Fresno Getaway Guide – Fresno County tied our Central Valley Road Trip together. After leaving Sequoia National Park, we stayed in Fresno before leaving for Yosemite National Park. Having the Fresno Yosemite International Airport means anyone who wishes to fly to visit 3 of the nation’s most visited National Parks (Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite) can make Fresno their destination portal. But don’t be running off to the National Parks without checking what Fresno has to offer. Check our Fresno Getaway Guide below to find out what you need to see, eat, and where to stay while visiting Fresno.
disclosure: we partnered with Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau for this post. All opinions are our own.
GETTING TO FRESNO:
By car – Fresno, CA is located 3.5 hours north of Los Angeles International Airport or 3.5 hrs south of San Francisco International Airport.
By plane – Fly to Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
By rail – you can ride the Amtrak San Joaquin Train that travels from San Francisco or Sacramento down to Fresno, CA.
FRESNO GETAWAY GUIDE:
WHERE TO STAY IN FRESNO:
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT – Courtyard by Marriott in Fresno has a really nice interior right from the hotel’s lobby to the room. It looks like it just recently underwent some renovations. We had a pleasant stay after coming from a really tiring travel due to the long drive in & out of Sequoia National Park. The lobby welcomed us with lots of lounge chairs. Coffee, drinks, and food are available for purchase at the bar. The hotel has an outdoor pool in the middle courtyard but we didn’t get a chance to use it during our visit. This is a great hotel to stay at as a midpoint on your Sequoia – Yosemite Road Trip whether you’re going north or south.
Related Post: Check more photos and our stay at Courtyard by Marriott in Fresno, California
WHERE TO EAT IN FRESNO :
MAYA SUSHI LOUNGE – craving for sushi while in Fresno? Make sure to visit Maya Sushi Lounge. It’s not near the hotel yet it’s really a must visit. If you don’t want any rice, order the Rockin’ Rollin, the top has tuna and the middle is filled with crab stick wrapped with avocado. It was really good. We also ordered a sushi boat and it was a lot, haha, we needed more people to eat with us. Make sure to also order their shrimp tempura, it was really good.
FIG GARDEN VILLAGE: LA BOULANGERIE FRENCH BAKERY & CAFE AND HUNGRY BEAR COOKIES – Fig Garden Village Shopping Center is not very far from our hotel. It has a combination of stores and restaurants. I highly recommend visiting La Boulangerie for their peach danish pastry, brownie, and coconut macaroons. One of the best bakeries I’ve been too where everything really tasted good and not just looked good. Growing up in a bakery, I really love good bakeries and would stop by here again next time we’re in Fresno or I’ll be checking their Downtown Fresno location once it opens.
Also, visit Hungry Bear Cookies while you’re in Fig Garden Village – I love their shortbread cookie. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try the rest as my kids got to them before I can take a little bite, haha.
Fig Garden Village Shopping Center has these really cute benches by the way. Like outside La Bou is a sculpture of 2 kids blowing a cake while outside Hallmark are 2 kids reading a book. I’m just not sure why it’s 3 monkeys outside Jamba Juice though, I thought the sculpture would be kids slurping drinks. Still cute though, so look for them when visiting Fig Garden Village.
THINGS TO DO IN FRESNO:
FORESTIERE UNDERGROUND GARDENS – Pictures don’t do justice to this place. One must really visit to take the tour to understand the history, the reason it was designed the way it was, and to feel the 10 – 30 temperature variations from when you’re at the top to when you’re in the underground garden.
Visit this underground home of self-taught builder Baldassare Forestiere and see a hand-built network of underground rooms, courtyards and passageways reminiscent of the ancient catacombs plus unique fruit producing trees, shrubs, and vines growing underground – some over 90 years old! Forestiere Underground Gardens is a California State Historic Landmark.
VISIT DOWNTOWN FRENSO – immerse in history, art, and architecture when you are in Fresno by visiting Downtown Fresno. We visited on a Sunday when all the offices were close which gave us the opportunity to go around without traffic. We weren’t expecting the Fresno City Hall to be a Post-Modern Futurist structure. I wish I could go inside to see how the structure looks like from the inside.
We also drove by the Old Fresno Water Tower which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by George Washington Maher, the tower was completed in late 1894. It ceased operation in 1963 and has served as a visitors’ center since 2001.
Looking for an Instagram spot in Fresno? Look for this art installation by artist Gordon Huether in Mariposa Plaza in the Fulton District of Downtown Fresno. Next to it is a 60ft. high clock tower by Jan de Swart.
SHINZEN JAPANESE GARDEN – before departing Fresno and driving more north to visit Yosemite, we dropped by Shinzen Japanese Garden. If you love Japanese gardens or have never been to one, I suggest paying a visit. There’s an area filled with Bonsai trees, a rock garden, pagoda pillars around, tea ceremony pavilion, a bridge over a pond filled with koi and many more elements that you’ll find in a Japanese garden. It’s beautiful and would be perfect for pictorials.
Check more photos from our Fresno trip on our Instagram page.
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