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Fresno is in the San Joaquin River Valley in Central California, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This once- sleepy farm town now has a population of 430,000, and its $3 billion agribusiness interests make it the top U.S. agricultural area. It is the only city in the country surrounded by three national parks: Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite. With a car rental, you can easily visit some of the main attractions in Fresno.
Spring is a great time to visit Fresno because the flowers are in full bloom and trees have bear fruits. A must-see site during this season is the Fresno Blossom Trail and you can get a map at the Visitor's Center in Downtown Fresno. Summer is also a popular time to go to Fresno, but it can get too hot sometimes so make sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses.
If you are coming from Australia or UK, you may need some time getting used to driving on the right side of the road. Make sure to take note of the speed limits since they vary per area or zone. The speed limit in school zones as well as residential and business areas is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. The speed limit for alleys and blind intersections is 15 mph. When driving on a mountain road, always stay in your lane even if the road is narrow.
1. Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Park. See the largest tree on Earth and explore a deep cave. Fresno is a short drive from Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Park. The twin parks have the state's highest mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, and giant sequoias (the world's largest trees). From the Giant Forest Museum, you can take a short walk to the General Sherman Tree, the largest, single trunked living tree on Earth. On the tour of Crystal Cave, you walk by waterfalls en route to seeing stalactites and limestone “curtains,” large cave rooms, and sparkling marble polished naturally by a subterranean stream.
2. Tour of the Tower District. Visit the upscale entertainment district. A walking tour of the Tower District offers food, shopping, and beverage samplings at more than two dozen locations. An annual local arts festival includes theater, music, dance, film, performance art, puppetry, spoken word, storytelling, and visual arts. An annual car show includes hundreds of classic cars from hot rods to vintage makes and models. The district also hosts a popular annual gay and lesbian festival.
3. Chaffee Zoo. Take the kids to the zoo. Chaffee Zoo in lush Roeding Park has a rain forest exhibit, petting zoo, an orangutan and tiger exhibit, a Winged Wonders Bird Show, the Meet a Reptile program, a walk through aviary; the Coati Island display of primates, bears, and ungulates; and displays of endangered black rhinos, wolves, and big cats. The zoo is east of Highway 99, between Belmont and Olive Avenues.
4.The Saroyan Theater Catch some culture in a theater named after a beloved native son. The Saroyan Theater, named for Fresno poet and author William Saroyan, hosts the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fresno Ballet. The venue also presents Broadway shows, plays, ballets, concerts, and convention meetings.
5. Whitewater Rapids. Get dunked in whitewater rapids. The mightiest of all of California's famed whitewater rivers flows through Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. The rapids of the Kings River are rated Class 3 (out of six classes), perfect for beginning to intermediate rafters of all ages.