Last weekend we ushered in May by heading to Chico, CA to explore. The city was founded in 1860 and is home to an adorable and highly walkable downtown, the 2nd oldest campus in the California State University system, and Bidwell Park–one of the largest municipal parks in the US (and it runs right through the city).
Despite the bad rap Chico gets as a party (whoo whoo) college/town, it seemed like a very fun, family-friendly city to me, rich with history, activities, and–of course–ample flora and some beer to boot.
As you approach Chico from the south west, one minute you are immersed in acre upon acre of walnut and almond trees and the next you are driving straight into the heart of the city. Walking around the downtown area and campus, you are surrounded by mature trees, tons of dogwoods (we JUST missed their flowering, which must have been spectacular), and more. They even have a walking tour available that features the different trees around town and in-depth info about them. Here’s the PDF Map for the Chico Avenue of Trees Walking Tour.
Bidwell is the guy who founded the town, and he was big into agriculture, bringing lots of trees to the area and experimenting with what types and varieties were able to survive. This is why they sport such a diverse array of trees, with some that are over 100 years old!
Aside from trees, there was plenty to see at the town’s farmers’ market. I couldn’t resist the drought tolerant succulent booth. Just look at that cactus flower!
And these adorable Lithops (also known as living stones)! I think they look like brains, but my brother-in-law says they’re more like alien butts. To each his own interpretation.And of course let’s not forget the veggies and cut flowers. Spring is springing everywhere!
I loved Chico, and would definitely go back. We left a ton unexplored (like all of Bidwell Park, a historical house walking tour, and the campus farm), so now we have an excuse to return–though we might wait till summer’s crazy weather has had its fill.