The Big Raisin: New York may be the “Big Apple” but Fresno is holding it down for the more shriveled of fruits. With its ample farmland, The Big Raisin has a lot to offer in terms of fresh fruit including local wineries like those on the Madera Wine Trail.
Neighborhoods: Deciding which neighborhood to live in is as easy as pinpointing your personality. Downtown areas offer culture, coffee shops and nightlife while northern areas are more suburban and family-friendly. The beauty of Fresno is that you can rent here for a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere in California and there’s always something to do or see.
North Fresno: Perhaps the biggest selling point for the North Fresno area is that while it’s close to shopping, restaurants, and dog parks, there remains a small town feel. Many of the communities in this area (Woodward Lake, Dominion Heights, Van Ness Extension, Old Fig Garden) are a bit more progressive but keep their family & suburban appeal with a mix of older, ranch-style homes on large lots, newly constructed modern homes and an array of apartment homes. Those who like to stroll the farmer’s market or take in a holiday parade will adore living in this area of Fresno. Rental prices here can range between $450 - $900 a month, making it a relatively affordable option. $-$$$
Tower District: About 2 miles north of downtown, sits an eccentric little neighborhood called the Tower District. Living in the Tower District means having your choice of early 20th century older homes such as bungalows and Craftsman style homes, as well as one-story apartment homes with small yards that feel a bit more suburban than urban. Living here also means that you can enjoy a bit of nightlife, shopping at antique shops, and the sipping of coffee at a local café or two. This area is home to many active 30-somethings and remains a little urban retail haven for residents who thrive on the culture and eccentricity of a more mainstream “city” life. The cost of living here is fairly reasonable, as studios in the Tower District can be rented for as low as $450 for all you singletons looking to relocate. $-$$$
Huntington Blvd. : You’ll have no trouble finding this neighborhood thanks to its large, ivory plaque. It's the historic homes lining the wide, old-fashioned streets, however, that’ll really draw you in. Boasting old-style bungalow homes amidst large, historic houses, this part of town is very family friendly. The streets are wide enough for the kids to ride a bike or for you to go on your morning jog. This street also boasts the largest Christmas tree in town, which is a tourist attraction every holiday season. Huntington is, in many ways, a quintessential “Americana” neighborhood. Rentals here are typically single-family homes with 2 bedrooms or more. $$-$$$
Arts District: Fairly new and still emerging, the Arts District is located between Downtown and the Tower District. Apartment living is what this area is all about. In fact, newer, upscale & gated apartments are very popular here, as well as lofts and “live/work” spaces. Sometimes called the “Mural District” this area caters to the arts community in Fresno and is home to some of the city’s museum and performing arts centers. While some smaller family units (couples with one child) reside here, this area is home to young professionals, artists and those who enjoy “downtown” living. $$-$$$
*Many of the apartment rentals around town offer either covered parking (garages or driveways) or parking spaces.
A Town For All Seasons:
For those who love the great outdoors, Fresno is the perfect town to reside in due to its proximity to mountains, lakes, rivers, forests. Because of the different terrain, weather in Fresno can vary a lot. It doesn’t really stay too hot or too cold here. In the summer, the daytime high may be 90 while the night time temperature drops back down to the 50s. In the winter months, the temperature does dip to about 30 degrees and rain is expected. Living here means having the ability to participate in outdoor activities year-round.
Life is NO highway:
Fresno is the largest city in California that is not directly linked to an Interstate. Locals rely on neighborhood streets and main, city roads, such as State Road 99 and State Road 168, to get around town and to connect to the Interstate for commuting purposes. While there is public transportation, the FAX (Fresno Area Express) that serves the greater metro area, residents rely on their own means of transportation to get around.
Fresno has survived the gold mining boom, the fad of dancing cartoon raisins (YouTube it.) and a resurgence of its downtown area. Through it all it has remained diverse, both in culture and in landscape, and stayed true to its agricultural roots. With no airs about it and no need to keep up with its fast-paced, big city neighbors, Fresno is the perfect spot for those looking for a lily in the middle of a valley.
-By Kera Zacuto
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