on Monday, May 29 2017 in Butte County, CA
Shasta0611_Butte: (Peter Fish) Enjoying a great college town in summer. There are still students here, even attending classes, but the mood is relaxed, easy going, and made for outdoor recreation—hiking, biking, swimming in the creek. And sitting in a restaurant patio drinking beer.
A. Downtown. Nice downtown, handsome older buildings, decently busy although not as busy as, say, Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. Most stuff concentrated between 1st and 7th and Salem and Main.
1. City Plaza. W 5th, Broadway. Fountains, good view of downtown.
4. Tin Roof Bakery. 627 Broadway St #170. Really, really good bakery. Lattes, lunches, too. www.tinroofbakeryandcafe.com
5. Hotel Diamond. The fancy place to stay downtown. Historic (though greatly remodeled) 1904 hotel. Nice sign. Two Twenty restaurant is swank (for Chico) and has good cocktails. www.Hoteldiamondchico.com
7. Spin Again Records. Shrine to vinyl run by guy who looks like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. But some amazing LPs here. 300 Broadway; www.spinagainrecords.com
B. Bidwell Park. This visit convinced me yet again that Bidwell Park is one of the very best city parks in the nation. As big as Golden Gate Park, it feels even bigger partly because it’s long and skinny and extends from town way up into the surrounding foothills. It has two faces. There’s Lower Bidwell Park, with a beautiful swimming hole (damned up Big Chico Creek) and lawns and big oaks. Then there’s Upper Bidwell Park, centered on a dramatic volcanic canyon of Big Chico Creek, with steep and challenging trails for cyclists and hikers. Great, great place. http://bidwellpark.org/
C. Explore past and future.
Bidwell Mansion State Park, adjacent to downtown, commemorates pioneer John Bidwell, the Bill Gates of his day, the guy who owned half of Northern California. And his wife, Annie, major Chico benefactor. Lavish mansard mansion surrounded by lawns. Only open Saturday-Monday, but you can get exterior shots any time. https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=460
D. Grab a beer. What Napa is to Cab, Chico is to IPAs. Many taprooms to choose from, but the must-see place is the HQ of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. It’s vast, you can take good tours, but our favorite thing to do is eat at their taproom—great selection of beers and also really good burgers and the like, served in a gleaming dining area or outside in a shady beer garden. 1075 E 20th St, Chico; www.sierranevada.com
E. Ride a bike. Chico is a great bike town—hybrids around town, road bikes in the surrounding Sac Valley, mountain bikes in Bidwell Park. Should be easy to get shots of cyclists downtown or in Bidwell Park. I will be quoting a guy from Campus Bicycles on Main.