Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeI-5 City GuidesFresno, California

Fresno, California

A Vibrant City Nestled in the Heart of California's Picturesque San Joaquin Valley

Fresno, California at a Glance…

Fresno, a vibrant city nestled in the heart of California’s picturesque San Joaquin Valley, boasts a rich tapestry of culture and natural beauty. As of the 2010 census, the city proper welcomed approximately 505,479 residents, while the broader county is home to a thriving community of nearly 1 million individuals.

Fresno, often considered a hidden gem, holds a special allure for travelers making their way to iconic destinations like Yosemite National Park, with its breathtaking waterfalls and awe-inspiring vistas. Moreover, adventurers heading towards the magnificent Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, where ancient giants of the forest stand sentinel, often find themselves enchanted by the charm of Fresno.

Nestled amidst the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, Fresno serves as a captivating stopover for those embarking on an outdoor excape or seeking a peaceful interlude in nature’s embrace. Its strategic location, bridging the gap between urban allure and the untamed wilderness, makes it a gateway to unforgettable experiences in the heart of California.

Fresno, California Weather…

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA 7-Day Weather Forecast

Places to Go in Fresno, California…

Sequoia National Park | I-5 Exit Guide
Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains | I-5 Exit Guide

Fresno is a treasure trove of captivating places waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a resident looking to unearth hidden gems or a visitor eager to explore, this vibrant city offers a wide array of exciting destinations and experiences to satisfy your wanderlust.

  1. Yosemite National Park: Just a scenic drive away from Fresno, Yosemite National Park beckons with its majestic waterfalls, towering cliffs, and pristine wilderness. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty that has enchanted generations of adventurers.
  2. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: Witness the awe-inspiring giants of the forest in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Stroll among colossal trees, some of the largest living organisms on Earth, and feel humbled by their grandeur.
  3. Tower District: A hub of arts, culture, and entertainment, Fresno’s Tower District is a must-visit. Explore eclectic shops, savor diverse cuisine, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this historic neighborhood.
  4. Forestiere Underground Gardens: Step into a subterranean wonderland at the Forestiere Underground Gardens. These remarkable underground tunnels and gardens are a testament to one man’s creative vision and determination.
  5. Fresno Chaffee Zoo: Delight in a day at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, home to a diverse array of exotic animals from around the world. It’s an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.
  6. Fresno Art Museum: Immerse yourself in the world of art at the Fresno Art Museum. Explore a diverse collection of contemporary and modern art, as well as engaging exhibitions that challenge your perspective.
  7. Woodward Park: For a serene escape, Woodward Park offers lush gardens, serene lakes, and scenic trails. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a family picnic, or simply to reconnect with nature.
  8. Kearney Mansion Museum: Travel back in time at the Kearney Mansion Museum, a beautifully preserved historic home that provides insight into Fresno’s past. Explore the elegant rooms and learn about the city’s heritage.
  9. Fresno Blossom Trail: Witness the breathtaking beauty of spring in Fresno by following the Blossom Trail. This picturesque route showcases the region’s vibrant agricultural heritage with a tapestry of blossoming fruit trees.
  10. Wine Tasting: Discover the local wine scene with a visit to Fresno’s wineries. Savor the flavors of the region’s finest wines while enjoying the serene vineyard settings.

With this diverse range of attractions, Fresno promises an exciting journey of exploration and adventure for all who venture into its welcoming embrace. So, get ready to uncover the treasures that make Fresno, California, an unforgettable destination.

Things to Do in Fresno, California…

Island Water Park - Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide
Island Water Park 6099 West Barstow Avenue, Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide
  • Rogue Festival. March. Modeled on the Canadian and North American Fringe Festivals, the Rogue showcases both local and national artists, with dance, music, comedy, film, art, and theatre at venues around the Tower District. Performers come from around the state, and even as far as as Vancouver and London.
  • Island Water Park. 6099 W Barstow Ave. When the scorching California sun is in full swing, there’s no better place to beat the heat and make a splash than Island Water Park in Fresno. This aquatic oasis offers a refreshing escape for locals and tourists alike, providing a myriad of attractions and activities that cater to all ages and preferences.
  • Blackbeards Family Fun Center. 4055 N. Chestnut. When it comes to family-friendly fun in Fresno, Blackbeard’s Family Fun Center reigns supreme. This entertainment haven offers a wide array of activities and attractions that cater to all ages, making it the perfect destination for a day of excitement and bonding. They have batting cages, bumper boats, paintball, miniature golf, sprint cars, water slides and arcade games.
  • About Town Taste – Walking Tours of Fresno. Unique walks through Fresno, featuring art, architecture, food, and local history.

Places to Shop in Fresno, California…

Vinyard Farmers Market - Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide
Vinyard Farmers Market, 100 West Shaw Avenue, Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide

As long as you’re right in the middle of California’s agricultural heartland, try the local produce. Fresno State’s Farm Market, at the corner of Chestnut and Barstow, sells the produce grown by the university’s agriculture department, plus fresh cheese, ice cream and wine. If you’re looking for a souvenir of the San Joaquin Valley, try the Sierra Nut House, for dried fruit, nuts, jams & jellies, and coffees & teas.

The Vineyard Farmer’s Market – at Shaw and Blackstone (Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons) is the largest and most extensive of the farmer’s markets in the area. Open year round twice a week on Wednesday afternoons from 3:00 – 6:00 PM and Saturdays 7:00 AM till noon. During summer, there is also one in Old Town Clovis every Friday evening from 5:00 to 9:00 PM.

Riverpark Shopping Center – Corner of Blackstone Ave. and Nees Ave.. The most popular shopping center and hangout in the city of Fresno. Contains Edwards Movie Theatres, the Dai-Bai-Dang Chinese restaurant, Lowes, Sam’s Club, Barnes & Noble, Pier 1 Imports, Target, and many more stores.

Places to Eat in Fresno, California…

Tahoe Joe's - Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide
Tahoe Joe’s, 7006 North Cedar, Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide

River Park Plaza contains many popular chain restaurants, including The Elephant Bar, Tony Roma’s, Logans Steak House, Yoshino’s Sushi House, and Hooters. For a large and diverse concentration of local establishments, head to the Tower District. There are also many notable restaurants sprinkled elsewhere throughout the Fresno area.

  • Campagnia – 1185 E. Champlain Drive. Upscale dining with great food and a nice bar.
  • Dai Bai Dang – 7736 N. Blackstone Ave. Great Chinese cuisine.
  • Doghouse Grill 2789 E Shaw Ave. Sports bar with lively atmosphere & raved-about tri-tip steak sandwich served with house BBQ sauce.
  • Don Pepe Taqueria – 4950 N Woodrow Ave. Longtime takeout joint & eatery for beers & handmade Mexican food, like fish tacos & chile verde.
  • Dusty Buns – 608 E. Weldon Ave.Gourmet sandwiches with local, seasonal ingredients.
  • George’s Shish Kebab 3045 W. Bullard Ave. Armenian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • Giulia’s – 3050 W Shaw Ave. Slightly more “upscale” Italian eatery.
  • Grandmarie’s Chicken Pie Shop – 861 E. Olive Ave. Serving breakfast and chicken pot pies.
  • Irene’s Cafe – 747 E Olive Avenue. A traditional coffee shop, known for its breakfast.
  • The Landmark 644 E. Olive. Basque and traditional American food.
  • Luby –1075 E Bullard Ave Chinese food.
  • Mad Duck Eatery and Brewery – 3085 E Campus Pointe Dr. Airy, brick-walled tavern featuring its own small-batch brews, burgers & New American bar bites.
  • Max’s Bistro & Bakery – 1784 W Bullard. French-inspired California cuisine.
  • Mone`s International Market & Deli – 7975 North Cedar Avenue. Great Armenian, Russian, and Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • Parma Herndon & Palm – Italian food, with homemade pastas.
  • Pinot Wine Bar & Bistro – 805 E. Olive Ave.Seasonal menu, wine, and craft beer.
  • Slates – 7455 N. Fresno St. One of Fresno chef Roy Harland’s creations, featuring contemporary American cuisine.
  • Tahoe Joe’s – 7006 N. Cedar. Steakhouse that now has multiple locations in the state, but started in Fresno.
  • Taqueria Don Pepe – 4582 N. Blackstone. Fast food (but good) style Mexican fare.
  • Thai House – Thai food.
  • Veni Vidi Vici – 1116 N Fulton St,. Good food, great atmosphere. At night fun music & a great patio.
  • Wahoo Fish Tacos – 3053 Campus Dr. Casual counter-serve chain serving Mexican fare with Asian & Brazilian flavors, plus beer & wine.

Places to Stay in Fresno, California…

SpringHill Suites - Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide
SpringHill Suites, 6844 North Fresno Street, Fresno, California | I-5 Exit Guide
  • University Square Hotel, 4961 N Cedar Ave. Classic rooms & suites in a straightforward hotel with free Wi-Fi, breakfast & parking, plus a pool.
  • University Inn, 2655 East Shaw Avenue, Fresno, CA 93710, (559) 294-0224, [15]. Budget motel. 2 stars. Straightforward rooms in a modern, low-rise motor inn offering an outdoor pool, free internet & free breakfast.
  • Hilton Garden Inn, 520 W Shaw Ave, Clovis, CA. Modern rooms offer custom-designed beds, plus flat-screen TVs premium cable channels, microwaves, minifridges and free WiFi. 3 stars. Suites add separate living areas and pull-out sofas. A cooked-to-order breakfast is available (for a fee), and there’s an on-site restaurant serving American cuisine, as well as a bar and a 24/7 convenience store. There’s also a fitness center and an outdoor pool with a hot tub. Additional perks include 4 meeting rooms and a business center.
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Clovis-Fresno Area, 650 W Shaw Ave, Clovis, CA 93612. Classic rooms come with desks and flat-screen TVs with cable channels, plus coffeemakers. There’s also free WiFi and high-pressure showerheads in the bathrooms, plus kids 19 and under stay free with an adult. 3 stars. Suites add sitting areas with pull-out sofas and kitchenettes with microwaves and minifridges.Amenities include a free breakfast buffet, a meeting room, outdoor pool and fitness/business centers, plus free parking. There’s are also free airport and 5-mile-radius shuttle service.
  • Best Western Plus Fresno Inn, 480 E Shaw Ave. This straightforward hotel features free WiFi. The casual rooms offer desks and flat-screen TVs with premium cable channels, as well as coffeemakers, minifridges and microwaves. 3 stars. Suites add sitting areas with pull-out sofas.Amenities include complimentary hot breakfast and parking, plus an outdoor pool, a hot tub and a fitness room. There’s also a 24-hour business center and on-site laundry.
  • Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Fresno North, CA, 6065 North Thesta Street. Offers a variety of guestrooms and amenities and is close to many local attractions.
  • Ramada Inn Fresno, 324 East Shaw, Fresno, CA 93710. The modest rooms have free WiFi and TVs, while some feature pull-out sofas. Suites add minifridges and microwaves. Kids 17 and under stay free with an adult. Amenities include free continental breakfast and parking, plus an American restaurant/bar, an outdoor pool, and fitness and business centers.
  • Courtyard Fresno, 140 East Shaw Avenue. Near Bass, Shaver & Huntington Lakes for fishing, boating & hiking. Convenient to Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Wildwater Adventures and the Muex Home Museum.
  • Homewood Suites, 6820 North Fresno Street. Suites with full kitchens, large work desk, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free hot breakfast, pool and fitness center.
  • SpringHill Suites, 6844 North Fresno St. Suites with microwave, mini-fridge, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free parking, free hot breakfast, business center, pool and fitness center.
  • Comfort Suites, 102 East Herndon Ave (Herndon Ave between Blackstone Ave and Freeway 41). All suites include micro/fridge, coffee/tea maker, free Wi-Fi, desk, two phone lines and sofa sleepers. Free hot breakfast served every morning, fitness room, indoor pool and hot tub.
  • Vagabond Inn, 2570 S. East Ave. All rooms include free high-speed WiFi, coffee/tea maker and free parking. Complimentary breakfast served every morning.

Getting Around Fresno, California…

The drive to Fresno takes about 3 hours from San Francisco, 3.5 hours from Los Angeles, and 5.5 hours from San Diego. Coming from the southern Peninsula or South Bay, most people take U.S. Highway 101 to Gilroy, State Highway 152 over Pacheco Pass and through Los Banos, then State Highway 99 south to Fresno. From the northern Peninsula, one might take highway 92 over the San Mateo Bridge, to 880 North, then 580 East to 205 East to 5 North to 120 East to 99 South. From Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 north and State Highway 99 north. Fresno is accessible from the southern Central Coast by State Highway 41, usually used with State Highway 46. Fresno is the largest city in the United States without an Interstate highway running through it, but 99 provides much of that function and is slated to be upgraded to Interstate status.

CA-99 runs along the west side of the city, becoming semi-rural before exiting Fresno County on the northwest side of Fresno. CA-41 runs down the middle of the city.

In 2011, Fresno became the first town or city in the Central Valley to earn a Bronze Medal Designation from the League of American Bicyclists, recognizing Fresno as a bicycle friendly community. The city is in the process of further expanding its bike lanes in an effort to improve bike access.

The I-5 Exit Guide is the Internet’s largest and most complete website dedicated to Interstate 5 travelers. Find detailed exit service listings… lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Washington to California!

On the road? Why not take us with you. The I-5 Exit Guide is mobile-friendly and totally FREE. No App Required.

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit GuideI-80 Exit Guide and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

More CityGuides

Stockton, California | I-5 Exit Guide

Stockton, California

If you find yourself cruising down I-5, taking in the sights and sounds of California, make sure to carve out some time to explore...
Olympia, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide

Olympia, Washington

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide

Tacoma, Washington

Eugene, Oregon | I-5 Exit Guide

Eugene, Oregon

Redding, California | I-5 Exit Guide

Redding, California