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What are Some Things to do in Fresno, California?

Fresno, California, offers a vibrant tapestry of cultural, natural, and culinary experiences. From exploring the underground marvels at Forestiere Underground Gardens to savoring fresh flavors at the Vineyard Farmers Market, there's an adventure for every taste. Encounter the serene beauty of Woodward Park or catch a show at the historic Tower Theatre. What will your Fresno story be? Continue exploring with us...
Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

You're not likely to run out of things to do in Fresno, California. Three national parks — Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia — offer many opportunities for all types of outdoor sports such as skiing, hiking, biking, fishing and much more. You can also view popular attractions such as Shinzen Japanese Friendship Garden, the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum, the Kearney Mansion and the Chaffee Zoo.

Visiting the Chaffee Zoo, in Roeding Park, is one of the oldest things to do in Fresno since the Zoo has been here since its opening in 1929. It was first called the Roeding Park Zoo before the name was changed to the Fresno Zoo in 1985. The name was again changed, this time to the Chaffee Zoo, actually the Chaffee Zoological Gardens, in 1990 when the founder and first zoo director, Dr. Paul Chaffee, died in that year. The Chaffee Zoo is known for its bird shows called "Winged Wonders." Roeding Park has playgrounds and an amusement park as well as picnic areas.

Hiking is a popular activity around Fresno.
Hiking is a popular activity around Fresno.

The Kearney Mansion in Kearney Park is designed in the French Renaissance style on the outside and has Victorian decor inside. The grand home, with its double pointed roof and dormer windows, belonged to Martin Theodore Kearney, a Fresno agricultural developer. The surrounding Kearney Park is known for its beautiful trees and flowers. Run by the Fresno County Historical Society since 1962, the Kearney Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fresno's African-American Historical and Cultural Museum has displays by some of Fresno's African-American artists. The exhibits range from permanent to temporary and focus on African-American culture and history. The Museum was started in 1995.

Yosemite National Park has beautiful sequoia trees.
Yosemite National Park has beautiful sequoia trees.

Walking through the Shinzen Japanese Friendship Garden is one of the best things to do in Fresno for those who enjoy beautiful landscaping. Shinzen is divided into four sections to represent the four seasons and has seven bridges, a koi pond, waterfalls and a tea house. The Garden is located in Woodward Park and may feature seasonal events such as a floating lantern ceremony in August and a spring blossom festival in March.

Coyotes live in Yosemite National Park.
Coyotes live in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park is known as a great place for fun outdoor things to do in Fresno such as biking, horseback riding, camping and hiking. Guided horseback tours and bicycle rentals may be available depending on the season. Yosemite National Park has wildlife such as mountain lions, coyotes, black bears and bobcats. The Park features four visitor centers and scenic beauty including sequoia trees.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions to visit in Fresno, California?

Mountain lions roam Yosemite National Park.
Mountain lions roam Yosemite National Park.

Visitors to Fresno should not miss the chance to explore the Forestiere Underground Gardens, a unique subterranean network of courtyards and passageways reminiscent of ancient catacombs. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is another highlight, offering interactive exhibits and a chance to see exotic animals up close. For outdoor enthusiasts, Woodward Park provides ample space for picnics, jogging, and bird watching.

Are there any cultural experiences specific to Fresno?

Fresno is in central California.
Fresno is in central California.

Fresno is rich in cultural experiences, with the Arte Américas showcasing Latino art and cultural exhibits. The Tower District is the city's hub for live theater, music, and dining, reflecting the diverse community of Fresno. Additionally, the Fresno Art Museum offers a collection of contemporary and modern art pieces, with a focus on works by Central California artists.

What family-friendly activities can be found in Fresno?

There are amusement parks in Fresno, including Roeding Park.
There are amusement parks in Fresno, including Roeding Park.

Families visiting Fresno can enjoy a day at the Island Waterpark, which offers water slides and pools for all ages. The Discovery Center is a hands-on science education center perfect for young explorers. Seasonally, families can also visit local farms such as Simonian Farms for fruit picking and agricultural tours.

Can visitors experience nature within Fresno?

Horseback riding is a popular outdoor activity in Fresno, California.
Horseback riding is a popular outdoor activity in Fresno, California.

Absolutely, Fresno serves as a gateway to some of California's stunning natural landscapes. The nearby Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks are all within a few hours' drive. Closer to the city, the Shinzen Japanese Garden and the San Joaquin River Parkway provide serene settings for nature walks and relaxation.

What are some unique shopping experiences in Fresno?

Shoppers in Fresno can find unique experiences at the River Park Shopping Center, which combines retail, dining, and entertainment. The Vineyard Farmers Market offers locally-sourced produce and artisanal goods, perfect for those seeking organic and farm-to-table options. For vintage finds, the Tower District's thrift stores and boutiques are treasure troves for one-of-a-kind items.

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Discussion Comments

parmnparsley

Does anyone know what the nightlife in Fresno is like? I am enrolling in CSU Fresno and I am looking for fun things to do in the city. I like clubs, sporting events, concerts, and the likes. I also like good restaurants. Also, can someone tell me what the cost of living is like compared to the rest of California? I am looking forward to moving there, but I have not spent much time in the city.

submariner

I have family that lives in Fresno so I go to Millerton when I visit. My favorite time of year to go to Millerton is during the fall or winter. In the fall, the hills around Millerton are green from the rains, and the picnic weather is amazing. The scenery is very picturesque, and it is not as hot as the summer. This makes hiking much more enjoyable.

In the winter, Bald eagles come to Millerton Lake to overwinter. I took a bald eagle boat tour a few years back and the guide said it was the largest winter population of bald eagles in the San Joaquin valley. If you are ever in Fresno, Millerton State Park is definitely a good place to stop.

Georgesplane

Just outside of the City of Fresno is Millerton Lake State Recreation Area. The lake is only about a half hour from downtown and offers all kinds of water and park activities. The recreation area has plenty of activities for all types. If you are into mountain biking or hiking, there are a number of scenic trails that meander through the woods around Millerton. Birdwatchers can see bald eagles, golden eagles and all types of other birds. There are also a number of horse trails, nature trails, and guided tours.

For those who enjoy water sports, the area provides boating, windsurfing, fishing, and boat camping. There are even boat rentals, boat tours, and a boat launch.

Overnighting at the areas is also nice. There are group campsites, family campsites, and full RV hook-ups. The park is beautiful any time of year, and it offers an easy escape from the city.

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    • Hiking is a popular activity around Fresno.
      Hiking is a popular activity around Fresno.
    • Yosemite National Park has beautiful sequoia trees.
      By: Sébastien Closs
      Yosemite National Park has beautiful sequoia trees.
    • Coyotes live in Yosemite National Park.
      By: Michael Ireland
      Coyotes live in Yosemite National Park.
    • Mountain lions roam Yosemite National Park.
      By: SandmanX
      Mountain lions roam Yosemite National Park.
    • Fresno is in central California.
      By: qingwa
      Fresno is in central California.
    • There are amusement parks in Fresno, including Roeding Park.
      By: Curious George
      There are amusement parks in Fresno, including Roeding Park.
    • Horseback riding is a popular outdoor activity in Fresno, California.
      By: yanlev
      Horseback riding is a popular outdoor activity in Fresno, California.