Summertime faves

Our top five things to do when it’s hot outside

Scotty’s Landing

Scotty’s Landing

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

It’s helpful to make a to-do list at the beginning of summer. The season has a way of drifting by, done in by the heat, and if you don’t craft a list, you might not have as much fun.

CN&R editors each put together a list of five favorite summer activities and excursions that we hope and expect to experience this summer.

Melissa Daugherty, special sections/projects editor

1. Take a kid to the Silver Dollar Fair (it runs through Monday). Remember when you were little and the fair was awesome? You’d get to see farm animals and their babies. Then you’d head over to the pony rides. Want to feel like a kid again yourself? Eat an egg roll on a stick and immediately ride the Zipper.

2. Tube the Sac. Once a year, ready or not, I slip on my bikini, inflate my inner-tube and hop into the 60ish-degree Sacramento River at Irvine Finch Recreation Area for a leisurely ride to Scotty’s Landing. Must haves: sun block, chips, fruit, good friends, water (bottled) and Budweiser (cans only). Always keep an eye out for snags (butt sharks).

3. Hike Feather Falls. I’ve heard horror stories about hikers running out of water on this eight-mile round trip hike and having to brave the chance of getting giardia from fresh spring water. But what’s a little intestinal trouble when it comes to the beauty of the nation’s sixth-highest waterfall? On second thought, take extra water and do the first part of the hike in the early morning.

4. Saturday Farmers Market picnic. Grab your basket, along with plates, napkins, glasses, utensils, a bread knife and a wine opener. Now head to the Saturday-morning market and pick up some local vine-ripened tomatoes, cheese, fruit, bread and organic wine. Then head to your favorite secluded hideaway and chow down.

5. Go roller skating. It’s blazing hot and you need a nice air-conditioned escape. You’ve already been to the movies—twice. Instead of sitting around, get up and moving at Cal Skate. It’s cheap, it’s fun and you’ll even get some exercise.

Bidwell Park

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

Meredith J. Cooper, associate editor

1. Take the dogs to the park. There’s nothing my three dogs enjoy more than sun and sniffing stuff. Bidwell Park satisfies both of those desires—and it is filled with endless places for the pups and their human companions to explore.

2. Swim. I’ve been a water baby since birth, so I look forward each year to those cool dips when it’s hot outside. There are so many swimming holes nearby, I can’t even count ’em all—and I haven’t even been to half (the less populated, the better).

3. Barbecue. Summer is great outdoor-grilling weather. And the barbecue has a way of attracting friends, who usually bring beer. Just the thought of char-grilled steak or well-marinated chicken with asparagus and zucchini has my mouth watering.

4. Baseball. The Outlaws aren’t quite the same as my hometown St. Louis Cardinals. But the games sure are fun, provided you’re not sitting smack underneath the summer sun. There’s nothing a good hat, sun block and a beer can’t fix, though, right?

5. Bike rides in the evening time. The sun stays out well past 7 o’clock, and while it might be sweltering hot during the day, it starts to cool off come evening. I’m not a morning person, so this is the best time I can find to get out and pedal my way along Chico’s bike paths.

Mark Lore, arts editor

1. Spend the day sponging others’ resources. Come on … free A/C, free rein of the thousands of magazines and books. A trip to Barnes & Noble can be an all-day event. I like to get there early, treat myself to an iced vanilla latté and snag myself a comfortable seat.

Bear Hole

Photo By Josh Graham

2. Take a three-hour detour. In just three short hours, I can trim 20 degrees from the temperature. I go north and relax in Ashland—see a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or check out a band at the Jefferson State Pub. Or head the other direction to San Francisco and hit up SFMOMA, go to any number of restaurants and, of course, Amoeba Records.

3. Find water. Lots of it around Chico. It’s nice to get a group together and make your way to Upper Bidwell and any number of swimming holes. Or befriend someone who has a pool—'cause where there are pools there are …

4. … Barbecues. Probably one of my favorite summertime activities (and wintertime, springtime, falltime) is throwing some meat and veggies on the ol’ ‘cue. This, of course, is always accompanied by friends and cold ones.

5. Mix rock and cement. There’s something about music in the open air. The Downtown Plaza may be hot as the dickens, and the music might be more background than exciting, but it’s such a great Chico tradition when the freaks and the squares and the average Joes come together. The sum is usually greater than the parts, and I love it.


Robert Speer, news editor

1. Theater in Ashland. One of my favorite summertime getaways is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which opens its summer season June 3 with a production of Othello in the Elizabethan Theater. The OSF is also showing Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town and Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors in the outdoor theater. The OSF has also updated its free “Green Show” performances held on the patio before each evening show. For a complete schedule, go to

Fort Bragg

Photo By josh graham

2. Backpacking in the Caribou. Summer isn’t complete without at least one backpacking trip. With its lovely little lakes just a few miles from the trailhead, the Caribou is ideal for young hikers for whom a long, uphill hike might be discouraging. And it’s close to Chico, just a few miles above Chester and Lake Almanor.

3. The Mendocino Coast. My family is fortunate that my uncle owns the historic two-room schoolhouse in Navarro, at the northern end of the Anderson Valley. He and his family have used it as a getaway spot for decades, and it’s thoroughly outfitted for large groups of people. Besides being one of the most beautiful places on the planet, the coast is blissfully cool, and there’s so much to do, from hiking and bicycling to strolling the streets of Mendocino and Fort Bragg.

4. Berkeley Tuolomne Camp. The city of Berkeley operates this family camp on the Tuolomne River, off Highway 120 just outside Yosemite National Park. The camp is a collection of tent cabins surrounding a beautiful swimming area on the river. Meals are provided in a large dining hall, and there are numerous activities for kids and their parents, including off-site hikes. For more info, go to

5. Sweet’s Mill. This is a small, friendly folk music festival in the foothills above Fresno that is a musician’s favorite. Founded in 1963 by Virgil and Edith Byxbe as a way to have a great party on their 240-acre spread above Auberry, it has grown over the years but is still an intimate, earthy affair where the music is what matters. For more info, go to

Jason Cassidy, calendar editor

1. Embrace the heat. Several summers ago I decided to give in to the heat. After 30-plus north valley summers, I’ve adapted. It’s not as if I’m out jogging at noon or sitting in a parked car or anything, I just accept the average summer temperature on its terms.

2. Stay outside all day. This one goes back to my early teen years in Redding, when my crew and I devoured every free second that summer vacation offered. There are few things more satisfying than tearing away from the homestead in the morning, heading downtown, exploring Chico all day on the one-speed and not returning home until sundown.

3. Listen to an album from beginning to end on headphones. These days, it’s almost always a CD instead of a proper vinyl album, but the experience is the same. Get a cool beverage, get prone, power-down the iTunes, stick in a long-play, and hear the whole work in its intended order all the way through without interruption. Yummy.

4. Do something I’ve never done before. Maybe this is not a true regular favorite of mine, but if I commit to it, it might become one. This summer, I’ll either start a game night where we play some invent-the-rules-as-you-go card game like 1,000 White Cards or Fluxx … or I’ll carve my own Hobo Nickel. For now, I’m undecided.

Bille Park

Photo By evan tuchinsky

5. Watch a movie on the lawn. This one was suggested in last year’s Summer Guide, but since this is a list of “favorites,” it must be repeated. It’s like going to the drive-in, but you sit on blankets and lawn chairs and snuggle up with all your friends.

Evan Tuchinsky, editor

1. Mmmmm, ice creeeam … Shubert’s is the top stop, though variety is nice—Ben & Jerry’s (fresh waffle cones), Jon & Bon’s (fro-yo layered with sprinkles), Coldstone (mmmm-mix-ins), Baskin Robbins (praline caramel sundaes) … no wonder my abdomen resembles Buddha’s.

2. Chill in the Grotto. Bille Park is within biking distance of my house, but it’s worth a trip to Paradise’s west side even if you live across or at either end of the Skyway. Through the West Wagstaff entrance, past the little bridges, sits the path down to the Grotto. Take it—the waterfall and shade keep the alcove cool, and the view is great.

3. Bathtime, doggies! We’ve got three now, and two bathtubs—one deep enough for the 85-pound (and still growing) lab mix. The dogs’ splashes and shake-shake-shakes cool me off; meanwhile, they cool down, dry fast and smell nice afterward, so it’s a win-win for everyone. Tip: Take the time to wipe out the tub so you’re ready for …

4. Bathtime, honey!

5. A/C cinema. Indiana Jones is out this weekend! Still haven’t seen Iron Man; can’t wait for The X-Files sequel and Star Wars cartoon. The lure of air-conditioning means I’ll also probably catch Get Smart, Pineapple Express, Hellboy II, The Dark Knight, the latest Mummy sequel and (gulp) Mamma Mia!