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7 Things to Do in Winter in Northern California

While California may not be the first place you think of when planning a winter vacation, this West Coast icon is full of fun things to do in the winter. From playing the slots at Gold Country to birdwatching with the experts at the Snow Goose Festival, winter in Northern California is a great time to plan your next adventure. 

Gold Country Casino

Woman holding cash in hand at Gold Country Casino Resort in Oroville, CA.

Gold Country Casino is one of the best ways to beat boredom this winter in Northern California. This casino offers an impressive variety of games, from traditional table games to video and reel slot machines and even a bespoke version of Roulette called Gold Country Roulette. The fun doesn’t stop on the casino floor: there are seven restaurants and bars on-site at Gold Country to keep you fueled up for more gaming.

Gold Country Live Shows

 In addition to its amazing casino floor, Gold Country Casino Resort is a top destination in Northern California for live entertainment. Their spacious, smoke-free event venue has hosted greats like Al Green, Chicago, and more. Winter shows at Gold Country Casino Resort include Tyler Rich, Gin Blossoms, Kodi Lee, The Lalas, and Master Magician Lance Burton. 

Spirits Whiskey Bar & Lounge, located on-site at Gold Country, invites you to enjoy free live music every Thursday at 8 pm! Enjoy the best whiskey drinks around while a live DJ spins the hits.

Birdcage Theatre

In historic downtown Oroville, the Birdcage Theatre has been serving the arts community in Oroville and beyond for over 40 seasons. Located conveniently within walking distance of fine dining, unique shops, and charming downtown scenery, seeing a show at the Birdcage Theatre is one of the best things to do in Northern California in the winter. 

Parade of Lights

The Parade of Lights takes place in Oroville in early December annually. The Oroville Chamber of Commerce puts on this festive parade that showcases decorated floats, dance groups, and other performers with a marching band providing the tunes. The parade is typically the final event of a holiday-fun-packed day in Oroville, with local businesses and restaurants hosting festive events throughout the day. 

Snow Goose Festival

One of the most interesting things to do in winter in Northern California is the Snow Goose Festival in Chico. This four-day event, January 25 – 28, 2024, celebrates the migration of millions of raptors and waterfowl who call this area home during the winter months. This year’s festival features over 60 guided field trips, workshops, free activities, and engaging exhibits, plus keynote speakers Bryce and Brita Lundberg of Lundberg Family Farms. 

Mt. Ida Mandarin Ranch

Open from November 20 through January 1, 2024, Mt. Ida Mandarin Ranch is Northern California’s answer to the winter blues. The ranch will open for satsuma and owari mandarin bag sales to bring bright citrus flavor to the chilly winter days during the mandarin harvest season. Just a short drive from the Lake Oroville Recreation Area, you can take your delectable fruits to the shores and eat with a view. 


LIVE VINE is a micro winery overlooking the Afterbay in Oroville CA. The smallest winery in Butte County, LIVE VINE has made a huge name for themselves with traditional grape wines, hard ciders, agave seltzers, wine slushies, and even carbonated mead. All of the beverages are made from start to finish on site by this family-run business, making a visit to LIVE VINE one of the best things to do in Northern California in the winter – support a family business while you warm up with a delicious drink! 

Frequently Asked Questions about Things to Do in Winter in Northern California

What is Northern California like in the winter?

As California isn’t many people’s first choice for winter travel, crowds are minimal at popular attractions during the winter months. Weather along the coast is usually mild, between 50 (Fahrenheit) and 60 degrees, with more rain days in the start of the season. 

What is the best month to visit Northern California? 

In the fall, temperatures range from the chilly 40s (Fahrenheit) at night to balmy 80s during the day, making fall one of the best times to visit Northern California. The warm temperatures typically stretch until mid-September, giving visitors plenty of time to soak up the sun and beautiful weather. 

Northern California is a diverse, interesting place with plenty of things to do. When you’re ready to plan your action-packed trip to Oroville, Chico, and the surrounding areas, turn to Gold Country Casino Resort for unbeatable accommodations at Northern California’s best casino resort. 

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