Top 12 Romantic Things to Do in Fresno

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled in California’s Central Valley, Fresno offers couples plenty of romantic activities for a fun weekend getaway or date night. From scenic walks in the park to candlelit dinners, Fresno has something for every couple. Though it’s not as famous as some other California destinations, Fresno provides a more relaxed atmosphere without skimping on romance.

ActivityDescription
Japanese Garden at Woodward ParkSerene garden walks with koi ponds, waterfalls, and cherry blossoms.
Hot Air Balloon RidePrivate flights over the countryside with champagne toasts.
Sip Local WinesTasting at Storybook Mountain Vineyards with a cozy backyard patio.
Wander Through the Rose GardenExploring over 275 rose varieties at Roeding Park.
Dinner and Drinks Aboard the TrainGourmet dining on a vintage rail car through scenic countryside.
Neon Signs at Meux Home MuseumViewing historical neon signs in a funky, nostalgic setting.
Stargaze at Table Mountain CasinoNight sky viewing from the Sky Deck with cozy chairs and fire pits.
Couples Cooking ClassLearning to prepare Italian dishes together at DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant.
Forestiere Underground GardensTouring a subterranean network of tunnels, grottos, and gardens.
Sunset Horseback RideGuided rides through the countryside at sunset.
Race Go-KartsCompetitive racing at Racer’s Edge Indoor Karting.
Picnic at Fresno Chaffee ZooEnjoying a leisurely picnic among diverse animal exhibits.

The options run the gamut from outdoorsy adventures to cultural activities to silly adventures. Picnic among the flowers at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, take in sweeping views on a hot air balloon ride, or get your heart racing at Racer’s Edge Indoor Karting. Fresno also offers plenty of opportunities to share a glass of local wine at any of the area’s dozens of wineries.

Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or just want to surprise your special someone, here are the top 12 most romantic things to do in Fresno, CA.

Walk Through the Japanese Garden at Woodward Park

Name and Location: The Shinzen Japanese Garden is nestled within the sprawling Woodward Park at 7775 Friant Road in Fresno, California.

History and Significance: Unveiled in 1981 as a symbol of friendship between Fresno and its sister city, Kochi City, Japan, this authentic landscape artfully blends elements of Japanese garden design into a serene public space.

What to Expect: Couples can leisurely stroll hand-in-hand along winding paths past tranquil koi ponds, over arched bridges, and view cherry blossom trees, bonsai plants, pagodas, and more amid this oasis inside the park.

Visitor Information: The Japanese Garden is open daily from 7:30AM-7PM, April through October. Entry is free with Woodward Park admission of $5 per car.

With its koi ponds, waterfalls, bridges and vibrant flowers, the Shinzen Japanese Garden at Woodward Park provides a serene backdrop for a romantic stroll. Meander hand-in-hand down winding paths shaded by cherry blossom trees and stop to take in captivating views of theCentral Valley. Pack a picnic lunch or snack to enjoy in this peaceful setting. Don’t forget your camera to capture photos of some of the garden’s postcard-worthy sites.

PRO TIP

To fully immerse yourself in tranquillity, visit the Japanese Garden early in the morning when it’s less crowded. The serene atmosphere and the gentle rustling of leaves make it the perfect spot for a peaceful start to your day.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Countryside

Name and Location: Hot air balloon rides float high above the central California countryside for panoramic views available from Fresno and Clovis on sites like Balloons Above the Valley.

History and Significance: From their peacefully drifting hot air balloons, adventurous couples can share views of the lush agricultural Fresno County landscape as generations have, seeing fruit orchards, vineyards and more.

What to Expect: These early morning rides last about an hour, floating smoothly wherever winds take the colorful balloon as an experienced pilot identifies farms, wildlife and mountains in the distance.

Visitor Information: Book passage online or by phone. Launch locations vary. Average rides cost around $200 per person. Open to ages 8+.

Few things feel more magical and romantic than quietly floating over the countryside, colorful hot air balloons filling the sky around you. Fresno Hot Air Balloon Rides offers private flights for two so you can fully take in incredible 360-degree views of the San Joaquin Valley’s patchwork fields, farms and vineyards. Toast with champagne as you watch the sunrise or sunset and create lifelong memories.

PRO TIP

Opt for a sunrise hot air balloon ride for the most breathtaking views and cooler temperatures. Don’t forget your camera to capture the picturesque landscapes and the beautiful sunrise from high above.

Sip Local Wines at Storybook Mountain Vineyards

icon name=”thumbtack” prefix=”fas”]Name and Location: Storybook Mountain Vineyards sits nestled near eastern foothill wine country outside Fresno off CA-180 E near the tiny town of Squaw Valley.

History and Significance: Since 1974, this small family winery has made wines cultivated sustainably from their estate Zinfandel and Petite Syrah varietals, earning acclaim pairing charming patio tastings with captivating vineyard mountain views.

What to Expect: The elegant tasting room serves award-winning old vine Zinfandels and bold red blends. Visitors can relax together on the veranda under shade sails, sampling fine wines beside the winding vineyard rows.

Visitor Information: Open daily 11AM–5PM for wine flights, glasses or bottles. Picnics welcomed; local cheese plates available. Tour groups accommodated.

Storybook Mountain Vineyards’ charming tasting room provides the ideal intimate setting to sample their award-winning Zinfandel and other varietals. The passionate winemakers enjoy sharing the tale behind the “Legend of Zin” paintings adorning the walls. Cozy up in the peaceful backyard patio and take in gorgeous views of the Sierra Nevada mountains while you sip. Top it off by having a gourmet picnic basket packed to enjoy on site.

PRO TIP

Join a vineyard tour and tasting experience to learn about the winemaking process and get the chance to savor exclusive wines. Reservations are often necessary, so plan ahead for a personalized and unforgettable visit.

Wander Through the Rose Garden at Roeding Park

Name and Location: Roeding Park Rose Garden in central Fresno features over 15 acres of roses within the sprawling 300-acre park at 890 W Belmont Avenue.

History and Significance: Planted in 1951 with original roots as an experimental rose garden, this sweet-smelling landscape now holds over 15,000 rose bushes and varietals that continue blooming year-round for public enjoyment.

What to Expect: Lovebirds stroll hand-in-hand to admire the roses’ vibrant colors and fragrances; stopping to sniff floribundas named for famous lovers like Romeo, Juliet or Casanova along meandering pathways through flower-filled arches and trellises.

Visitor Information: The Rose Garden stays open daily from 7:30AM-5PM November-April; extended 8AM-8PM hours May-October match peak blooming seasons. Entry is free.

With its meticulously tended beds boasting over 275 varieties, Roeding Park’s International Rose Garden is one of the most acclaimed rose gardens in the state. Meandering through aisles filled with vibrantly colored blossoms hand-in-hand is sure to delight all couples. Visit in early spring to see tulips and daffodils heralding the upcoming splendor. Stop to smell your favorite roses and look for the plaque detailing their unique characteristics.

PRO TIP

For the most vibrant and fragrant experience, visit the Rose Garden during the late spring or early summer months when the roses are in full bloom. It’s a paradise for flower enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Dinner and Drinks Aboard the Fresno Dinner Train

Name and Location: The Fresno Dinner Train offers creative dining and sightseeing aboard vintage railcars embarking from the historic Santa Fe Station in downtown Fresno.

History and Significance: Beginning operations in 1993, the dinner train aims to recall the elegant era of luxury rail travel through restored lounge, vista and dining cars beautifully outfitted to match changing seasonal decor themes.

What to Expect: Couples indulge in gourmet entrees paired with fine wines while watching night fall across the valley, adding live music, entertainment and even specialty murder mystery dinner shows staged onboard select evenings.

Visitor Information: Two- to three-hour dinner excursions run select dates year-round. Booking reservations required far in advance. Ticket costs vary by event or theme.

A meal aboard the Fresno Dinner Train takes date night up a notch with romantic vintage rail cars transporting you back to the 1920s. You’ll be treated to delectable gourmet dining, complete with white linen tablecloths and flowers, as the train gently rolls through scenic countryside. After dinner, retire to the parlor car for cocktails, dancing and live piano music. Relive the glamour of bygone eras on this memorable moving evening.

PRO TIP

Make your dinner train experience even more special by booking a private dining car for a romantic evening. Enjoy the scenic ride, gourmet cuisine, and each other’s company in an intimate setting.

Take in the Neon Signs at Meux Home Museum

Name and Location: The Meux Home Museum resides in the 1902 Victorian abode of Doctor Richard Meux in Fresno, California; now restored including the doctor’s fabled neon sign collection.

History and Significance: Saved from demolition, it was transformed into a City of Fresno historical landmark; today housing Meux family furnishings and generations of lighted advertising signs collected by the homeowner.

What to Expect: Tour guides lead visitors through the decorative rooms while sharing family and collection anecdotes under glowing neon restaurant, farm, radio and roadside signs lighting their way through time.

Visitor Information: Tours commence daily apart from major holidays on the hour 11AM-3PM, with last entry at 3PM. Admission is $7 adults; $5 seniors and students.

For a funky, nostalgic date sure to spur conversation, head to Meux Home Museum after dark. Here you’ll find over 100 historical neon signs aglow, perfectly preserved relics from Route 66’s heyday. Meander through the museum’s manicured grounds and glimpse decorative neon signs ranging from Vegas-style to mid-century commercial. Don’t miss the stunning 1930s Lady of Spain sign or the coordinate light display on the home’s roofline, bathing the exterior in rainbow hues.

PRO TIP

Explore the Meux Home Museum at dusk to witness the neon signs in all their glory. The juxtaposition of historic charm and vibrant neon creates a unique and memorable ambiance for your visit.

Stargaze at the Sky Deck in Table Mountain Casino

Name and Location: Table Mountain Casino near Friant, CA added a Sky Deck atop its new hotel expansion; offering unobstructed 360-degree vistas of stars and valley terrain.

History and Significance: Perched on the edge of the Sierra foothills, Table Mountain takes its name from immense nearby rock outcroppings sacred to indigenous tribes. This lofty casino addition honors the ancestral landscape and night skies.

What to Expect: Couples cuddle by fire pits and telescopes atop the sleek deck, identifying celestial bodies sparkling brightly given the remote locale or gazing silently in wonder, dwarfed by the Milky Way’s grand scale.

Visitor Information: Non-guest visitors can also book access and small plates at the Sky Deck Lounge. 21+ age policy after 7PM. Deck stays open until midnight.

Midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Valley provides pitch-black night skies unencumbered by light pollution, creating ideal stargazing conditions. Visit the Sky Deck atop the Table Mountain Casino for dazzling valley views by day and unbelievable starry vistas after dark. Cuddle close on cozy chairs near the outdoor fire pits and get lost in conversation as you identify constellations glittering overhead.

PRO TIP

Visit the Sky Deck on clear nights for a spectacular stargazing experience. Bring a telescope or binoculars to get a closer look at the night sky and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the countryside.

Take a Couples Cooking Class

Name and Location: Hands-on couples cooking classes happen through private events or at kitchen studios like Fresno Flats Vintage Kitchen.

History and Significance: Cooking together builds intimacy between couples as theyStyleContextError: Wanteds to provide a brief history or context. Please add a few sentences describing when couples cooking classes emerged, or why they are significant for bonding experiences.

What to Expect: Following recipes as an amorous team, pairs chop, taste and mix up meals and cocktails under an instructor’s guidance. They’ll bond through preparing and then enjoying foods styled from their symbiotic labors over appetizing wines.

Visitor Information: Classes range from laid-back basics, steakhouse fare, tapas dishes or sweets classes fitting skill levels. Schedule private or small-group sessions in advance online.

Instead of the typical dinner-and-a-movie date night, why not learn some new culinary skills together? DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant hosts lively couples cooking classes covering preparation of various Italian dishes. Bond while kneading dough for fresh pasta or sauce. Then delight in the fruits of your labor, enjoying the meal you created together. You may discover some new favorite recipes while making lasting memories.

PRO TIP

Enhance your culinary skills and bond with your partner by enrolling in a couples cooking class. You’ll not only learn to create delicious dishes together but also create lasting memories to savor.

Explore the Forestiere Underground Gardens

Name and Location: The Forestiere Underground Gardens span over 10 acres below ground in Fresno, California, dug by Sicilian immigrant Baldasare Forestiere starting in 1906.

History and Significance: Over some 40 years, Forestiere excavated an ingenious subterranean estate complex with nearly 50 fruit-tree filled rooms, seen as an eccentric labor of love and example of diligent determination against odds.

What to Expect: Tours allow visitors to descend a central stairway into the sprawling underground network during approximately 60-minute walks exploring spacious cool cave living spaces linked through intricate tunnel passages.

Visitor Information: Self-guided access offered 8AM-4PM daily except major holidays. Guided tours available on request for groups. General admission runs $17 for ages 13+; $10 ages 6-12.

Hand-dug over some 40 years by a Sicilian immigrant yearning for greenery, the Forestiere Underground Gardens feature flowering vines, fruit trees and exotic plants despite being dug into arid soil some 23 feet below ground. Descend into the network of tunnels, grottos and skylights for a truly unique subterranean date. Gaze up at the night sky through a sunken skylight or pause to steal a kiss in a secluded grotto.

PRO TIP

Beat the Central Valley heat by visiting the underground gardens during the warmer months. The unique subterranean oasis offers a cool and fascinating escape from the sun.

Sunset Horseback Ride Through the Countryside

Name and Location: Sunset trail rides through the countryside are offered by establishments like San Joaquin River Trail Rides near Friant, California.

History and Significance: An iconic symbol of the romantic West, guided horseback rides for couples allow intimate bonding in nature while beholding dramatic seasonal colors together at golden hour alongside trusty steeds.

What to Expect: Trained staff match sweethearts to perfect horse partners on tailored adventures through San Joaquin River scenery until dusk blankets vivid rolling hills under emerging stars. Novices welcome!

Visitor Information: Custom private sunset rides range $150 and up. Visitors should wear closed-toe shoes. Weight limits enforced. Call to ask about wine and cheese picnic pairings!

As the sun slowly sets over the fields and farms of the Central Valley, set out on a peaceful horseback ride for two courtesy of Sunset Trail Rides. Experienced guides will match you with easygoing horses perfect for novice riders. Follow along as your trusty steed effortlessly navigates the scenic trails with the setting sun as your backdrop. Stop halfway to enjoy refreshments while taking in dreamy views. Rustic, romantic and unforgettable.

PRO TIP

Book a sunset horseback ride for a romantic journey through the picturesque countryside. The golden hues of the setting sun provide a breathtaking backdrop for your ride, making it a perfect date night.

Race Go-Karts at Racer’s Edge Indoor Karting

Name and Location: Racer’s Edge Indoor Karting resides at 7032 N. Maple Avenue in an enormous dedicated racing facility in northern Fresno.

History and Significance: Open since 2019, Racer’s Edge brought cutting-edge European electric kart technology to the Central Valley; touting itself as America’s largest multi-level indoor karting track with high-tech timing systems.

What to Expect: Adventurous couples can race wheel-to-wheel through twists and tight corners on the slick circuit, competing for fastest lap times while their hearts pound with adrenaline between close heats.

Visitor Information: The center stays open extended hours year-round. Single races cost around $25. Night races under neon lights available!

Trade flowers and chocolates for the thrill of competition at Racer’s Edge Indoor Karting! This European-style track features high-performance go-karts reaching exhilarating speeds. Challenge your date to a race and enjoy friendly smack-talk as you try to best them. Level the playing field by racing twin karts allowing both of you control of the gas and brake. Few things accelerate bonding between couples like racing side-by-side.

PRO TIP

Weekday afternoons are often less crowded, making it an ideal time to race go-karts with friends or family. Arrive early to secure your spot on the track and enjoy more open lanes for speed enthusiasts.

Picnic at Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Name and Location: Fresno Chaffee Zoo occupies over 200 acres in Roeding Park at 894 West Belmont Avenue in Fresno, California.

History and Significance: Founded in 1908, the zoo sits adjacent to historic Roeding Park, dedicated to wildlife conservation efforts supporting over 200 animal species in thoughtfully designed habitat environments.

What to Expect: Sweethearts create amorous memories picnicking creekside before strolling through the zoo hand-in-hand; appreciating playful otters, peering at lazy hippos, and laughing together watching active chimps in their dayrooms.

Visitor Information: Open daily 9AM-4PM except major holidays. Base admission runs $12 for adults. Membership pass options available for discounted re-entry.

Pack a picnic basket filled with your favorite snacks and spend a leisurely afternoon at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. From elephants to tigers to stingrays, encounter fascinating creatures from around the globe as you explore exhibits hand-in-hand. After covering the whole zoo, find a grassy spot in the shade perfect for laying out your picnic spread. Relax and recap favorite exhibits while watching the antics of frolicking Sea Lions nearby. An ideal activity for animal-loving couples.

PRO TIP

Pack a picnic basket with your favorite snacks and sandwiches, then enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the zoo’s picnic areas. It’s a cost-effective way to refuel while observing the diverse animal inhabitants.

Conclusion

Fresno offers plenty of unique date ideas sure to fan the flames of romance, from peaceful strolls through vibrant gardens to thrilling go-kart races. Take your significant other on a hot air balloon ride over picturesque countryside or challenge one another in the kitchen during a couples’ cooking class. Fresno also provides opportunities for wine tasting, stargazing and more. With this list of the top 12 most romantic things to do in Fresno, you’re sure to plan an unforgettable couples’ getaway full of magic and memories.

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