Fresno is in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The city proper has a population of about 481,000 and around 1 million live in the county.
Many visitors find themselves stopping in Fresno on the way to Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, or other destinations in the Sierra. The Save Mart Center at California State University, Fresno ("Fresno State") has also played host to concerts featuring high-profile acts.
Winter weather typically features highs around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, often with morning fog and sometimes frost. Rain falls almost always in winter and early spring. Summer temperatures average in the mid-90s. Days with high temperatures 100 degrees or above are not uncommon. Humidity is only around 20% in the afternoon, though, making for a more bearable dry heat.
Fresno's most famous son is the writer William Saroyan, after whom is named a local theatre. The city has a large Hmong community.
Through the 1990s, downtown was one of the last remaining examples of untouched architecture in California, but it has recently been subjected to a mixed revitalization effort. While many of the buildings that were once abandoned for many years have been remodeled, many have been demolished or are under threat of being demolished to be replaced with new structures. Recently added new structures such as Grizzlies Stadium, now Chukchansi Park and the Federal Courthouse, and plans to eventually erect new high-rise buildings, threaten the unique and increasingly rare twentieth century architecture.
A victim of this redevelopment was the Vagabond Hotel, unique in its relevance in popular culture. The Vagabond, which had a pool that was an important location in modern skateboarding history and a prime example of mid-century modern googie "roadside" architecture, was demolished in 2004 and replaced by concrete commercial lots and lofts in 2006. The old Army Induction Center, which was used during the Vietnam War, was also recently destroyed in the next development project on H St and Amador.
The historic Fulton Mall and Chinatown are two downtown areas which still retain an exceptional amount of historic buildings and architecture of contextual, associative and memorial value in comparison with other cities of California and the Western United States, and are being considered for preservation as historic districts.
The River Park Plaza has plenty to offer when it comes to food. You have the Macaroni Grill, The Elephant Bar, Tony Roma's, Logans Steak House, Yoshino's Sushi House, and all your typical fast food restaurants including In-N-Out Burger and Hooters.