Summer in Fresno: What’s There to Do?


Photo by: Samantha Washburn

Fresno Entrance Sign located at Van Ness Ave and Railroad Ave on Apr 25, 2023. The first sign was built in 1917, but later changed in 1929 due to a fire on the sign.

As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, Fresno comes alive with various fun and exciting activities for all ages. Whether soaking up some sun at a local water park, exploring the city’s vibrant arts, or indulging in some delicious food and drinks, there’s no shortage of things to do in Fresno this summer.

The Central Valley is a great area for day trips, especially to national parks. Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks are all within a two hour drive of Fresno. Each with temperatures slightly cooler making it a great getaway from the Valley’s heat. Long hiking paths, paddle boarding, canoe in the lakes, or find a nice spot for a picnic. 

Enjoy one of the many farmer’s markets Fresno has to offer. Riverpark has farmer’s markets every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. where there are a wide variety of food trucks and local produce. 

Tower District also started its own farmers market every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There are various local food trucks, vendors selling crafts and other goods, and local seasonal fruits and vegetables. At least 15 different cultures of food are represented as well as 15 food trucks and up to 40 other food producers. I love going to these because of the wide variety of food trucks they offer and it’s always fun to try out new and different food trucks.

Need to escape the heat? Visit one of Fresno’s hidden gems, Forestier Underground Gardens.  Enjoy cool temperatures in the underground subterranean tunnels dug by hand by Baldassare Forestier. The gardens include Forestier’s below-ground home, underground rooms, courtyards, and passageways. Look at the fruit trees and vines growing from below and a closer look at the Roman architecture. The tour guides are always so knowledgeable and seeing the architecture is always a treat for me.

Need a refreshing drink after a busy week? Visit Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company Beer Garden where they produce craft beer for visitors and locals of Fresno. With a social and friendly atmosphere, this place provides all sorts of games like foosball and cornhole to play while socializing and drinking ale. Tioga also often hosts events like food truck festivals and live concerts.

Sports fan? Catch the Fresno Grizzlies Minor League Baseball team in downtown Fresno where they play 72 games at their home stadium Chukchansi Park every year. Tickets are affordable and they host many other events ranging from motocross and raves to concerts. The ballpark offers more than just a stadium with 33 luxury suites such as a full-service bar and restaurant and a spa with a pool area. Going with friends to Grizzly games is always fun. I’m not a huge sports fan but the social aspect is why I enjoy going.

Have a love for animals? The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is home to over 190 species of animals, including elephants, lions, and tigers. It has a rainforest exhibit, a stingray touch tank, and a sea lion cove. The zoo is fun to spend the day with friends or family. See the animals up close, learn about their habitats, and watch them get fed. There are also interactive exhibits and activities for kids like the play area and the petting zoo. I’ve always loved visiting the zoo and getting to see all the different animals and I love whenever they put new exhibits in the park.

Woodward Park is another excellent place to enjoy the outdoors. It has a large pond with ducks and geese, walking trails, and picnic areas. It’s a popular spot for jogging, biking, and playing sports like frisbee and soccer. 

Woodward is also home to the Shinzen Friendship Garden. It is a serene Japanese-style garden that features a koi pond, a tea house, and a bonsai collection. The Shinzen Friendship Garden is a peaceful and beautiful place of nature to visit. Stroll through the garden and admire the plants and flowers, feed the koi fish in the pond, and enjoy the tranquility of the tea house. It’s a great place to escape from everyday life. It is a beautiful, peaceful place of nature to visit and relax in a serene setting. I love going to Woodward for runs, bike rides, and walks. There are many trails and paths that you can take. I love the Friendship Garden as well as it’s very peaceful and beautiful to look at.

Need to beat the heat and cool off? Visit either Wild Water Adventure Park or Island Water Park which are both great water parks in the Valley. Island Water Park is open seasonally, from May to September, and they often offer special events throughout the summer like movie nights and live music. 

The parks are popular destinations for families and groups of friends looking to cool off and have some fun in the sun. Both offer a variety of water attractions for all ages. It has a wave pool, lazy river, water slides, and a children’s play area. The park also features a variety of food and drink options, such as burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, and soft drinks. They also offer cabana rentals which is a great way to relax and enjoy the park in a more private setting.

Some of the most popular attractions at Wild Water include the Black Hole, the GhostSlider, the Rapids, and the Blue Wave Pool. There are several areas of the park designed specifically for children, the Buccaneer Bay and the Little Dipper. Wild Water Adventure Park is a great destination for families and friends looking to get out of the Central Valley heat and enjoy the sun. I enjoy going to both of these parks especially when the Fresno heat is above 100 degrees. It’s a great place for me and my friends to cool off and have fun.

Prices for the national parks are as follows:

Yosemite: $35 per vehicle. Reservations are required from May – September. 

Sequoia: $35 per vehicle. Reservation not required.

Kings Canyon: $35 per vehicle. Reservation not required.