Off-Campus Life and Community Connection

Campus Area Neighborhoods

The "south campus” neighborhood is generally viewed as the area south of West Second Street between the downtown commercial zone(opens in new window) (Broadway and Main Street) and the Union Pacific railroad tracks. This area is known for its 19th century historic homes, fraternity and sorority houses, highly concentrated student housing including both homes and smaller apartments, and a small but vibrant commercial area at the corner of Fifth and Ivy Streets.

Given the historic nature of many of the area homes, the proximity to downtown, the location of Greek life housing, and the social aspects of the Fifth and Ivy Streets commercial district, this neighborhood typically commands slightly higher rental rates in this highly concentrated student-aged neighborhood.

Many of the streets within south campus are improved with sidewalks (although watch your step as many of the older tree roots have wreaked havoc with the sidewalks). Lighting can be inconsistent throughout these neighborhoods with some streets having many street lights while other streets may not be as well-lit. Always use caution when walking in this or any neighborhood at night, and you are always encouraged to walk with a friend.

Biking routes are limited in this neighborhood yet cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicle traffic all compete for access so caution should be exercised at all times.

Street parking is very limited in the residential areas and parking meters will be found on most streets beginning at Fifth Street heading towards the campus. Maximum time limits on these meters can be as short as 36 minutes and as long as 10 hours (typically the farther away from campus, the longer the meter limits). Traffic meters operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and are patrolled regularly. The University and City both have off-street parking lots but these lots are typically impacted by pre-sold permits. Students can check out the availability of parking permits at Student Financial Services(opens in new window).

The “north campus” student neighborhood is typically described as the area beginning on the West Sacramento Avenue edge of campus and bordered by North Cedar Street to the west and the Esplanade to the east.  A greater concentration of student housing is the area bordered by North Cedar Street to the west and Warner Street to the east including West Sacramento Avenue, Rancheria, West First Avenue, West Second Avenue and West Forth Avenue. This area includes single family homes and smaller apartment communities. 

For many years, the north campus neighborhoods were not actually in the Chico city limits so infrastructure (sidewalks and lighting) have not been developed to the degree of other campus-area neighborhoods. This area is very close to campus yet given the lack of commercial and entertainment activity, it is typically a quieter neighborhood with not the degree of concentration of students as "south campus".  Additional student-focused living is currently under construction in the heart of this neighborhood along North Cedar Street and the student population is expected to increase.

The City founders made street naming a bit of a challenge by assigning numbers to both south campus (streets) and north campus (avenues). As and example, West Fourth Street is south of campus and West Forth Avenue is in north campus.  So when ordering a pizza, make sure you specify whether you live on Fourth Street or Fourth Avenue or you may be faced with a cold dinner.

Nord Avenue and it's extension as Walnut Street mark a natural “west campus” boundary line for several neighborhoods west of the Union Pacific railroad tracks that have long been popular college-aged rental areas. Prices are closer to the north campus rates and business services abound along Nord Avenue.  Nord Avenue becomes Walnut Street (and vice versa) at W. Sacramento Avenue. 

Larger apartment communities are featured in this neighborhood; many offer amenities that include swimming pools, recreation rooms, computer centers and abundant on-site parking. You are likely to find 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments in this area, which runs from roughly one-mile west of campus to Dayton Road on the south end. There are many popular locations west of Nord Avenue and Walnut Street that offer spacious and convenient off-campus living options.

Bike and pedestrian trails lead conveniently from the west campus neighborhood into the campus core.

While you may not find the entertainment offered in Chico’s downtown area, there are ample grocery stores, fast food sites, and local eateries nearby.

The "east side" neighborhood is a little known but very unique and popular place to live.  This neighborhood was established between 1900 – 1930 and has many historically restored houses.  The “East Side” neighborhood is made up of young professionals and students looking for a quiet place to live.  It is close to downtown,  Saturday Farmer’s Market, CSUC, shopping, restaurants, and Bidwell Park. From this neighborhood it is easy to walk or ride your bike almost everywhere.