Sandwiched between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Fresno sounds like the perfect cold treat for a hot day (one fresno, please!), but as photographer (and Fresno-native) Ellie Koleen shares, it’s a town with a population of half a million happy people in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley. A region rich with heritage, industry, and a diverse mix of people, Fresno is a beautiful place to spend a day — or week — if you ever find yourself in California! Read Ellie’s 24-hour city guide filled with unique charms, easy living and great grub after the jump! —Sabrina
Being born and raised in Fresno, I’ve probably had all the feelings about it. I’ve gone from loving it to hating it, advocating for it to being embarrassed by it. Being about three hours south of San Francisco and three hours north of LA, I grew up visiting both places quite frequently and often wishing I wasn’t stuck right in the middle, but as I got older, I started to discover the gold right in my own hometown. If you happen to find yourself in Fresno, here are a few of my favorite spots!
9 am: The Little Bean – 845 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721
Little Bean is a quaint little coffee shop in Downtown Fresno that showcases a different local artist’s work every month. They take their coffee very seriously, and serve one of my favorites, Verve coffee, from Santa Cruz, CA. They also make delicious crepes!
11 am: Misc. Trading Co. – 2017 Tuolumne Street, Fresno, CA 93721
Misc is one of the most unique little shops that you’ll find! The curator of the store has the best taste. You can find everything from vintage items to local makers’ goods here. Quite often they will team up with their neighbor Raizana Tea (also recommended!) and have a sidewalk pop-up shop sale with other vintage vendors. One of my favorite local jewelry artists, Azadiouah jewelry, sells her stuff here — be sure to look for it!
Noon: Modern Farm – 2021 Tuolumne Street, Fresno, CA 93721
Right next door to Misc. is Modern Farm, a decor store specializing in all things mid-century modern. Not just the knock-off mid-century stuff, but legit, like Herman Miller-status stuff. This store is always fun to look around in. It’s like an art gallery for furniture that takes you back in time!
1 pm: Dusty Buns Bistro – 608 East Weldon Avenue, Fresno, CA 93704
Since we are located right in the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno is a major hub of agriculture and we have TONS of great, fresh produce! Dusty Buns Bistro capitalizes on this and serves delicious, organic, farm-to-table food. They started out as a food truck but now have a brick-and-mortar store just down the street from my house. My husband and I love walking there to grab lunch or dinner. Their patio is also dog-friendly, major plus for us and our two mutts!
2 pm: Teazer 645 East Olive Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728
Teazer is a tea shop in the heart of the Tower District (while you’re here make sure to spend some time walking around in the Tower!). They probably have the biggest selection of loose leaf teas I have ever seen. The vibe of their shop is laid-back and zen and is great for reading, studying or meeting up with friends.
3 pm: The Foundry 516 Fifth Street Clovis, CA 93612
Formally Vintage on Fourth, The Foundry moved up to Fifth Street and re-branded. In my opinion, it’s now even better! You’ll find everything here from air plants and craft supplies to handmade jewelry and refinished furniture. They always have new handcrafted creations.
4 pm: P De Q 435 North Clovis Avenue #106, Clovis, CA 93612 (Edit: P De Q is now closed, sadly.)
If you have never tried a P De Q you NEED to now. They are the most delicious, gluten-free cheesy “bread” Brazilian snack that you’ll ever taste. Every single thing in this store is gluten-free, so if you have an allergy you are completely safe here! They also make a mean boba tea and gluten-free donuts — win!
5 pm: Kuppa Joy 518 Clovis Avenue, Clovis, CA 93612
Probably the best cup of coffee in Fresno can be found here. The owner, Zach, really knows his stuff when it comes to buying the best beans. They brew everything from Stumptown to Victrola to Verve and make a mean pour-over. There was a real need for good coffee on this side of town. They are soon expanding to a second location because of the success of their first shop!
7 pm: Eureka Burger 7775 North Palm Avenue #106, Fresno, CA 93711
Eureka is my husband’s ABSOLUTE favorite restaurant, it’s like our Cheers. We go here probably once a week even if it’s just for a beer and some nachos. This (new) American restaurant has rotating craft beer and an extensive gourmet burger list. Not to mention their happy hour is the best ever! Most of their appetizers are half price during happy hour and they are all delicious.
9 pm: Peeves 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721
Peeves is located in downtown Fresno and is a pubhouse/market. They have all the craft beer you could ever dream of! They also have delicious food. Everything is grown locally, super fresh and organic. It’s a great place to see a show and hang out on a weekend. I especially love this shop because they believe in the revitalization of downtown Fresno and are passionate about drawing people to the area with culture, good food and drinks! They have the friendliest staff, too, who are sure to make you feel welcome! Also be sure to say hi to Peeve, the local shop dog.
Arthop on the 1st Thursday of every month in the Tower District and Downtown Fresno.
La Elegante – The best, most authentic tacos ever!
Spokeasy – Bike-themed craft beer pub.
La Boulangerie – Authentic French pastries.
Guri’s – Farm-to-table gastropub.