It is located in the San Joaquin Valley, very near the geographical center of California.
As of February 2020, the population of Fresno is about 535,000 people. It is the 5th most populous city in California, the most populous inland city in California, and the 34th most populous city in the United States.
The city covers a total area of 297 square kilometers (115 square miles).
The average altitude is 94 metres (308 feet) above sea level.
The original inhabitants of the San Joaquin Valley region were the Yokuts people and Miwok people.
When the California Gold Rush began, the area saw a sudden increase in population, beginning in 1848.
Although a large number of people came to the area, it was not officially settled until the late 1860s, and a city was officially founded in 1872.
The city was settled in a area abundant with white ash trees. In Spanish, Fresno means ash tree.
Fresno had the typical western town atmosphere with some saloons and a sheriff’s office.
The Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill was the first modern landfill in the United States, and incorporated several important innovations to waste disposal, including trenching, compacting, and the daily covering of trash with dirt. It was opened in 1937 and closed in 1987. It is a National Historic Landmark as well as a Superfund site.
Before World War II, Fresno had many ethnic neighborhoods, including Little Armenia, German Town, Little Italy, and Chinatown.
With the expansion of manufacturing along with agriculture, Fresno was by the end of World War II a major metropolitan area.
Today, Fresno is at the center of the most important agricultural region in the nation with sales exceeding $3 billion a year.
Fresno is the closest major city to Yosemite National Park. Designated a World Heritage site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. On average, about four million people visit Yosemite each year.
The Forestiere Underground Gardens, located at 5021 West Shaw Avenue in Fresno, are a series of subterranean structures built by Baldasare Forestiere, an immigrant from Sicily, over a period of 40 years from 1906 to his death in 1946. The gardens are operated by members of the Forestiere family through the Forestiere Historical Center, and can be considered a spectacular and unconventional example of vernacular architecture.
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a zoo in Roeding Park in Fresno covering 39 acres and housing over 190 species. The zoo was formed some time around 1908. The earliest zoo record describes a collection consisting of two bears and around fifty birds of various species.
The historic Tower Theatre, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places, is the center of the popular Tower District. The theater was built in 1939 at the corner of Olive and Wishon Avenues. The building was designed by S. Charles Lee, with its tower inspired by the “Star Pylon” at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. (The name of the theater refers to a well-known landmark water tower, which is actually in another nearby area).
River Park is an outdoor shopping center in Fresno. It opened in several phases starting in 1996. The park is split up into three main areas. ‘The Shops at River Park’ which has various shops, a movie theater and some restaurants. The second part is called ‘The Marketplace at River Park’ which features various big box stores and finally you have ‘River Park Plaza’ with more restaurants and a craft store.
Woodward Park is a public park located in Fresno, abutting the San Joaquin River. It is the largest of the three major public parks in the Fresno area. Ralph Woodward donated the majority of the land for the park in 1968. The park features the Shinzen Friendship Garden, also known as the Shinzen Japanese Garden, a 2-hectare (5-acre) Japanese stroll garden opened in 1981 and designed by Paul Saito.
The dance style commonly known as popping evolved in Fresno in the 1970s.
In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that Fresno had the worst park system among the 50 most populous US cities.