17 Best Things to Do in Selma, CA

Selma, CA
frantic00 / iStock.com

You can pick from many enjoyable things to do in Selma when visiting its region of Central California.

This city is a southeast regional hub not only for its mother, Fresno County, but also for neighboring Kings County and Tulare County.

Selma earned this distinction mainly because of its superb location in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Convenient for visitors, the city's land area of 5.77 square miles spreads at the crossroads of State Routes 43 and 49.

Selma, incorporated in 1893, boasts a long and eventful history that gives the city a unique character and exciting places to visit.

Learn more about what you can enjoy in this city in the following list of the best things to do in Selma, California!

Watch a Live Show at the Selma Arts Center

Exterior of Selma Arts Center
Fruitianslip, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This hub of artists in and around Selma was established in 2013, with its stage on High Street.

The prolific talents of the Raisin' Cain Players, formed in 1985, are behind the productions staged at the Selma Arts Center.

These artists provide various dramatic, musical, literary, and visual art presentations that are educational and inspirational.

Their production of The Sound of Music which marked the opening of the Selma Arts Center, was followed by others shows of the highest caliber.

The shows that were top-billed in past seasons of the center include Disney's Descendants, the Musical; Head Over Heels; and Little Shop of Horrors.

Take the Selma Mural and Art Tour

Selma's Mural Walkway was initiated to help revitalize downtown Selma after the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

The first artwork in this project, the "Selma Historical Mural," is located on High Street and was rendered in 2010.

The mural is located on High Street, with several other works of art on the walls in its vicinity.

One of these murals, dubbed "Children Dream," was completed in 2016 and is aptly near the city's Garfield Elementary School.

A nearby mural, "No Separations — The Lotus and the Dove," was created in 2014 and tells about all of California melding into one space.

"The Tree of Life," painted in 2019 on the wall of Selma's Pet Clinic on West Front Street, is another rendition that can be appreciated in the Selma Mural and Art Tour.

Enjoy Selma's Raisin Festival

Selma has held the monikers "Home of the Peach" and "Raisin Capital of the World," with the city being a primary commercial source of those products.

The latter nickname has become more dominant, though, with the city delivering more than 90% of the world's raisins.

Such market dominance led to Selma hosting its annual Raisin Festival, a family-oriented event traditionally held in early May.

The Selma Chamber of Commerce has been organizing this festival since 1980, drawing the interest of locals and visitors alike.

It's usually held in Lincoln Park, in the northeast quadrant of Mill Street and McCall Avenue.

The Raisin Festival's centerpiece attractions include a carnival with free entrance, food stalls, craft shops, and business/commercial exhibits.

It also features side events, including a two-mile walk/run and competitions in baking, floriculture, art, photography, and poetry.

Visit Pioneer Village

Located on Art Gonzales Parkway, Pioneer Village counts among the fascinating public parks to visit in Selma.

This destination occupies a land parcel of approximately 13 acres and holds some of the city's historic buildings dating back to the 1880s.

The vintage structures in Pioneer Village include the Vincent House, a two-story home rendered in the Victorian architectural style.

Relocated from its former site at the corner of Mill and Selma Streets, this house draws attention with its polygonal turret and bay windows.

Other historic structures include the Lincoln Park Schoolhouse and the Rasmussen Barn.

Many special events are hosted at the Pioneer Village, with its historic buildings also available as rentals for social gatherings.

The community events include an Easter Egg Hunt and Selma's "It Live" Halloween program for kids.

Shop for Nuts at the Pointdexters Nut Company

Take a sampling of the 50 million pounds of walnuts that the Poindexter Nut Company grows and processes annually.

This factory, founded by father-and-son Latha and Ron Poindexter, has a shop on East Floral Avenue, next to the Poindexters' large manufacturing facility.

A finalist in the 2016 California Family Business Award, this nut factory offers a full range of walnut products.

The Poindexter Nut Company boasts the most advanced processing facilities, including patented Pasteurization equipment.

See the Fresno County Model Railroad Club's Fascinating Exhibit

Visit Selma's historic train depot in Pioneer Village on Art Gonzales Parkway, wherein a model of Fresno County's railway system is displayed in one of its vintage buildings.

This exhibit, put together by the Fresno County Model Railroad Club, underscores how vital the railroad was in developing the county and the California Central Valley.

Aside from the model railway, the exhibit's other displays include replicas of Valley regions depicting glimpses of local history.

The Fresno County Model Railroad Club's recreation includes miniature towns, factories, homes, a lighthouse, a flour mill, an oil refinery, a gold mine, and a National Guard unit.

Members of the club have ensured that the railway system display is accurate such that safety crossing bars are lowered with an approaching train.

Have Fun with a Skateboard at Berry Park

This public park is located on the corner of Whitson and Second Street and is famous for its lighted 7,600-square-foot mini skate plaza.

The skate park is open daily and requires skaters to use elbow/knee pads and helmets.

Visiting skaters can also have fun rides on a 10-foot Amoeba Bowl alongside the skate plaza.

Berry Park also features plenty of shade, open green space, benches, and playground equipment.

Play Tennis or Watch Baseball at Brentlinger Park

Brentlinger Park is located on Stillman Street and has tennis courts painted to accommodate another popular racquetball game—pickleball.

It also features ball fields where the Selma Little League games are frequently scheduled.

Other park amenities include a basketball court, open space, picnic shelters, a snack bar, and restrooms.

Pick a Burrito or Taco at Sal's Mexican Restaurant

Selma boasts its homegrown Sal's Mexican Restaurant on Park Street, which opened in 1942 as a humble taco shed.

This restaurant has grown to include three more locations in Fresno, Madera, and Survey.

It has garnered many top awards, including 2022 Best of the Valley, 2019/2020/Fresno Bee, and 2019 People's Choice.

The classic favorites on Sal's Mexican Restaurant's menu are Homemade Tamales, Fancy Burrito, and its signature Short Ribs.

The main dining room at this restaurant's Selma location features an endearing mural of pre-Spanish-era Mexican corn farmers.

Have a Steak at Cattlemens

Selma hosts one of the eight locations of Cattlemens, touted as serving the "Best Steak in the West."

Located on Art Gonzales Parkway, the restaurant offers more besides sizzling prime ribs and hand-cut steaks.

Owned and operated by a ranching family, Cattlemens also serves pasta, seafood, chicken entrees, and a full kids' menu.

Enjoy Pizza at G's Ristorante Italiano

A family-owned and operated restaurant, G's Ristorante Italiano is located on 2nd Street, just south of Lincoln Park.

This downtown restaurant is noted for its homemade pizza and other authentic Italian dishes, available at reasonable prices.

G's Ristorante Italiano is also a favorite for its servings of lemon chicken, shrimp calamari, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and veggie wraps.

Order Chow Mein at A Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant

Diners looking for inexpensive, high-quality, and authentic Chinese food should drop by A Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant, which sits on East Front Street.

An adherent to customer satisfaction, this restaurant is the place to go for chow mein, pork fried rice, and orange chicken.

A Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant's kitchen prepares dishes with fresh ingredients, which can be best appreciated in orders of veggies with dish chicken and snow peas.

Stay at the Holiday Inn Selma-Swancourt

Keep close to all the points of interest in Selma and Fresno with a booking at the Holiday Inn Selma-Swancourt.

This IHG Hotel features 115 rooms in its three-story, Tudor-style building on Pea Soup Andersen Boulevard.

Its amenities include an outdoor pool and spa complemented by rock and floral decor, and a beautiful fountain.

Cocktails and snacks are available at the poolside, furnished with chairs, loungers, and patio tables.

The hotel's full-service Legend's Tap House and Grill offers wine tasting and has a coffee counter and bakery.

Guests of the Holiday Inn Selma-Swancourt also have access to a well-equipped gym.

Shop at the Selma Flea Market

Located on East Mountain View Avenue, the Selma Flea Market is open on Sundays.

Shoppers troop to this flea market for fresh veggies and fruits grown in Central Valley, with much of the produce picked on the same day they're sold.

A family-owned enterprise operating since 1981, the flea market also features plenty of vendors selling prepared food items, including those from food trucks.

On the third Saturday in March, the Flea Market hosts the annual Selma Swap for deals on cars, RVs, car parts, go-carts, and other motoring-related stuff.

The Selma Flea Market hosts this event on Highway 99 and Mountain View Avenue.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit Kingsburg Historical Park

The city of Kingsburg, approximately five miles southeast of Selma, offers several points of interest that complement the attractions in Selma.

One of these is Kingsburg Historical Park on Sierra Street, featuring the museum of Giannini Farms, complete with a vintage windmill.

The Kingsburg Historical Society manages Kingsburg Historical Park and its various historic buildings and oversees other nearby sites worth visiting.

A nice side trip would be a visit to the Historic Kingsburg Jail on Draper Street next to Kingsburg's iconic coffee pot water tower.

Constructed in 1925, the historic jail is a restored building featuring some storyboards on the history of Kingsburg.

The water tower was patterned after a Swedish coffee pot to reflect the Swede character of the city of Kingsburg.

Stop for Snacks at the Sun-Maid Market

In Kingsburg, visitors can also drop by for snacks at the Sun-Maid Market on Bethel Avenue.

Besides delicious raisins and dried fruits, this store also offers a wide selection of gift items.

Walk a short distance from the Sun-Maid Market to have a photo-op at what's touted as the world's largest raisin box.

Students from the California State University-Fresno built this 12-foot by eight-foot raisin box that can hold 16,500 pounds of raisins.

Visit the Kings County Museum

The Kings County Museum is one of the features of Burris Park in the city of Kingsburg.

It displays many artifacts highlighting California's Central Valley's diverse cultures, including its original inhabitants, Tachi Yokut Indians.

The Kings County Museum's collections include farming and household tools that help relate not only to the history of Kings County but also that of the lower Kings River region.

Burris Park is also home to the Kings County Sportsman's Club, which regularly holds trap shooting games.

Final Thoughts

A visit to the Central Valley of California looms to be more complete with the inclusion of destinations in Selma.

This city offers attractions ranging from arts and culture centers to festivals and events in its well-developed parks.

Setting a travel itinerary around the best things to do in Selma, California would certainly make for an interesting and memorable trip.