Blake Walsh

16 Best Things to Do in Fresno County, CA

  • Published 2023/05/07

Located in central California, Fresno County is a lovely getaway destination offering a wide variety of outdoor recreation, entertainment, arts, and culture.

It traces its origins to a diverse group of 19th-century settlers who farmed the land and worked on the railroads.

The area is a top agricultural producer in the country, boasting abundant fruit production, from grapes, plums, and peaches to berries and nuts.

Situated in the central San Joaquin Valley, exciting outdoor recreation abound in the county’s forests, lakes, and trails, from hiking and boating to winter sports.

The county is also home to shopping districts, local breweries, and family-friendly entertainment facilities.

It hosts many festivals throughout the year, offering opportunities to sample the county’s thriving arts, culture, and food scene.

To help you get started on planning your getaway to the valley, here are some of the best things to do in Fresno County, California.

Tour the Fascinating Subterranean World at the Forestiere Underground Gardens

A tree at Forestiere Underground Gardens

Jessica Small /

Visit the Forestiere Underground Gardens and marvel at its fascinating architecture.

This beautiful complex of underground garden courts, passages, and patios was the creative work of Baldassare Forestiere, an Italian immigrant and self-taught artist.

Take an hour-long guided walking tour of the gardens and learn about Forestiere’s unique building process.

As you stroll through the gardens, take time to admire its gorgeous stonework, which made use of local sedimentary rock.

Sleep quarters at Forestiere Underground Gardens

Levi Clancy, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy the scenery of unique trees, vines, and shrubs growing around the earthen terrain.

In 1977, this fascinating garden complex was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in landscape architecture and agriculture.

The Forestiere Underground Gardens is located along West Shaw Avenue in the city of Fresno.

A tub at Forestiere Underground Gardens

Levi Clancy, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Charming Animals at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Entrance to Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Jim Moore, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take your kids to an amazing day at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

This 40-acre zoo houses over 200 species, including African elephants, rainforest birds, kangaroos, rhinoceros, and giraffes.

Visit the sea lion cove and peek into a scene from the California coast.

Watch a bird show and see the zoo’s magnificent birds in flight.

Get up close and interact with a giant Galapagos tortoise.

If you’d like a unique experience, check out the behind-the-scenes tour and get to see how the zookeepers and the resident animals start their day!

After meeting the animals, you can grab a bite and refuel at one of the dining spots onsite.

You can find the Fresno Chaffee Zoo along West Belmont Avenue in the city of Fresno.

Go Wine Tasting at Kings River Winery

Spend a weekend afternoon sipping wines at Kings River Winery.

Located on a beautiful 40-acre fruit farm, this boutique winery produces premium wine from grapes grown in its vineyard.

Visit its tasting room and sample its variety of wines.

Join a tour of the vineyard and enjoy the wonderful scenery while learning about wine production.

It also hosts fun events such as paint-and-sip sessions, jewelry workshops, and other seasonal activities.

You can find Kings River Winery along South Greenwood Avenue in the city of Sanger.

Explore the Beautiful Terrain of Kings Canyon National Park

Scenic view of Kings Canyon National Park

Benny Marty /

Experience the stunning beauty of the wilderness at the Kings Canyon National Park.

Home to the country’s deepest canyon, this national park protects one of the country’s most scenic landscapes.

Start your day at the visitor center, where you can view exhibits, watch park films, and learn about the history of the park.

Take a hike and explore the scenery of grand trees, beautiful lakes, and thrilling falls.

Road at Kings Canyon National Park

Benny Marty /

In winter, the park has two designated snowplay areas where you can enjoy sledding.

A visit won’t be complete without a trek to see the towering General Grant Tree, which was named as the country’s Christmas tree in 1926.

The visitor center of Kings Canyon National Park is located along Highway 180 in the community of Cedar Grove.

A waterfall at Kings Canyon National Park

Niagara66, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take in the Beauty of the Fresno County Blossom Trail

View of the beautiful Fresno County Blossom Trail

Guangli /

Bask in the beauty of flowering fruit trees along the Fresno County Blossom Trail.

The picturesque trail offers sweeping views of the Fresno’s fruit orchards, which burst with lovely blossoms and fragrances during February and March.

Take a drive along the trail and marvel at the pristine white plum, almond, and apricot blossoms.

Or hop on your bike, cycle along the trail, and take in the beauty of pink peach and nectarine blossoms.

There are also various events and activities during the blossoming period, such as trail runs and art exhibits.

The Fresno County Blossom Trail starts at Simonian Farms along South Clovis Avenue and traverses the cities of Sanger, Reedley, and Orange Cove.

Spend a Summer Day at Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment

Take the family to a fun-filled summer day at Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment.

This pirate-themed amusement center features thrilling attractions and family-friendly activities.

Beat the heat and cool off at the water slides.

Spend hours at the arcade and enjoy classic amusement park rides with your kids such as bumper boats and Ferris wheel.

There’s also a rope course and laser tag games if you’re looking for more active fun.

Enjoy your favorite summer food at the picnic area or check out the snack bar for some pizza and refreshments.

Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment is located along North Chestnut Diagonal in the city of Fresno.

Go Antique Shopping at Old Town Clovis

A museum at Old Town Clovis

RichardHarrison, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Browse the shops and find some great pieces at Old Town Clovis.

Established in the early 1900s, this shopping destination is home to a tree-lined district featuring antique and vintage shops.

You can find a dozen shops full of authentic antiques, heirlooms, interesting vintage items, and collectibles.

Check out the record crates for a vinyl to add to your collection or find an art piece to adorn your room.

It also hosts an annual open-air vintage market, where you can find more dealers and vendors.

Old Town Clovis is located between Clovis Avenue and Woodworth Avenue in the city of Clovis.

View Modern and Contemporary Art at the Fresno Art Museum

Exterior of Fresno Art Museum

Gemini2525, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Fresno Art Museum for a day of art appreciation.

Opened in 1960, this museum has over 3,000 contemporary and modern artworks in its permanent collection, including paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs.

Explore the exhibits and get a glimpse of San Joaquin Valley’s creative scene.

You can also view pieces from the museum’s Andean Mesoamerican collection, which include ceramics, ancient textiles, and ceremonial vessels.

The museum hosts many art events and activities throughout the year, such as family days, symposiums, film screenings, and concerts.

Don’t forget to stop by the museum shop for some souvenirs to take home.

You can find the Fresno Art Museum along North First Street, city of Fresno.

Enjoy the Carnival at the Selma Raisin Festival

If you’re visiting in May, take a drive to join the celebration at the annual Selma Raisin Festival.

Known as the world’s raisin capital, this small yet thriving city accounts for a majority of California raisin production.

Come and enjoy the carnival rides, exhibits, and live entertainment.

Of course, there are food booths, so you can sample some of the best local eats!

There are also shop booths where you can get crafts and gift items.

The Selma Raisin Festival is usually held at Lincoln Park along Selma St.

Go on an Outdoor Adventure at Huntington Lake

The waters of Huntington Lake

Conroy Penner /

Spend the weekend on an outdoor adventure at Huntington Lake.

This lake community in the High Sierra is a popular spot for summer and winter getaways.

Mountains surround the lake on three sides, offering plenty of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, and winter sports.

A photographer at Huntington Lake

Photograph by D Ramey Logan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stay at one of the campgrounds and explore the area’s trails.

There are also picnic sites around the lake that you can use if you’re on a day trip.

In summer, the favorable wind conditions in the Huntington Lake area make it a premier sailing destination.

Tour the Kearney Mansion Museum

Exterior of Kearney Mansion Museum

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

Step back to the beginnings of the valley’s rich agricultural history when you visit the Kearney Mansion Museum.

This museum was once the headquarters of Fruit Vale Estate—the ranch that made Theo Kearney California’s raisin king.

The mansion is one of the historic estate’s only four remaining original structures.

Go on a guided tour of the mansion and learn about Kearney’s life and times and how he pioneered agricultural development in the region.

The tour includes a visit to the gallery, where you can view artifacts and photographs of the region’s storied past.

You can also see the sights around the mansion grounds and enjoy the lovely landscape.

The Kearney Mansion Museum is located along Kearney Boulevard near downtown Fresno.

Unwind at Downtown Fresno Brewery District

After a day of sightseeing in the city, head for drinks and unwind at Downtown Fresno Brewery District.

This thriving district is home to breweries that produce craft ales inspired by the county’s surrounding natural beauty and heritage.

Stroll around, have a taste of local craft beers, and enjoy the district’s vibrant atmosphere.

If you’re not into beer, there’s also a cocktail bar where you can sample some interesting drinks.

The area plays host to various fun events such as art hops and parties.

You can find the Downtown Fresno Brewery District along Fulton St.

Have Fun at The Big Fresno Fair

Night scene at The Big Fresno Fair

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

If you’re visiting in October, you’re in for a treat at The Big Fresno Fair.

First held in 1884, this annual county celebration is one of California’s biggest fairs.

Spend a day at the fair and learn about Fresno’s rich heritage and industry.

Of course, a fun day at the fair won’t be complete without enjoying the live music and exciting attractions.

There are plenty of food vendors around—a great opportunity to sample some of the best eats in the county.

The Big Fresno Fair is held at the 165-acre fairgrounds along East Kings Canyon Road in the city of Fresno.

Learn about Conservation at Clovis Botanical Garden

Trail at Clovis Botanical Garden

Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy the serene atmosphere at Clovis Botanical Garden and learn about water conservation efforts.

Opened in 2004, this botanical center aims to raise public awareness about water conservation.

It is home to over 70 trees, vines, shrubs, and other plants suitable to the valley’s landscape.

Visit the cactus garden and see the interestingly shaped varieties of cacti and succulents.

Bright flowers at Clovis Botanical Garden

Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a walk through the Mediterranean garden and see native plants.

There’s also a children’s garden, where your kids can learn about plant life.

You can find the Clovis Botanical Garden along North Clovis Avenue, city of Clovis.

Plants at Clovis Botanical Garden

Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dine at Sal’s Mexican Restaurant

If you’re exploring around the city of Selma, stop by for a delicious meal at Sal’s Mexican Restaurant.

Opened in 1942, this family-owned restaurant started as a small taco shop.

It has since become a popular family-friendly dining spot offering Mexican eats made from fresh locally grown ingredients.

Grab a quick bite from its menu of quesadillas, tostadas, and burritos.

Or get the full dining experience and indulge in its delicious grilled Mexican dinner plates.

You can find Sal’s Mexican Restaurant along Park St., Selma.

Take a Scenic Stroll at Shinzen Friendship Garden

Stream at Shinzen Friendship Garden

Changku88, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get transported to a peaceful Japanese garden scene when you visit the Shinzen Friendship Garden.

Developed during the post-war era of sister-city gardens, this 5-acre garden is home to stunning landscapes of lakes and hills with thriving Japanese plants.

Visit for a relaxing stroll through the garden and take in the lovely views of plum trees.

There’s also a guided tour that you can book if you’d like to learn more about the garden’s history and its plants.

Throughout the year, the garden hosts various cultural events and educational programs, such as season festivals, lantern fest, pruning workshops, and Japanese art.

You can find the Shinzen Friendship Garden along West Audubon Drive, Fresno.

Final Thoughts

Days of scenic landscapes, thrilling outdoor adventures, and family-friendly entertainment await you in the exciting region of Fresno County.

With stunning natural attractions, a wonderful climate, and thriving arts and culture, this county offers outstanding recreation and leisure throughout the seasons.

Start your San Joaquin Valley adventure with some of the best things to do in Fresno County, California.

© All rights reserved.