Let’s explore a bit of the city’s history before we check out all the amazing things to do in Fresno on a vacation. Fresno is a city in Central California, originally founded as a stop on the Central Pacific Railroad. It’s the most populated non-coastal city in California and is located in the beautiful San Joaquin Valley. The city’s economy is tied to agriculture, and Fresno stands out amongst big cities for not having any sports teams in the five major national leagues. Fresno’s population is around 527,000 people and has almost an equal split of white and Hispanic residents. It’s also home to one of the largest populations of Hmong people, who are ethnically Chinese. The mix of races and cultures makes it diverse in terms of art, history, cuisine, and religious beliefs. It’s laid back in the way only Californian cities can be, and it’s a great place to spend time.
So, let’s take you on a quick journey and explore all the great things to do in Fresno on your visit.
Forestiere Underground Gardens
This quirky attraction is a California State Historic Landmark. The site spans 10 acres of land and extends 23 feet underground. The subterranean structures were built over a period of 40 years by Baldassare Forestiere, an Italian immigrant to California. The underground home was supposedly inspired by the scorching heat of summers in Fresno. The underground gardens have 65 rooms, over three levels, with archways and courtyards in between. There is a winter and summer bedroom, a lounge with working fireplace, and a fully functioning kitchen. The attraction is an incredible site to walk around, and you can’t help wondering how on earth Forestiere managed to excavate the site using just shovels and hand picks. The results are nothing short of fabulous, and this is such a unique thing to do in Fresno for all the family.
Wild Water Adventure Park Clovis
This watery adventure park is set over 52-acres and is the perfect thing to do in Fresno with kids. It’s the largest water park in the state and, with the year-round good temperatures, you can practically guarantee that any day is good for a visit. The park has various rides, including the Drop Zone, The Rampage, and Vortex. Most are designed for older kids and adults, but the little ones have three whole areas specifically for them. These are mainly shallow water park with small slides and plenty of space for adults to keep a close eye on them. The park also has a BBQ and picnic area, fishing space, and a large beach volleyball court.
Tickets required, available online or from the entrance, $17.99-$35.99 for single-day admission.
Ghost Golf Fresno
Ghost Golf is an 18-hole miniature course set in a state of the art haunted house and graveyard. It’s a great thing to do in Fresno with kids and the perfect way to spend a spooky afternoon. What could be better than swinging around a golf club while being set upon by ghosts and demons? The facility also has a range of party options, so if you’re visiting with the whole family, there are plenty of options for food and drinks to be added on. Ghost Golf has proven to be a really popular attraction in the area.
Tickets required, available at the entrance, $20-$30 for 2-3 players.
Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment Center
Blackbeard’s is a fun family entertainment center with a vast range of activities and things to do. There’s baseball batting cages, basketball courts, laser tag, and miniature golf. There’s also a huge water park on-site and an area to sail around in bumper boats. If that wasn’t enough, children can go to a theme park, a rope adventure, and a race track. There are more than enough things to do in Fresno at Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment Center to keep your family occupied for a full day, if not more.
Tickets required, available online or at the entrance, $30-$45, depending on package.
Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Chaffee Zoo is an accredited park, founded in 1908. These days, it spans across 39-acres of land and is home to more than 190 species of animals. In 2004, the voters in Fresno passed a bill to raise funds to expand the zoo, and the Stingray Bay exhibit was the first part to be publicly funded. Since then, other exhibits have been funded in the same way, and these include the Tropical Treasures, Sea Lion Cove and African Adventure. It’s clear the zoo is close to the hearts of the local residents and, with their support and tax money, it continues to grow and offer homes and shelter to more animals. Chaffee is another great thing to do in Fresno with kids and a good day out for the whole family.
Fresno Art Museum
This contemporary and modern art museum that has existed in the city in some form or another since 1960. The permanent collection consists of more than 3,600 pieces, including sculptures, prints, photographs, and paintings. Some of the highlights of the collection includes works by Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell, Diego Rivera, and Andy Warhol. The gallery has gained a name for displaying so-called ‘feminist’ art, and has an annual Distinguished Woman Artist Award. A visit to the Art Museum is a great thing to do in Fresno.
Roeding Park is set over 90 acres of land and is one of four main public parks in the city. The park is the location of Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Playland, and Storyland attractions. A miniature train shuttles visitors back and forth between the two amusement parks. Outwith the attractions, the park has a lake, a few ponds, picnic areas, walking trails, and a Japanese War Memorial. A day in the park is a fun thing to do in Fresno and is a relaxing space, away from the busy city center.
Off-beat things to do in Fresno
Forestiere Underground Gardens, which we mentioned earlier, is by far the most quirky and off-beat attraction in the city. Alternatively, you could head out to the gorgeous Meux Home Museum. The home was owned by Dr Richard Meux and is a wonderful example of Victorian architecture. The 16-room home is open for tours throughout the year.
FAQs About Fresno
We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the city and things to do in Fresno. These will help your research, planning, and general education about all this Californian Central Valley city has to offer.
What is there to do in Fresno for families?
For things to do with family in Fresno, hit up the Discovery Center. This science-themed park gives kids the chance to learn about the world of science and discovery through the use of interactive exhibits. The Discovery Center also has a huge park area, as well as the beautiful Deutsch Cactus Garden. The garden is a highlight of any visit, with more than 250 cactus and succulents on display. Chukchansi Park is another great thing to do in Fresno for families as everyone can catch a Fresno Grizzlies game in the California sunshine. The team, who play in the Pacific Coast League, have been based in the stadium since 2002. It’s a fun day out, and games always have a great atmosphere.
Is Fresno a safe city?
Although Fresno has a higher crime rate than average for the United States, there are many precautions you can take when you’re in town. The best thing to do in Fresno to keep yourself safe is to not go out alone at night, to keep your valuables well hidden, and to catch a cab or Uber if you’re out late and don’t know the neighborhood. Most of the main tourist areas in Fresno are pretty safe places to be, so stick to well-lit and populated spaces, and you should be good to go.
Is Fresno CA northern or southern?
Neither, to be honest. Fresno is located in the Central Valley of California. Other central cities include the state capital, Sacramento, and Modesto.
Does it snow in Fresno CA?
In a word, no. the last time snow fell in Fresno was 1998. Even then, it was a paltry half inch. Snow in the mountains surrounding the city is normal in the Winter, but it almost never reaches the city. It’s just too warm year round for snow to be much of a concern. Yay!
Fresno differs slightly from many other major Californian cities in that its cost of living is way lower than others. This means it’s cheaper to live, work and travel in the city that it would be, say, further south in LA, or further north in San Francisco. Fresno is known by locals as The Raisin Capital due to its production of around 300,000 tons of raisins each year and has a great year-round climate, which hasn’t seen snow in more than 20 years. Fresno tends to fly under the radar and gets lost in the hype of other Californian cities. It’s a quiet but vibrant city, which has a whole lot to offer anyone who visits. With a real mixture of races and cultures, it ensures diversity. With its long history, it promises representation, and is a real hidden jewel in the Central Valley of California. Fresno Yosemite International Airport serves the city, and there’s a great range of attractions and accommodations on offer to suit a variety of budgets. We hope we’ve given you all the information on things to do in Fresno to convince you to book flights and spend your vacation there.