Moving to the Chico Area

Parent Q&A

  • Paradise Anyone?

    (2 replies)

    Trying to think broadly about life (and housing) beyond the Bay Area, we have come across the community of Paradise (in Sierra foothills, outside of Chico, for reference). We know the area, having traveled through it on our way to camping and stopping briefly at the food co-op in Chico. But I am looking for more information about the feel of living there, population, amenities, weather, etc. Basically, more insight than one can gather from Wikipedia and City Data! Anyone? Thank you.

    RE: Paradise Anyone? ()

    My brother lived in Paradise for a number of years. It's a very pretty area, but it's extremely rural, sparsely populated, and economically depressed. Visiting him we'd drive past falling-down houses nestled in the trees, rusty cars on cinderblocks, and dogs chained up in the front yard. Most of my brother's neighbors were pot growers, meth cookers, and survivalists. This is the case with a lot of rural areas in the US, not just Paradise. There might be nice areas that I just never saw. But if I had a choice, I'd pick anywhere in the Bay Area over a tiny town like Paradise to raise my kids.  

    RE: Paradise Anyone? ()

    It's been a while but I lived in that area.  It remember it getting hot and I mean really hot in the summer.  Like many of the small foothill towns it's drug country.  Today on the news when they were talking about the Oroville dam they mentioned the area has a high unemployment rate and a huge drug problem.  Have you thought about Chico? 

Parent Reviews

Chico.  A River Runs Through It

My son moved his family to Chico about two years ago. He says it is like the Berkeley he grew up in in the nineteen sicties. Chido is 180 miles, about 2 1/2 hour drive. I take 89, to 505, toHwy 5, and shoot across the Central Valley at Willows. Chico is a college town and a business center of the North Valley. Chico has North State Public Radio, a viable downtown near the university, and shopping malls on the outskirts. Schools are good, summers are HOT, but winters are mild.  On hot summer afternoons few people are out; they are indoors with air conditioning, at the mall with air conditioning, or at the river.

People are friendly. There is the BEST civic park in the world-Bidwell Park, along the river which runs through the center of town. Good hospitals and doctors. Enroe Medical Center is in the center of town.

My grandtwins live there, so I visit at least once a month. Write if you have any specific questions.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Just offered a job in Chico, don't know the area

Feb 2008

Dear former residents of Chico, CA, I have read the positive things on BPN about Chico, and am very impressed. I got a job offer from Chico and would greatly appreciate any information and recommendations about good neighborhoods, elementary schools, any parent's network there, etc. Please advice. I am going to rent an appartment and any suggestions re good appartment complexes would be greatly appreciated. thank you

In Chico stay as close to Bidwell Park as you can get. Stay East of the Esplanade and as close to downtown as you can get. Enjoy the downtown farmers market on Saturday morning, it is delightful. There is an apt/condo project right next to the One Mile (Big Chico Creek). There is an apartment complex across from Bidwell Mansion that is beautiful. Both would make good homes. Stay within biking distance from downtown, the cultural heart of the jewel of the valley, my hometown. George

I like the neighborhood around Sierra View and Neal Dow elementary schools. Rent is much cheaper there than here, you may be able to afford to rent a house or a duplex. While the downtown/college area is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of Chico, it is also the most heavily populated with college students, which can be loud. My other advice to you would be not to rent through a property management company, particularly ''Reliable'' Property Management. Their name is ironic. Good luck

Moving to Chico with 2 kids

Jan 2006

My husband has just been offered a job in Chico. We know nothing about the Chico area. We have a child in elementary school and one in high school. Does anyone have any information about the schools, where in the area to move to, and what the place and people are like? Any information or contacts would be appreciated. Thank you. Susan

I saw your message about moving to Chico and I thought I would offer my two cents since I grew up there (1965 - 1987) and still go back regularly. I can't tell you much about the schools anymore but I can tell you that it is a wonderful town, that the college is great despite what you may hear and the outdoor life is the best. Hiking at a moment's notice, swimming areas everywhere (which you will treasure during those HOT summer months) and the third largest park in the US (Bidwell Park runs all the way through the town). I lived in pretty much every area of Chico and with small children the only areas I might avoid would be very close to the college, and only because the college is right next to the downtown and student housing etc. Honestly if I hadn't grown up there I would move back. Good Luck! Leslie

My husband and I grew up in the Chico area and plan to return there within the next couple of years. Chico is a growing community and as any community grows, it experiences growing pains. However, overall, Chico is a safe, comfortable (though a bit more conservative than the Bay Area) town/city. Most people send their kids to public school as there are few private school options and the public schools are generally good. There are two public high schools in Chico - Chico High and Pleasant Valley and both are similar in size and reputation. There is a lot of new development in Chico. I'm not sure of your price range for homes, but the homes in the Canyon Oaks development are new, very nice and a bit pricey (based on Chico standards). I would contact a local real estate agent for assistance. I suggest Andrea Motta - she knows the area better than anyone. I prefer the older homes in the neighborhoods around Bidwell Park. It's great to be able to walk to downtown Chico and Bidwell Park. I'm sure you will experience some sort of culture shock moving from the Bay Area to Chico. There isn't as much going on up there, but I find that refreshing. Still, Chico has good theatre, nice restaurants, the university and all the good (and bad) that comes with it, etc. The Chico campus is beautiful, a creek runs right through downtown Chico, and there are tons of wonderful places near Chico (Lassen, Shasta, Oroville Lake, Feather River Canyon/Highway 70, Feather Falls, Butte Creek Canyon, Lake Almanor - the list goes on). The communities of Paradise and Durham are also lovely alternatives to living in Chico proper and are only a short drive to Chico. Oh! And the best thing - Chico just got a Trader Joe's! Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Hannah

I was born and raised in Chico and it is a great place to live and raise children. The college provides a good cultural base to the community. Bidwell Park offers marvelous walking, biking, and swimming. The schools are considered to be quite good, as well. It has become a bit more upscale in recent years, which basically means that you can actually go out for a pretty decent restaurant meal now (and they just got a Trader Joe's--a boon to busy parents!). The Farmer's Market is fabulous, too. Real estate prices are not cheap--they are really going up, just like in the Bay Area, though it is still far more affordable to live there than here. As it is in the valley, it is colder in the winter than the Bay Area and can get quite hot in the summer, so most people depend on air conditioning from May-August to stay comfortable. Please e- mail me if you would like to talk to my best friend, who raised both her kids there--she still lives and works there with her husband. She might be willing to chat with you and give you more detailed information. sarah

i lived in chico for 5 years and it is definately a college town, however, there are areas on the outskirts that are quite nice and away from the college. i think it tends to be a bit rowdier campus, but then that is where all the beautiful craftsman homes are. i loved the weather while there, though it does get hot, and they have great parks and bike trails throughout town.

i sent my aunt, who still lives there email and this was her response. she said she'd be happy to answer more questions which you can channel through me if you have any. best of luck in your decision. -tami

Chico is a great place for schools and the Arts, Restaurants, events, etc. !! The new Jr. high is great and I recommend PV high school. It is better than Chico High but Chico has a great school system. As far as a place to live. [where they live... off of bruce road] is perfect, close to schools, the park, shopping. there are a lot of good Realtors that could help them. They can call the Chamber of Commerce and get a lot of information sent to them. tami

Ohmygosh! Chico is one of my very favorite CA towns, I would move there in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact, we tried to move there in '99 but my husband could not find a job that paid anywhere near what he was making here so even though we had found a FABULOUS house on an acre for $115,000 we had to cancel escrow and stay put. Chico is a wonderful town for families with young kids. Yes, there are plenty of hard partyin' college kids but having the University there means you get good bands coming through town, excellent organic groceries(as well as a kick ass farmer's market right downtown) and lots of cheap (and yummy) eats. Did you know that Chico is home to the third largest municiple park in the US (Bidwell Park)? what a treasure it is - a fabulous swimming hole called One Mile, Butte Creek, the Honeyrun Covered Bridge, the Nature Center, Skate Town, a wonderful funky downtown that STILL EXISTS! Matinee movies at Tinseltown for $5.00, Celestino's pizza, the Graduate (che! ap great food, huge beer selection Susan

Living in Red Bluff

August 2008

Re: Leaving the Bay Area for a more rural life
Hello, I grew up in the bay area, lived there 36 years, many different cities, and my family is still there. Three years ago, after extensive research, I bought a house in Red Bluff, which is two hours north on Interstate 5 from Vacaville, or three hours from San Francisco / east bay. Red Bluff is called the victorian city on the river, as it is on the Sacramento river. This town has such a wonderful feeling, like stepping back in time, not just because of the buildings but it's a noticeably slower pace. Every other weekend I return to the bay area and when I come back, it's just so relaxing compared to the crowds and traffic down there. I know all of my neighbors and they are super nice, helpful and friendly. I can't say the same for any place I lived in the bay area. Chico is 45 minutes and Redding is 30 minutes. Lassen is a one hour drive, skiing at Mt. Shasta is 2 hours away. Whiskeytown lake is 40 minutes (the cleanest water that will ever touch your body!).!

Last week we rafted on the Sacramento river, 3 blocks away, wonderfully cool water when it's 108 degrees outside! Everything I need is within ONE mile! Raley's, TWO Starbuck's drive-throughs, Home Depot, WalMart, banks, post office, dmv, etc. My son can attend preschool through high school from 1/2 mile away to 2 blocks! and there is a small college as well, and a new campus is being built. It's a completely flat town, so walking and bike riding are very popular, and the bus system is great. I can't say enough about it. I compare police logs to San Francisco, the east bay, etc and the crimes here are so petty and non-violent compared to the bay area. I have never in three years had anyone panhandle me at a gas station (happens all the time in the bay area) and I have never felt uncomfortable walking or bike riding. We have our town nuts, like every town, and the economic status is lower than much of the bay area, but it's different, the people may be poor but they're not violent criminals.

I have seen tremendous improvements in the last 3 years, in terms of houses being redone. On the cultural level, there is a theatre that offers dramatical productions and comedians that tour through (many of the same ones from the bay area), movies, bowling, mini golf, awesome skate park, public swimming pool, airport, etc. Hey, you can always take a trip to San Francisco for the opera once a year. So, it's a trade off. On the one hand I have an affordable home and yard, LOVE living here, and on the other hand the types of peers my son will have won't be as culturally diverse or perhaps as sophisticated as maybe you'd find in Berkeley. I did find a great piano teacher for my son.

On a side note I had several health issues, one for over 10 years, another for three years, and several other things, which I noticed after six months of living here disappeared! The city water is 100% untreated deep underground well water, from 14 wells 250-600 feet deep. NO chlorine, NO fluoride...NOTHING.

Anyways, this is ! a wonderful, ''small'' town (pop 16,000). Good luck finding your ''spot''. If my family wasn't here I would probably move to a small East Coast town, but Red Bluff has sort of the same feeling..without the freezing cold winters! NOTE: when I was doing extensive research on where to live near the bay area, I found out that the internet has lots of incorrect info. For example, City-Data said that Red Bluff gets snow. It does not. In fact I was much colder in San Francisco than I ever was here. So my advice is don't go too much by internet info, go see for yourself. My health is MUCH better, I feel better, less stress, it's hard to explain, but so many people here have come from the bay area or southern california tell me they feel the same way. k