Fresno

Destination Location

  • 36.746842, -119.772587:primary
  • 36.77611, -119.71806:secondary

Overview

We can thank the Central Pacific Railroad Company for bringing us the wonders of Fresno, California. Known for its ability to grow some of the best produce you've ever tasted, this city is bursting with warm and friendly people ready to welcome you to California's fifth-largest city.

With a population of more than 500,000, many consider Fresno to be the perfect size – offering the best of urban amenities with the unique charms and easy living of a small town. There are many wonderful cultural and recreational experiences available in, or near, the city of Fresno – all ready for you to explore.

Centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Fresno offers easy access to California 's National Parks and Lakes. Visitors are only a short drive to Yosemite National Park and its magnificent valleys, granite domes and peaks, waterfalls, and giant sequoia trees. If you're looking to do a little swimming, boating and hiking in Fresno's great outdoors, take a visit to Millerton or Bass lakes.

Fresno also has three large public parks, two located in the city limits. Woodward Park, which features the Shinzen Japanese Gardens, has picnic areas and several miles of trails, and is located near the San Joaquin River Parkway. Roeding Park, located near Downtown Fresno, is where you'll find the Rotary Storyland and Playland. Kearney Park is the largest of Fresno 's parks and is not only home to historic Kearney Mansion but also plays host to the annual Civil War Revisited, the largest re-enactment of the Civil War on the west coast of the U.S.

If you're looking to relax in Fresno, there really is something for everyone. If you're travelling with children, check out Chaffee Zoological Gardens or the Downing Planetarium. If you're looking for a great night out, take in a performance of the Fresno Ballet or the Fresno Philharmonic. Both offer high-quality performances throughout the year. The city's best-kept secret is the Madera Wine Trail, a winery located just across the river from Fresno.

Depending on the time of year you visit, a host of annual events – including the Big Fresno Fair and the annual Clovis Rodeo – offer a great way to celebrate your time in Fresno.

It's always a good time discover Fresno. WestJet is pleased to offer service to this destination through our code-share agreement with American Airlines, one of our great airline partners.

Destination basics

Fresno offers visitors hot, dry summers and mild winters. Visitors to the area early in the year may need to pack an umbrella as Fresno receives the majority of its rain between January and March. Fog may also be present at this time. Temperatures over the winter provide average highs of 12 C.

Spring and summer bring both warmth and sunshine to Fresno with average temperatures of 36 C by June and July. These are perfect days to pack a picnic and sunscreen and head to one of the National Parks.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Fresno

Fresno’s culinary scene is an explosion of flavors from around the globe; an apt reflection of the city’s diverse makeup. While the Tower District and Downtown are microcosms of the city’s varied culinary offer, you’re likely to find several dining options no matter where you find yourself in Fresno.

Downtown
Downtown offers the most diverse array of restaurants of any of the city’s neighborhoods. Here, classic American eateries like Joe’s Steakhouse stand beside Italian, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants. The Cosmopolitan Tavern, Goodfellas, and the Mediterranean Grill are the most popular choices for Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, while Mexican cuisine is best represented by La Elegante Taqueria. Head to Take 3 and Just the Tip for a quick and delicious meal, or Umi Sushi for authentic Japanese. Whatever you may fancy, there’s a good chance you’ll find it right here in Downtown Fresno.

Tower District
The Tower District’s best restaurants are clustered around Olive Avenue, just off the historic Tower Theater. The offer is eclectic, with everything from American and Italian, to fine dining at Veni Vidi Vici. Sample Asian delicacies at Zen Wok Fusion, or tuck into a hearty pie at the Chicken Pie Shop. Classic Mediterranean fare at Meze House and Latin cuisine at the House of Tamales are other popular Tower District dining choices.

Other Neighborhoods
While Downtown and the Tower District lie at the core of the city’s culinary scene, some of the city’s best restaurants are scattered across the city. The Annex Kitchen serves rustic Italian favorites and wood-fired pizza in a contemporary space and has quickly come to be a local favorite. For New American fare, the Starving Artists Bistro and Lime Lite are two of the city’s best. For dessert, the bread pudding at the Cracked Pepper Bistro is a local legend, while Ampersand offers an unusual array of gourmet ice creams. To contribute to a worthy cause while enjoying a night out, attend a Help One Woman Dinner, organized at various restaurants across the city.

Breweries and Wineries
Sample some of the region’s best ales, lagers, and beers at Fresno’s craft breweries. Each of the many options boasts a character of their own. Each brew is a celebration of the region’s bounty and a reflection of local tastes. Downtown’s Tioga Sequoia and the Tower District’s Sequoia Brewing Company not only produce some of the region’s best brews but are also popular night-time hangouts. While Tioga Sequoia is renown for its beer garden and lively entertainment offer, Sequoia serves up food prepared using locally-sourced, fresh ingredients. Other popular options are the Mad Duck Craft Brewery, the House of Pendragon and the Full Circle Brewing Company.

The city is also home to some truly spectacular wineries that offer a range of premium wines. LoMac, Moravia, and Nonini wineries are some of the region's best and form a part of the Fresno County Wine Journey. Book a tour to sample wines at these and several other of Fresno's top wineries.

The city celebrates diversity through its varied facets. The city's cultural scene coexists with ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, while beautifully preserved historic homes pay homage to the city’s past. While independent shops and restaurants thrive at the heart of the bustling, historic environs of downtown and the Tower District, each corner of the city has a character of its own that is worth exploring. However, be wary of the ghettos that surround the city's core.

Downtown
Downtown has long been the commercial and cultural heart of Fresno, centered around the bustling Fulton Street. The city was first established as the site of the Central Pacific Railroad Depot in 1872, later replaced by a stately Queen Anne style structure by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1889. Although the depot ceased operations 1971, the historic building remains a downtown landmark and is one of Fresno’s oldest. Several other historic buildings like the Fresno Water Tower and the Bank of Italy building are found right here in downtown. Besides a host of restaurants, bars, and boutiques to choose from, the neighborhood also boasts an astounding collection of public art and murals, alongside art galleries that showcase contemporary work. Sports enthusiasts will revel in the electric energy of Chukchansi Park and nearby Selland Arena on game days, while shopaholics are sure to delight in the diverse range of shops on offer. Festivals, food trucks, and monthly ArtHops complete the picture of a vibrant and thriving downtown.

Tower District
Just north of downtown, the Tower District is centered around the neon-lit, historic Tower Theater. Olive Avenue forms the core of the neighborhood, populated by a delightful melange of theaters, nightclubs, boutiques, and restaurants, a majority of which are locally-owned and independent. Community events like Mardi Gras, Pride Parades, and farmers’ markets fit right into the vibrant ethos of this diverse neighborhood, filling the streets of the Tower District with a lively air. Today, the Tower District is known as the hub of Fresno’s hipster and LGBT communities and is a popular tourist destination. Although a beacon of contemporary culture, the neighborhood has retained its historic facade and is known for its early 20th-century homes. Those interested in historic architecture will find much to see here. Beautifully restored California Bungalows and Storybook houses are interspersed between Spanish Colonial and Mediterranean Revival style architecture. Bustling, vibrant and diverse, the Tower District is where Fresno comes alive.

Huntington Boulevard
Part of the historic Alta Vista Tract, Huntington Boulevard is an architectural gem. The neighborhood is renowned for the early 20th-century homes that adorn both sides of the central thoroughfare. Kerckhoff and Balch Avenue, on the other hand, boast beautiful examples of architecture from the Arts & Crafts era. Bedecked in lights and elaborate decorations, Huntington Boulevard is a sight to behold each Christmas. The country’s tallest living Christmas tree can be found at the corner of Huntington Boulevard and 6th Street and is a holiday attraction beloved by both young and old.

Chinatown
This historic district is a bustling melange of sights and sounds. Here, you will find a collection of Chinese restaurants, grocery stores selling exotic produce, and shops brimming with colorful wares. The neighborhood has long been a source of intrigue, with an extensive network of underground tunnels rumored to lie behind basement doors and sealed passageways. While much of this network remains hidden away, beyond reach, its existence nonetheless adds to the neighborhood’s charm.

Sierra Sky Park
The Sierra Sky Park is a planned aviation community, the first of its kind in the country. The community is composed of a public-use airport that caters exclusively to private aircraft owners. Here, automobiles share the streets with privately owned aircrafts. A unique concept at the time of its formation, Sierra Sky Park has since inspired the creation of several other aviation communities across the United States.

As home to one of the most diverse populations in the country, Fresno boasts an entertainment offer that caters to varied tastes. Classical music and opera share the stage with alternative, indie, and hardcore acts, while art galleries and museums abound alongside the region’s myriad hiking trails. There’s never a dull moment in Fresno.

Performing Arts
Creativity finds expression in a number of ways in Fresno. This vibrant city supports a modest performing arts scene that is just as diverse as the tastes of its residents. Home of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fresno Grand Opera, Saroyan Theatre is the city’s premier center for the performing arts. While both performing arts companies continue to showcase the classical arts, they have evolved over the years to incorporate more contemporary themes and styles, creating shows that are fresh, unusual and exciting. Besides these, the Saroyan Theatre also hosts live theater, comedy shows and broadway musicals featuring some of the nation’s top performers.

At the heart of the Tower District, the historic Tower Theatre is another of the city’s cultural gems. The theater was originally established in 1939 as a luxurious movie house, featuring an exceptional art deco design replete in Italian Terrazzo, elegant murals, and etched glass adornments. The Neon lit facade harkens to an earlier age, while on stage the theater hosts a varied cultural program of live theater, comedy, and concerts. Chinatown’s Azteca Theater is another historic movie house that is today one of the city’s top performing arts venues.

Music
If you crave the thrill of live music, Fresno has a number of options for you to explore. The Save Mart Center, at the California State University, is one of the city’s most popular concert venues and has hosted top national and international acts. The historic Tower Theater is another fine choice for a more formal concert experience, while open-air concerts at the Woodward Park Rotary Amphitheater are a summer-time staple.

While Fresno’s grand venues are certainly impressive, intimate venues like Fulton 55 and Strummer’s are where it’s all at. Both venues feature local and touring bands in an electric, energetic and lively atmosphere that only good music can create.

Outdoors and Sports
The city of Fresno is the gateway to not only the Yosemite National Park, but also Sequoia National Park, King’s Canyon National Park, and the Sierra National Forest. Riddled with hiking and biking trails, the region is a haven for outdoors enthusiasts. For those who do not want to venture too far, the River Parkway’s paved trails are closer to home, as is Millerton Lake.

Sports fans will not be disappointed either. Chukchansi Park is the home of the Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team and home games at this venue always attract a roaring crowd. Nearby, the Selland Arena, at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center is also a popular choice for varied sporting events. The Bulldog Stadium at the California State University is a favorite among the city’s football fans, where game days attract a lively and energetic crowd. The Save Mart Center nearby is another venue of choice for varsity sporting events on campus.

Shopping
At Fresno, fabulous shopping centers like Fig Garden Village, River Park, and Fashion Fair compete with the independent boutiques of the Tower District and Downtown. Shop for everything from books, trendy clothing, and accessories along Olive Avenue, where you will also find the Free Bird Co. - a record store that sells tie-dye clothing. Downtown boasts a similar melange of independent stores, with the addition of quirky specialty shops and high-end boutiques that offer fine jewelry.

Museums and Galleries
Fresno is a city that is proud of its historical and cultural heritage, as evidenced by the many of museums found here. The Meux Home Museum explores life in the 1800s through the preservation of the confederate doctor’s beautiful historic home, while the Fresno Art Museum delves into the world of the visual arts. Home to a well-curated and extensive collection of contemporary, modern, Mexican, and Pre-Columbian artwork, the Fresno Art Museum is a delight for art enthusiasts. The world of science is demystified through interactive exhibits that turn learning into play, at the Discovery Center, while the Legion of Valor is the place to explore historic military memorabilia.

Fresno is also home to several exceptional art galleries, and the monthly ArtHop is the best way to get acquainted with them. Top picks include the 1812 Gallery, the Art House, and Arte Americas - an arts center that explores Latino art and culture through exhibitions, live performances, and workshops.

Festivals
There is always something to celebrate in Fresno. The city hosts a staggering number of festivals each year, with everything from Christmas and Cinco de Mayo celebrations, to music festivals that feature the nation’s top acts. Cultural and arts festivals also abound, with popular favorites including the Rainbow Pride Parade, the Big Fresno Fair, the Fresno Greek Festival, and the Reel Pride Film Festival. The rogue festival featuring unusual fringe acts, and the Swede Fest are a couple of the more offbeat options. Foodies should check out the Fresno Food Expo and the St. Peter Serbian Food Festival.

Cinema
Fresno features a variety of movie theaters, with everything from historic movie palaces like the lovely Tower and Warnor Theaters, to modern, technological marvels like the IMAX at Edwards and Maya Theater. Fresno Filmworks organizes special screenings at a number of the city’s theaters, showcasing independent, art house and foreign films.

Nightlife
While Fresno’s nightlife may pale in comparison to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the city nonetheless has much to offer. You’ll find everything from trendy nightclubs, pub crawls and live music venues, to more laid back options like a pub quiz at the Sequoia Beer Garden or House of Pendragon. If you’re feeling inspired, join a paint party at Artist in Me.

Fresno

State: California

Country: United States of America

Fresno by the Numbers
Population: 520,000
Elevation: 308 feet / 94 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 11.5 inches / 29.21 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 46.5°F / 8.1°C
Average July Temperature: 83°F / 28.3°C

Quick Facts

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, AC

Time Zone: GMT-8 (GMT-7 Daylight Saving Time); Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 559

Did You Know?

All of the raisins produced by the United States are grown within a 60-mile radius of Fresno, which is roughly half of the world’s supply. What most people are not aware of is that Fresno owes its status as the "raisin capital of the world" to a fortuitous accident. The first raisins produced here were created when a farmer unintentionally allowed grapes to dry on the vine in 1875. This happy accident marks the genesis of Fresno’s booming raisin industry.

Orientation

The city of Fresno lies at the heart of the bountiful San Joaquin Valley, near the center of California, with Los Angeles at a distance of 220 miles (350 kilometers) to the northwest and San Francisco around 185 miles (300 kilometers) to the south of the city. Sacramento, the capital city of California, lies only 170 miles (270 kilometers) away.

Up until the mid-1800s, the site where Fresno stands today was populated only by the Yokuts who favored the area for its fertile soil, ideal for agricultural pursuits. Beginning in 1848, the area saw a surge in interest as a result of the California Gold Rush. However, the area was not officially settled until the Central Pacific Railroad Company chose the site for the establishment of a depot in 1872. The newly formed railroad town took the name “Fresno” - the Spanish word for “Ash Tree” - a name inspired by the abundance of these trees in the area at the time the city was first established.

In 1875, the city adopted the organizational principles of the Central California Colony, providing the area’s farmers with an irrigation system that gave rise to a robust agricultural industry. Farmers from across the United States and Scandinavia began to flock to the region, and in 1874, the city became the seat of Fresno County. In 1885 the city of Fresno was finally incorporated.

The city continued to grow as a center of agriculture and industry, attracting immigrants from across the globe, transforming Fresno into a melting pot of culture. Today, Fresno lies at the center of the country’s most bountiful agricultural region and supports a host of other industries as well, including electronics and information technology. Fresno remains home to one of the nation’s most diverse communities, with over 80 ethnicities calling this city their home.

Points of interest in Fresno

See all points of interest Fresno

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

Explore our world.

or find your dream vacation with our Vacation finder