Nestled in the heart of California's bountiful Central Valley, the city of Fresno is a perfect basecamp for travellers interested in exploring the state's natural diversity. That it's a convenient drive to some of the most popular national parks in the U.S. is reason enough to visit, but Fresno is a bustling metropolis – the fifth-largest city in California – boasting plenty of reasons to stay, from a wealth of award-winning restaurants to museums to galleries and outdoor art.
Good things are growing
Basilwood Farms | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
With farming roots that run deep, it's little surprise that Fresno visitors are eating up its agritourism experiences. Fresno County is the number one agricultural producing county in America and travellers can visit many of the area’s picturesque family farms for activities such as sampling fresh, organic extra-virgin olive oil at Enzo’s Table or visiting with the goats at Basilwood Farm. Closer to the city centre, The Vineyard Farmers Market operates twice weekly (Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings), while Old Town Clovis Farmers' Market runs Saturday mornings and seasonally on Friday evenings through the summer months.
A particularly popular option for the agri-curious traveller is the Fresno County Wine Journey which strings together thirteen of the region’s most celebrated wineries, plus two breweries and a distillery. Have your designated driver tour you through the Wine Journey map to sample vintages poured by winemakers highlighting the unique properties of the region’s distinctive terroir.
Kings Canyon National Park | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Those who have a thirst for nature can explore the wild world of California’s many national parks with day trips to the breathtaking vistas of Yosemite, the rugged foothills of Kings Canyon and the famous ancient trees of Sequoia, all of which are within ninety minutes of the city.
Forestiere Underground Gardens | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Closer to town, one of Fresno's most popular destinations is Forestiere Underground Gardens, a fairy-tale-like series of interlocking underground gardens constructed by Sicilian immigrant Baldasare Forestiere over a period of 40 years. Inspired by Forestiere’s childhood fascination with the Roman catacombs of his homeland, the gardens consist of more than 60 intricate subterranean rooms, including bedrooms, a functional kitchen and a parlour with a working fireplace, linked together by enchanting courtyards and grottos. Exploring the gardens is truly an otherworldly experience, reminiscent of the underground homes of the hobbits in The Lord of the Rings.
Let your palate lead the way
Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Once you’ve worked up an appetite below ground, spend an evening exploring Fresno’s abundance of farm-fresh cuisine. Thanks to its multicultural citizens, the city boasts a wide diversity of restaurants serving authentic international cuisines, from The Curry Pizza Company’s unique handcrafted pizzas topped with Indian-inspired flavours, to the near-unlimited options offered by Fresno's fleet of taco trucks.
Schoolhouse Restaurant & Tavern | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
One of our personal favourites is School House Restaurant & Tavern, which serves modern farm-to-table cuisine inside a nearly 100-year-old schoolhouse building. It’s worth making the short drive from Fresno into the picturesque countryside to sample dishes such as its popular date and prosciutto salad with artisanal burrata cheese, thinly sliced green apples, tarragon and crunchy roasted pistachios. Carnivores will appreciate the venison fillet served with wild mushroom risotto and locally grown pomegranate arils in a cabernet peppercorn reduction sauce. Cap off your meal with a decadent chocolate tasting for two.
Downtown Fresno | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Whether you’re the type of traveller who thrives on fine dining, outdoor adventure or local exploration, Fresno has it all. Why not make this charming city your next Californian destination?
This article was presented in collaboration with
Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau.