For the beauty and wonder of nature in close proximity to the amenities of the big city, there's no better place than Fresno, California. With three national parks (Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia) less than two hours away, and the surrounding Fresno County containing so many rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, and agricultural land, nature-lovers will be right at home in this fast-growing metropolis. From white-water rafting and rock-climbing to camping, horseback riding, and hiking, Fresno is surrounded by an abundance of recreational opportunities, and is also home to many excellent cultural celebrations, festivals, and the largest harvest fair in California. For something a little bit quieter, the Fresno County Blossom Trail and the Fresno County Fruit Trail offer a beautiful and delicious backdrop for walking in the spring and summer respectively. As well, Roeding park, two miles northeast of Fresno's downtown, contains the Fresno Zoo, Chaffee Zoological Gardens, and more.
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For those who would rather not intrude upon the mosquitoes and creepy-crawlies, there is still plenty to do in this city. Downtown Fresno's most prominent attraction is the Fulton Mall, a ten-block area containing many restaurants, stores, landscaped areas, fountains, and sculptures. The mall is home to many of Fresno's historic buildings, a world-class public art collection and, on Wednesdays and Fridays, a Farmers' Market, where Fresno County's own fresh produce is sold from 10am to 2pm. In the Tower District, you can experience the local flavor and quality of Fresno, and enjoy the nightlife at any of the district's clubs, restaurants, cafes, theaters, and galleries. With all of this and more, there's plenty to do and see in any of Fresno's zip codes!
If you still aren't sure where to start your Fresno experience, try the Water Tower. Completed in 1894, the beautiful and historic structure, patterned after a water tower in Worms, Germany, was in constant use until 1963, when it was determined that it was no longer adequate for keeping up with the growing town's water demands. For six years afterwards, it was used as a parking meter repair shop. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, declared an American Water Landmark in 1972, and featured on the CVB-TV television series "Fresno" in 1986. After two years of renovations, the tower was reopened in June 2001 as a Visitors Center, funded and managed by the Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau. Today, the Water Tower remains Fresno's most distinctive and enduring architectural symbol, as well as the best place to find maps of Fresno and information on the city's attractions and facilities. If you're visiting Fresno, be sure to stop by!