Chico Getaway Artist

Downtown Chico: The Ultimate Guide

Just a few min­utes off High­way 99, Down­town Chico fea­tures dozens of shops and restau­rants to explore. Set between the blocks of Salem and Flume from W. 1st Street to W. 6th Street, the heart of Down­town Chico is arguably con­tained in the nine blocks of Salem and Wall from W. 1st Street to W. 4th Street. Here, the streets are filled with an abun­dance of deli­cious restau­rants, unique bou­tiques, gift shops, bars, and more, all with­in walk­ing dis­tance — just park once , and explore for hours.

There’s plen­ty to explore, so learn more about the dif­fer­ent micro-regions and offer­ings in Down­town Chico.

Broad­way & Main

One-way streets run­ning par­al­lel to each oth­er, Broad­way and Main streets are the main thor­ough­fares in Down­town Chico, with Main bring­ing you in and Broad­way guid­ing you out. They’re also the streets where you’ll find the most activ­i­ty year-round.

Any­time of year, Broad­way and Main — and the streets con­nect­ing them — make a great start­ing point for down­town adven­ture, with cof­fee, din­ing, and shop­ping just a few steps away from wher­ev­er you park. On Main Street, the Sen­a­tor The­atre, built in 1928, is a his­toric fea­ture, while Broad­way fea­tures the icon­ic More­head Build­ing, a Chico insti­tu­tion since 1902 and home to Hotel Dia­mond, The Raw­bar Restau­rant & Sushi, and others. 

When it comes to events, Broad­way between 2nd and 4th (plus 3rd between Salem and Main) turns into a pedes­tri­an par­adise for the week­ly Thurs­day Night Market from May through Sep­tem­ber. This pop­u­lar event has been show­cas­ing farm-fresh pro­duce, food trucks, ven­dors, live enter­tain­ment, and more to the streets of Down­town Chico since 1997. It’s the per­fect place to meet up with friends, check out local goods, and grab dinner.

On the Sun­day before Thanks­giv­ing, both Broad­way and Main close down to cars for the annu­al Christ­mas Preview , when Down­town Chico mer­chants debut their hol­i­day offer­ings, show off fab­u­lous dec­o­ra­tions, and pro­vide refresh­ments and enter­tain­ment. Since 1978, Christ­mas Pre­view has been the offi­cial kick-off to the hol­i­day sea­son, with car­ol­ers, pho­tos with San­ta, and more fun for the whole family.

The scenic City Plaza, nes­tled between the two streets at 4th Street, is also home to many events through­out the year, such as Chico Ice Rink in the Plaza .

When­ev­er you vis­it, it’s impos­si­ble to vis­it Down­town Chico with­out find­ing your­self on either Broad­way or Main.

Chico State

While real­ly its own enti­ty, Chico States prox­im­i­ty to and pres­ence in Down­town Chico makes it a must-vis­it. With just Salem Street sep­a­rat­ing Down­town from Chico State, the two are inter­twined, with the ener­gy in Down­town Chico fol­low­ing the ebbs and flows of the school sched­ule. The streets are a lit­tle more live­ly when the stu­dents are in town, and more mel­low when those sea­son­al breaks occur. In or out of ses­sion, you can vis­it Chico State at any time, and a stroll through cam­pus is always a good idea.

If you’re look­ing to expe­ri­ence Chico State like a stu­dent (or even an alum), start with a stop at Madi­son Bear Gar­den or Riley’s Bar, two quin­tes­sen­tial col­le­giate water­ing holes.


With no short­age of din­ing options, what­ev­er type of food you’re look­ing for, you’ll find it in Down­town Chico.

Those need­ing caf­feine to start their day should check out Sto­ble Cof­fee, Naked Lounge, or the (most­ly) veg­an Ten­der Lov­ing Cof­fee.

For a prop­er meal, there are dozens of options per­fect for break­fast, lunch, and din­ner and what­ev­er type of cui­sine you could think of. Look­ing for casu­al Amer­i­can fare? The Ban­shee, Burg­ers and Brew, and Park­side Tap House are pop­u­lar options for burg­ers, beer, and more. Want a fanci­er din­ing expe­ri­ence? 5th Street Steak­house and Crush each serve ele­vat­ed options per­fect for date night. Woodstock’s and Celestino’s are per­fect piz­za par­lors, while Aon­a­mi Sus­tain­able Sushi and Grana high­light sus­tain­able or local­ly grown dish­es. Even plant-based din­ers will be able to feast, with Live, Live Life Juice Co., Gogi’s Café, and Momona offer­ing robust veg­an- and veg­e­tar­i­an-friend­ly options.

End your time out by sat­is­fy­ing your sweet tooth at Shubert’s Ice Cream & Can­dy, Sweet Chico Con­fec­tions, La Flor de Michoacán Pale­te­ria y Nev­e­ria, or Jon & Bön’s Yogurt Shoppe.

And these are just a few of the deli­cious Down­town Chico restau­rants avail­able! Repeat vis­its will def­i­nite­ly be need­ed to taste them all.

Bars & Nightlife

With a vari­ety of walk­a­ble spots to choose from, Down­town Chico is one of Upstate California’s best spots for fun bars and nightlife.

Bella’s Sports Pub and Duffy’s Tav­ern are clas­sic, some­where-on-the-divey spec­trum neigh­bor­hood bars, while Argus Bar + Patio is a more ele­vat­ed cock­tail bar.

For mel­low day­time tast­ings, enjoy organ­ic wines at the LaRoc­ca Vine­yards Tast­ing Room.

For more ener­getic nightlife, Crazy Horse Saloon, VIP Ultra Lounge , and The Beach in Chico offer dif­fer­ent club experiences. 

Beyond the bar expe­ri­ence, you’ll find Chico nightlife full of live music and oth­er per­for­mances. Lost on Main and El Rey The­ater show­case a vari­ety of live music acts through­out the year.


With dozens of small busi­ness­es call­ing Down­town Chico home, it’s the per­fect place to shop for unique and local­ly made gifts.

Remem­ber your time in Chico with cool clothes from Upper Park Cloth­ing and local­ly made gifts from Made in Chico. These Chico-spe­cif­ic shops are known for show­cas­ing the best of the city, so you’ll nev­er for­get your adven­tures here. Anoth­er icon­ic shop­ping spot is Bird in Hand, a gift shop that’s also home to the one-of-a-kind Nation­al Yo-Yo Muse­um.

For cute clothes from unique bou­tiques, For Elyse, 3 Seas, and Ani­ka Burke are just three of the sev­er­al options to shop from. For antique enthu­si­asts, check out Eighth & Main Antique Cen­ter, one of the largest antique and home décor malls in the west. At Wild Ink Press, you’ll find hand-pressed sta­tionery for any occa­sion, while The Book­store is right­ful­ly known as one of the best used book stores in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. And no trip to Down­town is com­plete with a stop at Col­lier Hard­ware, a local­ly owned Chico insti­tu­tion since 1871 that can help you with more than just your hard­ware needs. 

And this is just a start — there are plen­ty of oth­er gift shops, nov­el­ty stores, and empo­ri­ums wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered as you stroll the streets of Down­town Chico.

Arts & Culture

Dis­cov­er Down­town Chico’s under-the-radar arts and cul­ture scene at a vari­ety of muse­ums, per­for­mance spaces, and landmarks.

Fans of the stage can catch live the­ater per­for­mances at Chico State’s Lax­son Audi­to­ri­um or the First Street The­ater on, you guessed it, 1st Street. If you pre­fer the cin­e­ma, the Pageant The­ater is Chico’s go-to art house for doc­u­men­taries and inde­pen­dent films. 

Muse­ums also abound Down­town. The Chico His­to­ry Muse­um cel­e­brates all things Chico his­to­ry relat­ed, while kids will love the Chico Children’s Muse­um and the Gate­way Sci­ence Muse­um (which is tech­ni­cal­ly just out­side the true Down­town Chico bound­aries, but is part of Chico State). Right next to the Gate­way, the Bid­well Man­sion State Park is the icon­ic for­mer home of the city’s founders — enjoy a tour to learn about the Bid­wells and their far-reach­ing influ­ence in Butte County.

You can also enjoy art at sev­er­al inti­mate loca­tions. Chico State boasts sev­er­al gal­leries open to the pub­lic, and places like the Chico Paper Com­pa­ny serve as hybrid gallery and retail spaces. And of course, you’ll often find local artists show­cased at var­i­ous cof­fee shops through­out the year.

Use this guide as a start­ing point to explor­ing Down­town Chico! With hun­dreds of shops, restau­rants, bars, muse­ums, and venues to dis­cov­er, we couldn’t pos­si­bly list them all. For a deep­er dive into the area, check out the offi­cial Down­town Chico web­site. Just remem­ber, what­ev­er your inter­ests, there’s some­thing for every­one in Down­town Chico.