Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)

Fresno resides in the heart of San Joaquin Valley. Agriculture is king here, and Fresno State’s football team (the Bulldogs) proudly wears a green “V” on its helmet to honor the Valley’s status as one of the country’s most productive farming regions. A wide variety of crops — from grapes and raisins to cotton, peaches, garlic, oranges and alfalfa — all thrive in the semi-arid climate.

Though Mexican food is both good and ubiquitous here, there’s a surprising amount of diversity to be found. If you like Armenian food, visit Fresno’s historic Old Armenian Town, a testament to the vibrant community that’s lived here since the city’s founding. There’s also nearby Chinatown with its recently discovered tunnel system that led to speakeasies during Prohibition.

For some Central Valley culture, visit the Fresno Art Museum and its fine collection of Mesoamerican and pre-Columbian art. Or if you’re an oenophile (read: wine snob), tour the ten wineries located just outside of town that comprise the Madera Wine Trail.

Take It Outside

Fresno is just southwest of Sierra National Forest and a mere 2-hour drive from Yosemite National Park. The great naturalist and preservationist John Muir convinced Teddy Roosevelt to nationalize the Yosemite Valley, and when you first lay eyes on its Giant Sequoias, dramatic falls and jaw-dropping granite cliffs, you’ll be grateful he did. Immortalized by Ansel Adams, this nearly 800,000 acres of natural splendor is a must-see for anyone who visits Central California. One warning: lodging in and around Yosemite is extremely limited, so make reservations well in advance.

If you can’t get enough of the rugged beauty of California scenery, you might also want to explore Reno/Tahoe and San Francisco.

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