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The 20 Best Things to Do in Fresno, CA for First Timers

Chuckchansi Park

The Californian city of Fresco is a fantastic destination to choose if you are visiting this state due to the diversity of the activities and attractions you can enjoy in this city. Regardless of whether you want to make the most of the outdoors or if you want to enjoy some fun, family-focused attractions, you will find plenty to keep you entertained in this city. With so many things to see and do, the biggest problem is deciding what to include in your vacation itinerary. To help you plan your vacation to get the most of your time in the area, here are 20 of the best things to do in Fresno, California, for first-timers.

Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center

20. See a Show at Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center

If you enjoy music, then one of the best places to enjoy some live musical entertainment is at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center. In addition to the performances that are held throughout the year, the venue is also used for exhibitions and events. It is worth checking out what is on before embarking on your visit and booking the tickets in advance.

Moravia Wines in San Joaquin Valley

19. Visit Moravia Wines in San Joaquin Valley

No visit to Fresno is complete without stepping outside the city into San Juan Valley. One of the top wineries in San Joaquin Valley is Moravia Wines, says The Cray Tourist. This winery opened in 2012, and it has since won multiple awards. It is possible to tour the winery and sample the delicious wines. There are several other wineries you can visit, and there are wine tours that include stops at several of the wineries in San Joaquin Valley.

Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company

18. Take a tour of Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company

If you are a fan of beer, then you should add a tour of the Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company to your vacation itinerary. This brewing company, which was founded in 2007, produces some world-class beers. In addition to producing the beers, this company is also working to increase awareness of the Southern Sierras by preserving and conserving the resources of the region. Visitors to the brewing company can take a tour of the facilities, learn about beer production, and sample some of the beers.

Island Waterpark

17. Have Some Fun at Island Waterpark

A fantastic activity for all the family is a day at the Island Waterpark. This huge water park has wave machines, pools, and multiple water slides to enjoy. Other attractions include the Mumbai Monsoon and the Tunnel of Terror. The park is open all year round, and there are seven eateries on-site. There are activities and attractions within the waterpark to suit everyone from young children to adults.

Vineyard Farmer’s Market

16. Stroll Around the Vineyard Farmer’s Market

While you are in Fresno, go to the Vineyard Farmer’s Market. At this market, the farmers sell their locally grown and produced foods. If you are a foodie, it is a nice place to sample some of the fresh produce. It is also a great place for watching the locals go about their daily business. Many of the food stalls in the market serve dishes that you can enjoy for breakfast, brunch, or lunch during your day out. It is best to visit the market in the mornings.

Millerton Lake State Recreation Area

15. Discover Millerton Lake State Recreation Area

One of the best outdoor areas to explore is the Millerton Lake State Recreation Area. This recreation area is located 40 miles north of Fresno, and it is a popular place for families to explore the outdoors together. Some of the activities that families can enjoy together during the warmer months include fishing, boating, swimming, and various other water-based activities. In colder months, visitors can take a boat trip across the lake to see the nesting bald eagles. There are also multiple hiking trails where visitors will see the native wildlife. The recreation area is free to visit, although there are fees if you take a boat trip or hire equipment.

Rotary Storyland & Playland

14. Take the Kids to Rotary Storyland & Playland

If you are traveling with children, then one of the best attractions to keep them entertained is Rotary Storyland & Playland. This attraction has been open since 1962, and it aims to bring storybooks to life. There is a fairytale theme through the rides and attractions within this park, and it is particularly appealing to families with younger children. There are dining options on-site, so you can grab a bite to eat during your visit

Kearney Mansion Museum

13. Go to Kearney Mansion Museum

History buffs will enjoy a visit to Kearney Mansion Museum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is a stunning example of intricate architecture. It is made up of the main house and the servants’ quarters, and both buildings are designed in the French renaissance style. This museum is set on 225 acres of parkland, which many consider some of the most beautiful parklands on the west coast. Visitors are free to explore these grounds when they visit the museum.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

12. Explore Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Outdoor enthusiasts will love Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. The landscape within this park is diverse, including giant sequoia trees and rugged mountain peaks. The park is approximately an hour’s drive from Fresno, but it is worth making the effort to get there to admire the magnificence and grandeur of the landscape. There are multiple hiking trails of various difficulties that allow you to see the natural beauty of the area. Hiking and backpacking are not the only activities you can enjoy when you visit the park. Wildlife spotting, biking, and rock climbing are other activities that are popular in this area. A popular activity for visitors is hiking to Moro Rock, which includes a hiking trail and stone steps. Once you reach Moro Rock, you can enjoy spectacular views across the park and beyond.

Warnors Theater

11. See a Performance at Warnors Theater

This theater first opened its doors in 1928, when it entertained the locals with vaudeville performances. Now, the theater continues to entertain the locals and visitors alike, says Planetware. There is everything from live music to children’s entertainment, and from comedy shows to Broadway. Warnors Theater also shows classic movies. If you want to catch a performance during your visit, you should check what is on and book tickets in advance.

Cultural Experience at Arte Americas

10. Have a Cultural Experience at Arte Americas

Those who are interested in learning about history, culture and the arts when they visit a new destination should visit Arte Americas. This attraction was transformed from an office into a cultural center in 1987. Located in Downtown Fresno, the Arte Americas is the largest non-profit Latino cultural center in the valley area. The attraction contains a collection of works from Latino musicians, poets, filmmakers, artists, and photographers.

Meux Home Museum

9. Go Back in Time at Meux Home Museum

An excellent place to learn more about the history of the area is at Meux Home Mansion as this attraction will take you back in time to the Victorian era. This is the former home of Dr. Meux, who was originally from Tennessee and spent time in the army as a surgeon. When he left the army, he bought this property in Fresno. It is a tribute to Victorian architecture and has been transformed into a museum that focuses on the Victorian period. Visitors can take a guided tour of the property. This attraction is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Chuckchansi Park

8. Watch a Game at Chuckchansi Park

Even if you are not a sports fan, a fun place to visit is Chuckchansi Park. This is the home ground of the Fresno Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team, and the stadium was completed in 2002. If there is a game on while you are in the area, you should try to get tickets as the vibe is electric. When the game is over, you can head to the Phoenix Club to grab a bite to eat or relax with a drink.

Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater

7. Have a Meal at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater

Although there are many fantastic places to dine out during a visit to Fresno, an unusual venue that combines excellent food with entertainment is Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater. Many of the productions they host are musicals, and diners enjoy varied menus of delicious food while they were entertained. This makes it far more interesting to enjoy a meal at this venue than in any other restaurant in Fresno.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo

6. Visit the Animals at Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Fresno Chaffee Zoo is one of the best-known and most popular attractions in Fresno, California. According to Trip 101, the zoo is home to more than 100 species of mammals, amphibians, and birds. The zoo is divided into zones, and one of the best is the African Adventure. There, you can see African elephants, cheetahs, and giraffes. There are many interactive elements to the zoo, such as Stingray Bay where visitors can touch the stingrays.

Shinzen Friendship Garden and Woodward Park

5. Enjoy the Tranquillity of Shinzen Friendship Garden and Woodward Park

If you need some peace and quiet during your vacation, a relaxing and tranquil place to visit is the Shinzen Friendship Garden. It is set within Woodward Park which has stunning gardens, lakes, and forested areas. The Shinzen Friendship Garden is a traditional American Japanese garden that contains waterfalls, lakes, streams, and a pond with koi. During the spring and summer months, it is filled with the pretty colors of the cherry trees. An interesting feature of the park is the Japanese style bridges. Both Woodward Park and the Shenzen Friendship Garden are free to visit, so they are good options for people with a limited budget who are visiting Fresno.

Art Gallery

4. See the Art at Fresno Art Museum

A top attraction for art enthusiasts is the Fresno Art Museum. Although this is only a small art museum, it is home to some stunning pieces of art and interesting sculptures. The focus of the exhibits is diversity, and there are examples of art from various locations and cultures. This is a good activity to enjoy on a rainy day.

Yosemite National Park

3. Explore the Outdoors at Yosemite National Park

Many people use Fresno as a base for visiting Yosemite National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Crazy Tourist says that the park covers 747,956 acres and crosses the Sierra Nevada Mountains. People who visit Yosemite National Park can take advantage of more than 800 miles of trails that vary in difficulty, and there are many other outdoor activities that people can enjoy. Take along your camera to capture the natural beauty of the area and the spectacular views from the elevated points of the park.

The Discovery Center

2. Have Educational Fun at The Discovery Center

An attraction that has something for people of all ages and you should definitely include in your itinerary is The Discovery Center. This is an interactive museum with exhibits that visitors can get involved with due to their hands-on elements. The attraction covers many different topics, including electricity, geology, dinosaurs, botany, and many other interesting subjects. This attraction is both educational and fun.

Forestiere Underground Gardens

1. Discover Forestiere Underground Gardens

According to Vacation Idea, the best thing to do in Fresno, California, is to visit Forestiere Underground Gardens. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is the most famous attraction in Fresno It is a network of unique sunken gardens that were built by Baldasare Forestiere over a 40-year period, beginning in 1906. The architecture and archways are stunning, and there are many interesting features to admire. These include a kitchen, a summer bedroom, a winter bedroom. A fishpond, and a fireplace. It is also a great place for nature lovers as it is home to numerous plants, many of which are rare or have been growing at the attraction for more than 90 years.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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