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Is Fresno Fun? Everything You Need to Know

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 5, 2023

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Fresno can be a lot of fun. There are plenty of things to do in the city, and it's conveniently located close to other popular destinations in California. The weather is pleasant year-round, making it a great place to visit any time of year. It's easy to get around Fresno, and there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and other amenities to make your stay comfortable. It's the perfect place to get away from it all without leaving California.

Fresno isn't as popular as other California destinations because it's a bit off the beaten path. It's not right on the coast, and it's not in the mountains. But that's part of its charm. Fresno is a hidden gem, and once you visit, you'll see why. There are plenty of things to do in Fresno, and you'll find that it's a great place to relax and enjoy yourself.

Here are some of the best things to do in Fresno:

Top 10 Attractions & Things To Do in Fresno, California

Fresno downtown skyline

1. Fresno Chaffee Zoo

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a great place to visit for families and animal lovers alike. It's located within Roeding Park, which also features a children's amusement park, making it the perfect destination for a day out. The zoo has numerous exhibits, such as an African Adventure and Wilderness Falls, as well as a variety of special events and educational programs.

The animals that call the Fresno Chaffee Zoo home include tigers, orangutans, and warthogs, among others. So whether you're looking to learn more about the animal kingdom or have a fun day out, be sure to check out the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.


2. Forestiere Underground Gardens

Baldassare Forestiere started building these amazing underground gardens in the early 1900s. After years of hard work, he created a unique labyrinth of underground rooms, passageways, and planters. You will need to take a tour of the gardens to explore them. On the tour, visitors learn about the man behind the gardens and see the original trees that still bear fruit today.

The underground gardens are a California Historical Landmark and offer a cool, refreshing activity in the summer. If you're looking for a unique and interesting activity in California, look no further than the Baldassare Forestiere Underground Gardens. This one-of-a-kind attraction is less than 10 miles northwest of downtown and is definitely worth a visit.

3. Tower District

Tower District Theater in Fresno, California

The Tower District is a lively and eclectic neighborhood northwest of downtown Fresno that is home to plenty of nightlife and dining options. The district gets its name from the historic Tower Theatre, which still stands today and is a major landmark in the area.

Whether you're looking for a classic breakfast or want to enjoy a fine dinner, you'll find plenty of great places to eat in the Tower District. In addition to cafés, art galleries, and boutique shops, you'll also find many vintage and antique stores throughout the neighborhood.

The Tower District is particularly popular in the evening hours when live music can be heard from various venues, including the Tower Theater and Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater. The district is also host to several annual cultural events, such as the Fresno Film Festival. Whether you're looking to explore Fresno's rich history or want to enjoy a night out on the town, the Tower District is sure to please.

4. Meux Home Museum

The Meux Home Museum is a historic Victorian mansion that was built in 1889 by Dr. Thomas Richard Meux. It is now owned by the city and opens to the public for tours. You can explore the well-preserved interior of the mansion and get a sneak peek into the early 1900s.

The tours are available Friday through Sunday and include artifacts and furnishings from the era. You can also enjoy the outside of the mansion with its Victorian Gothic architecture. It is a beautiful sight. There are events at the Meux Home Museum throughout the year, including candlelight tours, holiday celebrations, and charity fundraisers.

5. Shinzen Japanese Garden

Shinzen Japanese Garden is a beautiful and peaceful spot to relax and take in the natural scenery. The park offers walking paths, ornate bridges, and hanging lanterns, as well as a ceremonial teahouse and koi pond. It's also home to the Clark Bonsai Collection, which is a must-see for any bonsai enthusiast. Throughout the year, Shinzen hosts several cultural events, such as the spring bloom festival and the Toro Nagashi celebration in August.

6. The Discovery Center

The Discovery Center is a science education center founded in 1954 that offers visitors stimulating hands-on learning experiences. With over 5 acres to explore, the park houses the museum as well as outdoor attractions such as Miwok Indian houses, a historic barn, the Deutsch Cactus Garden, a Dino Dig, and a tortoise enclosure. There is something for everyone to enjoy, with exhibit areas focusing on topics such as electricity and magnets, paleontology, natural sciences, space, and Native American basketry and artifacts.

7. Woodward Park

Woodward Park in Fresno, California

With 300 acres of land to explore, Woodward Park has something for everyone. The bird sanctuary is a popular spot for photographers, and the Japanese garden is perfect for a peaceful stroll. For the more active visitors, there are plenty of trails for hiking and biking, as well as a BMX course and disc golf course. Woodward Shakespeare Festival is also conducted in this park.

And don't forget to check out the Shinzen Friendship Garden, with its cherry trees and Japanese ornamental structures. The Rotary Amphitheater is also worth a visit – it seats up to 2,500 people and is perfect for special events.

8. Warnors Theatre

Warnors Theatre (formerly Pantages Theater), historic theatre and lankmark in Downtown Fresno, California

In the heart of Fresno lies Warnors Theatre, a historic performance space that has been entertaining the community since 1928. Vaudeville performances gave way to silent movies, and today the theatre hosts everything from live music to comedy shows and children's theatre. The beautiful setting and rich history make Warnors Theatre a popular choice for private functions like weddings.

9. Fresno Art Museum

The Fresno Art Museum has a rich history dating back to the 1940s. It has evolved into a nationally recognized museum with a diverse collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and prints. This museum rotates its exhibits every season so that you can appreciate it on every visit. Admission is a modest cost, and members receive free entry. The Fresno Art Museum is also home to a full calendar of special events, including the popular Trashique art and fashion show fundraiser. Make sure to check it out next Earth Day!

10. Fresno Blossom Trail

Blossom Trail near Fresno, California

The Fresno Blossom Trail is a 62-mile driving/biking route that tours the most colorful apple, apricot, and peach trees of the Central Valley. The trail is typically at its best in mid-February to mid-March when the blooms are in full swing. You can expect to see a vibrant display of colors during this time. This is a great activity to do if you're looking to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Top 4 Day Trip Ideas from Fresno

The Central Valley is full of interesting places to explore, and Fresno is the perfect base for a day trip. Here are five ideas to get you started:

1. Kearney Mansion Museum & Gallery Tour

The Kearney Mansion Museum & Gallery Tour is a unique opportunity to see an impressive and well-preserved mansion from the early 20th century. The Kearney Mansion was built in 1903 by Martin Theodore Kearney and is now open for tours. You'll be able to see the beautiful structure of the mansion, learn about the families that lived and worked there, and enjoy the scenic view of the grounds. The mansion is located inside Kearney Park, which is filled with palm trees and features a disc golf course, olive grove path, and the historic Tea House, Ice House, Carriage House, and Bell Tower. Don't miss this opportunity to step back in time and explore one of California's most interesting historic sites!

2. Kings Canyon National Park Day Trip from Fresno

Zumwalt Meadow of Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is a must-see for anyone visiting the Central Valley. The park is home to giant sequoias, the tallest trees on Earth, as well as mountains, rivers, and plenty of hiking trails. You can also go rafting, fishing, and horseback riding in the park. Kings Canyon National Park is about an hour's drive from Fresno, so it's the perfect day trip destination.

3. Yosemite Tour with Ahwahnee Lunch

Yosemite Falls, Merced River, California, USA

The Yosemite Tour with Ahwahnee Lunch is the perfect way to see everything that Yosemite National Park has to offer without having to worry about navigation or large groups. Your guide will take care of everything, and you'll even get a delicious lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel. You can choose to hike, explore El Capitan, or take a drive along the Merced River. Whichever you choose, you're sure to have an unforgettable day. It's a great way to explore one of America's most beautiful National Parks!

4. Fresno Scavenger Hunt

Downtown Fresno, California

This Fresno Scavenger Hunt is the perfect way to explore the city with your friends or family! You can walk to all the best-hidden gems and landmarks, answer trivia questions and solve challenges on this scavenger hunt. You can even compete against each other as you learn new facts and create memorable experiences. With different roles to choose from, everyone can join in on the fun! This is a great activity for birthday parties, corporate team-building events, or just a fun day out.

Top Places to Stay in Fresno

Fresno downtown in Central California

Now that you know some of the great things to do in Fresno, it's time to start planning your trip! Here are three of the best places to stay in Fresno:

1. Courtyard by Marriott Fresno

Courtyard by Marriott Fresno is a modern, high-end hotel that's perfect for travelers visiting Fresno. The hotel is located off of the Yosemite Freeway and is within walking distance of the Fresno Shaw Plaza Shopping Center. Guests will enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs in their contemporary rooms, as well as desks, minifridges, and coffeemakers.

Balconies and pull-out sofas are available in some rooms, as well as suites, which also have separate living areas. The hotel also offers an American restaurant serving Starbucks coffee, an outdoor courtyard, an outdoor pool, and an exercise room. Business travelers will appreciate the business center, meeting space, and free parking.

2. Hilton Garden Inn Clovis

The Hilton Garden Inn Clovis is a great place to stay if you're looking for modern accommodations and want to be close to California State University at Fresno. This hotel is situated just seven miles from Downtown Fresno and offers easy access to a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops.

Plus, guests can enjoy plenty of on-site amenities such as a fitness center, an outdoor pool, and a business center. Whether you're in town for business or pleasure, the Hilton Garden Inn Clovis is sure to make your stay a memorable one.

3. Best Western Village Inn

This budget hotel is perfect for travelers who want to be close to all the action. The Tower Theatre Productions, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and Woodward Park are all within a short distance of the hotel. The rooms are decorated in a warm and welcoming style and come equipped with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Guests can enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast each morning, and there is also an outdoor pool on site. Parking is complimentary for all guests.

Final Thoughts

Fresno, California view of downtown

It's clear that Fresno has a lot to offer travelers! From scenic national parks to fun scavenger hunts, there's something for everyone in this California city. When it comes to choosing a place to stay, you have many excellent options with modern hotels and budget-friendly rooms available. All that's left to do is start planning your trip. We wish you all the best on your adventure, have fun, and take care!

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