Chico recognized as ideal adult destination

One Mile
The scenery at Bidwell Park is just one of many things that make Chico a desirable place to live.Photo credit: Emily Teague

Chico is listed in Sunset Magazine’s “24 Best Places to Live and Work” and is a runner-up in the “Best Place to Reboot Your Life” list for 2014.

Chico receives these honors, in part, because of its handsome downtown filled with unique shops and restaurants, the farmers markets and Bidwell Park.

“I feel that Bidwell Park helps define Chico because it is very unique in its history and physical features,” said Yajaira Cruz, a sophomore social work major. “If Chico didn’t have Bidwell it would be another small college town.”

Josh Stewart, an adjunct political science professor, is from the Bay Area. Living there is more fast-paced and he assumed the entire state of California was like that. However, after visiting Chico, he was proven wrong.

“Chico is a small town community, one where everyone is welcome, regardless of what class or background you’re from,” Stewart said. “I think the farmers market kind of illustrates that. No other place can you have a farmers market like that where everybody comes out and supports it.”

Chico’s willingness to accept new and upcoming businesses is another reason the town made Sunset’s list. Support from groups such as Innovate North State, a company working to develop local businesses, apparently played a role in the destinations chosen, according to the article.

“We’re a piece of an overall puzzle in the community,” said Jon Gregory, managing director for Innovate North State. “You don’t have to be in LA or San Francisco to start a company.”

Stewart agrees that Chico is among the top 24 places to live, but he doesn’t agree with it being one of the best places to work.

“Everything that I have been told is that you can only get a job in this town if you know someone, and you can only get a job that doesn’t pay very well,” Stewart said. “Most people end up leaving to pursue careers somewhere else but wishing in the back of their head they could still live in Chico.”

Although it’s a little college town, Chico has a lot to offer to both students and other residents. Low crime rates, developing businesses and entertainment of many forms are all leading people to choose to live and work here.

“You can actually walk down the street and people say ‘hi’ to you,” Stewart said. “You don’t have to worry about leaving your books on the table and having them stolen, which is a thing that you have to worry about in the Bay Area.”

Dominique Diaz can be reached at [email protected] or @dominiquelaura on Twitter.