Chico has a special kind of California culture that is uniquely its own flavor. It starts with a language of friendliness with the accent of the Big Chico Creek that flows through the city.

It’s a place where there’s an unspoken dress code of flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts most of the year.

Where the Great Outdoors is woven into the everyday, from nearby swimming holes to biking trails that lead from work to home.

It has a culinary scene that is a delicious mix of everything from food trucks to French restaurants, which ensures that every taste budget can experience the wealth of food offerings that come from the Sacramento Valley.

And the arts come alive through theater performances, concert venues, the symphony, and school productions.

Explore some of these highlights. Find your favorites. And become a part of the culture of Chico today.

Go on a Food Odyssey

Do yourself a favor and dedicate a whole day to taking a journey around the city’s top eats. Start your morning by fueling up with a latte at one of the many coffee shops in the area. For those looking for fine dining, have a champagne lunch at ​​Grana, an upscale restaurant with fresh, seasonal foods. Beer aficionados should visit the world-famous Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Whether you are on a student budget or not, you can grab a burger and brew at one of the many local pubs, and have a slice while participating in a trivia night at a pizza parlor. Then hit one of the many food trucks in the area and park yourself on a bench to eat and take in the sights and sounds of Chico.

Photo Credit: Crush

Wander and Wonder at Local Events

In summer, hit the Thursday Night Market and experience the offerings of over 100 vendors plus participating businesses in the downtown core. It’s one of the signature events of downtown Chico. Want to participate in a blast from the past? Then get tweedy at the Chico Tweed Ride and don your best tweed duds and take a bike ride through Lower Park with other nattily dressed folks. And one of the most nourishing events is the weekly Chico Farmers Market held every Saturday downtown.

Art Scene

It’s no secret that Chico is an art town, thanks to its #10 ranking in the book, The 100 Best Art Towns in America. You can find art everywhere, from sidewalk installations to art in the airport. Check out some of the galleries downtown, which boast a wide variety of art styles that means there is something for everyone. Every October, Downtown Chico celebrates Artoberfest, an annual celebration of art exhibitions, concerts, and live performances. Feeling inspired now? Embrace your inner creativity and take a class or two at the Chico Art Center.


In Chico, big city culture makes itself at home in cozy art deco theaters, eclectic art galleries, and vintage train stations turned craft breweries. From upscale French restaurants to your favorite food trucks and farmers markets, there’s a flavor for every palette. Kids, seniors, and every age in between knows how to soak up the seasons on sprawling bike paths, swimming holes, and leafy parks, while book clubs, service teams, and good old fashioned trivia nights bring friends and families together across the city. The culture in Chico is redefined everyday by the people who love to live here; come experience it for yourself.

Theater, Music and More

The arts come alive in the many venues located in Chico. Check out professionals and students alike in one of the performances from North State Symphony or Chico Theater Company, a nonprofit community theater. The Pageant Theater is the perfect place for movie buffs to see some fun films. Take in a live theater, music or comedy show at the Laxson Auditorium courtesy of Chico Performances. Or head over to the El Rey Theater, a historic treasure and the longest continuously operating movie theater in California. Today it is home to a wide variety of performances and events. The art-deco style Senator Theatre is another historic venue and Chico landmark, now primarily operating as a concert space. Young theater-goers can watch or get involved in a performance from the California Regional Theater Kids Youth Theater Program. In the summer, don’t miss the opportunity to hear al fresco music at the Friday Night Concerts downtown, which have been running for over 40 years, and counting!

Photo Credit: El Rey Theater Alliance