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A guide to visiting and living in the North Valley




Fun family activities PAGE

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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! SPRING/SUMMER 2019


pring and summer in the North State are perfect for getting outdoors and enjoying the natural landscape that distinguishes the region. There are endless opportunities for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Plus, with the flowers and trees in bloom throughout spring, nature walks are a popular pastime. If you like water sports, Chico is home to many creeks and swimming holes; Lake Oroville offers equipment rentals, from kayaks to houseboats; and there are ample opportunities for floating, fishing and swimming in the Feather and Sacramento rivers. These peak seasons for agriculture ensure bountiful farmers’ markets and provide opportunities to head out to some of the region’s farms and ranches to meet the people who grow our food. 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 clean-up and rebuilding efforts. With that in mind, call ahead before going that direction, as things are changing daily. There are so many things to do and see, it’s impossible to fit them all in this guide, but we do our best to highlight the can’t-miss events, attractions and culinary experiences that keep people coming back to Butte County.

—Meredith J. Cooper Discover Butte County editor

Contents Events ..................................8

Agritourism ..........................66

Mark your calendar! Spring and summer are packed with activities.

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.

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

Paradise...............................48 The Paradise Ridge is in recovery mode following the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in California history, though there are some attractions worth a visit.

Gridley .................................51 Home of the county fairgrounds, Gridley is rich in history—and poised to grow!

Biggs ....................................54 Butte County’s smallest city, Biggs embodies small-town charm.

County highlights ..................56 Beyond the big city, Butte County is made up of dozens of old mining and timber towns, many of which have maintained their identities to this day.

Family fun ............................62 From petting zoos to princess parties, there are plenty of options for kids and parents to have fun.

On the cover: Photo of Two by Two Ranch & Petting Zoo by Meredith J. Cooper


Outdoor Adventures ..............74 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 ..................80 Explore the Chico State and Butte College campuses, plus other educational opportunities.

Maps Chico ................. 28 Butte County ..... 58 Discover Butte County Editors and writers: 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

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So much to do! Oroville Union Square Farmers’ Market


pring and summer in Butte County offer some of the community’s most fun outdoor events. Farmers’ markets come alive; festivals provide opportunities to get out and enjoy good food, drink and entertainment; and arts and music producers provide something to do most every weekend.


Tourism information There are so many things to do in and around Butte County that we can list only the highlights in this guide. For those new to the area—and even seasoned locals—if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, pick up a free copy of the CN&R, which comes out on Thursdays, or check out the CN&R website, both of which include an extensive list of activities, concerts and art happenings.

Chico’s Thursday Night Market

Throughout the season Farmers’ markets Many of the local farmers’ markets are seasonal, running roughly from May-October. For local produce sales year-round, check out the centerpiece of farmers’ markets—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, rain or shine. 893-3276, Downtown Chico’s popular Thursday Night Market, sponsored by the Downtown Chico Business Association, is in full swing for the

spring and summer months. Free entertainment along with produce and other goods for sale. Hours: 6-9 p.m., April 4-Sept. 26. Another option in Chico is the Chapman Farmers’ Market, Fridays, 2-5 p.m., in Community Park, 1010 Cleveland Ave. In Oroville, the Union Square Farmers’ Market is held Saturdays, 7:30-noon, May-October, at the corner of Myers and Montgomery streets. The Oroville Hospital Farmers’ Market runs Wednesdays May-September, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., in the Dove’s Landing parking lot at 2450 Oro Dam Blvd. At that same location, there’s a seasonal Saturday market that runs 7:30-noon.

Fork in the Road

First Fridays


Every first Friday of the month, from 4-7 p.m., businesses in historic downtown Oroville welcome visitors to partake in a different themed event.

On the third Friday from April through September, head on over to DeGarmo Park for what’s become a Chico summertime tradition. A ton of food trucks, live music and a beer garden. What more could you ask for? DeGarmo Park, 199 Leora Court,

Friday Night Concerts Fridays, May 3-Sept. 6, 6-7:30 p.m. Chico’s City Plaza fills with music of all sorts, from rock and jazz to reggae and funk. The Downtown Chico Business Association books popular local bands for this summer tradition. 345-6500,

Chico Kite Day March 24, noon-4 p.m. A Chico springtime tradition, families fly colEVENTS continued on page 10 DISCOVER 9

EVENTS continued from page 9

orful kites all afternoon. Food trucks will be on hand to keep bellies full, plus prizes will be awarded for the best homemade kites. Community Park, 1900 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway,

April Wildflower & Nature Festival April 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate the natural beauty that surrounds us. Live music, handmade and natural items for sale and a kids craft area. Plus, bus tours to see the wildflowers on Table Mountain. Riverbend Park, 60 W. Montgomery St., Oroville,

CAMMIES Festival April 20. Celebrate Chico-area musicians at this CN&R-sponsored festival. This year it will honor those who lost instruments, practice and performance spaces, and homes to the Camp Fire. Sierra Nevada Big Room, 1075 E. 20th St., 892-4647,

Spring Jamboree April 20. Bring the kiddos to see the Easter Bunny! Three different egg hunts: ages 0-3, 10 a.m.; 4-5, 11 a.m.; 6-8, 11:45 a.m. Plus, a bounce house, crafts and photo ops. Caper Acres, Lower Bidwell Park,

Chico Wildflower Century

Fork in the Road

Oro-Con April 27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Exactly what it sounds like, featuring comic book artists, costume contests, comedy by Brian Posehn, plus caricatures by North State artist Steve Ferchaud. Feather Falls Casino, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville,

North Sierra Wine Trail April 27-28, noon-5 p.m. Taste your way through the dozen-plus wineries in southern Butte and northern Yuba counties. Many offer live music and snacks to accompany the libations, plus an opportunity to take in the natural beauty of the region.

Chico Wildflower Century April 27, 5:30 a.m. Chico Wildflower Century, a 100-mile ride through much of scenic Butte

County, starts and finishes at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. Nearly 4,000 cyclists participate in this annual race staged by the Chico Velo Cycling Club. Less demanding rides also available, such as the Mildflower 65 and the Childflower 12.

May Bidwell Bark May 5, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Butte Humane Society’s annual fundraiser featuring a 5K walk, food trucks and plenty of events for dogs and their humans. Sycamore Field, Lower Bidwell Park,

Endangered Species Faire May 4, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Hosted by the Butte Environmental Council, this is the longest-running environmental fair in Northern California— this is its 40th year! Featuring informational booths on ecology, wildlife and environmental issues and animals, plus music, crafts, food and more. One-Mile picnic area in Lower Bidwell Park,

Feather Fiesta Days May 4-11. Oroville’s hometown celebration for more than 70 years, Feather Fiesta Days includes a beer festival kickoff, parades, food vendors, activities for the kids, a car show and a chili cook-off. 538-2542,

Chico Antiques & Design Faire May 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The sixth annual Chico Antiques & Design Faire will feature nearly 60 vendors from around Northern California. 10 DISCOVER

You’ll find antiques, jewelry, vintage furniture, outdoor garden decorations, tools and all sorts of upcycled and repurposed treasures for your home. Plus, a car show! Admission $5 adults, $2 kids under 12. Patrick Ranch, 10381 Midway, Durham

Durham May Day Parade & Picnic May 11,10 a.m.-4 p.m. The 102nd annual event—yes, 102 years!— kicks off with a parade at 10 a.m., followed by a picnic in the park. This year’s theme is “growing community.” There will be half a dozen food trucks and, for the first time, a vendor fair. Durham Community Park, 1847 Durham Dayton Highway

Silver Dollar Fair May 23-27. Chico’s popular annual community fair at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds features exhibits, livestock, a carnival midway, car races and music.


Celebrating over 40 years of the Art of Glassblowing.

Paradise Chocolate Fest June 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The venue may have changed, but the party must go on! The 14th annual Chocolate Fest celebrates all things—you guessed it—chocolate. There will be a chocolate cuisine challenge, chocolate pie-eating and cookie-stacking contests and an allday musical tribute to Paradise. $5, proceeds benefit youth organizations on the Ridge. Gold Country Casino, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville, 5333855,

Soroptimist International Micro Brew Festival June 8, 2-6 p.m. The annual Micro Brew Festival, hosted by Soroptimist International of Bidwell Rancho, features tasting opportunities from dozens of microbreweries and live music. Manzanita Place, 1705 Manzanita Ave., Chico,

Movies in the Park June 8. It’s a summer tradition in Chico—head out to Sycamore Field in Lower Bidwell Park with a low-back chair and blanket and enjoy a movie under the stars. Film, which is TBA, will start 15 minutes before sunset. EVENTS continued on page 12

Art Glass Studio (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

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July Slice of Chico July 12-13, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy sidewalk sales from downtown Chico merchants and free slices of ice-cold watermelon.

Movies in the Park July 13. See June for info.

August Forbestown Daze Aug. 4, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Music, food, artisan vendors, raffle and kids activities. Plus, a parade at noon and a living history museum. Forbestown Park and Community Center, 19100 New York Flat Road, Forbestown

Butte County Fair Aug. 23-26. The Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley brings a good-time country fair with a rodeo, booths, carnival, destruction derby, livestock and more. butte

September Taste of Chico Sept. 22, noon-4 p.m. This everpopular annual event in downtown Chico features live music, art and shopping, along with delicious food and beverages from more than 125 restaurants, breweries and wineries. ●

Butte County Fair

We Listen. We Care.

342-6064 • Complementary Consultations 2539 Forest Ave Chico • Family Dentists Who Care 12 DISCOVER

David C. Kyle, DDS • Cyrus G. Oster, DDS











Campus Tours 800-542-4426

Campus Info 530-898-4636

University Box Office 530-898-6333 Discover 13


The big city C

hico may not be the county seat (that’s Oroville), but it’s the biggest city in the region in terms of population. It’s also the economic and educational center—home to a wide range of businesses, a California State University campus and a community college satellite campus. There are plenty of things to do and see when visiting. Downtown is a prime destination for shopping, dining and strolling through the galleries that contribute to Chico’s recognition as an arts town. Bidwell Park—an expansive municipal green space with opportunities for swimming, hiking, biking and more—is


a popular recreation destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 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.

“Our Hands”

the public’s favorite outdoor gathering spaces. The Phoenix Building

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 city estimates, there are an additional 10,000 to 15,000 residents living in town. This spring, the university has approximately 17,500 students. Recently, developers have begun eyeing downtown for the construction of apartments—at least two projects are in the works—that will bring locals expanded 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 a good mix of options. For full listings, check out Savor, a comprehensive dining and nightlife guide the CN&R produces annually.

Downtown Chico Chamber of Commerce The Chamber of Commerce is a great first stop for visitors, as it offers brochures on everything from bike paths to downtown businesses, and serves as a gateway to getting to know Chico. 180 E. Fourth St., Ste. 120, 891-5556,

Fred Davis Municipal Center 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 their 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 Swing around to the Main Street side of the block to the renovated Old Municipal Building. Built in 1911, the facility is home to a Chico Police Department substation. Conference rooms on its second floor are used regularly for meetings of city-affiliated and other community groups.

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,

Downtown post office More than just a place to buy stamps, the United States Postal Service office on Fifth Street is a major downtown landmark, with its beautiful arched entrance and Renaissance revival architecture. It was built in 1916 and is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. 141 W. Fifth St., 342-5038.

Chico City Plaza Pretty much smack dab in the middle of downtown is Chico City Plaza, a one-block park that’s one of

Hotel Diamond 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. 220 W. Fourth St., 8933100,

The Phoenix Building This downtown fixture located at the southwest corner of Fourth and Broadway houses a variety of stores, 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 Theater 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 in 2017 under new owners, after going dark for several months while construction updated things like wheelchair access and eliminated a large seating area in front of the stage in favor of 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,

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CHICO continued from page 15

Made in Paradise As of this printing, the Made in Paradise store, which employs and benefits local adults with disabilities, was located in Chico. Cool gifts, plus a bead shop! 2255 Fair St., 343-7994

The Outlet This weekend-only store in downtown Chico is an outlet for local women’s clothing company Lulus (check out the flashy “Love” mural at its headquarters on Humboldt Avenue). Fashionable clothing at a fraction of the price. 232 Broadway St., 999-2254,

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

visual, musical, literary, film, and performance mediums.” Check website for hours and a calendar. 1710 Park Ave.,

Chico Art Center 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,

Chico Art School & Gallery 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

1078 Gallery

G-Town Hot Shop

Chico’s most adventurous local gallery was founded in 1981 at 1078 Humboldt Ave., and has since moved three times, settling last year at 1710 Park Ave. The volunteer-run nonprofit’s mission is to present “exciting exhibitions of contemporary and experimental artworks in

Opened in 2018, G-Town Hot Shop—the “G” stands for “gratitude” —is a community-oriented glassblowing 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,

Arts & Culture

Upper Park Clothing and Provisions


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: Tues.-Sat., noon-4 p.m. 898-5864, university

Ninth Avenue Gallery & Studio Local-artist studio and gallery. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. 180 E. Ninth Ave., Ste. 1, 318-2105,

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,

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,







Satava Art Glass Studio For more than three decades, Satava has created world-class handblown and solid-form glass art. Their glass vases and colorful jellyfish pieces are particularly popular. Studio-viewing hours: Tues.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 819 Wall St., 3457985,

TheaTer Blue Room Theatre 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,

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VISIT OUR SHOWROOMS TODAY: 1354 Humboldt Ave in Chico & 2111 Myers St in Oroville

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, 894-3282,

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.

MuSeuMS Chico Children’s Museum Broken into sections, this brand-new 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., 809-1492,

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 CHICO continued on page 18 Discover 17

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Italianate architecture. Hours: Sat.Sun., 1-4 p.m. 307 W. Fifth St., 342-3037,

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 print museum hosts themed showcases of its collection as well as curated exhibits of contemporary works, including the annual Janet Turner National Print Competition and Exhibition. Hours: Mon.-Sat., noon4 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, 4877272,

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 lovingly 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, 895-6144, bidwell

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 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 jetand propeller-driven aircraft as well as an indoor space with historic dis18 DISCOVER

Museum of Northern California Art

plays and artifacts. 165 Ryan Ave., 345-6468,

Gateway Science Museum 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. Check website for seasonal hours. 625 Esplanade (next door to Bidwell Mansion), 898-4121,

National Yo-Yo Museum The National Yo-Yo Museum is the largest public display of yo-yos 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. 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. Hours: September-May: Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.3 p.m. 898-5397, anthmuseum

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

Pageant Theatre This downtown Chico landmark presents art-house films, cult classics and even occasional live concerts in a casual 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,

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Chico Seed Orchard

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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, Five-Mile Recreation Area and Horseshoe Lake. From there, the park gets much more wild, with the landscape of Upper Park—which extends 5 miles along both sides of Big Chico Creek Canyon—ranging from lush riparian habitat to rugged rock faces. 20 DISCOVER

Here are some special places within Lower and Middle Bidwell Park. For the more adventurous, see Outdoor Adventures (page 74) 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. 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, through stately oak groves and near the riparian zone of Big Chico Creek, where creekside trails 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. 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, ChicoCommunityObservatory • Five-Mile Recreation Area At the foot of Upper Bidwell Park, Five-Mile is a more relaxed, 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. • Hooker Oak Recreation Area 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. • Horseshoe Lake A perfect place to walk the dog (complete with a designated off-leash area) or do some fishing, Horseshoe Lake also serves as a jumping-off point for the 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 Mon.Fri., 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; pedestrian gate open all week 7 a.m.-7 p.m. 934-3316


f join us

y a d i r f h c n lu

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 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. 202 W. First St. CHICO continued on page 22


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345 West Fifth Street 18 16 CA 95928 17 Chico, (530) 891–6328 Please call for reservations Open Fridays for Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm Join us for Happy Hour every day 4:30–6pm Discover 21


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Community Park Officially named Community Park, but also called “20th Street Park,” this popular 20-acre space features tennis 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,

Dorothy Johnson Center Located near the heart of Chico’s southside Chapmantown neighborhood, the center comprises 3 acres and features a playground, outdoor basketball courts, a picnic area, an indoor basketball court and a pool table. 775 E. 16th St., 895-4707, 22 DISCOVER

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 and is visible on the east side of Highway 99, between the 20th Street and Highway 32 exits.

Verbena Fields

Ave. 895-4711,

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,

The Practice Tee at Sunset Hills

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

This nine-hole course in north Chico has been renovated with sand traps and small target greens to go along with a driving range and practice putting course. Open seven days a week, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 13301 Garner Lane, 809-0351, practiceteeatsunsethills

Wildwood Park

Skyway Golf Park

This 17-acre park near the gateway to Upper Park features playground equipment, a walking path and the Wildwood Pump Track, a 240-by-180-foot dirt course for BMX and mountain bikers. The site also has covered picnic areas and two softball fields. 100 Wildwood

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 24

a Fresh destination For any oCCaision Craft Cocktails n Awesome Food Live MuSic Fri 4-6PM • SAT 11AM-2PM DAiLy HAPPy HOur 4-6 PM SAT & Sun BruncH 9AM-2PM

Fun Patio n Fire Pits

229 Broadway ChiCo n (530) 487-7207 lasallesChiCo.Com Open Tuesday-Friday 3PM, Saturday-Sunday 9AM


Bakery Open 7 days a week 130 Main Street Downtown Chico (530) 895-3866


Cakes Discover 23

CHICO continued from page 22

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 $

Aonami Sustainable Sushi

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

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! 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 or 893-5068 $

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, $$


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


Lucky Poke Lucky Poke is run by Aonami Sustainable Sushi owner Jimmy Lee, and focuses on fresh, sustainable, create-your-own poke bowls. 119 W. Second St., 487-7048 $$

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

Pho C & C A variety of Vietnamese cuisine, including soups, rolls, noodles and traditional grilled or barbecued meats. 3211 Cohasset Road, 892-1415 $$

Rawbar Restaurant & Sushi Bar Fab downtown sushi bar and Asian grill, offering a full bar, happy hour and affordable lunches. Reservations accepted. 346 Broadway, 897-0626, $$

Tong Fong Low Offering authentic Chinese cuisine, Tong Fong Low has been a staple in Oroville for over a century, and well-established in Chico as well. 2072 E. 20th St., 898-1388, $$

Vietnam Bistro Fresh, authentic Vietnamese food, from summer and spring rolls to ver-

micelli soup. Patio seating available. 788 East Ave., 433-7108 $

BREAKFAST NOOKS Café Coda Locally owned eatery serving breakfast, including scrambles, omelets, burritos and more; lunch served weekdays. French-press coffee, espresso, beer and wine. 265 Humboldt Ave., 566-9476, $$

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, $$

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

Old Barn Kitchen This restaurant started in Paradise last year and, though that location did not burn, it was damaged, so the owners took the opportunity to open a second location in downtown Chico. Old Barn Kitchen is known for its Benedicts, but serves up plenty CHICO continued on page 26

Bladeless laser-assisted CataraCt surgery Most experienced LenSx certified laser cataract surgeons north of Sacramento!

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114 Mission Ranch Blvd Suite 50, Chico CA 95926 530-891-1900

7056 Skyway, Paradise CA 95969 530-877-2250 Discover 25

CHICO continued from page 25

of other delicious breakfast and lunch fare as well. Plus a full espresso bar. 301 Main St., 762-2224, $$

The Roost Café

Kinder’s Custom Meats & Deli Try the marinated ball-tip steak sandwich, a Kinder’s specialty. Catering available. 221 Normal Ave., 342-3354, $$

Main Street. Killer food and drinks, plus old-school arcade games. 131 Main St. $$

Broadway Heights California Cuisine

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

Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet salad or something comforting, like Cajun meatloaf, Broadway Heights doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy it all daily with a bird’s-eye view of downtown Chico. Plus, happy hour specials. 300 Broadway, 899-8075, $$

Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ

Foodie 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! Open daily 6 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Serving breakfast all day and lunch at 11 a.m. 1144 Park Ave., 892-1281 $-$$


Sin of Cortez

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

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, $

Spiteri’s Delicatessen

Fresh Twisted Café

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, $$

Burgers, Delis & Dogs Burger Hut Burgers 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. 3211 Cohasset Road, 342-4555; 2451 Forest Ave., 8911430, $

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 a full vegan and vegetarian menu. 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. 1175 East Ave., 342-8555, $

Ike’s Place Serving up an eclectic menu of hot sandwiches, all with Ike’s signature “dirty sauce.” Vegan options available. 648 W. Fifth St., 9243171, $

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, $

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, $$

The Banshee 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. Also with a late-night takeout window. 132 W. Second St., 895-9670, $$

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

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, 809-2489 $

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

Hudson’s Gastropub 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. $$

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. Good food, too! 250 Cohasset Road, Ste. 10, 894-5729 $-$$

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 CHICO continued on page 28

26 Discover

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T. Tea Bar & Fusion Café

outdoor patio. Parkside also serves up some killer small plates (including Bella’s legendary wings!). 115 Third St., 632-4875, parkside $$

and dinner, plus happy hour, daily, brunch on weekends. 229 Broadway, 487-7207, lasalleschico. com $$

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, $

OM Foods Fresh, healthy, organic, vegetarian and vegan-friendly food. 142 Broadway, 228-4074 $-$$

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, $

The Pour House New American cuisine served in a tasteful-yet-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 screen for outdoor viewing. 855 East Ave., 893-3000, $$

Tin Roof Bakery & Café Long known for its handcrafted breads, Tin Roof’s popular café serves upscale pastries, artisan sandwiches, healthful salads and fine coffees. 627 Broadway, 892-2893 $

Scotty’s Landing

Upper Crust Bakery & Eatery

Try a River Burger, fish and chips or a homemade soup and salad on Scotty’s deck overlooking the Sacramento River. 12609 River Road, 710-2020 $

Parkside Tap House Parkside Tap House has 24 taps with a bar that opens onto a vast

Serving fine pastries, cakes and pies from scratch, as well as lunch entrees, house-made soups, espresso and teas. Urban patio seating












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



available. 130 Main St., 895-3866, $

The Winchester Goose The Winchester Goose is first and foremost a craft beer bar. But in case you need something to go along with that IPA, saison or barrel-aged imperial stout, there’s an eclectic food menu, too. 800 Broadway, 715-0099, $$

Coffee HouSeS

Sally Dimas Art Gallery

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


15th Street Cafe One of Chico’s newest coffee shops, 15th Street Cafe prioritizes good coffee and good service. Also serving pastries. 1414 Park Ave., 809-1087 $

gallery Hours: tues - sat 11am - 4pm 493 East Ave Ste 1&3 • Chico, CA 95928 • 530.345.3063

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

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 $

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., 891-6328, 5thstreetsteakhouse. com $$$

Basque Norte Family-owned since 1975, Basque Norte offers steak, lamb, chicken, quail, barbecued 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, 4-6 p.m. daily. Reservations recommended. 192 E. Third St., 894-4005, chicochristian $$$

Diamond Steakhouse Located inside the Hotel Diamond, Diamond Steakhouse

Come See Why We’re A

Local Favorite! Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner Sunday Champagne Brunch to


Since 1965! 18

2525 Dominic Dr., Chico 530-342-7771

Open Sun-Thu 6am–9pm, Fri-Sat til 10pm

2234 The Esplanade 530-343-7000 Open daily 6am–10pm

Cocktails, Beer & Wine • Catering • Banquet Rooms

CHICO continued on page 30 Discover 29

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InternatIonal eats

offers an eclectic menu of steak and seafood, gourmet burgers and pizzas. Breakfast daily, brunch on weekends, happy hour and dinner TuesdaySaturday. Live music Wed.-Sat. 220 W. Fourth St., 895-1515, $$-$$$

Leon Bistro 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, $$$

Nash’s Restaurant

Inday’s Filipino Food Inday’s features 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, indays. $

Priya Indian Cuisine Specializing in northern and southern Indian cuisine, served in a comfortable setting. Try the lunch buffet. 2574 Esplanade, 899-1055 $$

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, siphos $$

Fresh, creative, California cuisine with casual and fine-dining options. Breakfast weekdays, brunch weekends. Lunch weekdays, dinner nightly (except Sunday). 1717 Esplanade, 896-1147, nashsrest $$


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 AprilOctober. 1250 Esplanade, 894-3463, $$$

Sierra Nevada Taproom & Restaurant Bistro fare, award-winning ales and lagers, and an excellent wine list. 1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739, $$-$$$

Unwined Kitchen & Bar Restaurant/lounge specializing in roasted, wood-fired specialties, 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 $$

Specializing in a combination of traditional and contemporary Italian flavors mixed with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Known for its happy hour and pizza bar, plus a full bar and imaginative cocktails. 201 Broadway, 342-7000, $$$

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, $$

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

Italian Cottage Restaurant Family-owned and -operated since 1965, serving local favorites: sandwiches, pizza, pasta and salads. Also serves breakfast. 2234 Esplanade, 343-7000; and 2525 Dominic Drive, 342-7771, $$

Sicilian Café A Chico favorite offering a variety of antipasti, seafood, pastas, chicken,

30 Discover

sign off with date:

veal and beef, decadent desserts and an extensive wine list. 1020 Main St., 345-2233, $$$

MexIcan Aca Taco Authentic Acapulco-style food, including tacos, burritos and housemade enchiladas. Cash only. 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. 216 W. East Ave., 894-0119; and 2490 Fair St., 893-5050, $$

Gordo Burrito Serving burritos, tostadas, tortas, tacos, quesadillas and chimichangas. Awesome shrimp specials and friendly service. Inside the Valero gas station 1295 E. Eigth St., 809-1211, facebook. com/GordoBurrito $

La Comida Mexican-style food made fresh daily and served quickly. Voted Best Cheap Eats by CN&R readers for over a decade. 954 Mangrove Ave., 3452254, $

La Hacienda Traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine. Make sure you try the restaurant’s signature pink sauce. Yum! 2635 Esplanade, 893-8270, $$

Mariscos la Costa Mexican Seafood Grill Specializes in coastal Mexican fare and features shrimp, calamari, lobster, snapper and more. Think well beyond the fish taco. 1141 Forest Ave., 342-3627 $$

Sol Mexican Grill 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, solmex $

Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill Fajitas, seafood tacos, pasta, fresh steaks and more than 120 tequiCHICO continued on page 32

God’s work, our hands... Sunday Worship 8:30am & 11:00am 667 E 1ST AVE, CHICO, CA (530) 895-3754

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 •

Empowering You to Live Your Spiritual Magnificence

Inspiring... Empowering... Transforming

Practicing Meditation & Mindfulness Demonstrating Oneness, Healing & Gratitude

530.895.8395 • 14 Hillary Ln, Chico 95973

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las (and an impressive margarita menu) available at the full bar. Sidewalk-café seating available. 100 Broadway, 342-0425 $$

PIZZA Bidwell Park 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 $$

Celestino’s New York Pizza 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., 896-1234; and 1354 East Ave., 345-7700, celestinos $-$$

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, $$

Round Table Pizza

Live Life Juice Co.

Premium specialty pizzas, large selection of toppings for createyour-own pizza, salad bar, wings and appetizers, rotating selection of craft beer and half-pound burgers in select locations. Multiple locations, $$

Recently relocated to the heart of downtown, the sisters who run Live Life Juice Co. offer up pure, fresh juice and elixirs daily. Wonderfully tasty and healthful fruit and vegetable juice blends high in nutritional value while also affordable and convenient. 220 Broadway, 566-3466, $

Woodstock’s Pizza Award-winning pizza, cold beer on tap, fresh salads, appetizers, desserts and new sandwiches. Dine in, take-out and delivery. 166 E. Second St., 893-1500, woodstocks $$

SWEETS Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe Jon & Bon’s has been serving up sweet sensations for over 34 years. Twelve flavors of frozen yogurt daily, along with ice cream, Hawaiian snow and smoothies. Open late. 300 Broadway, 899-9580; 1722 Mangrove Ave., 899-0484; and 2485 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 450 $

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

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, $

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 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), 342-7163, $

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

Nightlife DRINK UP Argus Bar + Patio One of downtown Chico’s hipper hotspots, Argus offers premium cocktails, food from nearby Mediterranean restaurant Ali Baba, a beautiful patio and live music. 212 W. Second St. $$

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, ciders and wines. Food trucks serve up good eats in the parking lot. 2412 Park Ave., 774-2999 $ Mariscos la Costa Mexican Seafood Grill

CHICO continued on page 34 32 DISCOVER

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 33

Chico Performances at Laxson Auditorium

CHICO continued from page 32

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. Wednesday is dance night (10 p.m.) and Friday happy hour (4 p.m.) features live traditional Irish music. 337 Main St., 343-7718 $

Maltese Bar & Tap Room

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 $

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,

CLUBBIN’ The Beach

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., 3434915,

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,

Oasis Bar & Grill

Crazy Horse Saloon

“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, $

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


Lost on Main This bar and nightclub features

local acts in addition to biggername, dance-friendly touring acts at its spacious downtown location. Also, they have lasers! 319 Main St., 891-1853

OTHER HOTSPOTS Chico State Chico Performances presents world-class musical acts and other performers from around the globe in Laxson Auditorium and Zingg Recital Hall, and the School of the Arts hosts student- and facultyproduced exhibits, theater, jazz concerts and the renowned North State Symphony. Chico State campus, 898-6333,;

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

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,

Jewelry Lapidary Museum Mineral & Mining Museum • Crystals • • Minerals • • Fossils •

Family Caregiver Support InformatIon • Basic information and advice about caregiving • Assist caregivers in finding community resources and services

EducatIon HelP CARegiveRS: • Understand their loved one’s diagnosis • Learn to cope with emotional and other caregiving issues

Support • Monthly Support Groups to share experiences and ideas to ease the stress of caregiving with other caregivers

traInIngS • Presentations, workshops and training events for caregivers and professionals on topics related to caregiving: Managing Behaviors, Coping Skills, and Stress Reduction.

Don’t Forget...

To exercise and eat healthy To make time for things you enjoy To stay positive To reach out for help

A service of cAliforniA stAte university, chico

• Fine Jewelry • • Custom Designs • • One-of-a-kind styles • • Repairs •

78 Belle Mill Rd Red Bluff • 530-527-6166

Chico • 530-898-5925 Redding • 530-221-1900 Passages Caregiver Resource Center is funded by the California Department of Healthcare Services, the Area Agency on Aging (PSA2, PSA3) and the California Department of Aging.

Discover 35


Oroville Inn


Gilded history 36 DISCOVER

roville is perhaps best known for being home to California’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, which provides both scenic beauty and a wealth of outdoor activities. But beyond boating, fishing and picnicking on the beach, the city of gold also offers a wide variety of dining, shopping and opportunities to explore.

Chinese Temple

c ateri n g avai lab le for all occ asi on s 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 momand-pop 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 66 for more listings). The city proper has a population of almost 20,000; including unincorporated communities in the vicinity, the greater Oroville area comprises 55,000 (one-fourth of the county’s population). The city’s boundaries encompass 17.1 square miles. Located where the Feather River flows out of the Sierra Nevada, Oroville draws its name from its place in Gold Rush history (“oro” is Spanish for “gold”). Its location represented a navigational marker for river travel; moreover, a gold discovery at Bidwell Bar brought thousands of prospectors. Oroville 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.

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OROVILLE continued on page 38 DISCOVER 37

OROVILLE continued from page 37

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, orovilleinn Miners Alley

Oroville State Theatre Downtown Oroville wouldn’t feel complete without the State Theatre’s iconic marquee. Built in 1928, the theater was once a bustling entertainment hotspot. In 2014, the city handed the keys over to the 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 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 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


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Clay Pit State Vehicular Recreation Area 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 OROVILLE continued on page 40

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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 74. 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 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 200yard 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.

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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

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

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

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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,

Opened in summer 2018, this 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

40 Discover

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, 538-2528,

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

Prot rote rot tect

Chinese Temple 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 showcasing the region’s Chinese and American cultures through time. It’s also still used as a place of worship on occasion. Open daily noon to 4 p.m. Closed Dec. 15-Jan. 31. Group tours can be arranged ahead of time. 1500 Broderick St., 538-2496

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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 42

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

Dining Pioneer History Museum

OROVILLE continued from page 41

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 settlers 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 42 DISCOVER

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 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

Pioneer History Museum 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

THEATER & PERFORMING ARTS Birdcage Theatre An all-volunteer nonprofit theater, the Birdcage has become a staple of Oroville over its 30-plus seasons. Productions range from classic dramas to contemporary comedies. 1740 Bird St., 533-2473,

Oroville State Theatre The iconic State Theatre hosts performances and is available to

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

Cafe One Sixteen Opened in summer 2018, this spacious cafe is owned by the folks behind Souper Subs—so expect Nana’s soups and a variety of subs and paninis. Plus, there’s a full breakfast menu, with espresso drinks and infused teas. Drive-thru available, with online and call-in orders available for quick pick-up. 116 Table Mountain Blvd., 532-0163

The Good Earth Coffee & Tea House 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

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

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 OROVILLE continued on page 44

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thing on their grill: Jake’s serves a chicken-fried steak breakfast burrito 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 Yes, the burgers are big, but don’t forget about Taco Tuesday at Mike’s Grande Burgers. Mike serves a great house chili, too. Plus, a drivethru! 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

Mug Shots Coffee House Start your day at local favorite Mug Shots, which 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

Pho Noodle House 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 Subs made with love, with meats and cheeses that are sliced fresh daily. 1780 Oro Dam Blvd., 538-8088 OROVILLE continued on page 46 44 Discover

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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

Taqueria Estrella Authentic burritos and tacos served with possibly the hottest hot sauce in Butte County. 1361 Feather River Blvd., 532-4939

Taqueria Maria’s A friendly taqueria serving classic Mexican dishes, with live music on occasion. 240 Table Mountain Blvd., 532-9219

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 Butte 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 46 DISCOVER

The Exchange

Feather Falls Casino With gaming aplenty, this casino frequently welcomes touring musicians and other entertainers. Eat at the 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 house-brewed beers, gourmet food (including fresh sushi and sashimi) and more live music. 3 Alverda Drive, 533-3855, feather

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Piggs Pub A dive if ever there was one, Piggs in Southside Oroville has bar games as well as stiff drinks. 3070 Myers St., 533-9843

Seeva’s Pub Bar games, cold beer, can’t-beatit pub grub. And they have loyalty cards! 6093 Lincoln Blvd., 532-7519

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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 a concert venue in summer 2018, and are now showcasing a variety of live, local music of all genres. 2360 Oro Quincy Highway, 764-0359, ●

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Recovery time N

o matter your place of origin, you likely read the headlines in November 2018 about the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. The Camp Fire ravaged Butte County, and the hardest-hit community was Paradise.



Located “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 hot-weather seasons. 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 sighed, “Boys, this is paradise.”) As the cleanup and rebuilding are underway, it’s difficult to list attractions for visitors to Paradise. Of course, the entire community

What can we build for you? Theatre on the Ridge PHOTO BY JAY JAMES

did not burn—though close to 90 percent of it did. As businesses reopen, they are listed in a database on the Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s website (, so check there before your trip, as the scenery is changing by the minute.

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Arts & Culture 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,

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Boom town T

his year promises a lot of changes in the small city of Gridley, Butte County’s southern gateway for the Highway 99 corridor. With just 7,000 residents at the beginning of 2019, plans are in place to add up to 400 families to the census, those displaced by the Camp Fire in November 2018. Luckily, Gridley is already in a position to accommodate growth, with a hospital (Orchard Hospital), Ford dealership, museum, 55 civic clubs and a chamber of commerce. The city also has the distinction of holding the Butte County Fairgrounds, site of the Butte County Fair each August. Gridley is named after its founder, George Gridley, whose sheep ranch covered 960 acres on the west side of town. In 1870, his ranch became home to a railroad depot, which effectively established the town. The city incorporated in 1905—24 years after his death—and encompasses 2.1 square miles.


Along with the county fair, Gridley hosts the annual Snow Goose Festival in January, drawing enthusiasts of birding and the arts to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area west of downtown (see Outdoor Adventures, page 74). Other popular attractions include Nick Daddow Park, location of the summer farmers’ market; the Hazel Hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and the Skate Park and Gridley Museum, both downtown.

Downtown Hazel Hotel The sole remaining building from Gridley’s railroad era, the Hazel Hotel was built in 1888 in the Italianate style. It’s now home to senior housing as well as retail businesses and the Gridley Chamber of Commerce. 880 Hazel St.

Packratt Trains & Toys This gift shop, specializing in just what its name implies, attracts train and vintage toy enthusiasts from far and wide. 546 Kentucky St., 797-9264 GRIDLEY continued on page 52

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Arts & Culture Gridley Museum Rotating exhibits in the museum, which is housed in the historic Veatch Building, depict early life in Gridley. 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

Sutherland Glass Art This studio is housed in part of the former Libby Cannery, once a thriving peach and pumpkin cannery and Gridley’s largest employer until it closed in 2001. Bryon Sutherland is a master colorist who cut his teeth at Chico State and Chico’s Orient & Flume Art Glass before traveling to study under other masters. Also check out Sutherland’s new Chico spot he shares with fellow glass artists, G-Town Hot Shop. 244 Wright Ave., 588-3648,

Parks & Recreation Butte County Fairgrounds Home of the Butte County Fair in August, the fairgrounds are also the location of a host of community events. There’s a swimming pool, an RV park and about a dozen buildings, arenas and stages available for rent. 199 E. Hazel St., 846-3626,

Gridley Skate Park Located downtown at the intersection of Washington and Spruce streets, this park is well-maintained.

Manuel Vierra Municipal Park This 13.5-acre park in the heart of Gridley offers something for everyone, from tennis courts and baseball and softball diamonds to a “splash pad” to picnic tables and barbecues. Located at the end of Washington and Haskell streets.

Nick Daddow Park Renovated in 2017, this 1-acre park boasts picnic tables, barbecues and a gazebo. It’s the location of the annual Red Suspenders Day event and frequent free concerts. At Hazel and Virginia streets. 52 DISCOVER

Ice Burgie

Railroad Park

Ice Burgie

This popular park with a large play structure—in the shape of a train!—and picnic benches for relaxing and enjoying a meal with friends is located on Washington Street near Hazel and downtown.

This Gridley staple—open since the 1950s—features a walk-up window and picnic seating and is the proud home of the Bulldog Burger (on sourdough), crushed-ice sodas and milkshakes to die for. 1575 Highway 99, 846-2939

Dining Casa Lupe Opened by the DeLaTorre family in 1971, Casa Lupe—with another location in Yuba City—is a consistent source of fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine. Salsa and guacamole made fresh throughout the day, plus a full bar. Stop in to the market next door for produce and other food items, including Casa Lupe-brand tortillas and salsa. 130 Magnolia St., 846-5152

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

Gridley Grill Open early (5 a.m. daily!), the Gridley Grill is a down-home diner known for its breakfast fare (try the biscuits and gravy) and housemade soups. 484 Highway 99, 846-5171

Los Charros Taqueria Los Charros is a go-to spot for Mexican food in Gridley, known for its Taco Tuesday specials ($1 tacos!) and fresh salsa bar. 1516 State Highway 99

Rail House Pub & Grill Opened in 2017, the Rail House serves up traditional pub food with a twist—garlic fries, fried mac-andcheese balls, blue-cheese burgers, etc. 1495 Highway 99, 797-9384

Nightlife The Bungalow Bar A dive to be sure, this small-town pub has karaoke, pool tables, a full bar and their famous $1 Jell-O shots. 101 Virginia St., 846-4111

KC Bar Located on Hazel Street in historic downtown Gridley, this country bar offers everything from karaoke to duck plucking during hunting season. 955 Hazel St., 846-3002 ●

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Vi nt a ge 215 Main St

Discover 53


Quaint comfort B

iggs is Butte County’s smallest municipality, with a population of about 1,700. Its origins trace back to 1871, when it was named Biggs Station after a local political leader, Maj. Marion Biggs. A few years after its incorporation in 1903, the city received a $5,000 Carnegie grant to build its library. Located 25 miles south of Chico, Biggs 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 66); SunWest Foods, a ricemilling operation; and the Victorian Rose, a venue for weddings and events.



801 Main Street


Biggs Branch, Butte County Library The oldest library in Butte County that’s still in use, this twostory 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

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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., face

Pullins Cyclery


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, thevictorian

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 55


Sweet retreats


ou don’t have to wander far from the bustling streets of Chico or Oroville to find wide-open landscapes perfect for a long bike ride or lakeside picnic. Speckled among all that natural beauty is small-town Butte County. Located 90 miles north of Sacramento, along highways 70 and 99, the county covers 1,677 square miles along the eastern edge of the north Sacramento Valley. Urban, rural and preserved natural open spaces run from the Sacramento River banks on the valley floor to mountain forests at elevations as high as 7,124 feet.


Butte County was built on the riches and promises of the Gold Rush, and evidence of those old mining towns exists today. In fact, much of rural Butte County is steeped in history, from old railroad depots transformed into museums and restaurants to quaint corner stores offering the local bounty in addition to modern conveniences. As you’ll see in other parts of this guide, the Camp Fire tore through a large chunk of Butte County last year. So, if you’re looking for a foothills adventure, keep in mind that some areas are still recovering from the blaze.

to the south that was once, for a short time, within the boundaries of Butte County. The county is served by an elected five-member Board of Supervisors. Most of the county offices are in Oroville, including the jail and main courthouse. According to recent data, the average per-capita income is $24,249, and the median household income is $43,444. Approximately 1 in 5 residents live below the poverty level, and the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent as of December 2018. While Butte County wages are notoriously low, the cost of living here is considerably lower than in Sacramento or the Bay Area.


Butte Valley’s Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation


Moderate temperatures in spring and fall make those seasons favorites for outdoor types. If you don’t like the heat, you’re out of luck: Chico’s summer temperatures rise past the 100-degree mark regularly, with balmy days sprinkled throughout the season. Winters are fairly mild.


Butte County has approximately 227,000 residents, with most (approximately 92,000) in Chico. The county seat is Oroville, the third most populous city (20,000). The population of Paradise and “Upper Ridge” communities is currently unknown. The greater Oroville area has 55,000 residents. The county, which incorporated in 1850, draws its name from the Sutter Buttes, a mountain range

Transportation between cities can be challenging for those without a vehicle, though taxis and ride services like Uber and Lyft are available. The bus-transit system is Butte Regional Transit, or the “B-Line.” Tickets cost $1.50 and $2 for in-town and regional services, respectively. Students ages 6 to 18 get a discounted fare ($1 and $1.50, respectively, for in-town and regional rides). Children younger than 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 seven days a week, except on certain holidays; some routes do not operate every day. Seniors and the mobilityimpaired may catch a ride from the B-Line Paratransit (342-0221). Greyhound and Amtrak leave from the train station at 450 Orange St. in Chico. If you’re driving, Highway 99 is the main arterial route through Butte County, running in a north/ south direction, mainly serving Chico. Highway 70 is the main route serving Oroville, also running north/ south—to Paradise and Marysville, respectively. Highway 149 connects the two highways and cities. And Highway 32 stretches from central Chico westward over the Sacramento River to intersect with Interstate 5, and also into the mountainous regions to the northeast.


The Butte County Library system is composed of six facilities (in Biggs, Chico, Durham, Gridley, Oroville and Paradise). Literacy services and veterans resources are also available. For more information and library hours, call 855-379-4097 or visit


In addition to clinics and specialists ranging in everything from eye and ear care to plastic surgery, Butte County boasts three awardwinning hospitals:

Enloe Medical Center 1531 Esplanade, Chico, 332-7300

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

Oroville Hospital 2767 Olive Highway, Oroville, 533-8500 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 The small town of Bangor (population 646), on the southern tip of the county, was founded in 1855 and named after the city of Bangor, Maine. The region is making a name for itself in the local wine scene, with Bangor Ranch Vineyard & Winery, Hickman Family Vineyards (the owners of which also run Cobble Ridge Distillery) and Spencer Shirey Winery opening within the past decade. (See Agritourism on page 66 for more info on the wineries.)

Bangor Bake Shoppe This Mennonite-run bakery and gift shop is not to be missed. Fresh, house-made baked goods, plus coffees and other handmade goodies in stock. (Insider tip: If you miss the bakery’s open hours, pop into the store next door and inquire about bakery goodies sold there.) Open Wed.-Sat. 5704 La Porte Road, 679-2200 COUNTY TOWNS continued on page 58 DISCOVER 57

Butte County

Redding 36

Red Bluff Butte Meadows



Stirling City

Forest Ranch












Yankee Hill

Durham Cherokee Butte Valley


Berry Creek


Lake Oroville 99 162




Sacramento River








COUNTY TOWNS continued from page 57

Bangor Church One of the oldest churches still standing in Butte County, Bangor Church was built in 1882 and is now used as a museum by the Butte County Historical Society and can be rented for weddings. Open noon-2 p.m. the first and third Saturday of the month (closed December-January). 5370 LaPorte Road, 679-2112

peaks in the town—the other being Bloomer Hill. Berry Creek is also home to a California Department of Forestry Fire Department station and a post office.

Butte Meadows On the far-northern edge of Butte County, Butte Meadows (population 40) is a popular mountain retreat for bikers, hikers, fishermen and just about anyone who wants to get out of the big city.

Berry Creek

Bambi Inn

With a population of 1,325, Berry Creek is known for its annual Berry Festival in August, held on Bald Rock Mountain, one of two

A staple in Butte Meadows, the Bambi Inn is worth a visit, whether for a beer on the patio (dogs welcome!), a game of pool inside or an

58 Discover

overnight visit in one of the cabins. 7436 Humboldt Road, 873-4125

Butte Meadows Mercantile & Retreat A no-frills stop, this cafe/general store/rustic retreat was built in 1903 and keeps guests coming back. Three cabins to choose from, plus RV hookups for those who bring their own accommodations. 7473 Humboldt Road, 873-5016, butte

The Outpost Restaurant & Bar Under new ownership as of 2017, the infamous Outpost is still busy as ever, serving up deli cious eats (whole hogs—really!) and ice cold beers. There are also

three cabins on-site for rental. 7589 Humboldt Road, 873-3050, outpost

Butte Valley Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation This nonprofit organization cares for endangered and exotic animals that cannot be released into the wild, and teaches responsible ownership of companion animals. Take a selfguided tour of the 19-acre sanctuary, which includes Bengal tigers, African lions, leopards, foxes, lynxes, exotic birds, bears and reptiles. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. 4995 Durham-Pentz Road (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.

Centerville Schoolhouse and Colman Museum The historic Centerville Schoolhouse, built in 1894, is located alongside the Colman Museum, which displays an impressive amount of history regarding the region. Open Sat.-Sun., 1-4 p.m. 13458 Centerville Road, 893-9667

Cherokee Another once-vibrant mining town, Cherokee was named after a group of Cherokee Indians who traveled here from Oklahoma for the gold. In its heyday, the town boasted 1,000 residents, 17 saloons, eight hotels and two schools. Today, the population hovers around 70. President Rutherford B. Hayes and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman were said to have visited the town, as did Thomas Edison (who also had an electric shop in Oroville for a time). He reportedly helped create Cherokee’s effective yet controversial hydraulic mine. There are no

businesses to speak of, though there is a cemetery that harks to the town’s former inhabitants.

Cherokee Cemetery This final resting place is said to be haunted by the angry spirit of a murderer burned to death in the mid19th century. 3927 Cherokee Road

Durham Located just south of Chico, Durham (population 5,518) is a community built on agriculture. Take a drive down the Midway from Chico to “the four-way stop” and you’ve arrived in downtown Durham. There’s a general store, antique shops, a couple of mobile food trucks and restaurants. See Agritourism, page 66, for more on the region’s agricultural attractions.

Almendra Winery & Distillery Family-friendly restaurant serving up a variety of small plates as well as pizzas, salads and desserts. Drink menu includes home-grown wines and craft cocktails. Live music on Fridays, plus happy hour Wed.-Fri. 9275 Midway, Durham, 343-6893,

Durham House Inn Just a 10-minute drive from Chico, the Durham House Inn is a beautiful 1874 Italianate Victorian listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home-turnedB&B features three elegant rooms

and a cottage decorated with period furniture, as well as beautiful and expansive grounds. 2280 Durham Dayton Highway, Durham, 342-5900,

Chatterbox Cafe A beloved local coffee shop—with some killer food—since 2009. 2500 Durham Dayton Highway, Ste. 2, 8929538

Pueblito Mexican Grill Popular eatery serving up traditional Mexican fare. 9402 Midway, 893-8896

Forbestown This town on the southeastern edge of Butte County was once a large mining center. Founded in 1850, it was named after B.F. Forbes, who opened a store there. Today, the town of 320 is the site of an impressive museum complex and a bustling general store that serves hot food daily and pizzas on weekends.

Forbestown Freemason Lodge #50 The original building where the local chapter of Freemasons met burned down in a fire that ripped through Forbestown in 1860, destroying half of the small gold-mining community. The chapter rented the building that still stands on Forbestown Road in 1862—and it meets there now, one of a rare few that gathers on the ground floor, COUNTY TOWNS continued on page 60 Discover 59

COUNTY TOWNS continued from page 59

according to the lodge’s website. Today, it’s one of six lodges in Butte County. 201 Old Forbestown Road, Forbestown.

Forbestown Cemetery Located a short walk behind the Freemason lodge, this old pioneer cemetery is no longer used for new burials, but holds 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.

Yuba Feather Museum and Gold Trader Flat This indoor-outdoor museum offers a variety of exhibits based on early life in the region, and includes genealogical information, as well. The flat, outdoors, is a replica Gold Rush town, complete with schoolhouse, church, saloon and jailhouse. 19096 New York Flat Road, Forbestown, 675-1025

Forest Ranch A beautiful foothills community, Forest Ranch is perhaps best known as the home of LaRocca Vineyards, which has a tasting room in downtown Chico. At last census count, there were about 1,100 people living in Forest Ranch.

Magalia The claim to fame for this quaint mountain town (formerly Dogtown) just up the Skyway from Paradise is for being the spot where the world’s largest gold nugget was found (it was 54 pounds!). A plaque commemorating the find, by K. Stearns in 1859, can be found along the Skyway upon the entrance to Magalia.

Hilltop Cafe Having survived the Camp Fire, Jaki’s Hilltop Cafe came under new ownership earlier this year and reopened in March as Hilltop Cafe,

with a new menu—which includes some old favorites—to go along with the new name. 14112 Skyway, 873-1275

Magalia Community Church On the National Register of Historic Places, the Protestant church’s chapel was built in 1896. It’s since been moved, but remains intact and in use—it’s a place of worship and is available for weddings and other events.

Oregon City One of the first mining camps in Butte County, Oregon City was founded by a group of Oregonians who arrived in 1848. According to a plaque highlights the town’s historical significance, the group’s leader, Peter H. Burnett, became the first civil governor of California a year after his arrival. The city boasts a cemetery as well as a covered bridge.

Oregon City covered bridge Oregon City, one of the earliest mining camps in the county, was formed in 1848 and also served as a supply center. A plaque commemorates those who built the Oregon City bridge, also known as the Castlebury Covered Bridge. Located on Oregon Gulch Road, right outside Oregon City.

Oregon City School Owned by the Butte County Historical Society, the schoolhouse offers a glimpse into the region’s past. It’s currently undergoing a restoration. Don’t miss the original outhouse building behind the school. Open Sat.-Sun. 1-4 p.m. 2100 Oregon Gulch Road, 533-1849


Magalia Community Church

60 Discover

Headquarters of the Butte County Rice Growers Association, Richvale, just south of Durham, certainly is a rice town. Legend has it, the name was created to trick Midwestern farmers into thinking the land was fertile. In fact, it’s more like clay, which happens to be great for growing rice—but little else. Lundberg Family Farms is Richvale’s biggest claim to fame—plus the fact it’s home to

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Richvale Cafe This quaint country cafe was opened in 1975 and is run 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

Stirling City Just up the hill from Paradise, Stirling City offers a step back through history. Founded in 1903 by the Diamond Match Co., the town (population 295) was developed at the end of the rail line as a loading spot for lumber.

Clotilde-Merlo Park This is one of the most charming and beautiful spots in Butte County. Encompassing 20 acres, the park includes ponds, nature trails, picnic spots, horseshoe pits and a bocce court. There’s a popular outdoor wedding chapel, as well. Take Skyway to Stirling City. Turn right at the P Line road, then left at the R Line road. Open May-October, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Call 873-1658 for more info.

Stirling City Museum This museum, run by the local historical society, chronicles the history of this lumber town. 16993 Skyway, 413-7785, stirlingcity

Stirling City Hotel & General Store 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 plan to renovate and reopen the hotel. 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 is expected to open 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, 534-4644

Family owned and operated for 81 years

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, Now Serving Chico at Two Locations! 178 East 7th Street (530) 342-7163

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hen Tina Cardin started her petting zoo business—Two by Two Ranch & Petting Zoo—she was still in college at Chico State and it was a mobile operation. Now, 22 years later, it has grown into a full ranch that’s tended by not just Cardin and her husband, Andrew, but also their two teenagers. “This has been the best way to raise my kids,” she said. “They work with me, they go to all my jobs. They know how to run the farm and give tours. They have learned a work ethic and compassion. And they understand what it takes to take care of animals.”

That’s part of what drives Cardin to do what she does—to share all the chickens, ducks, sheep, rabbits, goats, miniature donkeys and ponies with the world. “It used to be everybody had a family farm they could go visit. But family farms are fewer and farther between. We’re becoming disconnected to agriculture and where food is grown and where it comes from,” she said. So, she opens up her north Chico ranch to visitors—by appointment—and still maintains her mobile petting zoo. She regularly brings animals to preschools and nursing homes


and can set up a mini petting zoo for birthday parties and other events. For the kids, it’s often the first time they’ve encountered an animal other than a household pet. “I like to get kids exposed to different kinds of animals so they have an understanding of how to touch them and be gentle,” Cardin said. At the ranch, people can pet and get acquainted with all the different species. The baby goats are the clear favorites, but each animal has something different to share. Many people don’t realize that chickens really do lay eggs, for example, but they can see it firsthand at Cardin’s ranch.

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People just love cuddling baby goats, Tina Cardin (above) says. They’re quite fond of her ponies, too!

Chico Children’s Museum Broken into sections, this brand-new museum in the heart of downtown Chico offers fun learning activities for kids of all ages. Visitors will find a sensory room created with autistic kids in mind. Available for private parties. A variety of memberships—or day passes—are also available. 325 Main St., 809-1492,

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this natural resource. After school, homeschool, preschool and family programs, as well as an animal museum and nature play room. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children and seniors, free for members. 1968 E. Eighth St., 891-4671

Shells & Fairytales

GIF TS • TOY S 121 W. 3rd St Downtown Chico 530.332.9866 64 DISCOVER

One of Chico’s most enchanted places for kids of all ages is Shells & Fairytales, run by the ladies who started Chico Princess Parties. What started out as a fun birthday party business—you can choose your princess!—has evolved over the past year into a full-fledged destination. There are regular special events like the one planned for March 31—

Neverland Tea with Peter & Tink— where a variety of actors come in character to provide fairytale fun for everyone. 1950 E. 20th St. (inside the Chico Mall), 809-1666, chico

Gateway Science Museum The Gateway Science Museum includes a handful of permanent exhibits—including the native plant garden outside—alongside traveling and other temporary displays. Saturdays offer an added bonus of the Investigation Station, with a new theme each week. For example, on March 30, museum-goers can learn about the domestication of dogs by examining the skulls of wolves alongside modern-day canines. Lots of the exhibits are

$2.22 Tuesdays and half-price arcade games on Wednesdays. 2397 Esplanade, 895-3257, location/amf-orchard-lanes

Funland/Cal Skate

Shells & Fairytales

hands-on and are accessible to kids and adults of all ages. Open Wed.Sun., noon-5 p.m. 625 Esplanade, 898-4121,

AMF Orchard Lanes More than a bowling alley, this entertainment center has an arcade, snack bar, pro shop and large arcade with pool, air hockey and a ton of video games, including classics like Mario Kart. There are specials throughout the week, like unlimited bowling on Mondays,

Think skating rink plus miniature golf plus batting cages. What more could a kid want? Cal Skate is Chico’s only roller-skating rink, and it’s a good one—large, clean and well-run. It’s a place where you can drop off the kids for a couple of hours and know they’re going to have fun and be safe. The miniature golf course, called Putters, is fun for kids and grownups alike. And for the little ones, there’s Roo’s Zoo Skate Session on Saturdays and Kooky Bird Class on Wednesdays— strollers welcome! 465 Carmichael Drive, 343-1601,

Rare Air Trampoline Park Butte County’s only trampoline park, Rare Air offers kids and adults alike the chance to really catch some air. In addition to basic trampoline areas, there’s dodgeball, a slam dunk court, an airbag pit and arcade. For the wee ones, there’s Toddler Time on Friday and Saturday mornings. Tuesdays are Family Night. And the first Sunday of every month, from 10 a.m.-noon, is Special Needs Day. 1090 E. 20th St., 433-5557, ●


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Flavors abound B

utte County is perfectly situated to provide the region with freshly grown and raised produce, meat and, of course, nuts—the area’s biggest cash crop. With its mild Mediterranean climate, rich soil and rolling expanses of prime grazing land, the northern reaches of the Sacramento Valley are a veritable bread basket, the source of farm-fresh vegetables, delectable meats and a wide array of fruits and nuts exported throughout California and beyond. Locals also happen to be pretty crafty when it comes to creating delicious beers, wines and other delicacies, from infused olive oils to chai tea. There are a number of farmers’ markets held regularly throughout the county (see Events, page 8, for a schedule), offering opportunities to meet the people who grow our food. Plus, many farms of all sizes invite visitors to take a firsthand look at their operations. 66 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: Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 10381 Midway, 342-4359,

Breweries Cellar Door Cider This local cidery recently joined the “beverage district” block, making handcrafted, barrelaged ciders using Nor Cal apples. Except for harvest season in the fall—when owner Bryan Shaw is processing apples and brewing—the tasting room is usually open Saturdays, 2-6 p.m. (call ahead). 11 Commerce Court, Ste. 2, Chico, 2006857,

Purple Line Urban Winery

Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co. Located at Feather Falls Casino, this tribe-owned brewery is headed up by veteran brewmaster Roland Allen. There’s always a wide variety of regular and special-release 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,

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 beer bars and by the bottle at grocery and liquor stores. A tasting room opened in 2017. 26 Bellarmine Court, Chico, 593-0555, AGRITOURISM continued on page 68 DISCOVER 67

OROVILLE continued from page 44

for itself as a fun hangout spot. 132

Ehmann Home

Chinese Temple

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

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

Grey Fox Vineyards

AGRITOURISM continued from page 67

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,

Miners Alley Brewing Co. 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,

Secret Trail Brewing Co. Secret Trail Brewing Co. opened its 15-barrel brewery and tasting room in south Chico in late 2017, and the brewery already has a stellar reputation with local brewhounds. With food trucks often parked outside and a dog-friendly patio, it’s quickly making a name

Nor Cal Brewing Brewing-industry vet Jim Hardesty brought his homebrews to the taproom, opening his Chico brewery last summer in a warehouse


Meyers St., Ste. 120, Chico, (916) & Feather River Nature Center 709-4820, Native Plant Park The bath house, builtCo. in the Sierra Nevada Brewing 1930s serve those fishing andat Thetoales and lagers brewed swimming at Oroville’s first cityare park Chico’s flagship craft brewery at the site, is now nature center world-famous. An aextensive miniproviding educational programs, glass sampler at the taproom is a exhibits and whoyourself give good way todocents familiarize guidance for visitors. Montgomery with Chico’s most celebrated brews. Street and Old Ferry Road, Three different guided toursOroville, are 538-2415 available: of the brewhouse, the grounds (the Sustainability Tour, offered May-September) and an extensive Beer Geek Tour. Shorter, self-guided tours are also available. Check the website for times and reservations. 1075 E. 20th St., 893-3520, Chico,

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, Chinese Temple 343-6893,

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Bangor Ranch Vineyard & Winery

Grey Fox Vineyards

Bangor Ranch closed following the fires in Bangor in 2017, but it’s back in full swing. Open Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 5768 La Porte Road, Bangor, 679-0867,

Grey Fox winery offers 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 noon5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 90 Grey Fox Lane, Oroville, 589-3920,

tors, Hooker Oak Distillery bottles four varieties of rum: light, pineapple, vanilla bean and apple pie. Free tours of the distillery on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays noon-4 p.m., and tastings Mon.-Sat. 2420 Park Ave., Chico, 809-0720,

Hickman Family Vineyards

LaRocca Vineyards

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 nice variety of estate-grown wines made from certified organic grapes. Tasting room is open from noon-5 p.m. the first Sunday of each month or by appointment. 9975 Garden Creek Road, Durham, 345-3714,

Gale Vineyards Steve and Creasia Gale’s boutique winery is nestled among the shadegiving oak trees on their 6-acre property just a short drive south of Chico. 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., noon-5 p.m. 9345 Stanford Lane, Durham, 891-1264,

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 estate is available for weddings and other special events. Tasting hours: Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 77 Orange Ave., Bangor, 679-0679, hickman

HoneyRun Winery Founded in 1992 by John and Amy Hasle, HoneyRun Winery produces five types of honey wines and meads—blackberry, elderberry, cherry, cranberry and dry mead. HoneyRun’s wines have no added sulfites or preservatives and are certified kosher. “Simple tastings” available most weekdays, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., but call ahead. 2309 Park Ave., Chico, 345-6405,

Hooker Oak Distillery Chico’s first rum distillery opened up in 2016 in what’s becoming this town’s very own brewing district. Run by two longtime friends, who both happen to be general contrac-

Family-owned LaRocca Vineyards is the oldest and largest producer of 100 percent, USDA-certified organic wine in the North State. If you can’t make it to the vineyards in Forest Ranch, visit 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 Butte County’s newest winery, Live Vine offers varieties aged in stainless-steel tanks and oak barrels. The young operation currently has only a few wines on offer, including a viogner and a zinfandel, in addition to a few red blends. Visit Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. for tastings and to see the estate. 652 Luds Way, Oroville, 566-4259,

Long Creek Winery & Ranch 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 AGRITOURISM continued on page 70

Fresh, Quality, Locally Grown Food & Handmade Artisan Products Vendors at the certified markets grow what they sell. At all locations you’ll find seasonal fruits and veggies, nuts, meats, cheese, bread, honey, flowers, juice, hand-crafted goods, unique plants, prepared foods and more! Visit our website for locations and times! | 530.893.FARM Discover 69

AGRITOURISM continued from page 69

The Lavender Ranch

orchards and the working cattle ranch. Then sit back and enjoy a glass of wine in the oak grove bordering the 2-acre pond on-site. Tasting hours: Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 323 Ward Blvd., Oroville, 5893415,

Nesseré Vineyards Nestled just 10 minutes from downtown Chico in Durham, the family-run Nesseré Vineyards makes several estate-grown wines as well as those using hand-picked grapes from around the region. The tasting room is comfortably situated amongst the vineyard, offering a comfortable location for a special occasion. Tasting hours: Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m. 3471 Durham-Dayton Highway, Durham; 345-9904,

New Clairvaux Vineyard New Clairvaux Vineyard is run by fifth-generation winemaker Aimee Sunseri along with the Trappist monks of the on-site monastery. The first Cistercian winery in North America, New Clairvaux has a variety of offerings, including a blend called Petite Temptation. The tasting room is open every day (excluding holy days), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 26240 Seventh St., Vina, 839-2200,

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 delicious variety of wines made with Northern California grapes that are crushed, fermented, barreled and aged on the premises. Regular events, including live music and potluck dinners. Tasting room hours: Wed. 2-8 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. noon-7 p.m., Sun. noon5 p.m. 760 Safford St., Oroville, 5341785, 70 DISCOVER

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, 589-5088,

Renaissance Winery & Vineyard With a minimalist approach to wine-making, Renaissance, founded in 1978, focuses on terroir and “listening to the grape.” It also boasts an impressive back catalog of estate vintages dating to the early 1990s. Tastings by appointment only—call for directions. Oregon House, 692-3159,

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,

Spencer-Shirey Wines Spencer-Shirey Wines is a boutique 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 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 handpicked 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 awardwinning 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, 5331814,

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 olive 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

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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. 3719 Foothill Blvd., Oroville, 534-6548, lodestar

Fruits, nuts, vegetables & more Chaffin Family Orchards This productive, fifth-generation family farm boasts a little of everything—apricots, figs and pomegranates; extra-virgin olive oil; heirloom-fruit jams; pastureraised 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, 533-1676,

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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 AGRITOURISM continued on page 72

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AGRITOURISM continued from page 71

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. Take a walk through the lavender fields and experience the beauty. Then go home with a few sachets or lotions and relive the tranquility. Tours offered AprilOctober. Call for dates and times. Store hours: Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.4 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3 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 gluten-free and non-GMO options, which you can purchase at the super-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 family-run Mooney Farms’ lovely tasting room—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. 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, 72 DISCOVER

University Farm

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 yearround and offers affordable, fresh, USDA-inspected meat. 311 Nicholas C. Schouten Lane, Chico, 898-6343,

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, 894-1276,

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. Open Weds.-Sun. 1440 Myers St., Oroville, 712-9350, buttecounty

Chico Natural Foods Cooperative Located in downtown Chico, this cooperative is open to the public

and has a wide variety of locally grown produce and other locally made products. 818 Main St., 8911713, 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,

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 also offers a variety of other local foodstuff. 41 Skillin Lane, Oroville, 871● 1975,


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Discover 73


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 the sights. 74 DISCOVER

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. 5346500,

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 distinct 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 Sierra Nevada 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 along both sides of Big Chico Creek Canyon—ranging from lush riparian habitat to rugged rock faces. To reserve picnic areas, call 8967800. For more park information, including trail and road conditions, call 896-7899 or visit (select “Bidwell Park”) or bidwell

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For more on this attraction, see Parks within the Chico section of this guide (page 20). 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. The B Trail, which descends from the North Rim, 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 more difficult Guardians and South Rim trails higher up). For a day hike, take Annie Bidwell Trail to the lessfrequented 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

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OUTDOOR ADVENTURES continued on page 76 DISCOVER 75

One-Mile, Bidwell Park

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES continued from page 75

Five-Mile, 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 trail 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. 76 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,

Bring your horse(s) to 1,600-acre Camelot 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,

Feather Falls

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.

While the main attraction is unquestionably the majestic 410foot waterfall on this 9-mile roundtrip (or 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. 534-6500,

Butte Creek Trail

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

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.

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,

Bille Park Nature Trail

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 Oroville info: 538-2542, See the Oroville section on page 40 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, 774-7934, forebay • Freeman Bicycle Trail Completed in 1996, the 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, 538-2217

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES continued on page 78

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


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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. In late 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife added Table Mountain to its list of destinations requiring a lands pass for visitors 16 and older. Go to 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. W.

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

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 more than 20 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails. Equestrian trails and a disc-golf course also on-site. About a 45-minute drive east from Chico, past Orland. 865-4781, tinyurl. com/blackbuttelake 78 DISCOVER

Table Mountain

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 Adventurers can explore deep canyons, rugged lava formations and valley plateaus at the Ishi Wilderness Area, just 20 miles northeast of Chico. Limited campsites, but backcountry 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. 258-2141

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 Mount Lassen, Mount Shasta and the Trinity Alps. It also contains a nature preserve, which is a winter home to the bald eagle. From Chico, take Highway 99 north to South ● Avenue. 839-2112

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Campus connections E

ducational opportunities abound in Butte County, and at the heart of the region is the beloved Chico State. As part of the California State University system, the storied college on the edge of downtown Chico offers bachelor’s and master’s programs, as well as lifelong-learning opportunities, in a setting rich in history and natural beauty. Butte College, part of the Butte-Glenn Community College District, offers associate degrees, transfer opportunities, certification programs, and an outstanding athletics program at its main campus in Oroville (one made famous by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, an alumnus).

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 17,500 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

Chico State campus.




315 FLUME ST., CHICO 530-343-1326 Butte College main campus

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. 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 66) and Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (see Outdoor Adventures, page 74) also are part of Chico State.

Butte College 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 automotivetechnology program and economic work-force development programs. The accredited two-year college offers associate 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 summer 2018, Butte College started offering cosmetology classes and is now accepting clients at its Cosmetology & Barbering Center in EDUCATION continued on page 82







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Chico, in the Almond Orchard shopping center at 2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. 170. 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,

Columbia College This private nonprofit college offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online in more than 20 different concentrations and caters to adults working full-time and nontraditional students. 2615 Forest Ave., Ste. 120, Chico, 592-3196, online

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, 888546-3967,

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 osher

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