Frank T and the 10+ Greatest, Most Fun {Funnest} Things to do in the Redding Area

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Well, here we are with a pleasant mix of rain and sun, but that shouldn’t keep us from taking in some of the greatest kept secrets within the greater Redding area to find and explore.  Some you drive by daily, and others you say you’re going to get there, but just haven’t made it. So, this is your impetus to get back on the trail of seeing these area treats, with your friend, family or just yourself.  In not any particular order, let’s start off with…

Keswick Dam

Yes, you’ve heard of it, but not quite sure how to get to the BLM-operated dam. Finished in 1950, and 157-feet tall, you can walk, bicycle or drive across, while remembering the massive Shasta Dam is just a few miles up the river.

Anderson River Park, Anderson

This 440-acre regional park is full of everything you can imagine: heritage trees you can swing through like Tarzan, fishing pond, horse trails, bocce ball, soccer, golf, baseball, picnic areas, rental spaces and the Sacramento River running alongside. Operated by Anderson City Parks & Recreation.

Old City Hall – Redding

Built in 1907 as Redding’s City Hall and Police Department, and used as such until the 1960s, now it’s headquarters of Shasta County Arts Council & Arts Center.  Art exhibits, theatrical productions, community TV channel and art classrooms are located in this beautiful brick building.

By DaderotOwn work, CC0, Link

McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, Redding

Located within the Turtle Bay Exploration and Sundial Bridge complex, this 20-acre garden of wonder is within walking distance of Redding and links to more than 200 acres of trails and pathways. Mediterranean climate plants, water features and sculptures by local artists make this a place to be during all the seasonal changes.

By User Fogbank – self-made, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Founded in 1849 as a stage mail stop, Cottonwood hasn’t changed much as you explore Front Street. Still a vision of the past with the preserved store fronts and quaint shops, don’t forget to take in the Cottonwood Rodeo every spring.

Redding City Hall on Cypress Avenue

This three-story civic complex doesn’t just doesn’t hold city offices, it’s also a three-story art museum. Exhibits run all year-round with fine art from local artisans.

Cascade Theatre

This 1934/’35 Art Deco icon was purchased by Jefferson Public Radio Foundation of Ashland, Ore., and restored to its original grandeur in the late 1990s.  Its history is a must-read on the Cascade site. This author recalls taking a Greyhound Bus, at age 11, from his home in Anderson, for 25 cents, and going to almost every Saturday matinee, also for 25 cents. The main features were preceded by The Little Rascals and Buster Crabbe adventures. Next door was the Golden Pheasant Soda Fountain where you could sip on strawberry sodas and munch on tuna sandwiches on Little Miss Sunbeam white bread.

Tiger Field of Redding

Batter Up! is the sound you hear from this semi-pro baseball park. Opened in 1923, it’s located in mid-Redding, just down the street from Redding City Hall and next to the Redding Library. What a great place to take the grand kids to watch college players knock it over the 424-foot fence onto Cypress Avenue hamburgers and hot dogs cooked right in front of you. It’s all you could want while watching these games on a hot summer night.

Photo was taken June 2018 by Jeremy M. Tuggle of the Shasta Historical Society.

IOOF Hall – Shasta Lodge 57, Redding

In case you aren’t sure what IOOF stands for, it’s International Order of Odd Fellows, a vintage fraternal organization that provides numerous amenities to the community.  The McConnell Foundation has finalized purchase of the 1888 Italianate brick building (oldest in Redding) and intends to restore its integrity within the Downtown Plan.

Schreder Planetarium

Located on Placer and Magnolia streets, and in the south end of the Redding School District office building, Schreder Planetarium opened in 1979 and is an excellent place for school-age youth and family members to view the stars in a domed theater-like setting. About 50 seats recline for your viewing of the galaxy show of the season. School class visits and reservations.

McConnell Lema Ranch Trail

The Trails of Redding

Redding is home to hundreds of miles of walking and bicycling trails. Just a few are: McConnell-Lema Ranch, Clover Creek, Ross Pond, Turtle Bay and alongside both sides of the Sacramento River.  All to be enjoyed year-round in Redding’s 10-month great weather.

(Hint: Not from the original Kiddieland.)

Secret Site

Now, the last place to explore is one that you have to ask around town to find out how to reach out to the owners.  The family owns a huge number of antiques and vintage memorabilia that you have to see.  One is the vintage merry-go-round that was in Caldwell Park’s Kiddieland playground until the 1960s. Plus there’s a steam engine and a small-gauge railroad that takes visitors around the property.  There’s also a 1940s dental chair and office, 1950s complete soda fountain, and much more. The owners want to share their goods, but also want a sense of privacy. So, if you really want to see a remarkable collection, right here in Shasta County, start asking around for their phone number and name, and make an appointment. It’s treasure-hunt time.

Frank Treadway
Frank Treadway: Some say baker extraordinaire, some say, 'What is that?' Born in Mt. Shasta with a special sugar sensor, raised in Anderson, Frank has lived in Redding for the last 25 years. He's proud to say that he's found a fine bakery in more than 30 countries. Bon Appetit !
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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Living half a mile from Anderson River Park I saw the changes over the years. From a time where you could drive right to the banks of the Sac until they slowly fenced it off, good move. The Mosquito Serenade was a must see and I saw it grow from a foot high riser into the band shell that really increased musical events there. Personally, I worked along side the Men’s softball league and the Anderson FFA to build the children’s playground by the tennis courts. McConnell Foundation donated the equipment and we and the city built it. The trails, changing every season when the Sac ran high, was great for walking my dog. My son would go fishing in the ponds. My daughters would go play soccer and basketball down there. Though regrettably I also saw over the years how it became unsafe for them to walk alone down to the park. And as Redding shut down alcohol at their parks we started getting a lot of drunk drivers using Rupert Road.

  2. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Thanks, Frank! Living as we do in Whitmore, we’ve passed many of these places, but have never gone in to many of them, because we’re on a grocery run or something. This will give us some more reasons to go downtown. I’m going to bookmark this article for future reference.

  3. Avatar Susan Tavalero says:

    I remember riding that Merry-Go-Round in the park!!

  4. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    I haven’t yet done a few of those. From the banner, it looks like I can bag the IOOF Hall if I have a need for the products of a compounding pharmacy. The two others that I’ve yet to check off: A Tigers’ game, and the planetarium. I’m most motivated to take in a baseball game. I prefer moonless nights in the desert to planetariums.

    I’ll pass on chasing down the collector’s identity. It’s not in my DNA to call up a stranger and ask if I can drop by to look at their stuff.

    Some more I’d put on the list: (1) Shasta Caverns (I still haven’t sprung for the guided spelunking tour that takes you off the main drag). (2) Renting a patio boat and spending a hot day on Shasta or Whiskeytown. (3) Banging a bucket of golf balls into the Sacramento River at Aqua Golf. (4) Taking young kids to Park Marina to feed a bag of cracked corn to the ducks and geese (it’s good for them, whereas stale bread is not). (5) Farmers’ Market behind City Hall on Saturday morning.

    • Frank was being a tease about that unofficial museum, and for the life of me, I don’t know why the people who own it don’t make it open to the public (or not). I had a chance while working for the paper, many years ago, to visit that place, and somewhere there’s even a photo of me riding the carousel.

      You have great suggestions. (And thanks for the suggestion of offering cracked corn, not bread, to the ducks and geese.)

  5. Avatar Leon Nelson says:

    In the 1940s and early 1950s, I, too, went to almost every Saturday matinee by riding my bicycle from my home on Chestnut St and NOT having to “lock it up” while watching the movie! We eagerly looked forward to seeing Lowell Thomas and his news broadcast…(of course, that was before TV!) We also liked going to other cafes near the Cascade: one was in Woolworths across the street on Placer (for yummy grilled cheese sandwiches) and another was the Drug Store (“Milisitches?”) a block up Market St in the Masonic Lodge building that had a “soda jerk” named Virginia. She would make us “suicide cokes” for a quarter…with a squirt of each flavor (there were MANY) from the bottles behind the counter.
    I also recall enjoying seeing my father play horseshoes in the pits next to Kiddieland.

    • So nice to see your name here today, Dr. Nelson.

      I remember with great fondness the Woolworth’s fountain. And I remember Kiddieland, too. (“Suicide cokes”? Wow. )

      I lived on Chestnut Street, too, on the north end just off Butte.

      Thanks for sharing.

  6. Avatar Candace C says:

    Leon, I too watched my father play horseshoes many a Saturday at the pit next to Kiddieland ( before he installed a pit in our backyard on Jonquil Way. As children my brother and I loved Kiddieland. Fond memories.

    • Candace, do you remember the Charms suckers at Kiddieland? If there was a piece of tape on the back kids got a free one.

      I also remember sad-looking little animals in cages: raccoons .. maybe a monkey?

      My sister just reminded me there was an old plane that kids were allowed to climb all over.

      Yeah, good memories.

  7. Terry Turner Terry Turner says:

    What a great reminder of interesting and beautiful places for us to enjoy in our North State community. Thank you, Frank!

  8. Thank you, Frank, for this list. So much fun!

  9. Avatar Candace C says:

    Doni, I’d forgotten about the Charms suckers and the tape on the back! I loved those and the chance of scoring a free one! I was pretty little but I think I remember an “egg laying” fortune telling chicken at the entrance. I remember the plane as well which if I’m remembering correctly had a slide as part of it. I may have some of my memories jumbled up.

  10. Avatar Candace C says:

    Doni, Kiddieland, double features at the Cascade Theatre, the original Nut Tree and Santa’s Village are a few of my favorite childhood memories. Add to that Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco. Yes, thank you Frank, for your memory jogging list!

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Candace, where was Nut Tree? When we lived in San Francisco 50 years ago, we ate there a few times. Was it in Vacaville?

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        Yeah, Vacaville. When my wife was a kid in Sactown, it was a regular stop when her family went to and from the Bay Area. My visits were limited to maybe a dozen stops over the years. It’s now Nut Tree Plaza—just another bland shopping complex full of chain retailers and restaurants.

  11. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Ahhhh . . THE NUT TREE!! It was the first place my husband and I stopped when we flew to SFO and rented a car to explore the Northstate for the first time (late ’50s). Later I learned that my dad had been in the crew that first paved what became I-80 that ran in front of the Nut Tree. It was a simple fruit stand at that time. I believe that was about 1918 or 19.
    Thank you, Frank, for a great “to-do” list for our Memorial Day week-end.