Wake up to Chico
Dial back your Friday night and find out what Saturday morning in Chico has to offer
It’s early Saturday afternoon and the sun is pouring through the blinds, splashing off the walls and into your tender eyes. You’re thirsty, your head is throbbing and your roommate’s groans prove you’re not alone. To top it off, your water cup is empty and your cell phone is dead, and you have this nagging vision taunting your throbbing brain:
It’s a scene filled with happy people, outside in the gorgeous glow of morning. They’re buying locally grown produce and riding home with vibrant bouquets in their bike baskets. There are also people getting lost in Bidwell Park trying to find the perfect picnic spot, while others briskly jog beneath groves of oaks, allowing the sweetened morning air to fill their lungs. Still others are prepping the house for friends coming to a barbecue, while their guests find early-bird treasures at a yard sale.
But you have not been dreaming. As it does every week, this Chico scene has already played itself out before you and many other Chico State students have first cracked open the front door.
While you slept, non-hungover creatures experienced another idyllic morning in their satisfying lives. And you can be one of them. Sure, you might have to say, “No!” to that last $5 pitcher of vodka-cran, or skip the $2 Pabst that would have helped you bust out your signature dance move. You might even have to switch to water when you see an old friend from high school downtown and he begs you to do shooters and reminisce about the old days. But if you are able to skip the booze even one Friday a month, life will reward you with a real Chico Saturday morning.
Bagel Girl at the Saturday Farmers’ Market will be thrilled to see you.
“People like to buy bagels from someone who’s happy,” she says. And while you munch on bagels (or the tamales in the next stall), you can browse flavored honeys, pick up some plump strawberries, and snag something from an artist’s booth for mom’s birthday.
Stick your fully loaded ChicoBag in your bike basket and wander through the streets, and you’re bound to stumble upon a garage sale, where college students practically beg you to take their leftovers, and Chico families are happy to contribute to a young person’s growing collection of home goods.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, venture to the Chico Indoor Flea Market at the fairgrounds, where loyal vendors keep their tables stocked with knick-knacks and other junk you didn’t know you needed.
Saturday Farmers’ Market: Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the parking lot at Second and Wall streets.
Chico Indoor Flea Market: Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, 2357 Fair St.
Meanwhile, the nature folks gather for their own Saturday-morning excursion, and they will be pleasantly surprised to be joined by a young person. Chico’s Saturday mornings are usually chock-full of birding walks, flower hikes and other outdoorsy events hosted by hobbyists and experts in the area.
Join the California Native Plant Society on a Maidu medicine walk, where guide Wes Dempsey will show you how Native Americans used plants that can be found in your back yard for healing purposes. Or, show up at Chico Park and Ride to carpool to Butte Meadows, Table Mountain and farther places, where wildflower enthusiasts will lead you up and down trails to identify different types of flowers, trees and plants. If you’re feeling brave (and you have a road bike), slap on some spandex and join the Chico Corsa Cycling Club or Chico Velo members for a bike ride through the orchards.
For Saturday-morning enthusiasts, breakfast is over before 10 a.m. By the time you’ve arrived to stand in line and wait for breakfast in the afternoon, they’ve satisfied their hankering in an uncrowded dining room and already moved on to their other morning activities.
Locals—especially the ones who brave the early morning—are spoiled with an abundance of breakfast nooks and cafés that serve hearty morning meals in a variety of unique and traditional ways. Stop in for famous eggs Benedict at the Roost Café (1144 Park Ave.) or get a breakfast burrito at the Breakfast Buzz (208 Cedar St.). For those living farther from downtown, indulge in Café Coda’s (265 Humboldt Ave.) orange-cranberry french toast, or Sin of Cortez’s (2290 Esplanade) vegetarian scrambles piled high with homemade salsa and avocado.
Your settled stomach will appreciate some freshly brewed coffee and orange juice, and you won’t have to worry about your favorite place running out of the one thing you’ve been craving all week.
That’s just the fun stuff. You can always stock up on good karma, too. The early morning is reserved for volunteers who get their hands dirty in Bidwell Park, runners and walkers who show their support at benefits, and others who spend the early portion of their Saturdays making the Chico community a better place. Check the Chico News & Review’s calendar each week for details on what local organizations have planned.
Or, visit other volunteers at local nature-oriented educational facilities such as the Chico Creek Nature Center (1968 E. Eighth St.) and the Gateway Science Museum (625 Esplanade), where the week has been spent prepping for Saturday-morning activities.
Saying no to the fleeting fun of getting drunk on Friday night might be tough at first, with the boozy hooligans surrounding you and your 7-Up at the bar, but your mind, body and spirit will thank you the next morning. The unofficial Saturday Morning Club awaits you.