After spending a couple of days surrounded by more much more granite than concrete, arriving in Fresno was a shock to my system. It’s California’s fifth largest city, and the second biggest in the Central Valley, with a population of more than half a million people. It’s a good gateway city for anyone visiting either Yosemite or Kings Canyon National Park, but since I was visiting both, I was anxious to get back out of town and into the wilderness again. That’s one reason why my visit to Fresno didn’t last long. Another reason: on my quick drive through town, I didn’t see much worth stopping for.
One place worth a brief stop is the old Fresno Water Tower. It was used for its original purpose from 1894 to 1963, and nowadays it houses the city’s visitor center. You’ll spot it as you’re driving into downtown on Fresno Street.
Downtown Fresno has a street set aside for pedestrians. The Fulton Mall runs along Fulton Street in between Tuolumne and Inyo Streets.
[tmt_info =””]The Fulton Pedestrian Mall was one of the first of its kind, completed in 1964.[/tmt_info]
The Crest Theater also looked interesting, but I couldn’t find an empty parking spot anywhere nearby.
[tmt_info =””]The Crest opened in 1949. It doesn’t show films anymore, but still hosts occasional concerts and events. You can see many more pictures of the Crest here.[/tmt_info]
[tmt_info =””]The Spanish word for Ash Tree is “Fresno”, and no surprise, ash trees are plentiful in the area.[/tmt_info]
After exploring downtown Fresno, find CA Hwy. 180 and head east towards Kings Canyon National Park.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive around Fresno, then east on Hwy. 180: