Chico is an art town, influenced by the university and many creative-minded residents. In fact, the city ranks #10 in the book, The 100 Best Art Towns in America.

Art, culture and creativity contribute to a community in ways most don't realize. Chico's robust "creative culture" provides opportunities for the integration  of the visions of community and business leaders as demonstrated by the level of collaboration throughout sectors and citizenry. Children and adults are inspired to think differently spurring innovation and a fresh approach. Arts and economic vitality are connected in many ways such as:

  • Improve a community's competitive edge through attracting talented workforce and firms
  • Create a strong sense of place thus providing positive quality of life
  • Attract new and visiting populations building diversity, creativity and business opportunities
  • Contribute to the development of a skilled workforce through a culture of innovation 


Public art is everywhere in Chico. Stand-alone pieces, functional art, architectural art elements, and commemorative work can be found on sidewalks, at the airport, in traffic medians, in parks, on bridge abutments, and on and in public and private buildings. An assortment of galleries cater to every taste.

Performing Arts and Lectures

As a university community, Chico Performances hosts performances in theater, comedy and music, as well as lectures typically found in big cities. Sierra Nevada Brewery brings live concerts to Chico in its Big Room venue, and a number of small independent theaters such as Chico Theater Company and the ever-colorful Blue Room Theater offer performances throughout the year. 


For history buffs, the historic Bidwell Mansion, home of Chico’s founder, is a good place to start.

  • The Chico Museum mounts several themed exhibits each year showcasing the history of the area. 
  • The Gateway Science Museum, adjacent to Bidwell Mansion, caters to children as well as adults with interactive displays. Recent exhibits ranged from melting glaciers to what camping was like 100 years ago.
  • Patrick Ranch is dedicated to our community's rich agricultural heritage through the presentation of its collection, rotating exhibits and interpretive displays.
  • Chico Air Museum is a small, charming spot that collects, preserves documents and displays aircraft and aviation and space artifacts. Kid friendly and continually growing in size.
  • National Yo-Yo museum is nestled inside the Bird In Hand gift shop in downtown Chico. The original home to the National Yo Yo competition (rotates now due to increased size of attendance), this collection features every yo-yo imaginable along with information and other artifacts. 
  • Two new museums are slated for opening Fall of 2016 and Spring 2017 - MONCA (Museum of Northern California Art) and the Chico Children's Museum.  

Community Festivities

Chico’s community spirit is seen in its downtown, which serves as a central gathering place for many community events such as farmers markets, Friday night concerts and parades. Festivals of all kinds happen in and around the community engaging residents and visitors alike. Visit our event page to for more details.