Top Ten Amazing Hidden Gems in Fresno
Top Ten Amazing Hidden Gems in Fresno
Fresno is a big city full of fun things to do. Everyone knows that River Park, Fashion Fair Mall and Fig Garden Village are great places for shopping and dining. Here lies the problem: everyone already knows about these places. Even the newer shopping centers like Campus Pointe at Fresno State and Marketplace at El Paseo, while great and amazing, have become habitualized. The vast span of land that is Fresno can make it difficult to find a new and truly unique experience.
Thankfully, you don’t have to plough through hundreds of Yelp reviews and Google searches to find something new. Here are some of the most exciting, yet, unassuming places to discover in Fresno. This list only begins to scratch the surface, but at least it’s a great place to start.
Here are the Top Ten Hidden Gems in Fresno:
The vibrant murals of Downtown Fresno
Broadway Studios is the anchor of the Mural District in Downtown Fresno. And while the gallery itself has tons of cool art to check out, it's the murals outside of the building that really takes your breath away. The surreal display of flora and fauna on the west alley is a local favorite. Start on the corner of Broadway and Tuolumne, then zig-zag through Fulton Street, Van Ness Ave, Calaveras, M street, and beyond. See if you can find the “Fresno Stamp” mural on the side of CVS- it’s beyond beautiful. Take one look around and you’ll quickly see why Fresno was named one of the Best Cities in America for Street Art by thrillist.com.
The newest arrival to Fresno’s growing coffee scene
While you’re out hunting for murals in Downtown Fresno don’t miss this hidden gem. Fulton Street Coffee Roasters works directly with coffee growers from around the world to produce high-quality beans. Their partner, Raizana Tea Co., offers a wide variety of delicious teas and non-coffee drinks. Buy in bulk or grab something to-go. Now’s the perfect time to treat yourself to an iced dulce de leche latte or fresh-squeezed rose lemonade.
Cultivating community and creativity all in a day’s work
Half retail store, half design/print studio. Root General provides a unique experience to Fresno’s shopping scene. From its thoughtful design to the diverse array of items crafted by local artisans, it’s obvious this space was intended to inspire creativity. They hold monthly workshops where locals can learn new skills and they always have the coolest Fresno-themed merch for sale. Even cooler, the store often collaborates with local organizations in order to raise money for worthy causes.
Handmade goods next to Historic Fresno High
Vivily Vintage & Handmade is another wonderfully quaint retail shop that celebrates local vendors and artisans. This is a great place to find a unique gift for people of all walks and stages of life. The children’s display area is absolutely adorable. There are so many neat and curious items on display, one could literally spend hours looking around. The relaxing atmosphere helps too. And being sandwiched in between Ampersand Ice Cream and Kuppa Joy Coffee doesn’t hurt either.
A culinary diamond in the rough
Dubbed “Fresno’s best-kept secret” by its loyal patrons, Oggi Trattoria Italiano is known for exceeding expectations. The luxurious and elegant ambiance pairs nicely with one of the best wine lists in Fresno. Almost everything on the menu is made from scratch with locally-sourced produce. Make sure you don’t skip dessert- they have homemade spumoni ice cream and tiramisu. This is authentic Italian food at its best.
Peace and tranquility in the heart of the city
The Shinzen Friendship Garden is nestled inside Woodward Park in north Fresno. It is a Japanese-style garden built on 5 acres of land full of seasonal flowering blossoms. The serene atmosphere includes a koi pond, a bonsai tree collection, several Japanese-style sculptures, and an authentic Japanese tea house. Many photographers and wedding planners are already well-aware of this unique hidden treasure. Take the time to visit on a breezy, summer evening- you will not be disappointed.
Travel back in time to the wild, wild west
Looking for some good old-fashioned family fun? Look no further than the whimsically charming Simonian Farms Old Town. Check out the old fashioned candy and soda pop shop for a huge selection of retro-themed sweets. Experience the life of a real 49er while panning for gold and gemstones. Test your skills at the 4 gun shooting gallery. And then relax at the Old West Wine Tasting Saloon. Simonian Farms is a fun and unique way to experience the rich history of Fresno.
Block party at Gazebo Gardens
You may be familiar with this locally-owned nursery and landscaping business. You may have even seen one of their service vehicles tending to the landscape at Fig Garden Village or River Park. But did you know that every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Gazebo Gardens hosts an awesome party? There’s live music, a beer garden serving high-quality craft brews, and some of the best food trucks in town. Feel free to bring your favorite four-legged friend to the party, all dogs on leases are welcome!
Rockin’ good food and a-rocking' good time
Benediction has three simple rules: 1) Family First, always 2) Don’t buy what you can make 3) Have fun in all things. This translates into amazing food made fresh, with love, and served up in a fun, laid-back atmosphere. They specialize in creative interpretations of eggs benedict and make almost everything on the menu from scratch. Benediction is already one of Fresno’s most popular food trucks. But, chances are you might’ve missed the tiny brick-and-mortar location in Northwest Fresno. It’s pretty cool to see the quirky rock-n-roll themed menu come to life on the walls, tables, and speakers. Check it out for yourself today!
The mystery and majesty of Forestiere Underground Gardens
Some readers may recall an earlier post where I mentioned the re-opening of this amazing underground garden. This place is the crown jewel of hidden gems in Fresno. First, it’s all underground-literally hidden from plain sight. Second, many people are unaware of this 110-year-old historical landmark. Or, they’ve heard of it but never took the time to visit. There are countless reviews online of folks gushing about the gardens and lamenting the fact that they waited so long to see it in person. Don’t be one of those people! As the story goes, Sicilian immigrant, Baldassare Forestiere spent 40 years of his life creating this underground oasis. He carved out a labyrinth of hidden passages, courtyards, and grottos using only the farm tools he had on hand. Some say Baldassare was a true visionary, years ahead of his time. Others simply agree that the gardens brilliantly display human ingenuity at its best.