Many visitors find themselves stopping in Fresno on the way to Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, or other destinations in the Sierras. The Save Mart Center at California State University, Fresno ("Fresno State") has also played host to concerts featuring high-profile acts.
Winter weather typically features highs around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and "extreme" lows in the low to mid 30s, often with morning fog and sometimes frost. Rain fall is sparse and occurs exclusively in winter and early spring months. Most rain storms last less than 2 days and are often spread weeks apart. It is not uncommon to experience hail, however it is very rare to see snow fall on the valley floor. The few times it does snow, the snow rarely sticks over night. While winter temperatures can reach below freezing, most all storms feature "warm fronts" that more or less eliminate the chance for snow (mid to low 40s is a typical "cold" rain storm).
Summer temperatures average in the mid-90s. Days with high temperatures 110 degrees or above are not uncommon. Humidity is only around 20% in the afternoon, though, making for a more bearable dry heat. The chance to find 110+ degree days commonly occurs beginning late July and continuing to mid August. During these days the low nighttime temperature will only get down to the mid 80s. It is common for a heat wave to last two weeks.
Fresno's most famous son is the writer William Saroyan, after whom a local theater is named. The city has a large Hmong community.
Fresno/Yosemite International Airport (IATA: FAT) (the IATA code comes from its former name, "Fresno Air Terminal"), served by carriers: Allegiant, American Airlines/American Eagle, Delta Airlines/Skywest, Horizon, Mexicana, US Airways and United/United Express. Non-stop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and even service to Guadalajara, Mexico. Flights to Los Angeles or San Francisco may seem overpriced, but if you are continuing your journey, you might find that the Fresno leg of the trip won't dramatically increase the cost of your ticket.
Fresno is also planned to become one of the first stops of the LA to San Francisco high speed rail system currently under construction.
Almost everybody gets to Fresno by car. The drive to Fresno takes about 3 hours from San Francisco, 3.5 hours from Los Angeles, and 5.5 hours from San Diego. Coming from the southern Peninsula or South Bay, most people take U.S. Highway 101 to Gilroy, State Highway 152 over Pacheco Pass and through Los Banos, then State Highway 99 south to Fresno. From the northern Peninsula, one might take highway 92 over the San Mateo Bridge, to 880 North, then 580 East to 205 East to 5 North to 120 East to 99 South. From Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 north and State Highway 99 north. Fresno is accessible from the southern Central Coast by State Highway 41, usually used with State Highway 46. Fresno is the largest city in the United States without an Interstate highway running through it, but 99 provides much of that function and is slated to be upgraded to Interstate status.
Greyhound has a terminal in downtown Fresno. Exercise caution in this area at night.
- Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS). Shuttle operates from late-May through late-September. The YARTS shuttle travels on Highway 41 from Fresno to Wawona and Yosemite Valley, with stops at the Fresno Greyhound station, the Amtrak station, Fresno airport, CSU Fresno (Shaw & Barton), North Fresno (Howard & Fresno), and the Highway 145 Park & Ride. Ticket prices include park entry, and can be purchased from the shuttle driver.
As is typical in California Central Valley cities, a car is useful and often necessary to access most parts of town. There is a modest bus system, Fresno Area Express (FAX), but a car would be advised. Traffic congestion in Fresno is not as bad as larger places in California, but Shaw and Herndon avenues can get quite crowded, especially since there is no east-west freeway through the north side. CA-99 runs along the west side of the city, becoming semi-rural before exiting Fresno County on the northwest side of Fresno. CA-41 runs down the middle of the city. Until the late 1990s and early 2000s these were the only freeways in Fresno, but a surge in growth has spurred the development of the CA-180 and CA-168 freeways.
In 2011, Fresno became the first town or city in the Central Valley to earn a Bronze Medal Designation from the League of American Bicyclists, recognizing Fresno as a bicycle friendly community. The city is in the process of further expanding its bike lanes in an effort to improve bike access. For a current map of Fresno's bike lanes, followthis link.
- Forestiere Underground Gardens, 5021 West Shaw Ave, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Summer Schedule: Wednesday through Sunday. Off-Season: Weekends (Weather Permitting). Call for times and reservations (required). The Forestiere Underground Gardens are a complex of underground gardens and rooms built by Sicilian immigrant Baldasare Forestiere between 1906 and his death in 1946. Seniors (59+) $8, Adults $9, Teens (13-17) $7.00, Children (4-12) $6.00.
- Fresno Chaffee Zoo, 894 West Belmont Ave, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. November–February 9AM-4PM daily, March–October 9AM-6PM daily. A zoo located in Roeding Park near downtown Fresno that features many popular animal exhibits including the Winged Wonders Bird Show.
- Fresno Art Museum, 2233 N. 1st St, ☎ . The only modern art museum between Los Angeles and San Francisco. FAM's collection includes contemporary art, as well as a large collection of Mexican art from pre-Columbian times to the present.
- Nonini Winery, 2640 N. Dickenson, ☎ . Wine tasting and tours from 9AM to 4PM Monday through Saturday. Call ahead to schedule a tour.
- Fresno Grizzlies. Minor league baseball team affiliated with the Houston Astros (formally San Francisco Giants). Chukchansi Park (formerly called Grizzlies Stadium) is located downtown, built in 2002 specifically for the team.
- Fresno State Bulldogs, 1600 E. Bulldog Ln. (south entrance to Bulldog Stadium), ☎ . M-F 9-4:30 (in person), 8-5 (phone). Football game days, 10AM-halftime. The sports teams of Fresno State (formally California State University, Fresno), competing in a total of 20 sports (8 for men, 12 for women), with almost all teams in the Mountain West Conference. Football has traditionally been the highest-profile sport, with men's basketball a close second, but many other sports are nationally competitive, notably baseball and softball. Essentially all venues are on campus, most notably Bulldog Stadium (football) and the city's main indoor venue, Save Mart Center (basketball).
- Fulton Mall, Fulton St. A six-block pedestrian mall that features a large collection of public art and holds a spot on the California Register of Historical Places. Visitors can download a walking tour brochure describing the sculptures at Fulton Mall from the email address linked to above. Though the area does not currently feature a robust retail or restaurant scene, it is home to Fresno Brewing Company (coffee and craft beers), Twee (artsy, hip, and often local home goods and gift items), and several other retail and dining outlets.
- Rogue Festival. March. Modeled on the Canadian and North American Fringe Festivals, the Rogue showcases both local and national artists, with dance, music, comedy, film, art, and theatre at venues around the Tower District. Performers come from around the state, and even as far as Vancouver and London.
- Tower District Mardi Gras Parade.
- Reel Pride. The sixth oldest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in the country takes place every year in Fresno's Tower District.
- Island Water Park, ☎ . Water slide park open between June and mid-September.
- Blackbeards Family Fun Center, 4055 N. Chestnut, ☎ . Has batting cages, bumper boats, paintball, miniature golf, sprint cars, water slides and arcade games.
- About Town Taste - Walking Tours of Fresno, e-mail: info@AboutTownTaste.com. F 6p/ SAT 10a. Unique walks through Fresno, featuring art, architecture, food, and local history. Advance reservations needed via info@AboutTownTaste.com. Four tours available: Downtown Art & Architecture; Art Born of Graffiti: Murals; Art & Antiques: Old Town Clovis; and Tower Art Taste. $25pp.
- Back Country Off Road Tours, 37604 Cardinal Ln. Squaw Valley, Ca. 93675, ☎ . Tour eastern Fresno County and the Sierra Nevadas with a local who has 30 years of experience as a guide of nearby parks. Tours may include waterfalls, meadows, fishing, camping, beautiful vistas and trails, and also information about historical logging operations, efforts to preserve the world-famous redwood groves, and stories of historical figures. Tours can be tailored to areas of specific interest. Call for details.
Fresno State University is noted for its agricultural programs, and many Fresno State students and faculty travel to developing nations on agricultural assistance programs. Fresno City College, a 2-year community college, is also in the city. Fresno Pacific University is an accredited private Christian university offering many bachelors and master's degrees as well as other satellite locations across Central California (Merced Regional Center, North Fresno Regional Center, Visalia Regional Center, Bakersfield Regional Center).
As long as you're right in the middle of California's agricultural heartland, try the local produce. Fresno State's Farm Market, at the corner of Chestnut and Barstow, sells the produce grown by the university's agriculture department, plus fresh cheese, ice cream and wine. If you're looking for a souvenir of the San Joaquin Valley, try the Sierra Nut House, for dried fruit, nuts, jams & jellies, and coffees & teas.
- The Vineyard Farmer's Market (Shaw and Blackstone). Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. The largest and most extensive of the farmer's markets in the area. Open Year Round Twice a week on Wednesday afternoons from 3-6PM and Saturdays 7AM till noon. During summer, there is also one in Old Town Clovis every Friday evening.
- Riverpark Shopping Center, Corner of Blackstone Ave. and Nees Ave.. The most popular shopping center and hangout in the city of Fresno. Contains Edwards Movie Theatres, the famous Dai-Bai-Dang Chinese restaurant, Lowes, Sam's Club, Barnes & Noble, Pier 1 Imports, Target, and many more stores.
River Park Plaza contains many popular chain restaurants, including The Elephant Bar, Tony Roma's, Logans Steak House, Yoshino's Sushi House, and Hooters. For a large and diverse concentration of local establishments, head to the Tower District (http://www.towerdistrict.org/). There are also many notable restaurants sprinkled elsewhere throughout the Fresno area.
- Campagnia, 1185 E. Champlain Dr, ☎ . Upscale dining with great food and a nice bar.
- Dai Bai Dang, 7736 N. Blackstone Ave, ☎ . Great Chinese cuisine.
- Dusty Buns, 608 E. Weldon Ave (Fresno High Area), e-mail: email@example.com. Wed-Sat., 5-9PM. Gourmet sandwiches with local, seasonal ingredients.
- George's Shish Kebab, 3045 W. Bullard Ave, ☎ . Armenian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
- Giulia's, 3050 W Shaw Ave, ☎ . Slightly more "upscale" Italian eatery.
- Grandmarie's Chicken Pie Shop, 861 E. Olive Ave (Tower District), ☎ . Serving breakfast and chicken pot pies; go for the mid-century-era electric green booths and stay for the food.
- Irene's Cafe, 747 E Olive Ave (Tower District), ☎ . A traditional coffee shop, known for its breakfast.
- The Landmark, 644 E. Olive (Tower District), ☎ . Basque and traditional American food. Often live music.
- Luby, 1075 E Bullard Ave, ☎ . Chinese food. Only has a few tables.
- Max's Bistro & Bakery, 1784 W Bullard, ☎ . French-inspired California cuisine.
- Mone`s International Market & Deli, 7975 North Cedar Ave, ☎ . Great Armenian, Russian, and Middle Eastern cuisine, as well as some very interesting international products.
- Parma (Herndon & Marks), ☎ . Italian food, with homemade pastas.
- Pinot Wine Bar & Bistro, 805 E. Olive Ave (Tower District), ☎ . Seasonal menu, wine, and craft beer.
- Senses World Cuisine, 1110 N. Van Ness, ☎ . Features tapas, organic foods and many vegetarian selections.
- Slates, 7455 N. Fresno St, ☎ . One of Fresno chef Roy Harland's creations, featuring contemporary American cuisine.
- Tahoe Joe's 7006 N. Cedar, +1 559 299-9740 and 2700 W. Shaw, +1 559 277-8028. Steakhouse that now has multiple locations in the state, but started in Fresno.
- Taqueria Don Pepe, 4582 N. Blackstone, ☎ . Look for the old style of KFC building. Fast food (but good) style Mexican fare.
- Thai House, 1069 E Shaw, ☎ . Thai food.
Night life in Fresno is great (if you're in the right areas) head to The Bar or The Other bar at or Landmark or Elbow Room or On the Rocks.
- Dirty Olive, 9455 North Fort Washington Road #104, ☎ .
- Elephant Bar, 7965 N. Blackstone Ave, ☎ .
- Five, 1110 E Champlain Dr, ☎ .
- Last Call @ Zapp's Park (Blackstone & Olive).
- Courtyard Fresno, 140 East Shaw Ave, ☎ . Near Bass, Shaver & Huntington Lakes for fishing, boating & hiking and also convenient to CSUF, Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Wildwater Adventures and the Muex Home Museum. $174-$199.
- Four Points Sheraton, 3737 N. Blackstone, ☎ .
- Homewood Suites, 6820 North Fresno St, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. Suites with full kitchens, large work desk, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free hot breakfast, pool and fitness center. $95+.
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Fresno Hotel California, 330 E. Fir Ave, ☎ . Free Wi-Fi and breakfast.
- Piccadilly Inn University, 4961 N. Cedar, ☎ .
- Piccadilly Inn West Shaw, 2305 W. Shaw, ☎ .
- Quality Inn, 4278 W. Ashlan, ☎ .
- Residence Inn Fresno, 5322 N Diana Ave, ☎ , fax: +1 559 222-9089.
- SpringHill Suites, 6844 North Fresno St, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Suites with microwave, mini-fridge, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free parking, free hot breakfast, business center, pool and fitness center. $130.
- Benson's Lakeside Resort, 32451 E. Trimmer Springs Rd, toll-free: . Sanger.
- Comfort Suites (Herndon Ave between Blackstone Ave and Freeway 41), 102 East Herndon Ave, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. All suites include micro/fridge, coffee/tea maker, free Wi-Fi,desk, two phone lines and sofa sleepers. Free hot breakfast served every morning, fitness room, indoor pool and hot tub. 99.00.
- The Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 2233 Ventura St, ☎ . 321 guestrooms with Sleep Number™ beds, beauty salon, Pizza Hut, Java Stop, gift shop, airport shuttle, and dry cleaning service.
- Vagabond Inn Fresno, 2570 S. East Ave., ☎ , fax: +1 559 486-2743. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM.
- The Fresno County Public Library has its main branch downtown, at 2420 Mariposa Street.
- Woodward Park is a large grassy park on the north side of Fresno, on Friant Road. There is an entry fee of $5 per car,but if you get there early enough (usually before 7AM) there is no charge.
- Roeding Park is another large park in southwest Fresno. It contains the Chaffee Zoo and small amusement parks Storyland and Playland. It has the same $5 entry fee.
- Mexico, 7435 N Ingram Ave, ☎ , fax: +1 559 257-4839, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 8AM-5PM.
The adjacent town of Clovis has a small "old town" with numerous antique stores. The last weekend of April the town hosts the Clovis Rodeo.
Millerton Lake is about 20 miles northeast of Fresno on Friant Road. It's a popular site for fishing and waterskiing.
Many locals escape the summer heat at the lakes in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. These lakes have recreation areas, campgrounds, and bed and breakfasts:
- Shaver Lake (with nearby Sierra Summit ski resort)
- Huntington Lake
- Bass Lake
- Pine Flat Lake
|Routes through Fresno|
|Sacramento ← Madera ←||N S||→ Selma → Bakersfield|
|Morro Bay ← Lemoore ←||S N||→ Coarsegold → Yosemite N.P.|
|END ← Jct N S ←||W E||→ Kings Canyon N.P. → END|
|Sacramento / Emeryville ← Madera ←||N S||→ Hanford → Bakersfield|