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Civic Center Park, Hanford

Civic Center Park, Hanford
This Central Valley square has both immigrant history and an ice cream shop

The History: Practically smack-dab in the center of the state, Hanford holds plenty of ties to California’s past. Start at the Romanesque Hanford Carnegie Museum, which opened in 1905 as a Carnegie Library; today it’s also a tourist information center. Keep following the history trail at the grand Civic Center Auditorium, which opened in 1924 and still hosts events; and at the Hanford Fox Theater, a 1929 building still used for concerts. And Hanford has what every historic town should have: an authentic ice cream shop (Superior Dairy), in operation since the 1920s. Courthouse Square sits a couple miles west of the park, but is worth checking out for the original 1896 structure. While you’re there, don’t miss the 1898 Romanesque building known as the Bastille; it was used as the county jail until the 1960s. Just east of the park is China Alley, a collection of 11 historic buildings that dates to 1877 and tells the story of the area’s Chinese population.

Where to Play: Obviously, your itinerary has to include ice cream at Superior Dairy, ideally followed by a show at the Hanford Fox Theater. For a historical stay, head to the Irwin Street Inn—a mash-up of four Victorian homes that maintain details like pull-chain toilets and claw-foot tubs. For an authentic Mexican meal, check out La Fiesta Restaurant Bar, which serves up flavors from Colima and Michoacán.

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Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

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76
September
Average (°F)
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low
Mar - May
84°
High
46°
Low
June - Aug
98°
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62°
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California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

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