The Best Things to Do in Fresno, California

Fresno offers a wealth of things to do and see, including the unique Forestiere Underground Gardens
Fresno offers a wealth of things to do and see, including the unique Forestiere Underground Gardens | © Alpha Stock / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alice Johnston
Food Editor5 August 2020

A quiet Californian oasis, Fresno is a peaceful spot to while away a few relaxing days. Near several national parks and major California cities, this well-located destination offers a wealth of cultural and sightseeing activities and plenty of sunshine to enjoy. If you’re planning to vacation here, check out our list of the best things to do in Fresno.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Zoo
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Relive your childhood memories with a visit to Fresno Chaffee Zoo, home to about 190 species of mammals, birds, amphibians and plants. Highlights include elephants, giraffes and cheetahs, as well as Stingray Bay, where you can feed stingrays as they swim within arm’s reach. Entry prices are affordable, so you can take your whole family or group of friends to watch the animals together. Sometimes you just can’t beat an old-fashioned trip to the zoo.

Forestiere Underground Gardens

Park
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Forestiere Underground Gardens just might be Fresno’s most unique attraction. The spaces are the lifelong work of Baldassare Forestiere, who ran away from his homeland of Sicily in 1901 and spent every spare moment he had working on them. The result is an underground maze of patios, gardens and grottoes, each one more fascinating than the last. Forestiere worked on the gardens for 40 years, and you can tell how much love he put into them.

Fresno Art Museum

Museum
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While the Fresno Art Museum isn’t the largest art space in the world, its carefully chosen exhibits mean that everyone will find something to love here. Any Fresno resident will tell you that you can’t have a rainy day in the city with a visit to the museum. It is committed to representing diversity, and past exhibits include art from the Hmong in Southeast Asia, the Sikhs in India’s Punjab region, Peruvian and Mexican cultures, and Greek Orthodox iconography.

Fresno Discovery Center

Museum
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An interactive science museum, the Fresno Discovery Center will suit everyone in the family. As you walk around the museum and discover the exhibits, you can interact with them to unlock more layers of fun and learning. From geology to botany, and from dinosaurs to electricity, there’s almost too much to take in during one visit. Renovated as recently as 2013, the center is waiting for you to explore it.

Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden

Brewery
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This popular, one-of-a-kind beer garden puts the theory that California can only do wine well straight to bed. With world-class beers bringing attention to the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, every sip you take at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company’s beer garden will make you want to come back. Established in 2007, it has brewmaster Kevin Cox at the helm; he has spent more than 20 years in the brewing industry and really knows his yeast. Bestsellers include Half Dome California Wheat, 99 Golden Ale and Zorro Especial Lager.

Island Water Park

Amusement Park
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Sometimes in the middle of a hot summer, you just need to jump into a pool. Island Water Park is the best place in Fresno to cool off, as it has enough slides and wave machines to keep even a dolphin entertained. You can go through Nature’s Furies or try out the Thrills of Fiji. Alternatively, you can simply lounge and enjoy the shouting and splashing around you. The park also has five food and drink stalls.

These recommendations were updated on August 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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