I was recently asked to attend a work meeting in Fresno, California. This is not typically a destination that makes most people jump for joy. I figured I could at least report back to the ol’ blog about my hotel. Surprisingly, I ended up finding Fresno rather interesting! Read on for the scoop!
Where and what is Fresno?
Fresno is a city in the Central Valley region of California. It is basically the geographic center of California. It’s the 5th largest city in California and the 34th largest in the US. It’s about 60 miles from Yosemite National Park.
Fresno is known for being one of the leading agricultural counties in the US. It produces over 16% of Californias agricultural sales, including 100% of U.S. raisins! Fresno is known as “The Raisin Capital of the World”.
On the negative side, Fresno is known for its high crime rates and air pollution.
- Fresno is the largest US city not directly linked to an Interstate highway.
- People from Fresno are called Fresnans.
- Fresno means “ash tree” in Spanish. Indeed there were many ash trees around when the city was settled in 1872.
- The dance style “Popping” was founded in Fresno in the 1970s.
I decided to stay at the DoubleTree Hotel because it was rated pretty well online, and it’s a Hilton hotel now and Hilton has a pretty good points program. Even one stay at a Hilton Hotel can earn you some money (in points) off your next stay.
The Hilton has an app you can download and use to check in and get your digital key before you even arrive. You can also choose your exact room from a map. Pretty cool I must say. So you can bypass checking in at the front desk entirely and proceed directly to your room as soon as you get there.
One nice (and corny) thing I’ll admit is the Hilton app sent me a notification when I was on my way that I was all set to proceed to my chosen room, but there would be a warm chocolate chip cookie waiting for me at the front desk. This actually brought a smile to my face like I was in an AT&T commercial. (Sadly, I forgot about my cookie in the excitement of arriving though) 😀
I selected a room on the 7th (top) floor, and I was very happy with it. Spacious, clean, view of the city, coffee maker, bath tub, iron and ironing board. Yes, I actually ironed because I was attending a work meeting! Crazy!
I went down to the Atrium Lounge for dinner (Turkey Club), which was good. In the morning I grabbed a coffee from the lobby’s Starbucks, as well as an appetizer cup of coffee in my room when I first woke up. 😉
The hotel is probably at least 30 years old and shows its age if you look for it. But everything was in good shape, clean and comfortable. I recommend!
My Hotel was in Downtown Fresno, near the Convention Center, Saroyan Theater and the Selland Arena. I can imagine that when there are events going on at these venues the area is hopping. However, when I was there, it was a ghost town!
The hotel seemed well occupied, and there were lots of cars parked outside of the various buildings and government offices Downtown. Yet surprisingly few people to be seen on the streets anywhere. I also noticed how clean it seemed Downtown. Maybe because no people were walking around dropping garbage?
I suspect Fresno’s Downtown area is facing challenges like many other cities after the Pandemic. However, it’s clean appearance really gave me a sort of hopefully feeling for it, like it’s on the cusp of something new. In fact you can see on the Downtown Fresno website they have committees and students actively working on fresh ideas for revitalization.
I looked for anything interesting to see in Fresno and saw that there is a Mural District right near Downtown. So, I took about an hour to check out a few of them, and I must say I was impressed and delighted! I am no New York Times Art Reviewer, despite what you probably think, but I found the murals to be impactful, impressive and even beautiful. I would like to see more of them next time I’m in Fresno. Check them out!
Before this business trip came up I already had Fresno on my list of places to go. That’s because I’d read about Forestiere Underground Gardens and wanted to check it out! Unfortunately it is closed December – February, so I couldn’t go. I still plan to go someday as it looks really unique and cool!
Forestiere Underground Gardens consists of 65 rooms dug into the ground over 40 years by an Italian immigrant, starting in the early 1900’s. He was trying to escape the Fresno summer heat and found the underground room concept worked well for this! He interspersed “skylights” in the structure, and planted trees which grew up through them. The trees and plants in the structure were protected from the harsh climate and have thrived!
I was pleasantly surprised by my brief overnight visit to Fresno. While it’s not necessarily the vacation capital of the world, I think there are interesting things to explore in this city! Please let me know of your Fresno experiences and recommendations! Thanks for reading!