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City of Chico
Rancho del Arroyo Chico
—  City  —
City Plaza in Chico

Nickname(s): City of Roses
Location of Chico in California
Coordinates: 39°44′24″N 121°50′8″W / 39.74°N 121.83556°W / 39.74; -121.83556Coordinates: 39°44′24″N 121°50′8″W / 39.74°N 121.83556°W / 39.74; -121.83556
Country United States
State California
County Butte
Settled 1843
Founded 1860
Incorporated January 8, 1872
Founder John Bidwell
 - Type Charter city, Council-manager government
 - Mayor Ann Schwab
 - City Council Scott Gruendl

Larry Wahl
Ann Schwab
Mary Flynn
Tom Nickell

Jim Walker
 - City Manager David Burkland[1]
 - State Leg. Sen. Sam Aanestad (R)
Asm. Dan Logue (R)
 - U. S. Congress Wally Herger (R)
 - City 27.8 sq mi (71.9 km2)
 - Land 27.7 sq mi (71.8 km2)
 - Water > .01 sq mi (0.036 km2)
Elevation 245 ft (74 m)
Population (2009)
 - City 83,123
 Density 3,000.83/sq mi (1,172.2/km2)
 Metro 212,968
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP Code 95926, 95927, 95928, 95929, 95973, 95976
Area code(s) 530
FIPS code 06-13014
Demonym Chicoan
GNIS feature ID 1655890

Chico is the most populous city in Butte County, California, United States. The population was 59,954 at the 2000 census but was estimated to have grown to 87,713 as of 2009.[2] The city is a cultural, economic, and educational center of the northern Sacramento Valley and home to both Chico State University and Bidwell Park, one of the country's 25 largest municipal parks and the 13th largest municipally-owned park.[3]

Other cities in close proximity to the Chico Metropolitan Area (population 212,000) include Paradise and Oroville, while local towns and villages (unincorporated areas) include Durham, Cohasset, Dayton, Hamilton City, Nord, and Forest Ranch. The Chico Metropolitan Area is the 14th largest metropolitan statistical area in California.

The official city nickname is "City of Roses," according to the Seal of the City of Chico, California. Chico has been designated as a Tree City USA for 23 years by the Arbor Day Foundation.[4]



Bidwell Mansion

The original inhabitants of Chico were the Mechoopda Maidu Native Americans.

The City of Chico was founded in 1860 by John Bidwell, a member of one of the first wagon trains to reach California in 1843. During the American Civil War, Camp Bidwell (named for John Bidwell, by then a Brigadier General of the California Militia), was established a mile outside Chico, by Lt. Col. A. E. Hooker with a company of cavalry and two of infantry, on August 26, 1863. By early 1865 it was being referred to as Camp Chico when a post called Camp Bidwell was established in northwest California, later to be Fort Bidwell.[5] The city became incorporated January 8, 1872.

Chico was home to a significant Chinese American community when it was first incorporated, but arsonists burned Chico's Chinatown in February 1886, driving Chinese Americans out of town.[6]

Historian W.H. "Old Hutch" Hutchinson identified five events as the most seminal in Chico history. They included the arrival of John Bidwell in 1850, the arrival of the California and Oregon Railroad in 1870, the establishment of the Northern Branch of the State Normal School in 1887, the purchase of the Sierra Lumber Company by the Diamond Match Company in 1900, and the development of the Army Air Base which is now the Chico Municipal Airport.[7]

Several other significant events have unfolded in Chico more recently. These include: the construction and relocation of Highway 99E through town in the early 1960s; Playboy Magazine naming Chico State the number-one party school in the nation in 1987; and the establishment of a "Green Line" on the western city limits as protection of agricultural lands.




Chico is located at the northeast edge of the Sacramento Valley, one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. The Sierra Nevada mountains lie to the East, with Chico's city limits venturing several miles into the foothills. To the west, the Sacramento River lies five miles (8 km) from the city limit.[8]


City Plaza in Chico

Chico sits on the Sacramento Valley floor close to the foothills of the Cascade range and the Sierra Nevada range with Little Chico Creek being the demarcation line between the Cascade range (North of Little Chico Creek) and the Sierra Nevada range (South of Little Chico Creek). The city terrain is on the whole very flat with increasingly hilly terrain beginning at the eastern city limits.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.8 square miles (71.9 km²), of which, 27.7 square miles (71.8 km²) of it is land and 0.04% is water.

The city is bisected by Bidwell Park, which runs five miles (8 km) from the city center to the crest of the Sierra Nevada range.

The city is also traversed by two creeks and a flood channel, which feeds the Sacramento River. They are named Big Chico Creek, Little Chico Creek, and Lindo Channel (also known as Sandy Gulch, locally).

Street system

The downtown area of Chico is located generally between Big Chico Creek and Little Chico Creek. The downtown has a street grid offset 49.75° from the four cardinal directions. There are numbered streets and avenues, which generally run ENE-WSW. Blocks are usually addressed in hundreds corresponding to the numbered streets and avenues. While the ENE-WSW streets and avenues are numbered, Streets running NNW-SSE are generally named after trees. The part of the 'tree' streets that intersect the CSUC campus spell the word "CHICO" at Chestnut, Hazel, Ivy, Cherry, and Orange Streets.

The main thoroughfare running NW-SE through the city is Business 99, known as Main Street/Broadway (these are one way, SE and NW, respectively, in downtown Chico), Park Avenue, The Esplanade and the Midway. The city streets are designated as "East" or "West" by their relation to this street.

There are numbered streets and avenues both of which flow east-west. This fact can cause some confusion. The "Streets" are situated south of the Chico State campus through downtown, while the "Avenues" are situated north of the Chico State campus through The Esplanade. There are no left turns permitted onto any odd numbered avenue from The Esplanade, in either direction, with the exception of West 11th Ave.

In the numbered streets and avenues and most other streets that intersect The Esplanade, Main, and Park, the west addresses are all numbers whose last two digits are 00 through 49 and the east addresses are all numbers whose last two digits are 50 through 99. There are very few exceptions.

On most Chico streets odd addresses are on the south side of the street.

If you stand at the bridge over the Big Chico Creek where Main Street changes to The Esplanade and face north, the odd addresses are on the left (Bidwell Mansion is 525 The Esplanade). This convention holds for all the numbered avenues. However, if you face south, the odd addresses are still on the left (i.e., the convention has switched). This convention holds throughout the numbered streets.


The Senator Theater, completed in 1928 for $300,000, was designed by Timothy L. Pflueger for Michael Naify and the Nasser Brothers

Downtown Chico – This is the main commercial district in Chico. It is located generally between the Big Chico Creek and Little Chico Creek between Wall Street and Salem Street. The Downtown Chico Business Association represents the interests of the downtown to the community. Main Street and Broadway are the two main thoroughfares bisecting the downtown. Ringel Park is the triangular shaped area immediately north of downtown. The Chico City Plaza is the central point of downtown, between Fourth and Fifth Streets. The area of West Ninth Street where Main Street and Oroville Avenue converge is known as The Junction, the southernmost part of the downtown. "The Junction," as the confluence of Humboldt Road and the old Shasta Stage Road (now Main Street and The Esplanade) got its name in the early 1860s when John Bidwell and partners established a company that created a stage line between Chico and Susanville, ultimately leading to Ruby City, Idaho, and the rich gold strikes there. This is the place where Humboldt Road began; it is now called Humboldt Avenue until it reaches the Highway 99 freeway, then regains the Humboldt Road name on the eastern side as it continues into the foothills. "The Junction" was for some years a business district unto itself, providing goods and services to people arriving at and departing from the stage depot.

South Campus – The South Campus neighborhood is the area bounded by West Second Street, Salem Street, West Ninth Street and the western city limits (which is called "The Green Line"). Historically, this area was the first residential area established in the city. Currently, it is the most densely populated area of the city. The South Campus Neighborhood Association represents the interests of the neighborhood to the community. South Campus is a dynamic residential neighborhood consisting overwhelmingly of young renters under thirty-five, and specifically Chico State students. The intersection of Fifth and Ivy streets is a neighborhood commercial core sometimes referred to locally as "Five and I." There are many fraternity and sorority houses in the area, and the city has designated a "Fraternity/Sorority Overlay Zone" which is largely contiguous with the neighborhood. South Campus is home of Craig Hall, and Depot Park.

Barber – The Barber neighborhood is a working class residential neighborhood generally south of Little Chico Creek and west of Park avenue. The Barber Neighborhood Association represents the interests of the neighborhood to the community. This neighborhood was originally built to house the employees of the adjacent Diamond Match Factory. The neighborhood was named after Ohio Columbus Barber, president of the Diamond Match Company. Today, the Diamond Match property is designated for a future development called Barber Yard.

Chapmantown – This is a working class residential neighborhood entirely surrounded by area inside the city of Chico, but which itself is not a part of the city. Rather, it is under the jurisdiction of the County of Butte. Chapmantown is currently known as the area bounded by Little Chico Creek, Boucher Street, Guill Street and East Sixteenth Street. The neighborhood south of East Twentieth Street to the east of Fair street is also referred to as Chapmantown. Historically, Chapmantown referred to everything east of Mulberry street, but that is no longer the case. Due to not being within city limits, there are no sidewalks, sewers, or any other city services. However, there are also none of the regulations associated with the municipality either (prohibition on chicken coops, burn permits, etc.) The neighborhood is home to The Dorothy F. Johnson Neighborhood Center, a facility of the Chico Area Recreation District. The neighborhood is named after Augustus Chapman.

The Avenues – A relatively new name that refers to the area north of Big Chico Creek historically known as Chico Vecino. This area includes the numbered avenues that intersect The Esplanade. This residential neighborhood is adjacent to the northern boundary of Chico State campus and is south of Lindo Channel. The neighborhood also is home to Enloe Medical Center.

Mansion Park is the high end residential neighborhood adjacent to the Bidwell Mansion, and immediately between the northeast corner of the Chico State campus and Chico High School. This neighborhood is notable for its being a preferred parking zone for residents with permits only, located in an area of the city with very impacted parking. This neighborhood is home to the Albert E. Warrens Reception Center (formerly the Julia Morgan House), and the Bidwell Amphitheatre. Originally, home to mostly university professors and staff, other professionals and upper middle class families now also call it home.

Kendall Hall at Chico State

Doe Mill is the developing urban residential neighborhood generally north of East Twentieth Street and East of Bruce Road.

Nob Hill is the developing residential neighborhood west of Bruce Road and north of Highway 32.

California Park is the developing residential neighborhood east of Bruce Road and north of Highway 32. This area contains a smaller area known as Canyon Oaks.

Aspen Glen is the residential neighborhood east of the Esplanade and north of East Shasta avenue. Many streets here are named after things associated with Colorado.

Cussick Area Neighborhood is an assortment of different housing types on the northwest end of town. It is flanked by orchards, the Esplanade, and West East Avenue. The deeper you go into the neighborhood, the larger and more beautiful the houses get in this peaceful backside of town.

Big Chico Creek Estates is a middle class development in the southwest area of town. Backed by the beautiful Big Chico Creek, and very close to Chico's newest elementary school.

Little Chico Creek Estates a small, middle-class development built in southeast Chico on what was at one time an olive orchard. Placed between Little Chico Creek and a small flood-control channel, the development extends from Bruce Road at the western end to the mouth of Stilson Canyon at the eastern end, where it is separated from the homes in the canyon by the fork in the two waterways at the diversion dam. Little Chico Creek Estates is located very close to Hank Marsh Junior High School as well as Little Chico Creek Elementary School and various shopping centers including the Chico Mall.

Connors Neighborhood is a very small neighborhood squeezed between East East Ave and Rio Lindo and between the Esplanade and Highway 99. Connors Neighborhood is made up of Connors Ave and White Ave, along with a couple of courts and circles. This neighborhood was incorporated into Chico in 2003, the city plans to add sewers in Q1 of 2010.

Other neighborhoods: South Park, North Park, Vallombrosa, Baroni Park, and Hancock Park.

Chico also is home to several large new urbanist neighborhoods, either planned or under construction, including Doe Mill, Barber Yard, Meriam Park, and Westside Place.

The above mentioned "neighborhoods" do not include large sections of Chico. There are numerous other areas that each have unique characteristics and attractions. While some of these areas were not so long ago outside of city limits, they have always been a part of the Chico community. Most of these areas are well established with a high per centage of residents who have lived there for more than twenty years. In the older areas of the outlying neighborhoods, it is not uncommon to find households that have been there for fifty or even more years.

Parks and Creekside Greenways

  • Verbena Fields: This site is a former quarry that is currently being restored into a natural park. The project will expand and improve seasonal wetlands, increase the floodplain width, restore native plantings, establish Mechoopda cultural planting areas, construct a walking trail loop, and provide public education.
  • Baroni Park
  • Bidwell Park
  • Children's Playground
  • Depot Park
  • DeGarmo Park
  • East 20th St at Notre Dame Park (undeveloped)
  • Hancock Park
  • Henshaw Park (undeveloped)
  • Hooker Oak Recreation Area
  • Ceres Park (undeveloped)
  • Humboldt Park (Humboldt at Willow)
  • Nob Hill/Husa Ranch Park
  • Peterson Park
  • City Plaza
  • Ringel Park
  • Skateboard Park
  • Wildwood Park
  • Martin Luther King Park
  • Chapman Park
  • Oak Way Park
  • Rotary Park (Wall Street)
  • Rotary Park (Sixteenth and Broadway)
Creekside Greenways
  • Little Chico Creek
  • Mud Creek
  • Sycamore Creek
  • Commanche Creek
  • Sandy Gulch (Lindo Channel) Greenway
  • Bear Hole (in Upper Bidwell Park)
  • Alligator Hole (in Upper Bidwell Park)
  • Salmon Hole (in Upper Bidwell Park)


Chico and the Sacramento Valley have a typically Mediterranean climate. Temperatures can rise well above the 100-degree mark in the summer. Chico is one of the top metropolitan areas in the nation for number of clear days.[9][10] Winters are fairly mild and wet, with the most rainfall coming in January. The average annual rainfall is 26.04 inches (661 mm). Tule fog is often present during the autumn and winter months. [11]

Climate data for Chico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Record high °F (°C) 77
Average high °F (°C) 53
Average low °F (°C) 35
Record low °F (°C) 12
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.89
Source: The Weather Channel[12] 2008-12-16



As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 59,954 people, 23,476 households, and 11,644 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,161.0 people per square mile (834.5/km²). There were 24,386 housing units at an average density of 879.0/sq mi (339.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.36% White, 2.03% Black or African American, 1.30% Native American, 4.21% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 5.65% from other races, and 4.25% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.26% of the population.

There were 23,476 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.4% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 27.0% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 15.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.


The median income for a household in the city was $29,359, and the median income for a family was $43,077. Males had a median income of $35,548 versus $26,173 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,970. About 12.7% of families and 26.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.

Much of the local economy is driven by the presence of California State University, Chico. Industries providing employment: educational, health and social services (30.3%), retail trade (14.9%), arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (12.6%).[14]

Top 10 Non-Manufacturing Employers [15] (by Employee Size) *

  1. Enloe Medical Center (2268 employees)
  2. County of Butte (not located in Chico) (2032)
  3. California State University, Chico (1823 employees)
  4. Chico Unified School District (1400 employees)
  5. Tri Counties Bank (700)
  6. Butte-Glenn Community College District (602 employees)
  7. Lifetouch National School Studios, Inc. (500)
  8. City of Chico (453)
  9. Feather Falls Casino (not located in Chico) (400)
  10. Employment Development Department (350)

Top 10 Manufacturing Employers [15] (by Employee Size) *

  1. Sierra Nevada Brewery (325)
  2. Koret of California (250 employees)
  3. SunGard Public Sector (240)
  4. Aero Union Corporation (185 employees)
  5. Sunset Moulding Company (145 employees)
  6. Smucker Quality Beverages, Inc. (130 employees)
  7. Lundberg Family Farms (110)
  8. Norfield Industries (110 employees)
  9. JG Brattan (100)
  10. Wrex Products, Inc. of Chico (93 employees)

In the last two decades, Chico has emerged as a regional retail shopping destination. Chico's largest retail district is focused around the Chico Mall on East 20th Street. In the two decades since the Chico Mall was constructed, many national retailers have located nearby, including Target, Kohl's, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart. In January 2008, plans were unveiled to remodel the Chico Mall by demolishing the westernmost portion of the mall (previously home to Troutman's) and constructing an open air "lifestyle" shopping center that will connect the mall with the Kohl's shopping center nearby.

Chico is also home to the North Valley Plaza Mall, which was the city's first enclosed shopping center. Construction on this mall began in 1965 and it was the city's largest shopping center until the Chico Mall was completed in 1988. For a few years the "old" mall and the "new" mall competed against one another. The North Valley Plaza Mall was dealt a blow when JCPenney, one of the old mall's anchors, moved to the Chico Mall in 1993. The "old" mall slowly declined with increasing vacancies. After several failed attempts at revitalization, the North Valley Plaza Mall was overhauled in 2002, with the center of the mall demolished. Although several large retailers, such as Trader Joe's, and Tinseltown Theater, are still operating, there has been an effort to make the North Valley Plaza more of a neighborhood shopping center, rather than a regional one. Mervyn's anchored the mall at the west end, filling the spot vacated by JCPenney, but declared bankruptcy in 2008 and liquidated its entire stock by the end of December of that year. The entire Mervyn's chain ceased operations just before the end of the year.

Chico's downtown is a thriving area for unique, independent retail shops and restaurants. Farmers markets attract crowds on Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings. City Plaza hosts free concerts regularly during the summer. Performance venues large and small, bars, coffee shops, bookstores and city offices contribute to a lively and flavorful experience.


Official city logo


The City of Chico is a charter city. The City of Chico's administration offices are located at 411 Main Street immediately adjacent to the City Council Chambers. Chico's city council consists of seven nonpartisan councilmembers each elected at-large in November of even-numbered years. Their terms begin on the first Tuesday in December and end on the first Tuesday in December four years thereafter. The mayor is chosen by and from among the council members and serves for two years. City council meetings are on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

The City Council appoints members of the Airport Commission, Architecture Review Board, Arts Commission, Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, Human Resources Commission, and Planning Commission.

The current council members are Scott Gruendl, Ann Schwab, Mary Flynn, Tom Nickell, Andy Holcombe, Larry Wahl, and Jim Walker. The council holds a 6-1 liberal/progressive majority with Wahl being the in the conservative minority. The most recent election November 4, 2008 resulted in Schwab, Holcombe, and Wahl being re-elected.


The citizens of Chico are represented in the Butte County Board of Supervisors by the District Two Supervisor Jane Dolan and the District Three Supervisor Maureen Kirk.

The Butte County Association of Governments office is located in Chico at 2580 Sierra Sunrise Terrace, Suite 100.


The citizens of Chico, as members of California's 3rd Assembly District, are represented by Dan Logue (R, Chico) in the California State Assembly; and as members of California's 4th Senate District, are represented by Sam Aanestad (R, Grass Valley) in the California State Senate.


The citizens of Chico, as members of California's 2nd congressional district (which has a PVI of R +13[16]) are represented by Wally Herger (R, Rio Oso) in the United States House of Representatives.


The Chico Unified School District includes all of the greater Chico area including area not within the city limits.

Primary education


Blue Oak Charter School(free Waldorff education), Chapman Elementary School, Chico Country Day School, Citrus Elementary School, Cohasset Elementary School, Emma Wilson Elementary School, Forest Ranch Elementary School, John A. McManus Elementary School, Little Chico Creek Elementary School, Marigold Elementary School, Neal Dow Elementary School, Notre Dame Catholic School, Parkview Elementary School, Rosedale Elementary School, Shasta Elementary School, Sierra View Elementary School, Hooker Oak Elementary School.

Junior high

Bidwell Junior High School (home of the Pioneers), Chico Junior High School (home of the Cougars), and Marsh Junior High School (home of the Gators) all offer seventh and eighth grade course programs.

Secondary education


In 1998, city voters approved a bond to build a third comprehensive high school that was to be called Canyon View High School. However, after a protracted search for an acceptable site, the school district opted not to build the new high school, a decision based largely on declining enrollment figures. The money from the bond is now planned to be used for improvements at Chico and Pleasant Valley high schools.

Alternative education

  • Academy For Change --Community Day School
  • Fairview High School --Continuation School

Core Butte Charter School---Charter School


  • King's Christian School
  • Notre Dame Catholic School
  • Champion Christian School
  • Chico Oaks Adventist School
  • Pleasant Valley Baptist School
  • Chico Christian School and Preschool

Higher education



The Chico Museum first opened in February 1986 in the former Carnegie Library building in downtown Chico. It currently features the only circus exhibit of its kind in the Western United States. The museum has two main galleries which host a variety of temporary and traveling exhibits. In addition, the museum has two smaller, permanent galleries displaying the diverse history of Chico. The Chico Museum is run by the Far West Heritage Association, which also runs the Patrick Ranch Museum. The museum is free and donations are graciously accepted.

The Chico Air Museum is an aviation museum which opened in 2004. Several aircraft are displayed outdoors, with smaller displays inside a nearby building, one of the few remaining from World War II.

The National Yo-Yo Museum is the country's largest collection of yo-yo artifacts, which also includes a four-foot-tall yo-yo that is dropped with a crane every few years. Classes are available as well for those new to yo-yo and those who just want to get better. An art museum, the Chico Art Center is also located in the city.

Two other historical buildings are also museums. Bidwell Mansion is a Victorian house completed in 1868, and the former home of John and Annie Bidwell. Bidwell Mansion is a California State Historical Park. Stansbury House, former home of physician Oscar Stansbury, is a museum of 19th-century life.[17]

The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology on the CSU, Chico campus presents temporary exhibits researched, designed and installed primarily by students. The current exhibition is "Living on Top of the World: Arctic Adaptation, Survival and Stewardship." The museum was renamed November 18, 2009 by the CSU Board of Trustees in honor of professor emerita Valene L. Smith, whose contributions and commitments to the museum have totaled over $4.6 million. The grand opening to celebrate the new exhibition as well as the contributions of Dr. Smith is on January 28, 2010 and the exhibition will run until May 2010. The museum is located across from the main entrance of the Miriam Library, next to the Turner Museum.[18]

Construction started on the Gateway Science Museum, formerly the Northern California Natural History Museum, adjacent to the Bidwell Mansion, in 2008. This museum, in the works for more than 10 years, aims to become a leading center for science education and will focus on the natural history and natural resources of Northern California, the seacoast, Sacramento Valley, surrounding foothills and mountains. The museum is holding a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony on February 27, 2010.[19] Visit for more information.

Art and theatre

About 40 murals and several galleries can be found in the city, including The Crux, 1078 Gallery, Avenue 9, The Space, 24-Hour Drive-By, The 46 and numerous other galleries. The theatres in Chico include Blue Room Theatre, Theatre ETC, Chico Cabaret, Chico Performances, Chico Theater Company, and Theatre on the Ridge. The California State University, Chico Theatre Department also offers a variety of entertainment throughout the school year.[20]

Points of interest

Chico, CA is home to Bidwell Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.

Chico is the site of Bidwell Park, the ninth-largest municipally-owned park in the United States, Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park, the Chico University Arboretum.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, the second-largest craft brewer in the country, is based in Chico. Butte Creek Brewing Company, maker of handcrafted organic ales, is also located in Chico.

Chico has the tallest building north of Sacramento in California: Whitney Hall, a nine-story dormitory on the Chico State college campus.

The Meriam Library on the CSUC campus is named after Ted Meriam. The building has more square footage than any other building in California north of Sacramento.

The State of California, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development defines Enloe Medical Center as a General Acute Care Hospital in Chico with a Level II Trauma Center and Basic emergency care as of August 22, 2006. The facility is located at 1531 The Esplanade at (NAD83) latitude/longitude 39°44′33″N 121°51′00″W / 39.7425°N 121.85°W / 39.7425; -121.85.

The Hooker Oak, formerly the largest Valley Oak in the world, was located at Hooker Oak Recreation Area in Bidwell Park.

Located in urban Chico, the Mechoopda Maidu Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria is at 125 Mission Ranch Blvd. (latitude and longitude 39°43′55″N 121°51′10″W / 39.73194°N 121.85278°W / 39.73194; -121.85278).

Bidwell Municipal Golf Course, United States Department of Agriculture Plant Introduction Garden, Canyon Oaks Golf Course, Diamond Match Factory, Chico Museum, Chico Municipal Center, Dorothy F. Johnson Neighborhood Center, Veterans Memorial Building, Craig Hall, Stansbury House, Scrappy Dog, Madison Bear Garden, Chico Creek Nature Center, Chico Community Observatory, Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, Chico Area Recreation and Park District, Bidwell Amphitheatre, Honey Run Covered Bridge, Senator Theatre, A. H. Chapman House, Allen-Sommer-Gage House, Patrick Ranch House, Silberstein Park Building, Pioneer Days.


In its July/August 2006 journal, the group American Whitewater named Chico one of the top five U.S. whitewater cities along with Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Asheville, NC; Boise, Idaho and Washington, DC. [21]

Chico has also gained a reputation as being a bicycle-friendly city. In 1997, Chico was ranked as the number-one cycling city in the nation by Bicycle Magazine and also hosts the Wildflower Century, an annual 100-mile (160 km) bike ride throughout Butte County every April. The city is in the process of creating a network of bicycle paths, trails and lanes. Some notable bicycle routes include a path leading from The Esplanade to the Chico Airport, a path along Park Avenue continuing down the Midway toward Durham, a path following Little Chico Creek from Bruce Road to Highway 99, and a series of paths throughout Bidwell Park. A path following Potter Road will soon be open and provide a route to Honey Run Road and Butte Creek Canyon.


The city of Chico, being in the Sacramento Valley, sits amid some of the most fertile soil on earth. The region is an agricultural leader. Almonds are the number one crop in the area, only recently edging out rice. Other crops in the area include: kiwis, olives, peaches, and plums.

The city is bounded on the west by orchards with thousands of almond trees, and there are still a few pockets of orchards remaining within the contiguous city limits. The trees bloom with a pink/white flower in late February or early March. Millions of bees are brought in for the pollination. The nuts are harvested in late August.

Walnuts are also a major agricultural production in the area north and west of town. Unlike the almond crops of the area, walnuts do not have the same appeal as they do not bloom but they grow much larger and live much longer than almonds, but similar to the almond crops, walnuts are harvested in early September.

There is a Farmers' Market held on closed downtown streets each Thursday night during warm months, as well as one held Saturday mornings at the Wall Street public parking lot.



Chico Municipal Airport serves the area and is north of the city limits. It is served by United Airlines' United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines (San Francisco) The airport is also home to Aero Union, a company that refits surplus military aircraft as fire fighting aircraft.

Ranchaero Airport is surrounded by orchards on the west edge of town.

Surface transportation

Amtrak operates the Chico Amtrak station at Fifth and Orange Streets for the Coast Starlight service. The terminal is partially wheelchair accessible, has an enclosed waiting area, public restrooms, public pay phones, free short-term and long-term parking. Trains run between Seattle and Los Angeles with a northbound, and a southbound train departing from the station daily. The Greyhound bus station is also located at Fifth and Orange Streets.

The North Valley Shuttle has five scheduled runs daily to Sacramento International Airport leaving from Jack's Restaurant at Sixth and Main Streets.

The B-Line (Butte Regional Transit) serves the Chico Urban area with eight routes operating Monday through Saturday and two shuttle routes for CSU, Chico students during the academic year. The Chico Clipper serves the Chico urban area with nine modified vans providing transportation for the elderly and the mobility impaired seven days a week. The transit center in Chico is located at Second and Salem Streets.

There are at least nine taxi companies in Chico: Yellow Cab of Chico, American Taxi, Chico Cab, Liberty Cab, Chico Independent Taxi, Checkers Cab, Eco Cab, Taxi Dave and Premier Taxi.

Chico is a bronze level Bicycle-friendly community as designated by the League of American Bicyclists. Chico was also named "America's Best Bike Town" by Bicycle magazine in 1997.

Pedicabs are commonly available downtown during the evenings.

Major highways

California 99.svg State Route 99 and California 32.svg State Route 32 intersect in Chico.





Sister cities


  • An altitude record for unmanned gas balloons was set in Chico in October 1972 (51.8 km). The record was broken in Japan on May 23, 2002.
  • On July 31, 1961, the first-ever aircraft hijacking on United States soil occurred at the Chico Municipal Airport. Two men were critically wounded and the hijacker was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.[24][25]
  • Home of the world's largest working yo-yo.
  • Chico was ranked #1 in Forbes Magazine's "Best Places in America" (May 2000).
  • Chico was ranked 13th in Money.Com's "Best Places to Live" survey in 1999.
  • Rated No. 16 on Healthy Cities list, by Organic Style magazine, September/October 2003.
  • Lenny Bruce was confined at a State Rehabilitation Center in Chico for treatment of his drug addiction by court order.
  • Chico was ranked #17 in Farmers Insurance list of Most Secure Cities (2006) for cities under 150,000.
  • Chico was designated to be the provisional capital of California, in the event that a disaster occurred that would cause evacuation of Sacramento after a Civil Defense exercise named Operation Chico was deemed of a success.[26]
  • No person shall produce, test, maintain, or store within the city a nuclear weapon, component of a nuclear weapon, nuclear weapon delivery system, or component of a nuclear weapon delivery system under penalty of Chapter 9.60.030 of the Chico Municipal Code.
  • One of few cities to be home to two championship baseball teams in two different leagues simultaneously. The CSUC Wildcats were champions in both the 1997 and 1999 Division II College World Series. The Chico Heat were also champions in the Western Baseball League in 1997.
  • On Becker, Chico, California is a codeword that the phone company uses to add phony charges to your bill.

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ Council appoints Burkland as permanent city manager
  2. ^ California Department of Finance 2008 Population Estimate
  3. ^ "The 100 Largest City Parks" (PDF). The Trust for Public Land. 
  4. ^ Tree City USA
  5. ^ The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies, Series I, Volume L — In Two Parts, Part II -CORRESPONDENCE, ETC., GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, 1897. pp.593-594, 1125
  6. ^
  7. ^ Chico: A 20th Century Pictoral History (1995)
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ CSUC
  10. ^ CNN/Money
  11. ^ Chico News and Review
  12. ^ "Average Weather for Chico, CA - Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ City Data
  15. ^ a b Chico's 2005-6 Economic Profile
  16. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  17. ^ Museums & Historic Buildings Chico city website
  18. ^ "Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology Has Grand Opening Jan. 28 Highlighting New Exhibit: Living On Top Of The World: Arctic Adaptation, Survival And Stewardship" CSU, Chico News, Retrieved 1/18/2010
  19. ^ Home Gateway Science Museum
  20. ^ Art, Theatre and Music Chico city website
  21. ^ American Whitewater Journal July/August 2006 (not published on the web yet)
  22. ^ Chico considers establishing permanent sister city guidelines
  23. ^ Chico gets a Southern sister
  24. ^ Chico: A 20th Century Pictorial History
  25. ^
  26. ^ News From Our Past, Chico ER, Dec 6, 2008
  27. ^ a b Chico News and Review
  28. ^ Economics Dept. CSUC
  29. ^ Astronomer to speak at Community Center Oroville Mercury-Register

External links

Simple English

City of Chico, California
Rancho del Arroyo Chico
—  City  —
Nickname(s): City of Roses
Coordinates: 39°44′24″N 121°50′8″W / 39.74°N 121.83556°W / 39.74; -121.83556Coordinates: 39°44′24″N 121°50′8″W / 39.74°N 121.83556°W / 39.74; -121.83556
Country United States
State California
County Butte
Settled 1843
Founded 1860
Incorporated January 8, 1872
Founder John Bidwell
 - Type Charter city, Council-manager government
 - Mayor Ann Schwab
 - City Council Scott Gruendl

Larry Wahl
Ann Schwab
Mary Flynn
Tom Nickell

Jim Walker
 - City Manager David Burkland[1]
 - State Leg. Sen. Sam Aanestad (R)
Asm. Rick Keene (R)
 - U. S. Congress Wally Herger (R)
 - City 27.8 sq mi (71.9 km2)
 - Land 27.7 sq mi (71.8 km2)
 - Water > .01 sq mi (0.036 km2)
Elevation 245 ft (74 m)
Population (2000 census)
 - City 59,954
 Density 2,161.0/sq mi (834.5/km2)
 Metro 212,968
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP Code 95926, 95927, 95928, 95929, 95973, 95976
Area code(s) 530
FIPS code 06-13014
Demonym Chicoan
GNIS feature ID 1655890

Chico is a big city in the Central Valley of the American state of California. It is in the northern part of the state. Chico is in the Sacramento Valley close to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The city has a population of 79,091. People first started living in Chico in 1843. The city was founded in 1860 and started to govern itself in 1872.


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