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Stories from the valley

Saturdays in Chico

Contributed by Steve Beckley

A Saturday road trip to Chico is a regular occurrence for me and my wife, Stephanie.  The town is fun to explore and we take two different routes going and coming- that way we can see more of what’s happening in the Sacramento Valley.

Some of the draws for us in Chico are:


Farmers Market
Our first stop is always the Chico Saturday Farmers’ Market.  We enjoy checking out and purchasing fresh produce.  There is a Certified Section of the market where farmers that grew the produce are selling.   In other sections of market are craft and food vendors, bakers, and street musicians.  One unique aspect of the market is that they have valet parking for bicycles.

The downtown area has numerous shops selling a variety of goods.  Some of our favorites are: Bird in Hand, Made in Chico, Colliers Hardware and Powell’s Sweet shop.  I sure recommend that you stroll along Main and Broadway, and explore the side streets to discover great shopping.


Walk on Campus
We regularly take a stroll on the campus of California State University, Chico (though it will always be Chico State to me).  The large trees and brick buildings make you think you are on an East Coast Ivy League campus.

Public Art
Chico has an outstanding display of public art consisting of murals and sculptures.  You can find them listed at  One of my favorite is the “Our Hands” sculpture located at 4th and Wall Streets.

Lunch is mandatory on our road trips to Chico.  Some of our favorite places are:  Oasis Bar and Grill, Big Al’s Drive In, Nobby’s Burgers, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and Tres Hombres.  There are so many more places we need to try including Burger Hut, recommended by California Rice Commission’s Jim Morris.


There are several museums that are worth checking out including my favorite the “National Yo-Yo Museum”.  Others include: Chico Museum, Gateway Science Museum and Chico Air Museum.

Places Named After John Bidwell
Don’t forget to visit Bidwell Mansion, Upper and Lower Bidwell Park and other places in town named after the founder of Chico.

Hopefully you’ll take some time to visit Chico and other Sacramento Valley towns.  There is so much to do and see.  Also all have great places to eat.