Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Fresno, CA

  • Published 2022/05/28

Situated amid the gorgeous San Joaquin Valley with the San Joaquin River flowing by, Fresno offers the perfect amalgamation of some of the most stunning natural attractions.

The city is pretty close to popular places like Los Angeles and Yosemite, making it all the more interesting.

Fresno itself has a lot of exciting things to offer.

Do you want to have a beer in a beer garden or spot some cute animals in the zoo?

Are you interested in discovering a unique underground garden or watching a Shakespeare play in an ambient location?

In Fresno, you can do all these things and so much more.

Here are the best things to do in Fresno, California:

Stroll through the Forestiere Underground Gardens

A tree at Forestiere Underground Gardens

Jessica Small /

The Forestiere Underground Gardens are among the most iconic places in Fresno.

Situated near the downtown region, the underground gardens will make you wonder if such a jaw-dropping attraction can possibly be engineered by humans or can only be made by the gods.

Amazingly, they were single-handedly made by a Sicilian man almost a hundred years ago.

A vintage tub at Forestiere Underground Gardens

Levi Clancy, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

When Baldassare Forestiere left everything to come to the United States, his only dream was to become the biggest citrus farmer.

So, he designed an entire garden filled with herbs, shrubs, and other varieties of trees from the Mediterranean region.

Now, it is a labyrinth filled with passageways and various trees.

The public is welcome to explore the caves and marvel at the brilliant architecture.

A shaded trail at Forestiere Underground Gardens

David Prasad, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Make Friends with the Animals of Fresno Chaffee Zoo

 Lions at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Flyfresno, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a cool place to hang out with your family during your trip to Fresno.

Many wild animals, birds, and mammals have made their way to this zoo.

This zoo also has a special feature where it welcomes unwanted animals from anywhere in the world.

Entrance of Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Jim Moore, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are a lot of animals here, including tigers and warthogs.

The best thing about this zoo is that you can meet the animals personally as they have specific programs, walking tours, and other events.

The zoo also hosts summer camps for children.

A wood duck on the waters of Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Kevin Cole from Pacific Coast, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Relax at Roeding Park

Roeding Park is a massive area that comprises Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Apart from the zoo, there are several other places where you can sit and relax amid lush greenery.

You can spot a lot of migratory birds here.

There are many picnic spots and an amusement park.

The amusement park is like a dreamland for children and adults to enjoy.

Walk around Downtown Fresno

Chukchansi Park in Downtown Freshno

stellamc /

Downtown Fresno is the liveliest part of the city.

If you want to try out Fresno’s trendy restaurants or pubs, downtown is the place to check out.

It is the city’s main attraction and is filled with tourist spots.

There are a lot of buildings in the downtown area that have great historical significance.

The City Hall, the Fresno Water Tower, and Chukchansi Park are all located in this area.

People walking along Downtown Fresno

Tupungato /

Some of them were built during the 1800s and were almost broken down during the World War.

Fortunately, they were restored, and you can still see them today.

As you walk around the downtown area, you will see a lot of food stalls and food trucks that serve delicious food.

There are also a lot of bands playing live music in some areas.

Overall, it is a lovely area if you want to experience the essence of Fresno.

Aerial view of Downtown Fresno

Matt Gush /

Catch a Play at Warnors Theatre

Exterior of Warnors theatre

Tupungato /

Warnors Theatre happens to be the biggest theater in all of California.

Not merely a place to catch a show, the theater is also historically significant to Fresno.

It was the first common space built for theater purposes in 1928, and the legacy continues to this day.

Interior of Warnors Theatre

David Prasad from Fresno, CA., United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Warnors Theatre has enough seating to accommodate a whopping 2,000 people.

Apart from shows and musicals, you can also watch dramas or movies here.

Try to catch a show or a film screening at this historical theater while you are in Fresno.

Inside the theater, there are also lounges where you can host private parties or other events.

View of Warnors Theatre from across the street

stellamc /

Witness the Magic of Woodward Park

The waters of Woodward Park in Fresno

Seannon Jones /

Woodward Park is the biggest park in Fresno, comprising 300 acres.

Situated in the northern portion of the city, the park is filled with green trees, fresh flowers, and several birds.

It comprises a Japanese garden, several bird sanctuaries, hiking trails, and biking paths.

California poppies at Woodward Park

Seannon Jones /

There are also designed areas where you can set up picnics.

The Shinzen Friendship Garden is an authentic Japanese garden situated within the park, and you’ll see several Japanese sculptures in addition to all the flora.

During the summer, you can enjoy one of Shakespeare’s plays while sitting on the grass.

Geese near the waters of Woodward Park

Nightryder84, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn about Fresno History at the Meux Home Museum

Exterior of Meux Home Museum

Wearsunscreen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What was once someone’s home now serves as a museum open to the public for learning purposes.

Dr. Thomas Richard Meux, who served as a veteran during the Civil War, returned home to Fresno and decided to build a mansion of his own.

This was the origin story behind the massive mansion comprising 16 rooms, built entirely in the Victorian style.

After his death, the house was opened to the public as a museum and continues to be maintained by the city government.

It provides several tours where you can learn about the past.

Several fundraisers are held here, too.

Enjoy a Beer at Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden

Are you a beer lover?

Do you particularly enjoy craft beers?

Fresno has some of the best local beers that you can enjoy while sitting in an open-air space.

Serving customers since 2007, Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden grew to become a go-to place in Fresno.

There is always music playing, and many food trucks are located in the area so that you can pair your beer with your favorite snacks.

The backdrop of the place is quite mesmerizing, as the beer garden is set in the bosom of the Southern Sierra Mountains in the San Joaquin Valley.

Not only is it famous among the people, but beer experts from different breweries have also praised Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden on many occasions.

Admire the Art at the Fresno Art Museum

Exterior of Fresno art museum

Gemini2525, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Fresno Art Museum was established in 1949 and is still going strong to date.

It is filled with more than 3,500 works of art by some of the most talented artists.

Apart from paintings, there are also a lot of sculptures that are appealing to the eyes.

The Fresno Art Museum museum hosts many events every year.

Tourists mainly flock to the museum for such events.

The museum is pretty famous and has been claimed to be one of the most diverse museums in the USA.

Go on a Shopping Spree at River Park

Name sign of River Park shopping center

NeoBatfreak, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

River Park is Fresno’s paradise for shoppers.

The shopping complex is made up of 75 branded stores and boutiques.

You can shop till you drop, check out some unique crafts, or buy souvenirs for your friends and family.

Are you tired of all the shopping?

Have dinner at one of the many restaurants available in River Park.

There is also a movie theater with a total of 21 cinemas.

Bask in Luxury at Moravia Wines

Are you a wine person?

A wide and luxurious selection of wines awaits you in Fresno.

There are few places where you can experience wine tasting, and Moravia Wines is an award-winning location.

The place opened its doors in 2021 and quickly became one of Fresno’s major attractions.

Making excellent use of the luscious grapes of the San Joaquin Valley, Moravia makes some of the most delicious wines you’ll ever taste.

Experience Spring Amidst Fresno’s Blossoms

White Blossom Trail in Fresno

Kinerath Studio /

Are you lucky enough to plan a Fresno trip during the spring?

If not, try to time your next trip during the charming season when Fresno is dressed up in blooming flowers.

When spring comes, Fresno is gifted with a trail of beautiful blossoms.

Closeup of a flower at the Blossom trail

Kinerath Studio /

The Fresno Blossom Trail stretches for a good 62 miles.

Imagine biking or walking through a pink getaway!

The path looks like a highway to heaven and is open from late February to early March.

Scenic blossom trail

Guangli /

Dine and Catch Stellar Performances at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre

Locals and visitors to Fresno have enjoyed the Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre since it opened in 1978 with new performances of well-known American plays.

More and more productions have been staged in the theatre as the years have passed.

It has previously produced performances of Guys & Dolls, The Sound of Music, and Birdie, among others.

One of the world’s most cherished cultural institutions is a must-see because of its reputation for excellent performances and cuisine.

In addition to the delicious cuisine and entertaining entertainment, the theatre’s stunning design is sure to captivate guests.

Inspire Your Kids to Explore Their Imagination at Storyland Fresno

Storyland Fresno first opened its doors in 1962 to bring the fascinating world of storybooks to life for visitors to enjoy.

At one time, the theme park carried youngsters through cottages, castles, and onboard pirate ships and rockets to make their imaginations become a reality.

The theme park was reopened to Fresno residents and tourists after it was closed for renovations and reopened to the public.

With the Fairytale Exhibit, guests are taken through the realms of Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Wonderland, and Mother Goose, among many more.

There are many other attractions, including the historic Daniel R. Martin Children’s Theater and Willis B. Kyle Express Train, including magicians, storytellers, musicians, and more.

Catch a Live Game at Chukchansi Park

Baseball game in Chukchansi Park

Keeton Gale /

Are you a baseball fan?

Want to watch a live game in one of the most exciting stadiums?

Fresno has the place for you.

Chukchansi Park is the home ground of the Fresno Grizzlies.

Though they are a minor league, many players from the Grizzlies have made it to the major leagues.

The seats in Chukchansi Park's baseball stadium

Tupungato /

It is a lively stadium and is always filled with fans during games.

Cheer along with them and have a merry time.

Apart from hosting heart-pumping baseball games, the stadium is also loved for its stunning views of the downtown area and the nearby Sierra Mountains.

After a game, grab a bite to eat or a few beers at the famous Phoenix Club.

Aerial view of Chukchansi Park

Matt Gush /

Unleash Your Inner Child at the Big Fresno Fair

Fresno Fair at Night

The Big Fresno Fair, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Big Fresno Fair is a special fair that happens every year.

It attracts tons of people each year.

The fair takes place in the Central Valley and lasts for almost two weeks.

Essentially the largest festival in Fresno, the Big Fresno Fair takes place every October.

A museum at Big Fresno Fair

BigFresnoFair, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are a vast number of attractions at this fair.

The main points of interest are different unique live shows, musical plays, and races.

It has several programs that teach visitors about Fresno’s history and agriculture.

The Big Fresno Fair raises a lot of funds from the ticket fare, part of which goes to the city’s revenue system.

Overall, it is a fun event to join if you’re in Fresno during the winter.

Explore Latino Culture at Arte Americas

Arte Americas, now the Valley’s most prominent non-profit Latino heritage institution, began as a humble one-room office in 1987.

Fresno’s Cultural Arts District has made the organization a part of its fabric.

You’ll find a diverse collection of works from Latino cinema and musicians, writers, and photographers in the center.

It’s easy to spend a day here learning about Fresno’s vibrant Latino art scene in the gallery measuring 10,000 square feet, performance, classroom, and conference areas.

The adjacent La Plazita has free concerts every Friday night in the summer, so guests may spend their nights listening to live music.

Step Back in Time at Kearney Mansion Museum

Exterior of Kearney Mansion Museum

R&sbwn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1903 home of M. Theo Kearney, the Kearney Mansion is a museum that displays the original furnishings.

You’ll be transported back as you visit the M. Kearney estate, a French Renaissance-style mansion.

In addition to the stunning exteriors, the interiors are a treat for history and architectural enthusiasts.

Take the hour-long guided tour of the house (also known as the Superintendent’s Lodge) when you visit the facility.

This is a must-see for history buffs visiting Fresno.

Learn More about Natural Sciences at Fresno Discovery Center

The Discovery Center in San Francisco, California, is a premier destination for scientific education and hands-on explorations.

It opened its doors to the public in 1954.

The various hands-on displays that explore the wonders of environmental and physical sciences will pique visitors’ interest.

Visitors can tour the museum’s five-plus-acre park, featuring a dinosaur dig and cottages built by the Miwok Indians and a historic barn.

Paleontology, the natural sciences, space exploration, and Native American artifacts are among the topics covered in the museum’s several exhibit halls.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Spend a Day in Yosemite National Park

The waters of Yosemite National Park

Mikhail Kolesnikov /

You can’t visit Fresno without going on a visit to Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite receives a footfall of over 4 million throughout the year.

The place is as beautiful as you can imagine.

Words aren’t enough to talk about its beauty as it is just one of those splendid gifts of nature.

Gorgeous waterfalls at Yosemite National Park

Lorcel /

With several waterfalls making the park look prettier, Yosemite also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Spreading across a vast 747,956 acres, it extends to the Sierra Nevada.

The granite cliffs found at Yosemite are a natural wonder, too.

There are a lot of hiking trails where you can easily spend a whole day without even realizing that so much time has passed you by.

Taft point cliff at Yosemite National Park

Benny Marty /

Final Thoughts

The city of Fresno, California, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with everything from secret courtyards to wacky parks.

In addition to its natural beauty, Fresno has many other attractions.

When you’re around the San Joaquin Valley, pay Fresno a visit.

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Things to Do in Fresno, CA

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