25 Best Things To Do In Fresno, CA - Updated 2021

things to do in fresno california
Claire
Claire
Updated

Situated towards the middle-center of California, Fresno is a great place to visit and plan a vacation. Because of its location, a trip there means you can also drive a little to get to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite, and Sequoia National Park. While you’re in Fresno, however, the various neighborhoods, museums, and theaters are historical and must-see spots that are bound to keep you busy for the majority of your visit. Keep reading to learn about the fun things to do in Fresno, CA. To make the most of your trip in Fresno, check out the budget hotels and Vrbo vacation rentals available.

1. Have fun with the whole family at Island Waterpark

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

ALOHA Island Waterpark family... this is our last weekend of FUN in the SUN! We're open today until 6pm :)

Posted by Island Waterpark on Saturday, September 7, 2019

Island Waterpark offers fun under the sun for just about every member of the family. There are several slides and pools for all ages to choose from, including a tidal pool and a lazy river. Even toddlers can have fun in the water (with parental supervision, of course), as there is a toddler-friendly pool with mini-slides. Guests of this Fresno attraction can bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks. Do be aware that the tubes and rafts are for rent. It’s advisable for guests to wear water shoes during their stay.

Island Waterpark

Address: 6099 W Barstow Ave, Fresno, CA 93723, United States

Website: Island Waterpark

2. Find your inner peace at Shinzen Friendship Garden

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Feeling tired and overwhelmed? Head over to Shinzen Friendship Garden, a serene location that will help you regain your inner peace. The garden was built by the Japanese-American community of Fresno to honor Kochi, Japan, its sister city. The main theme of the garden is four seasons - winter, spring, summer, and fall - and each section is labeled by granite markers. A bonsai collection and a koi pond are also two sections that guests may find here. Peacocks and peahens milling about only add to the beauty and splendor of this garden. Self-guided maps are available if you want to explore your surroundings. Private group tours can also be arranged.

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Address: 114 W Audubon Dr, Fresno, CA 93720, United States

Website: Shinzen Friendship Garden

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed from Sun - Tue)

3. Marvel at the fruit trees in bloom along Fresno County Blossom Trail

Fresno blossom trail
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andy Blackledge used under CC BY 2.0

When people think of farming and agriculture, the image that comes to mind is muck or anything far removed from beauty. Fresno County Blossom Trail challenges that mindset and proves that there is beauty in agriculture. Think of this as Fresno’s answer to the Cherry Blossom Festival of Japan. Starting from sometime in February, Fresno County Blossom Trail explodes in colors—thanks to the apricot, nectarine, apple, and plum trees. Timing is essential in order to witness the trail’s beauty, so be sure to monitor the official website to learn when to schedule your trip to Fresno.

Fresno County Blossom Trail

Address: Fresno, CA 93725, United States

Website: Fresno County Blossom Trail

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5:30pm (daily)

4. Let your kids learn while having fun at Discovery Center

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by The Discovery Center on Sunday, March 26, 2017

The aim of the Discovery Center is to provide kids (and kids at heart) with hands-on learning that will ignite their interest in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite being relatively small, it features indoor and outdoor exhibits that offer something fun for kids while learning about key STEM concepts and principles. The Discovery Center is a nonprofit organization that’s fueled by donations and the hard work of volunteers.

The Discovery Center

Address: 1944 N Winery Ave, Fresno, CA 93703, United States

Website: The Discovery Center

Opening hours: Sat: 8am - 12pm (closed from Sun - Fri)

5. Enter a world of fairy tales at Storyland

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Storyland is a perfect destination for parents who want to instill a love for reading and learning in kids. As the name suggests, the theme park is inspired by fairy tales where you can browse exhibits displaying popular characters such as Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Wonderland, and more. The highlight of the park is a train ride that takes visitors on a scenic tour of Storyland and its sister park, Playland. You can also watch various performances at Daniel R. Martin Children’s Theater, the park’s outdoor theater.

Storyland

Address: 890 W Belmont Ave, Fresno, CA 93728, United States

Website: Storyland

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

6. Reward your tastebuds at Heirloom

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Gather round and enjoy.

Posted by Heirloom-Eats on Monday, November 30, 2020

Aside from the amazing Italian restaurants and other must-try restaurants in Fresno, another great place to eat is the Heirloom. Think of this place as a dining option that is not afraid to take fast food to a completely different level. Don’t let the line discourage you from checking this place out. It serves some of the items you can find in a typical fast-food joint, but it also offers some that you can expect in a fancier establishment, including steaks and salmon. Fresh ingredients are used to make every dish, so you get to enjoy delectable meals regardless of which item you choose on the menu.

Heirloom

Address: 8398 N Fresno St, Fresno, CA 93720, United States

Website: Heirloom

Opening hours: 11am - 8pm (daily)

7. Check out the lights at Cultural Arts District Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Cultural Arts District Park is one of the newest parks in Fresno. It features a playground and picnic areas, making this a favorite of families with children living in the area. The highlight of this park is its canopies that light up at night and can be programmed to entertain parkgoers with a fantastic light show. This place to visit in Fresno also features some fitness equipment, so those who want to get a workout without needing to hit the gym can get some exercise here. The open space is occasionally used to stage musical and cultural events as well as activities.

Cultural Arts District Park

Address: 1615 Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93721, United States

8. Learn more about the bravery of war heroes at Veterans Memorial Museum Inc

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Veterans Memorial Museum on Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dubbed “Home of the Legion of ValorVeterans,” Memorial Museum Inc is run by volunteers, many of whom are veterans and their family members. The museum features memorabilia from various wars including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. This place is a must-visit if you want to learn more about the history of the USA. Entrance here is free, but donations are welcome to support the maintenance of the museum.

Veterans Memorial Museum

Address: 2425 Fresno St, Fresno, CA 93721, United States

Website: Veterans Memorial Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 3pm (closed on Sun)

Price: Free

9. Improve your understanding of African-American history at African American Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley on Friday, June 22, 2018

Considered one of the top cultural museums in Fresno, African American Museum aims to provide visitors with a better understanding of the history and lives of African Americans, from the time of the slave trade to the present. Besides educating visitors on the events from the past, this site also celebrates renowned African-American figures in Fresno, including doctors, teachers, community leaders, and artists. The establishment has some artwork on display.

African American Museum

Address: 1857 Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93721, United States

Website: African American Museum

10. Catch a show at Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts, or simply the Tower Theatre, is one of the most iconic buildings in the district. Originally built in 1939 as a mobile house, it was converted into a center for the performing arts in 1990. The venue now hosts a variety of events, including concerts, theatrical performances, and MMA fights. A visit to Tower Theatre is still worth it even if you are not a fan of the performing arts. The building is a fantastic example of the Streamline Moderne architectural style, and its interiors continue to follow an authentic Art Deco theme.

Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts

Address: 809 E Olive Ave, Fresno, CA 93728, United States

Website: Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts

11. Watch a baseball game at Chukchansi Park

Chukchansi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user YAHQQLIGAN used under CC BY 2.0

Sports enthusiasts who are in Fresno should not miss out on getting a ticket and watching a baseball game at Chukchansi Park. It is home to the Minor League team Fresno Grizzlies and considered one of the most beautiful baseball facilities in the USA. Besides hosting baseball games, the ballpark occasionally serves as a venue for concerts, motocross events, and high school football matches. Chukchansi Park features a water park, which families head to during summer.

Chukchansi Park

Address: H street, Fresno, CA 93721

Website: Chukchansi Park

12. Go on a guided tour of Kearney Mansion Museum

Kearney Mansion Fresno, CA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joy Burrell used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Gain a deeper understanding of San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture by learning more about Martin Theodore Kearney also known as the “Raisin King of California.” Interestingly, what people call Kearney Mansion was not actually the residence of the Raisin King. While he did live there for a time, his stay was only temporary as he built an even bigger house called Chateau Fresno. If you want to join a guided tour, arrangements need to be made beforehand.

Kearney Mansion Museum

Address: 7160 W Kearney Blvd, Fresno, CA 93706, United States

Website: Kearney Mansion Museum

13. Taste the craft beers offered by Spokeasy Public House

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Think of this establishment as an adult version of the arcades you went to when you were younger. Here, you can play arcade games at the back while you enjoy a craft beer. According to its regulars, Spokeasy Public House offers some of the best craft beers throughout Fresno. They constantly change their list of drinks, so you can experience different flavors each time you visit. Besides beer on tap, they also offer canned and bottled drinks if you want to bring some home. If you’re unsure which one to get, the bartender is more than willing to match your cravings depending on what’s available.

Spokeasy Public House

Address: 1472 N Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93728, United States

Website: Spokeasy Public House

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 11am - 6pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

14. Walk through Downtown Fresno

19970217-3M400Film-LongsDev_Metronws2_0010 Downtown Fresno Van Ness - Delivering Metronews 1997 - Downtown Books
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Prasad used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Downtown Fresno contains the largest amount of historical buildings throughout the entire city, dating back as far as the 1800s. If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to view the Fresno Water Tower, the Bank of Italy Building, the Pacific Southwest Building, the San Joaquin Light & Power Building. Many other buildings that were built before World War II have since burned down or been demolished, but on a nice day it’s pleasant to walk amongst the historical buildings that are still standing and see some of the public art available on the streets.

Downtown Fresno

Address: 845 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Website: Downtown Fresno

15. Visit the Fresno Chaffee Zoo

20172746
Source: Photo by Flickr user Connie Kendall used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Especially if you visit Fresno with any little ones in tow, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a highly rated attraction for the entire family. The zoo is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm, and one hour later on Fridays until 7 pm. Ticket prices are very affordable, ranging from 5.50 USD to 10 USD. It’s home to more than 100 species of mammals, birds, amphibians and plants. Some of the main attractions within the zoo include the African Adventure, where you can view cheetahs, African elephants and giraffes, or Stingray Bay, where you’re allowed to touch and feed stingrays for a small additional fee.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Address: 894 W Belmont Ave, Fresno, CA 93728

Website: Fresno Chaffee Zoo

16. Stroll through the Forestiere Underground Gardens

Forestiere Underground Gardens
Source: Photo by user Scott Harrison used under CC BY 2.0

The Forestiere Underground Gardens provide a unique view of ancient Roman architecture as well as a variety of trees, shrubs and vines - some being as old as 90 years. Ticket prices range from 8 to 17 USD. With admission, you’re able to walk through underground passages and rooms created in the 1900s by a single Sicilian immigrant. Baldassare Forestiere’s dreams of becoming a citrus farmer manifested into the underground gardens, which now provide a taste of the Mediterranean right in the middle of sunny California. This will certainly make a great addition to your romantic things to do!

Forestiere Underground Gardens

Address: 5021 W Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93722

Website: Forestiere Underground Gardens

17. Visit the Fresno Art Museum

Fresno Art Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gemini2525 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Fresno Art Museum may be small, but it has quite the offering of pieces and exhibits that everyone can find joy in. If you happen to be visiting Fresno on a rainy day, the museum is a great option to have fun while staying dry. The exhibits always strive to represent diversity, including something from almost every culture and location.

Past exhibits have included art from the Sikhs in India’s Punjab region, the Hmong from Southeast Asia, Mexican and Peruvian cultures and Greek Orthodox iconography. Tickets are only 10 USD for adults, 5 USD for children 6-17 years of age, and free for children five and under.

Fresno Art Museum

Address: 2233 N First St, Fresno, CA 93703

Website: Fresno Art Museum

18. See a show at the Warnors Theatre

2009-0725-CA-Fresno-WarnorsTheatre
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobak Ha'Eri used under CC BY 3.0

The Warnors Theatre is a historic venue located in downtown Fresno, often presenting a variety of musicals and children’s shows. It is a 2,000-seat venue that originally opened in 1928, and is also well known for its historic pipe organ that was installed with the original structure, also in 1928. In addition to musicals and plays, the theatre often puts on movie series and comedy shows. The venue is also available for special events and weddings. Fun times await, so book a cheap hotel or a vacation rental soon and come to Fresno!

Warnors Theatre

Address: 1400 Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93721

Website: Warnors Theatre

19. Walk through Woodward Park

western scrub jay, Woodward Park, Fresno, California
Source: Photo by user Robert Nunnally used under CC BY 2.0

Woodward Park is the third largest in the Fresno area, and offers a multitude of activities for visitors. Simply take a stroll along the San Joaquin River, or venture into the five-acre (2 hectare) Shinzen Japanese Garden, which includes a tea house and more than 100 bonsai plants. The park also offers the perfect picnic spot, with six park shelters, one gazebo and two activity areas.

Woodward Park

Address: 2125 Kern Street, #101 Fresno, CA 93721

Website: Woodward Park

20. Dinner and a show at Roger Rocka's Dinner Theatre

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Roger Rocka’s is a decades’ old theatre known for its superb shows and dining as well as exquisite architecture. The theatre has produced more than 100 shows, including Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Annie, and many more classic favorites. Executive Chef Eric DeGroot was born and raised in Fresno, and makes sure to use local produce in many of his menus, which are made to match each show.

Season tickets at Roger Rocka’s range from 90 USD to 270 USD, while individual show tickets are usually 32 USD if you’re just seeing a show, and 60 USD for both dinner and a show.

Roger Rocka's Dinner Theatre

Address: 1226 N. Wishon Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728

Website: Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre

21. Visit the historic Meux Home Museum

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Source: Photo by Flickr user Ben Phillips used under CC BY 2.0

If Downtown Fresno didn’t do it for you, you’re sure to get your history fill at the Meux Home Museum. The two-story, victorian-style 1890’s home is itself something to marvel at, while the staged indoors will give you a feel for the history of Fresno as well as what it was like to live in the 1800s. While most historic museums already make you feel like you’re in a different era, the Meux Home Museum authentically submerges you.

The hour-long tours of the museum include a costumed docent that makes you feel like you’re simply following them around their own home. Tickets are only 5 USD for adults, 4 USD for juniors and 3 USD for children.

Meux Home Museum

Address: 1007 R Street at Tulare, Fresno, CA 93721

Website: Meux Home Museum

22. Bask in the beauty of the iconic Yosemite National Park (from USD 143.0)

When in California, and after a more nature-filled itinerary, a must add to your list is the iconic Yosemite National Park. This nature park is one of California’s most popular attractions, with over three million visitors annually. Yosemite also happens to be tagged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which covers a vast 3.026 sqm (747,956 acres) which extends all the way to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite’s remarkable granite cliffs and beautiful waterfalls are what’s often visited when in California, as well as the multiple trails that adventure seekers hike or trek for an active day out in the outdoors. See this world wonder and experience the mountainous beauty first-hand as travelers alike make their way into Fresno.

Full-Day Small Group Yosemite & Glacier Point Tour Including Hotel Pickup

Duration: 9 hours

10 reviews

23. Catch a punkrock show at Strummer's

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


This Fresno institution is for the punk rock music lovers who enjoy live music and entertainment. When in this part of California, consider making plans and seeing a punk rock show at Strummer’s. The establishment which was named after The Clash’ renowned punk rock visionary, JoeStrummer, this resto-bar, and club is surrounded by a cultural community that enjoys this unique yet classic type of music genre. Catch daily shows and events like the Monday Mixer with music and art musings, as well as the Tuesday night karaoke session which groups reserve very early. Entrance is free and guests will be given the chance to enjoy one of a kind drinks from the bar like their topnotch White Riot cocktails, Spanish Bomb cocktails, and even their authentic beer, the Belgian Style Golden Ale. Bop your head to the best punk rock tunes, enjoy your fine cocktail, and dance your night away at Strummer’s.

Strummer's Bar & Grill

Address: 833 E Fern Ave, Fresno, CA 93728, United States

Website: Strummer’s

Opening hours: 5:00 PM to 2:00 M, Tuesdays to Saturdays; 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM, Sundays, Closed on Mondays

24. Taste Fresno's local brew at Tioga Sequioa Beer Garden

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


Situated in the heart of San Joaquin Valley in California, this one of a kind beer garden is a crowd favorite, where many travelers book tours to experience world-class beers right from Southern Sierra. Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden was established back in 2007 and is spearheaded by award-winning “brewmaster,” Kevin Cox who is known for his 20 years in the brewing industry, creating high-quality ales sold in various stores all over California. Some of the best sellers include craft beer, Half Dome California Wheat, Gen. Sherman Ipa, California 99 Golden Ale, and Zorro Especial Lager.

Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden

Address: 745 Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93721

Website: Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden

Opening hours: 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Mon to Wed) / Thurs: 2:00 AM - 11:00 PM; Fri - Sat: 12:00 AM - 11:00 PM; Sun: 12:00 AM to 8:00 PM

25. Catch a classic film at the Visalia Fox Theatre

Visalia Fox Theatre at Dusk
Source: Photo by user BrainTrustInc used under CC BY-SA 3.0

California is all about the sun, beaches, Hollywood glitz, and glam, as well as the historic entertainment background many people have grown accustomed to. As early as 1930, Fresno has had its fair share of visitors from all over California for they are the premier destination for arts, old Hollywood, and cultural entertainment. Why not catch a movie here if you don’t know what to do in Fresno?

This historic movie theatre is managed by a set of volunteers who stands as the Board of Directors known a the “Visalian Friends of the Fox Theatre.” This age-old institution continues to host classic and modern movies to date some of which include classics like the original Miracle on 34th Street (1947), M.A.S.H. (1970), and The Big Lebowski (1998) among many iconic others.

Visalia Fox Theatre

Address: 300 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291, 559.625.1FOX (1369)

Website: Visalia Fox Theatre

Opening hours:12:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Tuesdays to Fridays

Price: 5 USD to 99 USD

Something for everyone

Fresno has a little bit of something for everyone, whether you’re on vacation with family, traveling solo, or on a quick weekend getaway. You could play a round or two in one of the golf courses, or you could also satisfy your cravings in a Japanese restaurant. Fresno may not get as much buzz as its neighbors, such as L.A. and San Francisco, but it’s definitely not a city to take for granted. A trip to Fresno will give you all the history, entertainment and culture you desire on your trip.

Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Fresno, California

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Fresno?

If you only have to choose which attractions to visit in Fresno, then you better not miss these top sights to see: the Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and Woodward Park.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Fresno?

Fresno offers plenty of outdoor activities, but what you shouldn’t miss while you’re here is visiting Fresno Chaffee Zoo and meeting new animal friends. Another is exploring the beautiful Yosemite National Park.

3. What are the most popular things to do in Fresno with kids?

Are you looking for the top kid-friendly thing to do in Fresno? If so, bring them to Fresno Chaffee Zoo and let them meet different species of animals. Another option is watching a children’s show at the Warnors Theatre.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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