The little town of Chico, California, located 140 mi/225 km northeast of San Francisco in the Sacramento Valley, is more happening than one might expect, and much of the liveliness stems from the presence of California State University at Chico. A small-town collegiate atmosphere predominates, with tree-shaded boulevards, a compact downtown and historic homes—particularly the Bidwell Mansion, now an impressive state historic park and former home of Chico's founder, John Bidwell, and his wife Annie.

The town's massive Bidwell Park (one of the largest city parks in the U.S.), donated by Annie Bidwell, has a large network of trails for hiking and biking. The 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood was filmed there, as were some shots from Gone With the Wind.

Chico is home to the well-known Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Its facilities are just off Highway 99 (at 20th Street) and include an excellent restaurant. Tours of the brewery are available. The town has also become something of a hot spot for art glass, containing both Oriental and flume-art glass and the Satava art-glass studio, run by artist Richard Satava.

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