Fresno, California, lies in the center of one of the most productive agricultural regions in the U.S.: Trucks piled high with tomatoes or melons pass cars on the highway, many businesses in Fresno are farm-related, and "agrotourism"—tours of farms, orchards and wineries—is popular with visitors, especially families.

Fresno is the largest city in California's Central Valley. The downtown appeals to visitors with its lively mix of old and new, gritty and chic, with coffee shops, restaurants and vintage-clothing shops next to old theaters and warehouses.

Being in the center of the fertile San Joaquin Valley, it's no wonder that Fresno also has wineries of its own—including the Madera Wine Trail.

One of the most intriguing gardens in California is Baldassare Forestiere's Underground Garden. Transplanted from the founder's native Sicily, the fruit trees, vines and shrubs are all planted in sunny openings of subterranean courtyards and passageways. The garden is still run by Forestiere's great nephew.

Fresno's holdovers from the past include intriguing historic architecture and more than 30 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Among them are the Water Tower, Tower Theater and Kearney Mansion Museum. In addition, the city of Fresno, California, is a good jumping-off point for visits to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

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