No Better Time to Visit Than Now: Chico Through the Seasons

There are two ways to think about timing a visit to Chico: that there’s never a bad time to visit, and that every time is the perfect time. With a busy calendar of events, outdoor activities for every season, and streets that transform themselves each quarter, Chico is a year-round destination that will never leave you hunting for things to do.

Visit in Spring: Wildflowers & Waterfalls

Chico’s hiking game is second to none, and while any time of year will serve outdoor enthusiasts here, the spring provides practically perfect scenery anywhere you look, be it in one of Chico’s beautiful public parks or on the outskirts of the city.

Head to Upper Bidwell Park for waterfalls refreshed by late winter precipitation, including the landmark Lovejoy Falls, and enjoy the wildflowers that follow them. The blooms happen all across town, and it’s a great time to take a walk through CSU Chico’s public campus. It’s loaded with trees and greenery along Big Chico Creek, which runs straight through the grounds, and the renowned George Peterson Rose Garden also begins to bloom in spring.

A student walks across a bridge at Chico State in spring
Chico State in the Spring

Visit in Summer: Beat the Heat in Cool Waters

Chico’s water culture makes it a great place to spend a hot Norcal summer.

Popular swimming holes range in location, from close to downtown to the further reaches of Upper Bidwell Park, giving everyone just the right space to cool off. Big Chico Creek itself also has any number of easy spots to swim or kayak. For those who’d prefer to stay dry, there are also shaded hikes in both Lower and Upper Bidwell Park, and it’s a perfect time to walk through the beautiful Chico Seed Orchard.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants with shaded patios, and the rose garden at Chico State kicks into high gear in summer. Farmers markets offer another great way to enjoy the (literal) fruits of summer, especially at Downtown Chico’s Thursday Night Market, where you can avoid the heat of the day, find something cool to drink, and browse CDFA-certified produce, local art, and a whole lot more.

Late afternoon at Upper Bidwell Park's Bear Hole, with people hanging out on the rocks and swimming in the swimming holes
Upper Bidwell Park’s Bear Hole

Visit in Fall: Stunning Foliage & Fun Events

There’s nowhere in Chico that doesn’t boast jaw-dropping fall colors. If you’re up for a walk or hike, you’ll have great options from the Seed Orchard to Bidwell Park. Downtown Chico also has plenty to see, with the colorful Esplanade and Bidwell Mansion’s historic (and absolutely stunning) ginkgo tree, which explodes into a display of vibrant yellows.

Disc golf at the beautiful Peregrine Point (or any of Chico’s other courses) becomes increasingly tempting as temperatures drop, and the fall vibes hit their height around Halloween with Treat Street, where downtown streets close to traffic and businesses offer candy to kids of all ages. And don’t miss the annual Pumpkin Drop in CSU Chico’s Trinity Commons!

An aerial view of Downtown Chico in the fall
Downtown Chico in the Fall

Visit in Winter: Cozy & Mild Vibes

California is known for its mild winters, and Chico is no exception, making it a cozy winter vacation destination. As Christmas approaches, the cozy vibes multiply exponentially, and Chico’s Christmas Preview, a local tradition since 1978, brings lights, carolers, and even Santa himself downtown for the season.

There’s also an outdoor ice skating rink for the whole family right in the middle of Chico City Plaza. Fans of the outdoors won’t be neglected either, with waterfalls resurrected by winter rains in Upper Bidwell Park, almond blossoms in nearby agricultural communities, and green hills stretching to the horizon.

A couple ice skating hand-in-hand during a visit to Chico in the winter
Chico Ice Rink in the Plaza

Few places manage to be both so seasonally varied and consistently worth a visit all year as Chico. So whenever you feel the need to get away, there’s never a better time than now to pay us a visit.