Come to this Fresno County city for history, locally made craft beers, and the bounty of the Central Valley
Things to do
Places to Eat & Drink
Since the 1930s, a neon sign over a street in Clovis has proudly proclaimed this Fresno County city to be the “Gateway to the Sierras.” With Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest nearby, Clovis is definitely a great jumping-off point for anyone planning to explore the high country. But Clovis is also a destination in its own right, and you’ll want to spend time here to explore the lively historic district, dine at outstanding restaurants, and discover the city’s diverse attractions.
Old Town Clovis
For more than a century, Old Town Clovis has been the center of local life. The district is a must for antique lovers thanks to such popular spots as the Clovis Antique Mall (more than 20 dealers) and Fifth Street Antiques, where the selection ranges from Early American to mid-century modern. Three times a year, more than 90 antique merchants from Clovis and throughout California take it to the street during the open-air Old Town Vintage Market. For local history, check out the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Museum. Housed in a 1912 bank building (site of a famous heist in 1924), it brings the city’s past alive with vintage photographs and exhibits of memorabilia.
Where to eat and drink
Old Town has a contemporary side too, especially the thriving dining scene. Trelio Food and Wine brings the best of Italy and California together with a seasonal menu that incorporates local ingredients in inventive ways. The burgers are positively delicious at House of JuJu, where the signature creations include the Athena (homemade kalamata olive aioli and feta cheese) and the JuJu Bleu (bleu cheese, caramelized onions, and applewood smoked bacon). There’s also a nice selection of local brews on tap. And speaking of burgers and brews, The Craft House, in a renovated 100-year-old building, is another Old Town favorite.
Clovis celebrates its busy brewing scene during the annual Craft Beer Crawl, and House of Pendragon Brewing Co., located a few miles from Old Town, is the place to go for such innovations as the HoP-Coco Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout and the Frog Lady Seltzer, a raspberry-flavored hard seltzer. Or head to The Mad Duck gastropub and pair its small-batch beers (Hopical Paradise, an American-style Hefeweizen, took gold at the California State Fair) with the Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich and Korean barbecue pork tacos.
Taste local produce
The Fresno County Fruit Trail connects Clovis to orchards east of town and is a fun way to discover the bounty of the Central Valley. Among the highlights is Enzo’s Table, known for estate-grown premium olive oils and a host of specialty foods including almond butters, balsamic vinegars, and biscotti. During late winter and early spring, the route is known as the Fresno County Blossom Trail, thanks to thousands of apple, stone fruit, and nut trees that burst into bloom with pink and white flowers. Or without even leaving town, you can pick up locally grown produce at Old Town’s farmers’ markets, held Friday nights (late April through late October) and year-round on Saturday mornings.
Activities in Clovis
Give yourself time to enjoy the outdoors in Clovis. The three-acre Clovis Botanical Garden proves that water conservation can be beautiful, especially when the native California plants come into flower. The garden is along the Dry Creek Trail, part of Clovis’s 10-mile trail network that lets visitors and locals explore on foot or by bike.
On hot days, cool off at Wild Water Adventure Park, California’s largest water park with 52 acres of slides, whitewater tubing, and a giant wave pool. And if bucking broncos and bull riding are more your style, every April Clovis celebrates Rodeo Month, kicking off with the Big Hat Days festival in Old Town. The two-day event, which offers hundreds of crafts and food booths, draws 140,000-plus people a year, and is when the town shows off its Old West character. Later in the month, don’t miss the Clovis Rodeo, which for more than 100 years has brought the best of the Old West to town. The event features a parade through Old Town and concerts by nationally known country performers.
Fresno County Fruit Trail
With freshly picked fruit, wineries, and olive oil, this is California’s tastiest drive