North Rim, as well as the far out B Trail, which offers uneven and scenic mountain biking and hiking. Take Wildwood Avenue off Manzanita Avenue, and then go 1 mile to parking lot B. • Annie Bidwell Trail This less-traveled trail is one of the more rugged in Upper Bidwell Park. It runs along the south side of the canyon—splitting off to the more difficult Guardians and South Rim trails higher up (note: much of Guardians remained closed at press time due to post-wildfire repair). For a day hike, take the Annie Bidwell Trail to the less-frequented south side of Bear Hole, then take a dip and return on Upper Park Road or the creekside Yahi Trail. The main trailhead is beyond Five-Mile, OUTDOOR ADVENTURES continued on page 84

The BeST parkS are

Smoke Free

Parks all ChiCo Parks are smoke and vaPe free enjoy our parks, but please respect the law!

Paid for by Prop. 99 under contract #15-10215 DISCOVER 83

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES continued from page 83

where Centennial Drive meets Chico Canyon Road. • Upper Park Road Wildwood Avenue turns into Upper Park Road, which turns into a rocky, rutted dirt road as Middle Park gives way to Upper Park. It’s usually passable for most vehicles in dry weather. The road runs 5 miles, almost to the end of Upper Park along Big Chico Creek, but is fully accessible only by foot and bike; motorists reach a locked gate just past Bear Hole. Three trails parallel Upper Park Road to the north— Lower, Middle and Upper trails. The latter two are favored by mountain bikers and hikers alike for their upand-down ruggedness and secluded scenery. • Yahi Trail Designated on trail markers as “easiest,” the Yahi Trail runs along the north side of Big Chico Creek in Upper Park. Constructed in 1967 by the local Yahi Group of the Sierra Club, the path is notable for its lush, shady greenery and access to numerous picturesque spots and swimming holes along the creek. Erosion is a problem on the Yahi, so no bikes or horses are allowed. It begins just east of Horseshoe Lake off Upper Park Road. 84 DISCOVER

Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

Camelot Equestrian Park

In addition to preserving nearly 4,000 acres of natural habitats, BCCER offers public hikes and group and private tours. There is also a self-guided tour available, with pamphlets on BCCER’s website. From Chico, take Highway 32 east. From the intersection of Bruce Road, travel 9.7 miles and turn left at the green 3521 sign onto a paved, single-lane road. Sign in at the check-in gate. 898-5010, csuchico. edu/bccer

Bring your horse(s) to this 1,600-acre equestrian park, which features horse and hiking trails, picnic areas, water troughs throughout the park, a beautiful shaded campground, turnouts and paddocks for traveling horses and several arenas and riding courses. 1985 Clark Road (Highway 191), Butte Valley, 5212122,

Bille Park Nature Trail Located at the back edge of the Bille Park expansion in Paradise, this half-mile (one-way) hiking trail is steep in some places but offers spectacular views of Butte Creek Canyon. The site was largely spared from the Camp Fire. Bille Park is at 501 Bille Road, Paradise. A separate entrance closer to the trail is located at 6261 W. Wagstaff Road.

Butte Creek Trail Known for its scenery, this trail offers a rugged path down to Butte Creek in Paradise. Turn off the Skyway onto Humbug Road, just past De Sabla, and pick up the trailhead on your left after crossing the bridge. Allow for 30 minutes down to the creek and about 90 on the way up, accounting for huffing, puffing and water breaks.

Feather Falls While the main attraction is unquestionably the majestic 410foot waterfall on this 9-mile roundtrip (or a more strenuous 7-mile round-trip) trail, the hike also offers stunning views of Big Bald Rock looming above the Plumas National Forest and the middle fork of the Feather River. The long hike is moderately difficult and poison oak grows along the trail. At press time, the lower trail was closed for maintenance. 534-6500, featherfalls

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Located 10 miles west of Gridley near the Sutter Buttes (at Pennington and Rutherford roads), Gray Lodge is more than 9,000 acres of seasonal wetlands favored by birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway, as well as local species. The area features 80 miles of roads, 50 miles of walking/cycling trails and

a small wildlife museum. 846-7505,

Lake Oroville California’s second-largest reservoir offers activities like boating, water skiing, fishing, swimming and camping. Visit the museum at the Lake Oroville Visitor Center (917 Kelly Ridge Road, 538-2219) or check out the expansive view of the Sierras and the Sacramento Valley from one of the two highpowered telescopes at the top of a 47-foot tower. Due to ongoing work to repair part of the dam, some activities may be limited. Please check ahead. For larger boat rentals, including houseboats, check out Bidwell Canyon Marina (589-9175, or Lake Oroville Marina (800-255-5561, lake Lake Oroville info: 538-2542, See the Oroville section on page 42 for more Lake Oroville activities. • Forebay Aquatic Center Rent all manner of personal watercraft, from kayaks and canoes to pedal boats and hydrobikes. 930 Garden Drive, 570-2866, forebay • Freeman Bicycle Trail Completed in 1996, this 41-mile trail offers scenic off-road riding, and panoramic views of Lake Oroville, the Sutter Buttes and the

Sacramento Valley. Inquire about trail conditions before visiting. Download a map at or pick up one at the Lake Oroville Visitor Center, 917 Kelly Ridge Road, 538-2219 • Loafer Creek Horse Camp Relish the outdoors with your equestrian companion at Loafer Creek Horse Camp at Lake Oroville. There is a 17.5-mile loop trail, along with 15 campsites (two horses per site), a restroom with a shower facility, a horse washing station and horse tethering and feeding stations. Loafer Creek Road, 800-444-7275

North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve This flat-topped “mountain” is actually two plateaus—North and South Table Mountain—featuring waterfalls, caves, lava formations and the impressive Coal Canyon. In the spring, Table Mountain’s wildflowers are in full bloom and the waterfalls—most notably Phantom Falls, which disappears entirely in summer months—are at their most spectacular. Visitors 16 and older must obtain a land pass from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Go to Licensing/Lands-Pass for more info. Take Highway 70 to Oroville and exit at Grand Avenue. Take a right on Grand, a left on Table Mountain

Boulevard, and a right on Cherokee Road. From there, it’s 6.3 miles to the reserve.

Oroville Wildlife Area Just south of the Lake Oroville Afterbay, the Oroville Wildlife Area, overseen by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, offers plenty of activities for the whole family. Camping, boating, fishing and hunting are popular pastimes. There’s also a shooting range. 945 Oro Dam Blvd. West.

Sacramento River Famous for its fishing opportunities, this waterway is home to many endangered animals, including species of migratory birds. It’s common to see an array of predatory birds, such as osprey, red-tailed hawks and bald eagles. The Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park (12105 River Road, Chico) provides a bounty of recreational activities like camping, boating, bird watching, photography, hiking and biking. 342-5185

And beyond Black Butte Lake Recreation Area Tent and RV camping available at two sites, with access to fishing, sailing and water-skiing, as well as OUTDOOR ADVENTURES continued on page 86

Lake Oroville DISCOVER 85

Ron’s Reptiles

530-893-2095 44 Rock cReek Rd. chico

Lassen National Forest

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more than 20 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails. Equestrian trails and a disc-golf course also onsite. About a 45-minute drive east from Chico, past Orland in neighboring Glenn County. 865-4781, tinyurl. com/blackbuttelake

Caribou Wilderness Located within Lassen National Forest and maintained by the National Park Service, the Caribou Wilderness is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Great for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing and rock climbing. 258-2141, tinyurl. com/caribouwilderness

Ishi Wilderness Area

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Adventurers can explore deep canyons, lava formations and valley plateaus at the Ishi Wilderness Area, just 20 miles northeast of Chico. Limited campsites, but back-country camping is available. From Chico, take Cohasset Road north. About 6 miles from where the pavement ends, bear right and head down a steep hill for a mile until you see a sign for the Deer and Mill creek trailheads. 2572151,

Lassen National Forest Lassen National Forest is more than a million acres of pristine wilderness, including about 350 miles of maintained hiking and backpacking trails. There are nearly 50 campsites, including several along Highway 32. Eagle Lake and Potato Patch are popular spots, and both include RV hookups. From Chico, take Highway 32 east. 257-2151,

Plumas National Forest Located just east of Oroville, Plumas National Forest is home to numerous lakes and streams, valleys and peaks, and is a hotspot for outdoor recreation. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and hunting are popular activities here. For the truly adventurous, there’s the 150-mile-long Plumas Backcountry Discovery Trail, accessible to SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Campgrounds open June-October. Take Highway 70 toward Quincy. 283-2050,

Sutter Buttes South of Chico, just outside of Yuba City in nearby Sutter County, lie the Sutter Buttes, the “smallest mountain range in the world.” The Buttes were considered a sacred place by many local Native American tribes and are now privately owned. Guided hikes are available through Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes. 671-6116,

Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area North of Chico, in nearby Tehama County, this beautiful location along the Sacramento River is a prime place for boating, fishing, camping and hiking, with views of Lassen Peak, Mount Shasta and the Trinity Alps. It also contains a nature preserve, which is a winter home of bald eagles. From Chico, take Highway 99 north to South Avenue. Closed Oct. 31-April 1. 839-2112, ● woodsonbridge



Campus Tours 800-542-4426

Campus Info 530-898-4636

University Box Office 530-898-6333

PARK PLAZA 680 Mangrove Ave, Chico 530-893-0808 M-F 9–8 | SAT 9–7 | SUN 10–5

PHEASANT RUN PLAZA 2009 Forst Ave Ste B, Chico 530-893-2727 M-F 9–8 | SAT 9–7 | SUN 10–5

CLEAN. SHARP. READY. Discover 87


Lifelong learning W

hatever your educational aspirations may be, you’re likely to find a school in Butte County that fits your needs. The area is home to numerous institutions of higher learning, including Chico State. As part of the 23-campus California State University system, the school offers bachelor’s and master’s programs on a beautiful campus located in downtown Chico. Butte College, part of the Butte-Glenn Community College District, offers associate’s degrees, opportunities to transfer, certification pro88 DISCOVER

grams and a storied athletics program. It also offers a scholarship program that pays tuition and fees for all first-time students who enroll full-time, for up to two years. Additionally, there are a handful of vocational schools for those looking to pave their way into a new career.

The public is also invited to check out the Chico State Wildcat Store, located within the Bell Memorial Union; and Meriam Library, the state’s largest library north of Sacramento. There, you’ll find the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, which offers rotating exhibits. Campus tours are scheduled through the Admissions Office in the first-floor lobby of the Student Services Center. To make a reservation, register at tour or call 898-6322. In addition to the main campus, the University Farm (see Agritourism, page 74) and Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (see Outdoor Adventures, page 82) also are part of Chico State.

Barry Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary & Educational Center

Open Tuesday-Sunday 9AM to 5PM Located at 4995 Durham-Pentz Rd., Oroville, CA 95965

(530) 533-1000 or on the web at: Visitors are welcome to walk on their own with no appointment necessary. We offer 2 hour personal tours. The Barry Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary & Educational Center is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization

Butte College

Kendall Hall on the Chico State campus (above); Wildcat statue (left).

Chico State Founded in 1887 as a teacher’s college, Chico State opened in 1889 with 60 students and five faculty members. The university today is home to about 17,000 students, including graduate students. About 2,000 of them reside in campus-run housing, with the rest spread out through the south campus neighborhood and the rest of the community. The school mascot is the Wildcat and its colors are cardinal and white. With 13 Division II men’s and women’s sports teams, there’s plenty of action to be caught on the field or court. Tickets and team info can be found at There are plenty of other attractions on the Chico State campus that appeal to students and the greater community alike. Take the Arts & Humanities Building, for instance—home to multiple art galleries, as well as a 200-seat recital hall. There’s also Laxson Auditorium, which attracts big-name performers throughout the school year. For student productions, check out the Performing Arts Center, home of two theaters and a recital hall.

Opened in 1968, the local community college has come a long way since its early years, when classes were held in portable buildings. In the mid-1970s, Butte College moved to its spacious campus located on a 928-acre wildlife refuge near the geographic center of Butte County. In recent years, the campus core has changed dramatically, with a complete overhaul and expansion of the library, and the addition of three new state-of-the-art buildings. The impressive two-story Arts Building offers an art gallery, a full digital recording studio, a print studio, a cutting-edge graphicdesign lab and the fabulous Black Box Theatre. A new welding and manufacturing building is set to be completed next September. Butte College’s satellite campus in Chico makes it possible for students to attend classes without making the drive to the main campus. The Skyway Center in south Chico is home to the automotive-technology program and economic work-force development programs. The accredited two-year college offers associate’s degrees and fully transferable general-education courses, as well as vocational programs. The college also has been recognized nationally for its commitment to sustainability. It has the distinction as the first college campus in the country to go grid-positive. In fall 2018, Butte College startEDUCATION continued on page 90

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EDUCATION continued from page 89

ed its Promise Scholarship Program, which pays tuition and fees for all first-time students who enroll full-time at the school. This fall, the program expanded from one year to two. Main campus: 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville, 895-2511; Chico Center: 2320 Forest Ave., 895-1352,

More schools Cal Northern School of Law The need for a law school with night classes in the North State was filled by Cal Northern School of Law, accredited by the State Bar of California since 1992. The four-year course of study provides prospective attorneys with real-world training. 1395 Ridgewood Drive, Ste. 100, Chico, 891-6900,

Northwest Lineman College Offering top-notch training in electrical linework, Northwest Lineman College’s California campus is located in Oroville, just east of the Thermalito Afterbay. Students can arrange their own accommodations or choose to live in the historic Oroville Inn downtown. When they graduate—there are three terms per year—they’re ready to work for utilities, including PG&E. 2009 Challenger Ave., Oroville, 888-546-3967,

Oroville Adult Education Career & Technical Center Patrick Ranch




Saturdays & Sundays thru October 27th 10 am to 4 pm

Calendar of EvEnts November 30 - December 1st Annual Holiday Artisan Faire 10 am to 4 pm December 7th 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Workshop 10 am to 12 noon December 14th Annual Holiday Tea & Fashion Show 1 pm to 4 pm

10381 Midway, Between Chico and Durham • Call 342-4359 or visit A Far West Heritage Association Event 90 Discover

This institution started in Oroville in 1924 and recently began offering classes in Chico, too. Take anything from beginner’s Spanish to business management. You even can get your GED! 2750 Mitchell Ave., Oroville; 3760 Morrow Lane, Ste. C, 538-5350,

OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute This college within a college (it’s hosted by Chico State) is geared toward students 50 and older who want to “learn for the love of it.” Classes are taught by volunteer peer leaders and range from “Myths, Legends & Tales of the Celts” to “Spanish Conversation” to “Artisan Bread Making.” l

Discover 91

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