The HOT List: City Guide - Chico, California

 The HOT List: Chico

I'm excited to introduce a new series on Style*Mind*Chic Life for my Curated Travel brand. The HOT List: City Guides will feature an 'in the know' local sharing hot tips on her hometown. Our first HOT List features a longtime Chico resident, and one of my favorite people,  Melanie Drakulic.

City Guide Bio:  My name is Melanie Drakulic and I consider myself a local Chicoan.  I was born in San Francisco, CA and moved around a bit from state to state until I was in 6th grade when my family moved to Chico.  I attended Chico Junior High, Chico High, Butte College, and Chico State University undergraduate school and graduate school.  I’ve been a child, a teen, and an adult in Chico and each stage has brought new insight for me about what a special community Chico really is.

How long have you lived in your city? 33 years (minus a few when we lived in Portland, OR)

3 Words to describe your city?  Natural, Seasonal, & Homey

Best place to spend the night? Hotel Diamond is a historic building relatively recently restored and is in the heart of downtown Chico.  It is walking distance to many restaurants, bars, and shops.  There is also a restaurant and bar in the hotel that offers a fun atmosphere and live music.

Favorite spot for brunch?  Nash’s Restaurant has always had a terrific brunch with bottomless champagne. The atmosphere is fun and lively for all ages.

(Mike and the kids)

Favorite place to catch a view? Monkey Face in Upper Bidwell park is a short hike that results in views of Horseshoe Lake, Bidwell Park Golf Course, and the surrounding lower parts of Upper Bidwell Park.  Also driving down from Paradise, there is a lookout point where you can clearly view the Butte Creek Canyon that is breathtaking, especially at sunset.

Favorite place for a date night?Fifth Street Steakhouse is our go to for date night.  It’s fun to have a drink at the bar and intermingle with the crowd of various friends we run into also out on dates.  Then to be seated in their red leather booth in the dimly lit, warmly decorated dining room makes for a perfect setting to enjoy wine and a delish meal.  


Describe your favorite meal in town? The Sicilian Café is a locally owned family restaurant in a unique corner of downtown.  It is the kind of place you go to spend the evening, not rush through a meal. You start with antipasti, then soup or salad (they have the best homemade blue cheese dressing), your entrée (my favorite is the Chicken Americano, my husband loves the Veal Parmesan), and of course dessert ~ the homemade tiramisu!


Favorite rooftop or dive bar? Of course, Duffy’s is the town favorite. It’s a locally owned dive bar with an eclectic mix of patrons, cheap drinks, a jukebox, sports on TV, lively talk, and down to earth service.  And bonus - The Pub Scouts play their traditional Irish music there three nights a week.

Best spot to workout? Upper and Lower Bidwell Park are the best free and natural places to work out. Exercise options range from hiking, running, swimming, mountain biking, roller blading, golfing, etc. There are miles of trails and creeks to explore and work up a sweat on.  If you’re looking for gym action, I go to the old tried and true Chico Sports Club.  It’s not fancy, and maybe a bit outdated, but the instructors are the best.  They make Zumba, Pump, HIT, Yoga, and Pilates fun and calorie burning!


Favorite places to shop? We shop for food at our local co-op S & S produce and Butcher Shop Meats.  They provide mostly local, organic products in a quaint and rustic shop. If we are doing retail shopping, I generally head downtown to any of the local boutiques such as Urban Laundry, For Elyse, or Made In Chico.  Chico Sports Ltd. And Fleet Feet are also good for sporting and exercise shops.

Favorite natural beauty spot? I really love Butte Creek along Honey Run Road. There are several spots you can pull over and picnic and play in the water along the road all the way up to Honey Run Covered Bridge.

(Melanie - another natural beauty -  enjoying the water)

(Jack and Calina walking on rock walls)

Favorite street to wander? I love to wander around the Chico State Campus for its natural beauty with its many different trees, flowers, and the creek that runs through campus.  The buildings are also beautiful with the classic brick buildings to more modern designs toward the newer parts of campus.  I also like to meander down the little streets between Chico State and Chico High, like on W. Frances Willard to look at the quaint and unique architecture of the homes along that street.

Hidden Gem in your city? I’d have to again reference Bidwell Park, Lower Park & Upper Park. So much to do and see.  From Lower Park trails and playgrounds to Upper Park hikes and swimming at stops like Bear Hole and Salmon Hole. So beautiful and accessible.

HOT List City Style Tips: Chico has four full seasons.  Your wardrobe will need things for freezing cold, rain, mid 50’s to 60’s, warm sunny days, and blistering hot over 100 degree days.  We are casual chic here.  Dare I even say a little Bohemian?  Well, at least I am ☺. Nothing too formal is necessary in Chico.  

Thanks for sharing your HOT List Chico, Melanie. I've known you for 15 years and I still learned some new tips.

Love it when you dish, girlfriend! ;) xx

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