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From blooming fruit trees to an acclaimed art museum, discover the diversity of Fresno

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Although it’s in the heart of California’s most productive agricultural region, Fresno is also a sophisticated city of gorgeous gardens and parks, with a vibrant creative community and one unforgettable (and underground) attraction you won’t find anywhere else.

Visit the Central Valley’s largest city and discover the exciting Tower District neighborhood, with shopping, dining, and a nightlife hotspot named for its centerpiece—the landmark, neon-lit art deco theater that opened in 1939. Catch the cultural scene at its most dynamic during the twice-monthly open-art program, ArtHop, held in studio and gallery spaces downtown and in other parts of the city. The Fresno Art Museum is also a must, both for its beautifully displayed permanent collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and also its innovative exhibitions showcasing everything from children’s book illustrations to contemporary works from Mexico. 

Along the San Joaquin River, the 300-acre Woodward Park truly has something for everyone: five miles of trails, an authentic Japanese garden, and three playgrounds. Speaking of the kids, across town they’ll also love the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, where they can watch marine mammals frolic in Sea Lion Cove and see elephants, lions, and giraffes in the African Adventure area.

For an unforgettable only-in-Fresno experience, explore a subterranean living space at Forestiere Underground Gardens—a labyrinth of stone walls, tunnels, and courtyards hand-dug by an Italian immigrant, who had decided that living underground was the best way to keep cool during the Central Valley’s hot summers.

For sports fans, there’s Pacific Coast League baseball at Chukchansi Stadium, home of the Fresno Grizzlies. Meanwhile, the teams at Fresno State University have earned one of the most avid followings of any college in the country (and Bulldog alums include pro athletes such as New York Yankee Aaron Judge).

At some point, be sure to get out into the farmland surrounding Fresno. In early spring, drive or bike the 62-mile Blossom Trail, a loop lined by brilliantly blooming fruit and nut trees.

During summer, the drive morphs into the Fresno County Fruit Trail (map), with produce stands overflowing with fresh picked strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, and more. Beginning in late May, the Fruit Trail also brings festivals and cultural events to other area towns: the Sanger Farmers Market and Street Faire (typically every Saturday in May and June), Clovis’ Big Hat Days (mid-June), and Kingsburg’s Summer Band Concerts Under the Stars (typically Thursdays in June and July).

To enhance your explorations, get the lowdown on Fresno County’s 15 Treasured Cities—like checking out the Raisin Capital of the World or visiting one town with a rich Swedish heritage.

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