Fresno is in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The city proper has a population, as of 2010, estimated at 505,479 and around 1 million live in the county.


Many visitors find themselves stopping in Fresno on the way to Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, or other destinations in the Sierras. The Save Mart Center at California State University, Fresno ("Fresno State") has also played host to concerts featuring high-profile acts.

Fresno's most famous son is the writer William Saroyan, after whom a local theater is named. The city has a large Hmong community.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 55 62 68 75 84 92 98 97 91 80 65 55
Nightly lows (°F) 38 42 46 49 56 62 68 66 62 53 43 38
Precipitation (in) 2.2 2.0 2.0 1.0 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.6 1.1 1.8

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Winter weather typically features highs around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and "extreme" lows in the low to mid 30s, often with morning fog and sometimes frost. Rain fall is sparse and occurs exclusively in winter and early spring months. Most rain storms last less than 2 days and are often spread weeks apart. It is not uncommon to experience hail, however it is very rare to see snow fall on the valley floor. The few times it does snow, the snow rarely sticks over night. While winter temperatures can reach below freezing, most all storms feature "warm fronts" that more or less eliminate the chance for snow (mid to low 40s is a typical "cold" rain storm).

Summer temperatures average in the mid-90s. Days with high temperatures 110 degrees or above are not uncommon. Humidity is only around 20% in the afternoon, though, making for a more bearable dry heat. The chance to find 110+ degree days commonly occurs beginning late July and continuing to mid August. During these days the low nighttime temperature will only get down to the mid 80s. It is common for a heat wave to last two weeks.

Get in

By plane

Fresno/Yosemite International Airport (IATA: FAT) (the IATA code comes from its former name, "Fresno Air Terminal"), served by carriers: Allegiant, American Airlines/American Eagle, Delta Airlines/Skywest, Horizon, Mexicana, and United/United Express. Non-stop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and even service to Guadalajara, Mexico. Flights to Los Angeles or San Francisco may seem overpriced, but if you are continuing your journey, you might find that the Fresno leg of the trip won't dramatically increase the cost of your ticket.

By train

Amtrak's San Joaquin route serves Fresno with six trains a day, running south to Bakersfield and north to either Sacramento or the Bay Area.

Fresno is also planned to become one of the first stops of the LA to San Francisco high speed rail system currently under construction.

By car

Almost everybody gets to Fresno by car. The drive to Fresno takes about 3 hours from San Francisco, 3.5 hours from Los Angeles, and 5.5 hours from San Diego. Coming from the southern Peninsula or South Bay, most people take U.S. Highway 101 to Gilroy, State Highway 152 over Pacheco Pass and through Los Banos, then State Highway 99 south to Fresno. From the northern Peninsula, one might take highway 92 over the San Mateo Bridge, to 880 North, then 580 East to 205 East to 5 North to 120 East to 99 South. From Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 north and State Highway 99 north. Fresno is accessible from the southern Central Coast by State Highway 41, usually used with State Highway 46. Fresno is the largest city in the United States without an Interstate highway running through it, but 99 provides much of that function and is slated to be upgraded to Interstate status.

By bus

Greyhound has a terminal next to Amtrak in downtown Fresno. Exercise caution in this area at night.

Get around

By car

As is typical in California Central Valley cities, a car is useful and often necessary to access most parts of town. There is a modest bus system, Fresno Area Express (FAX), but a car would be advised. Traffic congestion in Fresno is not as bad as larger places in California, but Shaw and Herndon avenues can get quite crowded, especially since there is no east-west freeway through the north side. CA-99 runs along the west side of the city, becoming semi-rural before exiting Fresno County on the northwest side of Fresno. CA-41 runs down the middle of the city. Until the late 1990s and early 2000s these were the only freeways in Fresno, but a surge in growth has spurred the development of the CA-180 and CA-168 freeways.

By bike

In 2011, Fresno became the first town or city in the Central Valley to earn a Bronze Medal Designation from the League of American Bicyclists, recognizing Fresno as a bicycle friendly community. The city is in the process of further expanding its bike lanes in an effort to improve bike access. For a current map of Fresno's bike lanes, followthis link.




Fresno State University is noted for its agricultural programs, and many Fresno State students and faculty travel to developing nations on agricultural assistance programs. Fresno City College, a 2-year community college, is also in the city. Fresno Pacific University is an accredited private Christian university offering many bachelors and master's degrees as well as other satellite locations across Central California (Merced Regional Center, North Fresno Regional Center, Visalia Regional Center, Bakersfield Regional Center).


As long as you're right in the middle of California's agricultural heartland, try the local produce. Fresno State's Farm Market, at the corner of Chestnut and Barstow, sells the produce grown by the university's agriculture department, plus fresh cheese, ice cream and wine. If you're looking for a souvenir of the San Joaquin Valley, try the Sierra Nut House, for dried fruit, nuts, jams & jellies, and coffees & teas.


River Park Plaza contains many popular chain restaurants, including The Elephant Bar, Tony Roma's, Logans Steak House, Yoshino's Sushi House, and Hooters. For a large and diverse concentration of local establishments, head to the Tower District ( There are also many notable restaurants sprinkled elsewhere throughout the Fresno area.


Night life in Fresno is great (if you're in the right areas) head to The Bar or The Other bar at or Landmark or Elbow Room or On the Rocks.




Go next

The adjacent town of Clovis has a small "old town" with numerous antique stores. The last weekend of April the town hosts the Clovis Rodeo.

Millerton Lake is about 20 miles northeast of Fresno on Friant Road. It's a popular site for fishing and waterskiing.

Many locals escape the summer heat at the lakes in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. These lakes have recreation areas, campgrounds, and bed and breakfasts:

Routes through Fresno

Sacramento Madera  N  S  Selma Bakersfield
Morro Bay Lemoore  S  N  Coarsegold Yosemite N.P.
END Jct N S  W  E  Kings Canyon N.P. END
Sacramento / Emeryville Madera  N  S  Hanford Bakersfield

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