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24 Hours in Fresno, CA with Ellie Koleen

by Sabrina Smelko

24 Hours in Fresno, CA

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!

24 Hours in Fresno, CA

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!

24 Hours in Fresno, CA

24 Hours in Fresno, CA

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!

24 Hours in Fresno, CA

24 Hours in Fresno, CA

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!

24 Hours in Fresno

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.

 

Other Places

Daytrip to Yosemite! We’re only 2.5 hours away. Check out the great (and concise) guide to the park over at Live Long, Live Wild right here.

Gazebo Gardens Food Trucks

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.

Suggested For You

Comments

    • Thank you for this post, it will be really helpful as my family and I are moving there in a few weeks for work. by any chance do any of you have suggestions on what a good area to move would be? My husband will be working at the children’s hospital north of downtown. Thanks so much

  • Ah, my old stomping grounds. It is so exciting to see how new places have opened and old have blossomed. Dusty Buns was just a food truck when I lived there and it is so exciting to see how the support of the community has allowed them to grow.

  • Born in Kingsburg raised in Porterville I know your feelings! Thank you for sharing I had no idea these shops existed. I need to make a trip back and get reacquainted.

  • Nice to see a piece praising the city where I live. Good job. And yes, if you haven’t visited Fresno for awhile, come and take a look. Our weather is picture perfect in March and April.

  • Raised in San Diego, moved to Fresno 18 years ago. I am forever promoting this town to anyone who will listen. A few of my additional favs: Cafe Corazon – in the Tower. Best mocha in town. Owner roasts his own beans and every cup is an individual pour over. Get the Mocha Diablo. The Frosted Cakery – a few doors down – best cakes and cupcakes in town.

  • Thank you for this list! I’ve been to all of them and I can say I agree with your coffee and tea shop choices! I love this town and all its unique findings. Forget starbucks! The Little Bean is my favorite!

  • So fun to see this live! Yes, I agree May, Cafe Corazon also makes a delicious brew! There are many more places in town that I wish I could’ve included. These are just a few of my top faves! :)

  • We love all of these places! It is so nice to hear about all the neat things you can do in Fresno. Enjoying where you live is a bit of a mindset; if you look to find the neat things there you will enjoy it much more.

  • LOVE this write-up! Have been looking for another place for crepes in town. Cannot wait to try The Little Bean. Have shopped at MISC. several times. Daughter used to sell her line there. Love poking around to see what jewels they have in store. Nice to see Spencer in a photo. I have the honor of working with him. I am sure that some day I will have the honor of meeting his lovely bride, also! :)

  • Mia Cuppa, Charlotte’s Bakery, Meze House, Gazebo Garden Food Trucks… I could go on with more fun places to catch up with friends. After 26 years. I say, I appreciate you Fresno. I love to see and be with good people here and know I can find culture in the Valley and afford to go to simple food spots that are original and self started. Keep thriving big, little City!

  • I have lived here in Fresno for 14 years now and love everything about it. River park is one of my favorite hot spots. There are tons of great restaurants and great shopping. I love the fresh market there every Tuesday with so much to choose from. Fresno has so much to offer.

  • I am a Chicago transplant and have been here for almost 38 years. I used to kvetch and moan about this city but have come to love it. One of my kids lives in Oakland and one lives in Glendale. I love visiting them but when we drive down the hill into the Central Valley from the or make that turn from the 580 to the 5 and see the Central Valley, the only thought I have is that ‘I am home’. I’m no Pollyanna. We have lots of problems here but Fresno is home. I love this place. It’s a hidden gem. So, let others make fun of this city. They just don’t know what they are missing.

  • Enjoyed this! I often think of Fresno as being “on the way to Yosemite,” but these suggestions make me want to stop and check it out next time I’m passing through.

  • This is fab! Definitely would add Cafe Corazon in the Tower (iced cafe con leche in the summer is heaven), La Elegante in Chinatown for the best tacos of all time, and Art Hop (1st and 3rd Thursdays) for some lovely gallery action. Also Cafe Van Ness that just opened next to Gazebo Gardens has some pretty amazing drinks too (and cold brew!). And the Tioga Sequoia beer garden downtown is becoming on my must-see for outsiders lists too.

  • We have fantastic range of thrift stores from, Yoshi Now which gives you more of a retro, vintage feel. As well as, Thrift Row on Inyo& Blackstone which gives you 5 thrift stores in a row. I’ d say Strummer’s brings some awesome bands, & dance nights. Along with, Sequoia Brewing Company in Tower as well as the one on Champlain Drive where you can also check out HCK Kitchen & Cocktails for a fun Friday night.

  • Can I just say how trippy it is to see “Fresno” (my hometown) and “D*S” (I heart you guys!) in the same space? Trippy, yet totally awesome. I’m happy to see Fresno finally get some love (too often it’s looked down upon or ridiculed, especially among Californians). Kuppa Joy and La Elegante are both aces, too.

  • What a great post! I am from Sanger and – even though I live in the Bay Area now – I am always raving about the thrifting, produce, and authentic ethnic food in the Valley!

  • I lived in Fresno most of my life. While I live on the coast now, there is so much I miss about my hometown. I visit frequently and want to check out these interesting spots. I would add the Underground Gardens on Shaw at Golden Gate, nothing like it anywhere else. And the Farmers Market on Shaw and Blackstone as well; a great stop on a Saturday morning or Wednesday afternoon.

  • This is amazing!!! I was also born and raised in this town that use to be so little and am proud to be here now! I would still like to continue to venture out but I’ll always find my way back home!

  • Ellie – I don’t know you, but you have really touched the Fresno nerve in my heart! I dragged my wife out of Sonora after our wedding so I could attend law school in Fresno, and thought she would never forgive me. We now love Fresno. It took some getting used to, but this big little town is coming together. Pointedly, Toni’s family seems to be migrating North from Southern California. This really is a good place to live! Just pray for rain! Thanks!!

  • This is great to see. I grew up in the Valley (Modesto) and now live in Oakland, but the whole Bay Area is starting to get so expensive and competitive. At 32, I’m starting to rethink what I want out of life, and that may include the Valley again. Good to know that wonderful things are happening there!

  • to “S”: your north of Herndon roots are showing. it’s only “bad” if you’re afraid of poor people.

  • None of the places mentioned are in very bad areas. If you have any experience with even minimal urban living or visiting, you won’t feel at all threatened,

  • …. yes, Yes, YES. And don’t forget about all of the great local musicians who perform all around town.

  • I liked this article too. I wish you had mentioned the thriving theatre scene in Fresno, especially in The Tower District. Fresno’s own Good Company players have been performing in two theatres for 40 years in The Tower, doing musicals at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre, and straight plays, sometimes edgy, at the 2nd Space Theatre on Olive. There are numerous other performing groups, among them StageWorks, The New Ensemble, Woodward Shakespeare (Free Shakespeare in the park every summer), CenterStage, CalArts, The University Theater at CSUF, and of course, the fabulous Rogue Festival, held every year around Mardi Gras time, is the largest performing Arts Festival in the West.

  • Thanks for such a positive article. There is such a wonderful and diverse array to of things to do and places to eat here in Fresno. I’ve been here for 30 years and there is always something new to do or place to go eat.

  • Someone posted about Riverpark–you need to read ALL the comments. If I want Riverpark, I’ll drive to LA or Sacto for ‘Nordies’. Anywhere north of Herndon and east of Palm is for the ‘hoi polloi’. You have to experience the historic wee treasures all about town!

  • We moved here from Nashville five years ago and were worried that we would have a hard time finding things to do. But we really love it here! And don’t forget to mention Engleman Cellars Winery! (http://www.engelmanncellars.com/)They have live music every Friday night from May through September. It’s our favorite place to throw down a quilt and have fabulous local wine. I think someone should come up with a bumper sticker that says “Fresno doesn’t suck!”

  • Yay Ellie!!! I just saw this today! Had no idea you wrote an article about our little big city, and such a good one too. I just read The Atlantic series on Fresno this morning and felt really proud of our town. I’m kinda nervous though, if Fresno keeps getting all this good press people will move here and it’ll loose it’s small town vibe and affordable cost of living. It really is a hidden gem.

  • What a wonderful blog! I got to it from a post on Facebook’s : Scour The Tower page. I will share the link with other fellow Fresnans and look forward to checking some of these lovely places out. And yes… It makes me proud to be a native here. Thanks!

  • I have not been to Fresno in years but we are planing a trip to Oregon so I am looking for places to visit along the road up. Thanks for all the information. BTW we have Eureka Burger in Redlands Ca too. The burgers are wonderful. I don’t drink but did notice the have local beers on the menu. I highly reccommend the place. And it was packed on a Tuesday evening.

  • Foundry on 5th street Clovis! is great they always have new items every week. We love to eat lunch at House of Ju Ju, shop at Foundry and Revel 21 next to Ju Ju is like foundry beauitful stylist clothes as well as other items after shopping we end up at On the edge coffee house sit out on side walk or in back patio that should be a art hop venue and we have some iced shaked African nectar tea! but we dont leave intil we head over on to Clovis ave to La Pariesn french bakery with in house padtery chef who is from France for fresh amazing colorful maccroons! trust me when i say you will truly leave old town clovis with a relaxing feel:) the old town of clovis needs to take look at theses business models down size the antqiue stores ( that seem to be 2 hand stores in the 3 years i have been visiting old town I see the same merchandise in those stores just rearrangeed and the Glorious Junk Day they have twice a year is clearing disgrace to all the hard work they put into cleaning up old town its a step backwards its just a swap meet in the middle of beauitful historic town.

  • Great article Sabrina, I just finished a top 25 on Fresno and it’s great to read a completely different view on the city!

  • I love Peeves Public House! I go whoever I get the chance!
    If you want some great homemade Ice Cream (and sorbet) hit up:
    •Ampersand Ice Cream -1940 N Echo Ave, Fresno, CA 93704
    (Tower District)
    For some pretty good Mediterranean food:
    •Churrasco Grill -1901 N Gateway Blvd, Fresno, CA 93727
    •Meze House Mediterranean Grill -552 E Olive Ave, Fresno, CA
    93728 (Tower District)
    Italian:
    •Piemonte’s Italian Delicatessen -616 E Olive Ave, Fresno, CA
    93728 (Tower District)
    •Di Cicco’s Italian Restaurant -(various locations)
    And why not throw some Chineese Food in here while I’m at it:
    •Golden Restaurant -1135 N Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93728 (Tower
    District)
    Pizza:
    •Me-N-Ed’s is some of my all time favorites! (There are many
    locations. Hence, no address provided) (there’s one in the Tower
    District)
    BBQ/Grill: how could I forget this amazing place!
    •Dog Hose Grill -2789 East Shaw Ave Fresno, CA 93710
    And if your not sure of what you want just go to
    •Gazebo Gardens on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday for all the food
    trucks from 5pm-9pm -3204 N Van Ness Blvd, Fresno, CA 93704

  • @felicia
    Great recommendations! I totally would’ve included Ampersand and Gazebo if they were a thing when I wrote this! Sadly a few of the places have closed that are mentioned above. I’m glad we can agree that there are so many gems in Fresno! <3

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