Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Visalia, CA

  • Published 2022/12/12

Since 1852, European immigrants have inhabited Visalia, California, formerly known as Four Creeks.

Visalia‘s name came from Nathaniel Vise’s hometown in Kentucky; Vise was one of the early settlers in the city.

Nathaniel Vise predicted that Visalia would one day become the county seat of Tulare County, which came true.

Visalia is in the heart of Central California‘s fertile San Joaquin Valley.

Its proximity to major transportation routes has helped make it a regional hub for agriculture and manufacturing.

In pop culture, Visalia was also the setting of some of the episodes of the television series 24, showing the city’s gorgeous downtown area.

Whether looking for a fun day with the family or an afternoon exploring the city, Visalia has many free activities to keep you entertained.

Here are some free things to do in Visalia, California:

Discover the Charms of the Tulare County Library

Exterior view of Tulare County Library

VISALIAso559, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Tulare County Library is another must-visit attraction with a branch in Visalia.

It houses a diverse collection of books and other reading materials that can pique your interest.

Located at the corner of Oak Ave, this library offers a wide variety of books, magazines, and more.

Tulare Public Library was merged with the Visalia City Library, and the new location for the merged libraries opened in 1976.

The building of the former Visalia City Library, which was utilized as storage, was remodeled in 2005.

The renovated building has become the children’s wing and was then linked to the main Tulare County Library.

Explore the Gorgeous Woodland Park

Tucked in a quiet neighborhood in North Woodland St., Woodland Park is a hidden gem in Visalia.

With its well-maintained walking path and beautiful scenery, this park is perfect for hiking and picnicking.

Woodland Park’s playground is perfect for children who want to have fun on a quiet afternoon while you enjoy the view and watch them have a good time.

For those who want fun and exercise, you can have a friendly game with your friends at the basketball court or the practice ball field.

Once you get tired, you can eat at the covered picnic table and cook a barbecue using the barbecue pits.

Attend a Free Yoga Class at Plaza Park

If you’re looking for a serene environment to practice yoga, try doing it at Plaza Park.

Plaza Park is perched on South Plaza Street.

Its serene environment is ideal if you want to try yoga and look for an affordable or free class away from the city’s noise.

Picnic tables are also available, along with barbecue grills so that you can stay in the Park and bond with your Yoga classmates or friends.

Not only can you enjoy a free yoga class, but you will also experience one of Visalia’s most unique attractions.

Plaza Park’s biggest highlight is its pond, where you can fish or play with the ducks.

The Park is also home to a golf course, tennis courts, and a dog park.

Spend the Day at the Blain Park

Blain Park boasts a multipurpose field where you can play soccer or baseball.

The Park also has a playground and covered nook where you can have lunch with your family or friends as you enjoy their company.

Blain Park also welcomes persons with disabilities as it provides a fitness course for differently-abled people.

If you feel like relaxing after the entire day of enjoying Blain Park, you can spend time sitting on its bench, breathing in the fresh air, and delighting in this park’s serenity.

Explore the Exhibits at the Arts Visalia Visual Art Center

If you are in Visalia, you can go to Arts Visalia Visual Art Center and explore the various exhibits on display there.

Located in Downtown Visalia, the Arts Center hosts regular exhibits featuring local and national artists, free to the public.

The Arts Visalia Visual Art Center is open from Wednesday to Saturday and features new exhibits every Friday in time for the Visalia First Fridays.

Past exhibits include Exhibition Runs, where the Arts Center featured the paintings of four painters from different parts of the country.

They also regularly feature artists who are students of Sequoia High School, which is done in partnership with the community.

Arts Visalia Visual Art Center organizes events such as meet the artists, workshops, and Family Art Days.

Take a Stroll at the Mill Creek Trail

Scenic view of Mill Creek Trail

User:VISALIA2010, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spanning more than 2.5 miles of trails, the Mill Creek Trail is one way to relax and enjoy nature in Visalia.

Situated at the edge of Mill Creek Park on North Lovers Lane, this trail runs alongside the ditch bank and offers a great view of Oak trees along the route.

You can take your time exploring this trail at any time of day.

Whether on foot or by bike, you will find it easy to navigate with plenty of places to rest.

From here, you can also enjoy the numerous picnic areas in Mill Creek Park, which are perfect for spending an afternoon with friends or family.

Mill Creek Trail passes Demaree and County Center and has barricades to deter traffic.

Otherwise, you can continue walking until you reach the offshoot canal with beautiful green grasses and trees on one of its sides.

Bring Your Pets to the Cody Kelly Bark Park

As one of the game amenities of Plaza Park, the Cody Kelly Bark Park is an off-leash dog park on North Plaza St.

The Cody Kelly Bark Park is a lovely area bordered by trees and plenty of vegetation, making it a pleasant place to stay for the day.

This park allows you to let your furry friend go off-leash and socialize with other dogs.

It has two sections: one for smaller dogs and a separate enclosure for larger dogs.

An eight-foot fence secures the two areas, and there is ample space for dogs to play and explore in both locations.

The dog park also has extensive and tall trees, making it easy to find shade while allowing your pets to play with other dogs.

Toys are also available for your pets in the park, and benches for you to rest.

Owners are, however, advised to bring water for themselves and their dogs since there are no drinking fountains at the Cody Kelly Bark Park.

Unwind at Visalia First Fridays

The Visalia First Friday is the perfect opportunity to unwind, relax, and enjoy a fun night in the city.

Happening every first Friday of the month in downtown Visalia, this event brings together locals and visitors for music, food, art, and other fun activities.

Numerous art galleries, cafés, shops, and more, join the event.

You can explore the city at your own pace while having a great time with friends or family.

You can talk to the artists and learn more about their creative processes while viewing their artworks.

Participating venues are open from late afternoon to evening, showcasing different art forms, such as photographs, collages, and more.

If you want something you can do in Visalia on the first Friday of every month, check out the Visalia First Friday event!

Check Out the Downtown Visalia Murals

Downtown Visalia Murals will take your breath away as you explore the many beautiful paintings adorn its walls.

These impressive murals, created by local and national artists, give you a glimpse into the city’s history, culture, and community.

You can revel in the beauty of the “Giant Sequoias” Mural, which covers the side of a building, and represents the role of Visalia as a gateway to Sequoia Park.

You can also admire the beauty of Rudy Vargas’ painting entitled “Vietnam Veteran War Memorial,” painted in 2003.

The Teen Mural Program also produced the murals “Moro Rock” and “Sierra Nevada Mountain.”

Next time you’re in downtown Visalia, check out these incredible murals and experience the beauty of art in action.

Soak up the Sun at Perry Family Park

Visalia is a sunny city, and you can find various spots to bask in the sun at Perry Family Park.

The park is right off Dans Street, east of Cottonwood Elementary School.

The Perry Family Park offers shaded picnic areas, tables, and barbecues, so you can enjoy a nice meal while enjoying the sunshine.

They also have a playground with swings and slides, so the kids will have plenty to do while you hang out.

You can also play in the grassy areas, perfect for Frisbee or football.

If you want a fun and free way to enjoy the sun in Visalia, head to Perry Family Park whenever you’re in town.

Breathe in the Serenity of St. John’s River Trail

Picturesque view of St. John's River

VISALIA2010 at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you looking for a serene place to hike and unwind? Look no further than the St John’s River Trail.

This trail follows along the winding banks of the St John’s river, which is a stream of the Kaweah River.

The multi-use trail is also perfect for those who want to jog, run, or ride their bike.

The trail is the longest in the city spanning more than four miles.

With plenty of shady spots and wide-open vistas, you can enjoy nature’s beauty while getting a good workout.

St John’s River Trail is easy to follow and connects two parks, Cutler Park and the Riverway Sports Park, which gives you a choice of where to end your hike.

Next time you’re looking for a place to unwind outdoors, check out St John’s River Trail in Visalia!

Take the Downtown Visalia Historic Walking Tour

Get ready for a three-hour walk when you take the Historic Walking Tour in Downtown Visalia.

The Historic Walking Tour will explore at least nine historic buildings with great architecture and history.

One of the most notable buildings in Visalia is the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the first church in the city, built in 1872.

The First Grist Mill, built in 1854, is also included in the tour, along with the Fort Visalia.

You can also explore the Early Hotel, a brick hotel built in 1859, the Butterfield Stage Station, the first connection of Visalia in 1858, and the First Newspaper & Courthouse.

Check Out the Artwork at the Jon Ginsburg Gallery

Why don’t you go to the Jon Ginsburg Gallery at the Creative Center and look at the artworks created by artists with developmental disabilities?

Through Jon Ginsburg Gallery, the Creative Center aims to inspire, educate, and provide opportunities for disabled persons to reach their artistic potential.

The gallery hosts a wide selection of artworks by these talented artists that you can admire or buy if you like.

The Jon Ginsburg Gallery also hosts programs, such as “the Sofa Art Show,” “Weird Creatures, “High School Art Showcase,” and “the Art Market.”

Whether you’re a collector or just an admirer of art, visit the Jon Ginsburg Gallery at the Creative Center and see the fantastic artwork of talented artists.

Take the Art on Fire Hydrant Walk

Visalia has a lot of things to offer; another one is the Art on Fire Hydrant Walk.

Local painters have worked hard painting city fire hydrants all over the city’s downtown area.

Passersby and drivers have curiously observed the public art installation as scores of artists have painted fire hydrants in vivid hues.

Some contain rainforest scenery, and others have harp writing or lettering.

The program, humorously titled “Art on Fire,” advertises Taste the Arts, an annual event in Visalia’s art world.

You can begin the Art on Fire Hydrant Walk at Santa Fe and Main Street and take photos of all the colorful and stunningly-designed fire hydrants on both sides.

Learn to Skate at the Provident Skate Park

Those interested in skating can try Provident Skate Park, a state-of-the-art facility perfect for both beginners and advanced skaters.

You can bring your skateboards, inline skates, or longboards to practice what you’ve learned at the skate park.

The park has rails, bowls, and ledges if you want to try doing some advanced tricks.

The park has three major parts: a vast fun box, volcanoes, and a snake run leading to a bowl.

Provident Skate Park covers 24,000 square feet, one of the largest skate parks in California.

Final Thoughts

Whatever your passion, Visalia is the perfect destination to explore and enjoy.

If you’re looking for something fun but don’t want to break the bank, you can try the free things to do in Visalia, California.

After all, you’ll delight in the city’s history, culture, and stunning natural beauty.

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