Beautiful Cities: Chico, California

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Waterfall Near Chico, CA

Elegant architecture lining wide sidewalks, funky murals and charming public art, lush parks and plenty of mature trees, a vibrant downtown with fountains, benches, and brightly-painted shops … some cities are simply beautiful. Perhaps it is a gorgeous setting in the mountains or along a river, or perhaps it’s the town square and colorful history. Maybe it is a mix of all of those things, but beautiful cities also have a certain edge – a touch of pizzazz that makes them stand out from the rest.

If you’ve decided that you want a beautiful city for your next apartment then check out Chico, California. Chico is snug in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the northern Sacramento Valley. But it isn’t just beautiful background scenery – Chico is nicknamed the “City of Roses,” and the National Arbor Day Foundation has named Chico a Tree City USA for the past 27 years. More than 17 percent of the city is made up of one of the nation’s largest municipal parks – Bidwell Park.

Bidwell Park covers 3,670 acres and includes Big Chico Creek Canyon. Hike five miles into the foothills along the canyon and enjoy views of Big Chico Creek. The park also includes Bidwell Golf Course and Sycamore Swimming Pool, a paved jogging path, and numerous dirt trails for mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. Manzanita Avenue divides the park into two sections, known as Lower Park and Upper Park. Lower Park includes Sycamore Pool, picnic areas, horseshoe pits, a fantasy play area for kids called Caper Acres, and Cedar Grove. Upper Park is in the mountainous foothills and features steep terrain and several rock formations. Upper Park contains about 70 miles of trails that are open to bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians. Other features include Horseshoe Lake, Hooker Oak Recreation Area, and Bidwell Park Municipal Golf Course.

And while Bidwell Park is the largest, it isn’t the only park in Chico. The city offers Community Park, a terrific park with two playgrounds, picnic areas, ball fields, tennis and volleyball courts, a gymnasium, and horseshoe pits. DeGarmo Park has a dog park, picnic areas, walking paths, and ball fields. Hooker Park includes a handicap-accessible playground, a playground for children 2-5, ball fields, a basketball court, picnic areas, and the Sherwood Forest Kids Disc Golf Course.

Chico’s beauty doesn’t end when you leave one of its many parks. It is home to some beautiful historic architecture dating back to the city’s beginnings during the California Gold Rush. The Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is home to the Bidwell Mansion, a 26-room Victorian mansion built in 1865. The city is home to several public art pieces and murals, including the Downtown Kaleidoscope, the Salem Street Art Walls, Town Hall 1872, Dancing Trout, Leaves at Afton Place, and the Freeway Pillars Camouflage Project. And it isn’t just buildings that feature artwork – in Chico, functional art can be found on street furniture such as benches, bike racks, tree guards, lighting, signage, waste receptacles, planters, and more.

Downtown Chico is as busy as it is beautiful, with a city plaza complete with fountains, California State University-Chico, and a variety of businesses, shops, and restaurants. Downtown is home to many festivals and events, including the California Nut Festival, the Chico Artoberfest Festival, and the Chico Palio Festival. Other events include Thursday Night Market, Slice of Chico, Artisans Faire, the Pioneer Day Parade, Taste of Chico, and Friday Night Concerts. Downtown Chico is home to the Blue Room independent theatre group, the historic El Rey Theatre, Senator Theatre, the National Yo-Yo Museum, and several events hosted by CSU, especially the Performing Arts Center and the Department of Music.

Mix all of that (breathtaking scenery, green space, gorgeous architecture, public art, an exciting downtown) and add a pinch of college-town-cool and a dash of terrific California weather and you have a city that defines beautiful. Find your Chico apartment to rent now and start enjoying one of California’s hidden treasures.