Fresno, California, located in the heart of the state and very near the geographic center, is a city of more than 500,000 residents making it the 5th largest city in California. Fresno is in the Central San Joaquin Valley and with 300 days of sunshine and year-round mild weather, the city has become known as both the Agricultural Capital of the World and the Raisin Capital of the World. Many distinct ethnic cultures are established in the area, some dating back to the Gold Rush days when California's population exploded. Not far from Fresno are the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the national parks at Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite. These national parks provide great opportunities for outdoor recreation. Fresno also has the unique distinction of being home to the Sierra Sky Park, the first residential aviation community in the world. Residents can land on a runway, taxi down extra-wide avenues, and park their aircraft in the driveway at home.
Fresno was founded in 1805 by Gabriel Moraga and named after the plentiful ash trees (“fresno” in Spanish) that grew in the area. The California Gold Rush attracted settlers to the San Joaquin River. Irrigation canals and the opening of a train station by the Central Pacific Railroad led to more growth in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Devastating fires struck Fresno in 1882 and again in 1883, leading to the construction of the Fresno Water Tower and municipal water system. The City of Fresno was finally incorporated in 1885. By 1931, 47 streetcars operated in Fresno over 49 miles of track. California saw a population boom in the post World War II economy, and Fresno grew rapidly, growing from 134,000 residents in 1960, to 428,000 in 2000. Learn more about Fresno, California’s history with the following links.
The climate in Fresno is typical of the Central Valley of California, with hot and dry summers, and cool, moderately damp winters. The warmest days are in July, with an average high temperature of 98 °F and an average low of 68 °F. The coldest days in winter are in January and February, where the average high temperature is 55 °F and the low temperature only occasionally dips below freezing. Fresno receives just 11.5" of rainfall per year, most occurring in the winter and spring seasons. Get more weather information using these links.
Bus service in Fresno is provided by the Fresno Area Express (FAX), operating a fleet of more than 100 vehicles on 16 fixed-route bus lines. Amtrak’s San Joaquin line provides train service from Bakersfield to Sacramento and San Francisco, following a scenic route along the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Fresno Yosemite International Airport offers direct flights to 13 destinations, including Seattle, Honolulu, and Guadalajara, Mexico.
Cost of Living in Fresno
Fresno has a moderate cost of living for California, at just 2.9% above the national average. Housing is well below the California average, and is 10% below the national average. Other services and amenities are similar to other parts of California, running from 5% to 15% above the national average. Use these cost of living calculators to see how far your budget will go in Fresno, California.
The Fresno Unified School District is California’s 4th largest school district with more than 79,000 students attending 69 elementary schools, 18 middle schools, and 14 high schools. Specialty schools, such as the Center for Advanced Research and Technology, provide advanced high tech studies for qualified students in their junior and senior years.
Saint Agnes Medical Center is one of the oldest, and most well-known, medical facilities in the Fresno area. This general medical and surgical facility offers medical services in 12 adult specialties including cancer treatment, cardiology, geriatrics and orthopedics, to name a few. Another large medical group in Fresno is the Community Medical Centers. The medical network contains four hospitals and several other medical facilities. Community Medical Centers is the area’s largest provider of healthcare services. If you have made Fresno your new home, it’s a good idea to get to know the medical resources available to you:
Fresno Real Estate
Homes in Fresno are a bargain compared to the cost of coastal California properties. Many older homes in Fresno dating to the 1930’s can be found in the Tower District and the Westside District. The Alta Vista tract near the center of Fresno is home to many fine, historic residences. Recently constructed luxury homes can be found in the Woodland neighborhood along the San Joaquin River. Explore Fresno homes on the market with these links.
Visitors to Fresno will find no shortage of places to stay. Many popular national brands offer luxury suites, extended stay suites, and family-friendly accommodations. For added scenery away from the urban center, The Sequoia Bed and Breakfast is just minutes from downtown Fresno and offers a restful ambiance overlooking one of the local vineyards. Another choice worth considering is the Reedley Country Bed and Breakfast, situated in a restored farmhouse just outside Fresno. Find these, and more great places to stay with the following links.
The dining scene in Fresno is rich with familiar and popular chain restaurants, but you don’t have to look far to find something that is just right for a special occasion. For a romantic dinner, Oggi Cosi Si Mangia is famous locally for their Italian cuisine, or experience The Cracked Pepper Bistro where the menu features a variety of original creations. Explore international flavors at Mone’s International Market & Deli, where you can sample Armenian, Russian, and Middle Eastern flavors. The Landmark, located in the trendy Tower District, serves Basque and American food, and often features live music. Discover more great dining discoveries in Fresno using these links.
Things to Do in Fresno
Fresno offers exciting reasons to visit throughout the year. Visitors from around the world visit Yosemite Falls every spring to marvel at the highest waterfall in North America. During the summer, the Woodward Shakespeare Festival offers free outdoor performances at Woodward Park. The first two weeks of October feature the Big Fresno Fair, which has been running since 1884. The fairgrounds also feature more than 200 smaller events throughout the year. You can enjoy the San Joaquin River Parkway almost any time of the year. This mosaic of parks, trails and ecological reserves include places to bike ride, walk, jog, horseback ride, canoe and fish. For an urban experience, explore the Tower District in Fresno, where you will find independent shops, restaurants, galleries, and a vibrant nightlife. Discover more things to do in Fresno by checking out these links.