How to make the most of your Fresno staycation


Wyatt Bible/The Collegian

ArtHop takes place every first Thursday of the month in Downtown Fresno and Tower District.

By Jiselle Cardenas, Managing Editor

For Bulldogs staying in Fresno for the summer, the sweltering heat makes it difficult to find ways to make the most of summer vacation.

However, from nightlife to outdoor adventures, Fresno has numerous hidden gems that can still make for an affordable and enjoyable time off.

Downtown nightlife

Downtown is the heart of Fresno. With its original architecture and recent proposal of the Fresno DRIVE Initiative to revitalize the state of downtown, it’s only going to keep improving.

ArtHop takes place in downtown and the Tower District every first Thursday of the month. Since 1997, the free showcase of artists’ galleries and studios has developed into a community hub and so much more.

“ArtHop is one of the best things to do in Fresno,” said Miranda Ramirez, a senior majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing. “We have so much culture here in Fresno. For several blocks [in] downtown Fresno, there are artists showcasing their art, small business owners selling their creations and food for days and days.”

Ramirez emphasized the wide array of food trucks and food stands that range in culture and price. She summed it up into “more food than the Fresno fair and it’s better.”

The free event also has live music, a large thrifting presence and people who dress to impress, she said.

“The vibes are immaculate. This last one was super lit. Under the summer nights, the vibes were unmatched,” Ramirez said.

Along Fulton Street connects Chukchansi Park, the home of the Fresno Grizzlies, Fresno’s Minor League Baseball team.

Single game ticket prices span from $11 to $64. Certain games are followed by firework shows, and children three-years-old and under get free entry.

The ballpark will host its annual Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza. Admission to the show is free after the seventh inning, and after the game the field opens up for seating.

“This event sells out every year, and, with us once again being on pace to reach that marker, we are looking forward to sharing this long standing tradition with even more members of our community thanks to this new partnership with the City of Fresno,” Jonathan Bravo, director of marketing and communications for the Fresno Grizzlies, told The Business Journal.

Self-improvement and volunteering

For other students, nightlife isn’t as appealing or as affordable. Some prefer to gear their summer attention toward self development or donating their time.

Karissa Garcia, a broadcast journalism major, said her favorite thing to do in the summer is visit the University Library because of the calm environment and kindness of the librarians.

“I also love being able to take my time while choosing a book and even getting to read the book at the library right after checking out,” Garcia said.

Audrey Bergen, an English major, also said that visiting the library is one of her favorite things to do.

The library is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on weekends for its summer hours.

In addition to the library, Bergen said she loves going to the park or spending time volunteering at Valley Animal Center.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community, and I get to help animals in need,” Bergen said.

Hobbies are also another way for students to enjoy themselves at home for a low cost, while learning, or re-learning, something new.

Angel Vargas graduated from Fresno State with a degree in mathematics and is now pursuing a teaching credential. Vargas said she enjoys crafts and crocheting during her vacation free time.

“I learned how to crochet as a kid and now that I’m done with school, I picked it back up,” Vargas said.

She said she’s already made two pet blankets for her cats and is currently working on a shirt for herself.

Millerton Lake

Compared to a two-hour drive to any nearest beach, Millerton Lake is roughly a short 30-minute drive from Fresno as the nearest body of water to cool off.

The state recreation area (SRA) is located 20 miles northeast of Fresno, and a day pass for parking is $10 for a vehicle of up to 9 people. The price may vary depending on time of year, vehicle type and size of party.

Time at the lake can turn into a fun picnic day by planning ahead and bringing a sun shade, food, chairs and a swimsuit.

“With over 40 miles of shore land for water sports, this SRA offers visitors swimming, fishing, and boating. The hills surrounding the lake provide good hiking opportunities,” the park website states.

Right behind Millerton Lake is the Pincushion Mountain Peak Trail. This 2.8 mile trail is a moderate hike that connects to, and overlooks, Millerton Lake.

From March to October, the trail is best for hiking, walking and bird watching. There is no fee to enter or park.

As July temperatures are expected to reach over 100 degrees, the best way to make the most of your Fresno staycation is by wearing sunscreen.