Start your morning with a local cup of coffee at Great Northern Coffee , which is run by the Chico Art Center in a beautiful pairing between art and coffee. Kids and adults alike will delight in its location inside an actual 1947 Pullman train car. Try a spicy Aztec Mocha to warm you up while the kids enjoy hot chocolate and pastries. Don’t forget to walk up and down the train car to look at the current mini-gallery on display!
Once you have your coffee, walk 10 feet to the Chico Art Center and enjoy local artwork. A small, community gallery, it’s a quaint place to enjoy the monthly exhibits on display. Open Monday through Friday from 12 pm – 4 pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm.
For dinner, choose from a pair of favorite Chico restaurants, Red Tavern or Diamond Steakhouse . Red Tavern is where big-city dining meets Chico’s amazing pace of life as you enjoy new American cuisine, happy hour specials, and top-shelf libations. Diamond Steakhouse offers elevated steakhouse fare as well as its take on classic breakfast and lunch items.
A Night at the Theater
There’s nothing like dinner and a show, so after experiencing some perfect pairings, head out to The Chico Theater Company to create your own. With shows year-round, The Chico Theater Company is an fantastic way to see great local theater, and starting January 25, you can enjoy performances of the ABBA-filled “Mamma Mia!” Cap off your first night in Butte County with a show!
You may not think that winter is the right time for a hike, but the seasonal Phantom Falls at Table Mountain gives you a great reason to put on your boots and head outside. Unlike other year-round waterfalls in the region, Phantom Falls only flows during the rainy season, so now’s the time to grab your camera and see this seasonal beauty. The Chico Hiking Association has a helpful map to find Phantom Falls as well as at least 8 others in the “Many Waterfalls” loop if you’re willing to get muddy to see the beautiful yet temporary falls across the county.
Natural Beauty in Oroville
As the county seat, Oroville is the county’s third-largest city and packed with natural beauty, particularly the popular Lake Oroville. Just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy this city jewel. At the Lake Oroville Visitor Center , you can enjoy a museum, exhibits, and videos about the lake, dam, and surrounding areas, plus guided hikes every Saturday morning. Make sure to climb atop the 47-foot tower to get a spectacular panoramic view of the lake and Oroville Dam, which is the tallest earthen dam in the U.S., and more! Open daily 9 am – 5pm
For lunch afterwards, you can’t beat Tong Fong Low - Oroville , which has been an Oroville staple since 1912. This authentic Chinese restaurant is consistently voted as the favorite Asian cuisine destination in the county by locals. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 9 pm.
Return to Chico for the Snow Goose Festival
After lunch, if you’re here the last week in January, you’ll want to return to Chico to rest and maybe change for some more outdoor adventuring, as the Snow Goose Festival starts on Wednesday 1/23 and kicks into high gear on Friday 1/25! Whatever activity you choose, you’ll want to make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes, layers, and of course sunscreen!
Friday is filled with field trips appropriate for the whole family. Check the official Snow Goose Festival website for the detailed itinerary and to register for events, which includes dozens of field trips throughout the county, free and youth events, painting and photography classes, and a Wildlife Art Exhibit at the Museum of Northern California Art. From all-day explorations to two-hour excursions, there’s an event for every type of visitor.
Enjoy a perfect pairing of art and aviation at the Museum of Northern California Art . From Jan. 24-Feb. 10, monca will be hosting a Wildlife Art Exhibit that is free for Snow Goose Festival attendees. Even if you’re not here for the festival, it’s only a $5 entrance fee to access some of the greatest Northern California art. As a bonus, the Audubon Traveling Photo Awards Exhibit will be on display at monca from Jan. 24-27 and features the 12 best bird photographs of the year. Don’t miss this special showing!