California’s fifth largest city is one of the most pleasant, and most relaxed destinations on America’s sun-drenched west coast.
Fresno is a cultural hot-spot, with theatres, an excellent art museum and unique attractions like the Underground Gardens constructed by local resident Baldasare Forestiere in the early twentieth century.
Additionally, the area is host to cultural events all year-round. Don’t miss the Rogue Festival of Arts held in March or the Film Festival which takes place in April.
Sports fans can catch a baseball match at the home of the Grizzlies, and fans of food and drink are spoilt by attractions like the Nonini Winery. Fresno is also located right at the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, one of America’s agricultural centres. Dine out at local restaurants serving up fresh produce, head to farmers’ markets or head out to ranches and try some of the area’s famous smoked meats right at the source.
Families are catered for well in Fresno. Kids will love the excitement of Blackbeard’s Family Fun Centre with its mini-golf, bumper karts and boating pond, as well as Chaffee Zoo located in the central Roeding Park.
The city is also right on the doorstep of the Yosemite National Park, one of the world’s most beautiful nature reserves, where visitors can hike through towering grooves of Sequoia trees, scale dramatic granite cliffs and relax beneath idyllic waterfalls.
Fresno makes a great jumping off point to explore natural wonders like Yosemite or the Sierra Nevada, and guided tours can be easily booked from city centre providers. You can also take well-organised walking tours of the town’s historic centre, which are a great introduction to one of California’s finest destinations.
Spring and summer may well be the ideal time to visit, when temperatures haven’t hit their blistering summer peak and the winter is a distant memory, so head over around April or May for perfect conditions. Festival season is underway, the wineries are buzzing, and the beauty of Yosemite beckons. It may also be slightly cheaper than high season around June and July.
Although Fresno does have a basic bus system, visitors should not rely on using it to reach all of the destinations they want to visit. Instead, renting a car is the most popular way to see both the town and the central California region. Fresno has also received awards for being bike friendly, so don’t be afraid to get into the saddle.