Fresno has a special place in my heart because that’s where my wife is from. When the opportunity came up to interview Dustin Heiner of Master Passive Income about his hometown of Fresno, California, I jumped at the chance. Dustin’s tips for the best things to do in Fresno are awesome. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of most of these, even though I’ve been going to Fresno several times a year for the last decade.
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Fresno is located in the Central Valley of California. It is centrally located so that there are many options within a couple of hours. San Francisco to the North and Los Angeles to the South are each just 3 hours away. Yosemite National Park is just 90 minutes away. And Pismo Beach is about 2 hours away.
When you visit Fresno, you will never taste fresher food. Quite a lot of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables you buy at the grocery store come from the Central Valley. Fun fact: my wife’s father grew table grapes.
The best time to visit Fresno depends on what you’re looking for. You’ll experience all four seasons, and there are fun things to do in Fresno all year long. Other than a couple of weeks in August when you’ll experience 100+ temperatures, you’ll have a great time in Fresno no matter when you visit.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Play Fresno, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
Best things to do in Fresno
Here are some of the best things to do in Fresno according to our local expert, Dustin Heiner. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research and places I’ve visited.
- AAA Relaxing Station – Dustin recommends getting a massage from here while you’re in Fresno.
- Candy Cane Lane – this neighborhood has 50-60 homes that have the best decorations for Christmas. Dustin says this is where the locals go.
- China Peak Mountain Resort (reviews) – great skiing and snowboarding overlooking Huntington Lake. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes from Fresno.
- Christmas Tree Lane – we would visit Christmas Tree Lane whenever we’d see Anna’s Mom around Christmas. It’s 2 miles of amazing Christmas lights and decorations. Park at the Fig Garden shopping center and walk if you want to avoid the traffic.
- Forestiere Underground Gardens (reviews) – located in the Downtown area, this 10 acres of underground gardens were built in the early 1940s by one man in his spare time.
- Fresno Chaffee Zoo (reviews)- a great local zoo that is worth checking out while in Fresno.
- Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau – an excellent resource for discounts and things to do while in Fresno.
- Fresno County Blossom Trail (reviews) – this self-guided walking or bike tour comes into full bloom mid-late February through March.
- Fresno Football Club – if you like soccer, check out a game!
- Fresno Grizzlies Minor League Baseball (reviews) – minor league baseball at its best. These players aren’t millionaires, but they’re trying to get to the big leagues!
- Fresno Monsters Hockey Team (reviews)- whenever I attend a minor league hockey game, it reminds me of the Hanson brothers from the movie Slap Shot.
- Fresno State Football – this college may not be a football powerhouse, but some quality quarterbacks have come from this little school, like Trent Dilfer, David Carr, and Derek Carr.
- Fresno Yosemite International Airport – this airport is becoming more popular as a gateway to Yosemite National Park.
- Huntington Lake (reviews) – Dustin recommends visiting this lake. It’s very beautiful and offers sailboating and camping.
- Shaver Lake (reviews) – only an hour away from Fresno, you can escape the summertime heat and go for a swim.
- Shinzen Friendship Garden (reviews) – a gorgeous Japanese garden filled with fresh flowers and a fun way to spend an afternoon with nature.
- Woodward Park (reviews) – this is where Dustin and his wife were married. Funny story is that his parents were married here too and Dustin only found out when he told his parents that is where he would be married.
- Yosemite National Park (reviews) – a world-renown national park known for incredible waterfalls and sheer rock faces that expert climbers have on their bucket list.
Here’s a short list of the current events happening in Fresno that you can buy tickets for.
Looking for other things to do? Here are the top 10 sightseeing tickets and packages for Fresno.
Or, you can buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are another excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.
Best places to eat in Fresno
Fresno has so many excellent places to eat. We have a lot of places on this list, but Dustin highly recommends stopping by any hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant you come across. Mexican food is one of the specialties in this town. Here are the restaurants that should be on your list of the best places to eat in Fresno.
- Antonio’s Mexican Restaurant (reviews) – this is Dustin’s wife’s favorite Mexican food in Fresno.
- Clovis Farmers Market (reviews) – Fresno and Clovis are in the Central Valley of California, which produces a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables for the country. This is one of the best farmer’s markets you’ve ever been too.
- Kowloon Kitchen (reviews) – a great place to go for fresh seafood.
- Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria (reviews) – the local favorite for pizza. My wife Anna highly recommends Me N Ed’s.
- Sakura Chaya (reviews) – a teppanyaki Japanese restaurant that prepares the food right at your table. A memorable experience for the whole family.
- Shaver Lake Pizza (reviews) – a perfect pit stop on your way back from skiing at China Peak. Great tasting pizza and a good atmosphere.
- Tahoe Joe’s (reviews) – this is Dustin’s recommendation for happy hour. You just have to order the Railroad Camp Shrimp.
- Taqueria Yarelis (reviews) – famous for its “Anaconda Burrito.” Bring your friends because you cannot tackle it on your own.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Fresno?
Best places to stay in Fresno
When you come to visit the California Central Valley, here are the best places to stay in Fresno.
- Best Western Plus Village Inn (reviews) – this Best Western category 3 property is 16,000 points per night.
- Country Inn & Suites by Suites by Radisson, Fresno North, CA (reviews) – I love Country Inn & Suites hotels because of the fresh baked cookies and spacious rooms. We’ve stayed here before and they have a good indoor pool. This Radisson category 2 property is 15,000 points per night.
- Days Inn by Wyndham Fresno Central (reviews) – this hotel is located next to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, so it is really convenient for a day at the zoo. All Wyndham Rewards properties are 15,000 points per night.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Fresno Convention Center (reviews) – this Hilton Honors category 4 property is 20,000 to 30,000 points per night.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fresno (River Park) Hwy 41 (reviews)- this IHG Rewards category 4 property is 25,000 points per night.
- Residence Inn by Marriott Fresno (reviews) – Residence Inn is one my favorite Marriott brands because they have spacious rooms, a great free breakfast, and some offer free drinks in the evening on weekdays. This Marriott Rewards category 3 hotel is 15,000 to 20,000 points per night.
AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Fresno
The local airport is Fresno / Yosemite International Airport, which is very close to downtown.
If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.
The Final Countdown
1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Fresno – Dustin says that Sakura Chaya is his favorite place to eat whenever he comes home to Fresno. The mix of great food and showmanship by the chef at your table is hard to beat.
2) Favorite memory of Fresno – When Dustin announced that he was getting married at Woodward Park, his parents replied that they also got married there. What a truly special memory for two generations of the family.
3) Happiest Happy Hour in Fresno – Although Dustin doesn’t drink, he recommends Tahoe Joe’s. The bar is always hopping and they have great specials on delicious food. Even though his wife doesn’t like seafood, even she devours the Railroad Camp Shrimp whenever they eat here.
4) Best place for pepperoni pizza in Fresno – Dustin has two recommendations for amazing pizza. When you’re in Fresno, you can’t beat Me n Ed’s Pizza. It is a local favorite and is superb.
When you’re driving back from skiing or snowboarding at China Peak or cooling off at one of the lakes, you need to make a pit stop at Shaver Lake Pizza.
Who is Dustin Heiner?
Dustin Heiner has escaped the 9-to-5 rat race through passive income. He worked for years to build up enough income to replace his traditional paycheck, then wrote a book called How to Quit Your Job With Rental Properties to share his story.
Friends, family, and people he met wanted to know how they could do it too, so he started Master Passive Income to teach people how to earn passive income through rental real estate.
If you’d like to hear more about rental properties, also check out the Master Passive Income Podcast. My favorite episode is when Dustin interviewed me to talk about Delayed Financing.
Dustin is offering his email course for free to followers of the We Travel There podcast. Click the link to sign up and see if passive income through rental real estate is for you.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Dustin Heiner about Fresno, California. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Fresno, California
- Green dots = best things to do in Fresno, California
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Fresno, California
Big thanks to today’s podcast sponsor – RewardExpert
This episode is brought to you, in part, by RewardExpert.com, which offers financial insights to make life rewarding.
Reward Expert offers three amazing tools that will help you find the best deals based on personalized recommendations, earn more travel rewards or cash back through their shopping portal, and discover how many miles it will take to book your next vacation.
Visit WeTravelThere.com/rewardexpert for more details.
Stay tuned for our next episode
Join us in the next episode when Ricky Shetty of DaddyBlogger.com shares why Vancouver, Canada is such an amazing city to explore. We hope to see you when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Fresno, California? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
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