Attractions Hosptiality and Recreation
It’s been said that if you build it, they will come. Keeping true to the old adage, Fresno has built a community that welcomes its visitors with open arms, offering an abundance of opportunities for family fun year-round.
Fresno is the only city surrounded by three national parks — Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of all the parks have to offer — including guided tours, hiking, bird watching, camping, mountain climbing, fishing, horseback riding, rafting, swimming, wild life viewing, stargazing and much more. Winter visitors enjoy cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. A camera is a must for capturing the beauty of the immense mountains, deep canyons, towering trees and the more than 200 fascinating caverns that lie beneath the surface.
Outdoor adventure continues for the whole family at the Chaffee Zoo, located in the Roeding Park area. The zoo often features special exhibits, and offers children’s and community programs — all of which help to keep Chaffee one of the most popular attractions in the city and Central California.
A visit to Fresno isn’t complete without a stop in the Tower District, a unique section of Fresno that offers an atmosphere of fun and flair. During the holidays, the Tower District hosts “Taste. Toast. Tinsel in the Tower,” complete with food and beverages. A lively Mardi Gras parade is held in February, and the summer months host “Jamaica My Weekend” (featuring the sounds of the Caribbean), a multi-lap bike race and the Rogue Festival (celebrating independent performers and artists).
Set in the Woodward Park region, the Shinzen Japanese Garden is one of the most unique attractions in Fresno. Shinzen Japanese Garden is thriving in the dry and hot valley thanks to the continued dedication by a multitude of volunteers — including the Japanese American community. The five-acre wonder is complete with a stone garden and an authentic thatched-roof teahouse, one of only a few authentic teahouses in the United States. The area is complemented with streambeds that flow under waterfalls, seven ponds and beautiful, lush foliage — all of which has made for a beautiful setting for outdoor weddings.
The Forestiere Underground Gardens on Shaw Avenue is another distinctive attraction. Visitors are surprised to find a subterranean network of more than 100 niches, courtyards, patios, rooms and passageways along this busy boulevard. Visitors are even more surprised to learn it was built by one single man, Baldasare Forestiere, back in 1905.
Fresno is home to numerous museums, all of which help to preserve the rich history of the area. The Meux Home, a classic 10-room Victorian house built in 1888 by Dr. T.R. Meux, is especially noteworthy because of its history and architecture. Now owned by the city, the home is open for tours and available to rent for small weddings.
The African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley, which opened in 1995, celebrates the contributions of the African-American community. The museum hosts rotating and permanent displays that highlight African-American history and culture, and provides exhibits on prominent African Americans in the Fresno area.
The Fresno Metropolitan Museum features numerous art and agricultural exhibits, photograph collections, decorative arts, crafts and textiles displays created by Native American groups from the central valley. Beautiful pieces of handcrafted Asian fine arts, educational programs and a fascinating science center are also offered.
The Fresno Veterans Memorial Auditorium is home to the Legion of Valor Museum, which houses thousands of items and papers donated by Legion of Valor members and others. Staffed by volunteers and supported in part by the city, the museum’s framed citations, photographs and exhibits tell the story of America’s wars as seen by individual soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Semi-pro and professional sports are also a big draw. The Fresno Falcons (a San Jose Sharks NHL affiliate and Cleveland Barons AHL affiliate) is part of the East Coast Hockey League, and takes to the ice at the SaveMart Center. The Heat Wave professional basketball team (American Basketball Association) plays its games at the Selland Arena, and Fresno also hosts the Central Valley Coyotes football team, which is part of the Arena Football League’s National Conference West.
Fresno’s multipurpose 12,500-seat stadium is home to the AAA Grizzlies baseball team (an affiliate of the Giants), and also hosts numerous high school football games, international soccer games and many other community events.
Fresno Convention and Entertainment
Hundreds of thousands of people come through Fresno each year, many of whom include the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center as their primary stop. The Convention Center (which opened in 1966) features the Selland Arena, the William Saroyan Theatre, the Valdez Hall, Robert A. Schoettler Conference Center and the Exhibit Hall South. The facilities are ideal for hosting conventions, large meetings, sales shows, banquets, receptions, concerts and other performances. The Saroyan Theatre has hosted Mikhail Baryshnikov, Arthur Fiedler, Isaac Stern, magician David Copperfield and the Broadway shows Les Miserable, Cats, Evita, Chicago and Riverdance.
The list of things to do and see in Fresno is endless and more than can be done in a day.
So, it’s great to know that there are thousands of hotel and motel rooms available to make the stay more comfortable.
Nationally recognized lodgingand local motels include:
|Best Budget Inn
Best Value Water Tree Inn
Courtyard by Marriott
Fairfield Inn by Marriott
Four Points by Sheraton
Garden Inn and Suites
Holiday Inn Express and Suites
|La Quinta Inn
Quality Inn and Suites
Radisson Hotel and Conference Center
Red Roof Inn
Residence Inn by Marriott
San Joaquin Suites
Super 8 Motel
Towne Place Suites
The Wonder Valley Ranch Resort
Thanks to an ideal climate and a dynamic Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, the Fresno area is a virtual playground.
Two of the 47 parks in Fresno are regional parks that offer plenty of opportunities for a myriad of outdoor activities, as well as unique settings that offer a picturesque backdrop for weddings and other special occasions.
Woodward Park encompasses 300 acres, and includes the Rotary Amphitheater — which seats up to 2,500 people for outdoor entertainment. In addition to the scenic equestrian trails and walking paths, the park is home to the stunning Shinzen Japanese Gardens — a popular spot for outdoor weddings.
Roeding Park features a fishing lake, a Japanese war memorial, the Chaffee Zoo, Rotary Playland and Storyland — making it a favorite with residents and tourists of all ages. Roeding also provides for numerous outdoor activities, and the Pergola area of the park is also perfect for weddings.
The 26,000-square-foot Lions Den Skate Park at Lions Park is one of the newest additions to the long list of Parks Department offerings. Visitors here will also find baseball and softball fields, volleyball and tennis courts and a children’s play area.
The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department oversees seven community centers. Strategically located throughout town, these centers offer a wide range of activities, programs and community services for all residents. Programs and activities include arts & crafts, physical fitness, sports, day games and special events (such as dances, field trips and holiday activities).
Four large swimming pools (Airways, Mosqueda, Ivy Neighborhood and Frank H. Ball) make a big splash with all ages. Reservations are accepted for pool parties, barbecues, birthday parties and company picnics.
For those who enjoy a day on the links, Fresno offers three municipal golf courses (Airways, Riverside and Palm Lakes), and all three have 18 holes, a driving range, putting greens and coffee shops.
Other local courses include Brighton Crest Golf Course and Country Club. Located 20 miles north of Fresno, this semi-private club is rated among the top 10 courses in California. Fig Garden’s 18 holes offer a scenic round, while Riverbend Golf Course follows the natural contours of the San Joaquin River. Fresno West Golf Course and Country Club is 15 miles southwest of Fresno County in Kerman, and Sherwood Forest Golf Course (20 minutes east of Fresno in Sanger) offers great golf and beautiful views of the Kings River.
If walking or biking are favorite pastimes, there are two beautiful trails. Lewis Eaton Trail is four miles of pathways perfect for jogging, walking, cycling and horseback riding. Benches adorn the paths, and trail patrons can see the Sierra Mountains on a clear day. The Sugar Pine Trail boasts nearly 4,500 trees planted by 3,000 volunteers — setting a Guinness World Record. The paved trails accommodate skaters, bikers, walkers, cyclists and horseback riders.
Camp Fresno at Dinkey Creek is perfect for families and friends who enjoy the wilderness. Located along the Sierra Nevada Mountains approximately 60 miles east of Fresno, the city-run camp is a family oriented facility that offers 51 rental cabins, along with swimming, boating, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.
The Parks, Recreation and Special Services Department also sponsors a host of year-round activities designed for all ages, including summer day camps, after-school recreation programs, sports teams, youth clubs, science programs, playground programs and swim classes. There are also nutrition programs and activities designed especially for senior citizens.
Numerous independent and privately-run clubs, organizations and organized team sports are also available.