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The California Bucket List is your daily guide to essential California adventures, from easy to edgy. Check in every day for a new must-do adventure, each tried and tested by one of the Travel section's staffers and contributors. Or use the filters in blue below to seek out great spots in each of 12 California regions: North Coast, Shasta Cascade, Gold Country, S.F. Bay Area, High Sierra, Central Valley, Central Coast, Deserts, Inland Empire and the counties of L.A., Orange and San Diego.

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Shasta Cascade

Admire Chico and the Mansion (and John Bidwell, the pioneer behind them)

Bidwell Mansion. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Bidwell Mansion. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Why: John Bidwell is a classic 19th century California success story, a pioneer, gold-miner, farmer and politician. He founded Chico and left behind the Bidwell Mansion, now a state park.

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.

Cal. State Chico. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Cal. State Chico. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Info: Bidwell Mansion, downtown Chico

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