Local Experience Gifts Guide

Give the gift of joy, memories, skills, and relaxation any time of year!

By Jillian Smith - Editor & Publisher November 22, 2023

Throughout the year, there's pressure to shop 'til we drop and buy each other lots of STUFF. My goal with this guide is to help you think differently about gift-giving any time of year by encouraging you to invest in experiences instead. It will reduce clutter and chaos, create new memories, and your loved ones might pick up a new hobby or skill in the process! 

Even better, the featured businesses are local, so you are supporting Chico's community and economy with your thoughtful purchases. 

Business listings are linked to our Business Directory, where you can find details such as when they are open. Click them to learn more.

Chico's Best Experience Gifts for Kids

Bowling Time

Disclosure: I received bowling time in exchange for listing Bowlero Chico, and I can't wait to use it!

Suggested Experience Gift
Hours of bowling fun! Gift cards available. 

Unlimited Bowling Special
Sunday-Thursday 8 - 11 pm
$16.49 Shoe rental included. Also includes a $5 Arcade Card on Sundays!

(530) 895-3257

Trampoline Park Passes

Disclosure: Rare Air is providing my family jump passes in exchange for this listing. My kids are so excited and proud of me!

Suggested Experience Gift: Jump Passes!

(530) 433-5557

Imaginative Play

Disclosure: This listing is sponsored by Chico Children's Museum, one of our favorite places to play!

Suggested Experience Gift
A Chico Children's Museum Annual Membership! Prices start at $95 for 3 people and go up from there depending on family size. Children under 2 are FREE!

Not ready to commit to a membership? General admission is just $12 per person for anyone older than 2 years. Grandparents, teachers, military, and first responders get a discount.

(530) 809-1492

Self Defense Classes

Disclosure: Nibukikan Martial Arts Academy has paid to be included in this guide. My husband volunteers there as an instructor, and we love being part of the Nibukikan family!

Suggested gift: Youth Jujitsu class (ages 7-15): Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5-6 pm, $65/month. 

Other offerings:
Student special: Gi uniform, AJJF Membership, and 1 month of classes for $150 (for adult classes only)

(530) 570-0549

Chico's Best Experience Gifts For Adults

DIY Craft Workshop

Disclosure: Board & Brush Creative Studio paid to be included in this guide AND gave us a special discount code. I am so grateful and will definitely be back to make more projects!

Suggested Experience Gift
Host an event for your loved ones!
Here's a special deal for my MacKID readers: Put BbMKDec23 in the discount code bar at check out to save 15%! (expires 3/1/2024)

(530) 487-8905

Services for Mind, Body, & Spirit

Disclosure: I received payment from Chico Holistic Wellness Center, and am excited to try more of their services!

Suggested Experience Gift: Sound Bath with Jodi.
I did this and it was positively relaxing! Just the kind of reset I needed as a busy mom of three. I think anyone would benefit from it, especially parents with young children.

(530) 809-2112

Give a Mom a Village

Suggested Experience Gift
Encourage and support a new mom with an annual membership for just $40/year. Any mom can benefit! Kids' events are best suited for ages 0-5.
Contact Abby Bowen at


Give Kids Something "Out of the Box"

Want to create a custom experience for them instead? Give them a Yes Day!

A Yes Day is exactly what it sounds like. It's a day when we as parents say "yes!" to our children's requests for the whole day. It sounded crazy to me at first, but it can be a fantastically fun (and relaxed) chance for everyone involved to bond and reconnect. Plus, it gives our kids an opportunity to feel empowered and in control.

Here are some guidelines to make sure the whole family has a great experience without breaking the bank (or the law!). 

  • Activities must be legal and safe.
  • Set a budget, either total or per child
  • Activities should only last for the day (unless you already want to get your kid a puppy!)
  • Requests should be limited to a certain distance of travel, whether it's in town or a certain amount of miles/minutes away.
  • Set a start and end time to ensure parents don't get woken up at 3:00 AM and kids go to bed at a decent hour.

Other tips:

  • Giving your child(ren) plenty of time to think about what they want to do can be really helpful. A Yes Day can be spontaneous or planned!
  • Encourage siblings to have equal say and fairness. Taking turns can help or agreement can be required.
  • The spirit of a Yes Day is not to trick parents into saying Yes to something they otherwise wouldn't agree to.

Feel free to get creative and make the concept of a Yes Day your own!

Give Kids an Experience They Can Unwrap

Still looking for something tangible? Shopping for a child who isn't local? Give them "The Adventure Challenge: Kids Edition!"

Disclosure: I received this book for free as a Macaroni KID Publisher. There was no expectation of endorsement, but I'm giving it anyway, because it's really cool!

This incredible book has been a game-changer for our family. It's amazing for bonding and family time! "The Adventure Challenge: Kids Edition" is packed with a variety of scratch-off challenges your kids will love doing! 

I especially like that there is a QR code the parents can use to find out what the challenges are before scratching anything off with the kids. 

There are symbols and hints throughout so everyone knows which ones are fun any time of day, which ones need to be outside, which ones involve water, which ones will take hours, and more! Plus space to write down anything funny or surprising that happened during each challenge. I highly recommend it!

Shop Here

Other Ideas for Kids

  • Music Lessons
  • Art Lessons
  • Acting Classes
  • Dance Lessons
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Gymnastics Class
  • Rock Climbing
  • Roller/Ice Skating
  • Amusement Park

Other Ideas for Adults

  • Manicure/Pedicure
  • Float
  • Wine Tasting
  • Axe Throwing
  • Concert Tickets
  • Gym Membership

Give Mom or Dad a Break

Sometimes the best experience is doing nothing. Not long after our third child was born, my husband got my minivan detailed for me. It was such a thoughtful gift and reduced my stress dramatically! Parenthood is hard enough without responsibilities piling up, especially when you're in the thick of it for the first year of baby's life.
Do you have a friend or family member who just welcomed a child to their family? Take something off their plate:

  • Meal Prepping Subscription Box
  • Landscaping
  • Car Detailing
  • Housecleaning
  • Child Care 

I hope this guide has inspired you to think differently about what gifts look like during the holidays or any time of year! Giving experience gifts like classes, lessons, day trips, and indoor playtime is an excellent way to make memories, reduce waste, and reconnect with loved ones. 

Don't forget to tell them Macaroni KID Chico sent you!

Wish your business was in this guide, too? It's not too late! 

Reach out to Jillian: to learn more.