Chico after dark

Half a dozen reasons to stay up late (that don’t include a frat party)

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So you want to stay up after the sun goes down, but you're under 21 and therefore can't hit the bars. No problem. Of course, there are frat parties and other fun to be had at student pads near the Chico State campus, but believe us, that gets old fast. (And, if you spend all your time drinking, you probably won't ace all your classes like you told Mom and Dad you would.) The good thing is, there's plenty of non-drinking to be had. Here are half a dozen ideas to get you started:

1. Take in a Late Show

Whether you're a movie buff or not, this is a must-do while you're in Chico. Head over to The Pageant, Chico's art-house movie theater, at 10 p.m. on a Saturday and fork over a few bucks for a Late Night flick you've likely never seen on a big screen before.

351 E. Sixth St.

2. Feed your face hole

So, you may not be old enough to crawl the local bars. But that doesn't mean you can't get out of the house for some late night good eats! A handful of restaurants are open till 3 a.m. on weekends to satisfy those munchies (while there, enjoy some prime people-watching, too). Some faves: Burgers and Brew (301 Broadway); Aca Taco on Nord (in the Safeway shopping center); Main Street Pizza (331 Main St.); Serrano's Mexican Grill (645 W. Fifth St.).

3. Escape—or try to, at least

Get a group together, head over to Chico Escape Rooms and enter a fantasy world that you need to, you know, escape from. The experience requires some basic sleuthing skills, so it's best to bring your brainy friends and your thinking caps. Good luck!

3075 Cohasset Road.

4. Have a slice of punk-rock pizza

If you're into punk music, then you must check out Monstros Pizza. Sounds random, and it is. But for all-ages crowds into punk, metal and indie in Chico, Monstros is where it's at. The food is good. The music is loud. And there are wood chips all over the floor, which is a clue that things might get messy.

628 W. Sacramento Ave.

5. Look at the sky … look at it!

Picture this: You and a date, in Upper Bidwell Park after dark … star-gazing. Seriously, though, pick a clear, preferably moonless weekend night and head out to the Chico Community Observatory in Upper Bidwell Park. Then sit back in the open-air planetarium and take in the beauty that is the cosmos. If you show up before 10:45 p.m., you can go inside and get an actual magnified view of the night sky by peering through one of the observatory's telescopes.

6. Night swim

When it's warm and dark out, there's nothing quite like stripping down to your skivvies (or less) and taking a dip in Sycamore Pool (at One-Mile Recreation Area in Lower Bidwell Park). Just watch out for sketchy park rats while you're there—travel in a group and keep an eye on your belongings. Keep it fun and safe out there.