Here’s your daily travel guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State. Each of these essential California adventures has been tried and tested by a Travel section staffer or contributor.
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What: The mansion, a tall, Victorian-Italian wonder completed in 1868, opens for interior tours on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Just across Big Chico Creek, you can take a spin around the Cal. St. Chico campus (founded in the 1880s) and its handsome brick buildings. (Yes, Playboy named this the nation's hardest-partying school in 1987. Now those 20-year-olds are 50.) Last year Money magazine ranked Chico State the 40th best bargain among the nation's public colleges.
The shops, restaurants and bars of Main Street, Broadway and City Plaza are within a few blocks of the campus, not to mention the National Yo-yo Museum and the artsy SoPo neighborhood (south of the Post Office). The sprawling Bidwell Park -- which follows Big Chico Creek for miles, begins four blocks from the mansion at Camellia Way and Orient Street.
Where: Bidwell Mansion stands at 525 Esplanada, Chico, 473 miles north of downtown L.A..
How much: The mansion tour is $6 per adult, $3 per child ages 5-17. A year at Chico State is about $24,000, counting tuition, fees, room and board.