October 18, 2023


New York-based mural artist Steffi Lynn painting the welcome to redding mural

The creative rut is real. When you’ve been grinding it out in the big city chasing fresh inspo, sometimes you just need a reset – a break from the routine to reignite your artistic passion.

That’s where a creative retreat in Redding comes in.

Redding sits right in the middle of beautiful Northern California. It’s an ideal spot to surround yourself with nature and find your creative flow again.

You can chill out in peaceful lakeside coves, take in jaw-dropping mountain views, and wander trails that lead you through it all. There’s no shortage of postcard-worthy places to light up your imagination.

Why Visit Redding for Your Creative Retreat?

An artist retreat in Redding, California provides access to nature, opportunity for adventure, the right balance of quality and affordability, and an ever-growing arts scene. In fact, Redding is one of only fourteen cultural districts in the entire state of California.

Classic car show in the Cultural District Redding California

Classic car show in the Redding Cultural District

In Redding, you can fly fish in the mecca of fly fishing destinations. Cast your line in the river and feel yourself unwind, allowing all your stress and worries to float away. When you’re ready for more adventure, mountain bike on your choice of over 200 miles of trails, both paved and off-road. Either way, you’ll find awesome views popping up around every bend.

Three hikers approaching Crystal Creek Falls at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area near Redding, CA

Whiskeytown waterfall hike at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area | PC: Avery Bliss

At Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, you can hike trails around the lake year-round and explore the four Whiskeytown waterfalls. Depending upon the season, you can kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or swim in the refreshing waters.

The Sacramento River Trail allows you to walk, bike, skate, or scoot with peaceful river views along the way. Kayak or paddleboard on the longest river in California for a rejuvenating sunrise or sunset session.

You might also like to get grounded under a massive shade tree at Caldwell Park. Let rest and relaxation wash over your body and soul as you journal, read, or paint the landscape. Just remember to bring your art supplies!

At Nur Pon Open Space, trails and bridges weave around the river, where you can wander for hours. End the day by catching the sunset overlooking the river and mountains at Palisades Park.

With so many natural beauty spots to explore, you’ll never run out of fresh perspectives. The affordable cost of local lodging means you can stay in Redding comfortably for as long as your creative journey calls you.

An African American woman serving a drink at Theory Coffee in downtown Redding CaTheory Coffee in Downtown Redding, CA

Revive in Redding: Renew Your Artistic Spirit

To fuel your creativity, Redding offers world-class coffee shops with chill vibes. Downtown, sip espresso at Theory Coffee surrounded by used brick walls, local art, and a mural-adorned outdoor patio. Enjoy avocado toast and a latte at Evergreen, an organic cafe with an Instagram-worthy aesthetic.

Or escape to Heritage Coffeehouse just north of Redding in Shasta Lake, just a quick drive for that ultra small-town feel. Their eye-catching new location is now open at The Stirring in Redding as well.

With Feast Coffee served in The Lost Era, an antique store turned artsy cafe, you can enjoy your morning motivation along with unique foodie creations. They even have optional outdoor seating for you and your dog.

These coffee shops provide the perfect hangouts to refill on inspiration.

Of course, venturing into nature is only half of the creative equation. To further nurture your talents, Redding also offers a blossoming creative community and art scene.

A drone shot of downtown Redding, CA

Downtown Redding, California

Downtown Redding is undergoing an exciting revival. New studios, galleries, and public art displays featuring work from resident artists are breathing life into the city. Check out the wide variety of murals to discover local artists and get your creative juices flowing.

If art galleries are your thing, you’ll definitely want to explore the fine art on display at historic locations like The Art Hunger and Old City Hall, home of the Shasta County Arts Council.

After a long day of wandering in the wilderness and cruising around downtown, satisfy your palette at Redding’s diverse restaurants.

Italian, Mexican, Asian, American, you name it. This unexpected foodie town knows how to balance out those rugged adventures.

12 Tips for Planning Your Artist Retreat

Ready for an affordable escape to reignite your creative spark? Here are some tips to plan your Redding retreat:

Photo of the Deja Vu inside the historic Lorenz Hotel in Downtown Redding

The historic Lorenz Hotel in downtown Redding, CA

1. Explore downtown and visit vibey coffee shops like Theory, Evergreen, Heritage, and DejaVu to fuel your creativity.

2. Visit in spring or fall for moderate weather and smaller crowds. The vibrant fall foliage makes a gorgeous backdrop.

3. Explore Whiskeytown trails and waterfalls. Kayak, SUP, or swim in the lake – or hike to a nearby waterfall.

A father and son high-fiving while riding bikes along the Sacramento River Trail in Redding, CA at sunset.

The Sacramento River Trail in Redding, CA

4. Walk, bike, or skate the Sacramento River Trail. Choose your mode of transportation, set your speed, and enjoy the ride.

5. Consider kayaking at sunrise or sunset for a paddle you won’t soon forget. The tranquility rating is 10/10.

6. Try fly fishing for a meditative way to unwind. Newbie fly fishers often enjoy the sport more than they ever anticipated, so don’t be surprised if you get hooked.

A mountain biker riding downhill on the Keswick Chamise Peak Trail in Redding, CA

Chamise Peak Trail | PC: Ryan Thompson

7. Mountain bike seemingly endless trails and find epic views. Pick up a trail guide in any local bike shop or The Enjoy Store for fresh ideas.

8. Relax under a tree at Caldwell Park. Paint the landscape or write in your journal while listening to the river nearby.

9. Wander trails at Nur Pon Open Space and Turtle Bay East, both perfect for getting lost in nature, especially if you’re traveling with your furry best friend.

A drone shot taken above Palisades Park overlooking the Sacramento River and Sundial Bridge at sunset in Redding, CA.

Palisades Park in Redding, CA | PC: Seth McGaha

10. Catch the sunset overlooking the river and mountains at Palisades Park. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better view in Redding.

11. Make time for hiking. Chamise Peak offers a 360-degree view, as well as the best view of three Shastas: Mt. Shasta, Shasta Lake, and Shasta Dam.

12. Check the Visit Redding event calendar for art walks, festivals, and art events happening during your visit.

Enjoy an Affordable Artist’s Retreat in Redding, CA

As a bit of a hidden gem, Redding provides all the artistic inspiration without the big city price tag. Escape crowded streets, endless traffic, and outrageous nightly rates. Hotels in Redding average well under $200/night. Dining and entertainment options are also budget-friendly.

Whether you’re reading this from south of Redding in San Francisco or LA or up north in Portland or Seattle, it’s important to carve out space for your craft. Let the landscapes of Redding stir your creativity. Rediscover your artistic spirit and creative voice in the tranquility of our region.

After hitting reset in nature, you’ll return home with fresh eyes, new visions, and the inspiration to create your best work of art yet.


Get Our Newsletter

Want to hear more from us? Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in Redding!

Trees Graphic Trees Graphic Mountains Graphic Mountains Graphic