Butte County exemplifies how seemingly contrasting characteristics combine perfectly. From the rural to the urban, farm to city, and valley to mountains, Butte County comes together to create a truly special experience for visitors and locals alike with these perfect pairings. Whether bringing the family, taking off with your partner-in-crime, or exploring solo, this is a great time to explore Butte County.
Snow Goose Festival
An annual highlight in the area is the annual bird migration along the Pacific Flyway, which starts in November and peaks in January and sees hundreds of thousands of birds, including the beautiful snow goose, touch base in Butte County.
One of the best ways to celebrate this winter migration is with the annual Snow Goose Festival, which runs Jan. 26-29, 2023 and features dozens of fun and educational field trips. Whichever you choose, you’ll want to make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes, layers, and of course sunscreen!
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 and an avian-themed art exhibit at monca. From all-day explorations to two-hour excursions, there’s an event for every type of visitor.
If all the field trips are sold out, don’t worry! You can still enjoy your own self-guided field trips at great birding spots across Butte County.
Whether you attend the festival or go birding on your own, this is a perfect pairing with anything else you do in January this month.
An hour outside of Chico, Butte Meadows and Jonesville can be explored year-round, but are most popular during the wet season when Butte County’s high country turns into a winter wonderland. Visit both for a perfectly paired snow day.
Enjoy a Snow Day
If it’s been a particularly wet winter, January is a great time to take a trip up to the mountains. From cross-country skiing and hiking to snowmobiling at Jonesville. You never know what the weather will be like, so be ready to take your own personal snow day to enjoy the best and freshest snowfall possible.
Just a 20 minute drive East of Chico, Paradise pairs a deep history with natural beauty, perfect for cold weather explorations. Make it a day on the ridge by exploring shops on the Skyway and other hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.
Explore on Foot
Located in Magalia, Paradise Lake is a postcard picture of a serene forested lake that is beautiful any time of year. Enjoy some of the best views of the lake with an easy walk on the flat trail that borders the water and build up your appetite for dining later.
Discover History at the Gold Nugget Museum
At the Gold Nugget Museum, you can learn more about the impact of the Gold Rush in Paradise and walk away with a better understanding of life in the 1850s, the city’s local history, and the fact that a 54-pound gold nugget was found in the area!
Antique Shop 'Til You Drop
If you love hunting for the perfect antique find, then Paradise is your place. With a variety of shops, including Treasures from Paradise and the Skyway Antique Mall, in town, you could easily spend hours going from shop to shop in pursuit of the perfect item to add to your home.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Before heading back down the hill, make sure to stop at Ridge-favorite Joy Lyn's Candies for a sweet complement to your dinner (and some to-go for the rest of your trip!).
End the Night With a Show
There’s nothing like dinner and a show, so make your own perfect pairing at Theatre on the Ridge, the longest-running community theater in the North State. The intimate, 100-seat venue puts on professional-level shows throughout the year and is a great way to end the night.
Discover Natural Beauty
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. 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 country, and more!
Play at the Chico Children's Museum
If you have kids in tow and are looking for something more hands-on, be sure to take a few hours to explore the Chico’s Children Museum. With a mission to connect and learn through play, one-third of the space is a miniature artistic replica of Chico, which includes a climbing tree and a number of hands-on exhibits. The other two-thirds house interactive rotating exhibits. There will also be a multi-sensory environment zone in that space, especially designed for children with special needs, so this is a great space for families of all needs and abilities.
Taste at Sierra Nevada Brewery
The Sierra Nevada Brewery should be a stop for any beer-lover visiting Chico. Those with kids 12 and older can experience several tours that focus on the state-of-the-art facilities and sustainability practices at the brewery. Those without kids in tow can enjoy reservation-required beer-focused and tasting tours. Whether you simply want to taste the legendary hops or decide to make it an afternoon and stay for food in the Taproom, Sierra Nevada is a must-see institution.
Open daily; see website for tours and Taproom hours.
Discover History at the Bidwell Mansion
Those interested in the history of Chico should definitely take a tour of Bidwell Mansion, the home of John Bidwell, founder of Chico, and his wife, Annie. Hour-long tours are offered of the three-story Victorian mansion and cover not only the history of the Bidwells and their home, but also regional history of both settlers and native tribes. Tours are currently available on a first come, first served basis on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 12pm and 3pm. Can't make the tour? The Visitor Center is open on the same days from 11am-3pm.
Go for a Hike
Just because January is one of the wetter months in Butte County doesn’t mean that it’s not a great time to get outside! The beloved Bidwell Park is one of the best places to start—whether you explore Lower Bidwell or Upper Bidwell, you’ll never be far from Chico, just in case a rain cloud just happens to roll through. And if you’re looking for hikes beyond Chico, there are plenty of great winter hikes around the rest of the county.