Multiple Cities Getaway Artist Hiking Museums Vineyards

9 Spots for a Last-Minute Getaway to Butte County

We’ve all been struck by that momen­tary flash of inspi­ra­tion to get out and get away, whether it’s to skip town for the week­end or just to get out of the house for a night. The beau­ty of Butte Coun­ty is that it offers many solu­tions to sat­is­fy both urges, with min­i­mal plan­ning necessary.

For locals, a nos­tal­gic itch might be the moti­va­tion; for oth­ers, off-the-radar sur­pris­es can still be found around the area. Here are nine last-minute ways to get away in Butte County.

Muse­um of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Art

A recent­ly revamped facil­i­ty on Chico’s botan­i­cal­ly beau­ti­ful Esplanade, the Muse­um of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Art (mon­ca) is a fan­tas­tic place to absorb some cul­ture and leave a lit­tle more knowl­edge­able than you entered. An ide­al part of a sum­mer day off (get­ting indoors dur­ing Chico sum­mers is always a good idea), vis­i­tors can enter for just $5 (for stu­dents and chil­dren, it’s free) and enjoy a local cel­e­bra­tion of region­al artists.

North Table Moun­tain Eco­log­i­cal Reserve

A mild hike local­ly famous for its wild­flower bloom in the spring, North Table Moun­tain Eco­log­i­cal Reserve is one of the county’s best easy­go­ing out­door activ­i­ties, quick­ly acces­si­ble from all over the area. Whether you’re jam­ming over to the trail after work, or try­ing to fill up a week­end day with some sun, this super-pop­u­lar nat­ur­al reserve in Oroville is a wor­thy trip. Bring good shoes, take lots of pho­tos, and always Leave No Trace .

Down­town Chico

Chicoans look­ing to social­ize, find live music, or grab a tasty bite are spoiled with the option of being with­in min­utes of Down­town Chico’s offer­ings, and there are many. Dur­ing the spring and sum­mer months, Down­town trans­forms into a social bazaar for the Thurs­day Night Market , com­plete with pro­duce, flow­ers, and food ven­dors, assort­ed food trucks, and the occa­sion­al con­cert-like set­ting at City Plaza. You can find more mel­low scenes here, too (an ice cream cone at Shubert’s or Sweet Chico Con­fec­tions comes to mind), and Down­town is the best place in town for some retail ther­a­py — qual­i­ty local­ly owned shops abound.

Down­town Oroville

His­to­ry is one of the pri­ma­ry draws to Oroville’s down­town — it was a major gold rush town, giv­en its promi­nent min­ing loca­tion on the Feath­er Riv­er — but it also has under­gone a recent revi­tal­iza­tion to sup­port local busi­ness while still hon­or­ing the past.

Down­town Oroville is an eight-block, walk­a­ble busi­ness neigh­bor­hood (with free park­ing!) that boasts a total of 50 shops ped­dling wares rang­ing from bou­tique gifts to out­door recre­ation­al gear and, of course, plen­ty of food and drink in between. While some Chicoans may be sur­prised to see that a trip down 99 is worth the short dri­ve for a night out, res­i­dents of Oroville and its sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties are already enjoy­ing the great options right in their own hometown.

Low­er Bid­well Park

A casu­al bike ride, a shad­ed run, a pic­nic with friends, a dip in Sycamore Pool—it’s an embar­rass­ment of rich­es on offer at Low­er Bid­well Park, espe­cial­ly the area known as One Mile,” and it’s all with­in walk­ing dis­tance of down­town. Like many areas in the coun­ty, Low­er Park offers ver­sa­til­i­ty, depend­ing on the mood that strikes you. You could just as eas­i­ly access a slack­line com­pe­ti­tion in the park as you could hang up a ham­mock in the same spot when you’re done.

Upper Bid­well Park

Almost every­thing you can do in Low­er Park, you can do in Upper Park—on a (way) big­ger scale. A hand­ful of pop­u­lar hik­ing and bike trails snake over the expanse, and all have vary­ing degrees of dif­fi­cul­ty. Horse­shoe Lake is a small bass and cat­fish hole that dou­bles as a fine bird-(and peo­ple) watch­ing spot. The hottest days of sum­mer make us appre­ci­ate the cold-water swim­ming holes just a short hike away, and when the skies clear, stargaz­ers will appre­ci­ate the wide open spaces after sun­set. Upper Park is sim­ply a gem.

Almen­dra Win­ery & Distillery

The thing about most win­ery tours: They’re usu­al­ly out of the way, to a pro­hib­i­tive degree that makes a quick trip” less of a real­i­ty. That’s not the case with sev­er­al in Butte Coun­ty, includ­ing Almen­dra Win­ery in Durham. Qual­i­ty wines, a fan­tas­tic and eas­i­ly acces­si­ble tast­ing room, and a new hap­py hour with a revamped menu make for a delight­ful expe­ri­ence — and one that won’t pull you far from city lim­its to partake.

Gate­way Sci­ence Museum

In gen­er­al, Chico State’s cam­pus is a great mini-get­away for those in the area who want to kill some time with a bit of adven­ture mixed in. But you might be sur­prised to find that it also offers a place to take a bored kid (or a bored kid at heart). Gate­way Sci­ence Muse­um rotates its main exhibits fair­ly reg­u­lar­ly, and fea­tures a fun and learn­ing-focused blend of indoor and out­door activ­i­ties. Nature enthu­si­asts will enjoy the gar­den of all-native veg­e­ta­tion, an exhib­it explor­ing local water habi­tats, or per­haps a com­pre­hen­sive look at North­ern California’s wolf population.

In Butte Coun­ty, a week­end get­away des­ti­na­tions awaits — whether you’re just now dis­cov­er­ing it or you’ve known where to look all along.