How Are We Going To Make Fresno “Cool”, Yo?

We have a problem here. A problem I bounce around in a post from time to time but never take on directly.

What will it take for Fresno to be considered a cool city?

If you’re thinking “Hey, but wait, I already think it’s cool!” I don’t disagree with you, but we both have to acknowledge that we are in the minority, chief.

How do we make Fresno appear cool to an outsider? This is what I’m talking about. To a Fresno State grad, we lost to brain drain? What can we do to win that person back? It’s a question that Fresno creatives have been wrestling with for many years.

First. The Immovable Object.

We are land locked, no getting around that. Except that we are not as landlocked as Denver, or Boise, or Dallas, or Every City Not On The Ocean. We can go to the beach for a morning surf session and be back in town for a late lunch.

So while this is tough, we have workarounds, it could be a lot worse.

The air sucks. It does. But, the past couple years, it feeeeels like it has gotten better?  And if California can (continue?) to lead in clean air…stuff and things? Maybe I’m being naive but I feel like future technology and regulations will make the terrible air a thing of the past. But we definitely need to be a lead-city on clean air initiatives.

Booze May Be An Answer.

Here might be a cool city suggestion we can work on:

Rooftop whiskey bars, eh? I definitely like the idea of rooftop things – like the pic at the top of the post from a Phoenix rooftop bar. And adding a niche element like whiskey is the kind of thing that pushes something from being “Oh that, you can find that in every city.” To “Oh that is rad, I wish we had one of those in our city.”

That unique, “can’t put my finger on it why it’s cool but I just know it’s cool” thing is really what we need to get at here in Fresno.

Touting our agriculture backbone. Being sunny almost every damn day. Embracing our sports, like the soccer community that gets bigger every year:

We’re just spitballing here.

The Cool Roots Are Taking Hold.

We have things already going for us. Not many cities can boast that they are a “basecamp city” to three National Parks. One of which, Yosemite, is considered by many to hold the most beautiful place in the world, Yosemite Valley – and I am in complete agreement with that.

There are other signs of coolness brewing as well. Bitwise pushing Fresno into the tech and startup scene is a big one. The rising craft beer and coffee scene. Branding ourselves as the Capitol of Tacos. These are the kind of things to ride into the cool town sunset.

So let’s tally up some of the cool stuff we got and the stuff we can do more of:

  • Agriculture.
  • Craft Beer – even more breweries.
  • Bitwise and tech.
  • Tacos.
  • Sports – including soccer.
  • Diversity.
  • Leader In Clean Air.
  • Outdoor city – more trails, parks, and owning the Sierra Nevada closeness.

This is but a humble start of a list by a blogger that only went as far as Fresno City College – a great community college, btw. I know only bits and pieces of things. So I choose you to comment and help.

What are some of your suggestions? Leave a comment! On the August episode of Flowing With Famous, myself and Joshua Tehee will parse them out and talk about them on the podcast.

Cool? Cool.

 

Would Mild Summers Really Make Fresno A Popular West Coast City?


Sunday had some pretty amazing weather, for a June day in Fresno. It was perfect… well until the windstorm later that evening. But BEFORE that, perfect.

This brought a much overdue thought into my head: Would the removal of consistent hot Summers make Fresno a truly desirable city? Is it the one thing that is holding us back?

Fresno heat-haters would say “Duh, dude!” But is it that simple?

Yes, bro, I know that Fresno has more problems than hot Summers. We got the gangs (although I’m pretty sure Oakland, SF, San Jose, Sactown, L.A. and San Diego all have those), a lot of stucco and a shitty looking Highway 99 corridor.

But I really don’t think people are truly looking down at Fresno for that.

Plus, Fresno has all the things you could want in your standard city: A diverse and creative culture, a rising Downtown, plenty of things to do on the weekend, three world class National Parks in the backyard, etc.

So it comes back to one thing: The heat.

You Have Heard Of This New Technology Called “Air Conditioning” and “Shade”, Right?

People afraid of the heat forget about the benefits. The perfect Summer evenings on a patio with a beer in one hand and a taco in another. Or the nights when it’s perfectly comfortable to swim and… have more beer.

Maybe Sactown is the only other West Coast city that can brag about that. Sorry, Portland & Seattle, we got ya on something.

Paying Triple To Not Experience A Hot Summer Is Crazy!

When a nice house in Fresno that costs $250,000 is going to cost $1,000,000 on the coast, I think “I’m good here, thanks.”

I admit, this past weekend of “coastal” weather was nice and I appreciated it. Enjoyed it. But I’ll go ahead and continue enduring hot Summers, for now, and not feel like an idiot when my mortgage bill comes. You can enjoy your 70s.

Fresno Is An Outdoor Retailer Trade Show City, Just Like Denver and Portland!

Bears Ears Buttes by Tim Peterson
There is a grand opportunity for the city of Fresno right now. A chance for Fresno to get a major trade show and to build a reputation for being an “outdoor city”.

Salt Lake City just lost the Outdoor Retailer trade show. This is a trade show for businesses like REI, Patagonia, North Face… hell, basically every retailer that does anything in outdoor retail. It’s sorta the everything in the industry.

What San Diego Comi-Con is for nerddom, this is for outdoor nerds.

The OR show has always been held in Utah. Since the 90s. But they are looking for a new city to move to by 2019 because Utah has been naughty.

Utah’s Governor, and other Republican peeps in Utah, lobbied President Trump to roll back the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million-acre conservation area in Southern Utah that Native Americans and other people who like Earth, have held sacred for years. Trump listened and rolled it on back.

Fuck off, Earth! Cattle and mines are more important.

So the Outdoor Retailers, people that were warning Utah not to do this, said they are packing up their back…packs and looking for a new city to dump all that trade show money into. The show dumps 32 million into SLC every year.

Denver and Portland (OR) are leading contenders at the moment. I say we make sure Fresno is in that mix too because Fresno is an outdoor city. Maybe we don’t act like it enough, maybe we don’t even know it, but we are.

We totally qualify to have the Outdoor Retailer trade show. Fresno is within a morning drive to all outdoor activities. ALL THE ACTIVITIES! So we got that as a qualification.

But do we have the kind of convention space to handle this?:

Hell, I think so.

Oh but wait, does Fresno have enough hotel rooms (or Air BnBs) to handle this? I don’t know, that is for city officials to figure out – I don’t create and maintain the trails, I just walk through and comment on them.

So I hope there is enough time for Fresno to get consideration. I don’t think anybody is threating to roll back National Park status for Yosemite, Kings Canyon or Sequoia anytime soon. *knock on wood*

Let’s do it! Let’s blaze a trail to Fresno for Outdoor Retailer!
Photo: Bears Ears, Utah | Credit: Tim Peterson

Top Fresno Street Names


Yep. This is a real post. The best Fresno street names according to me. Oh, and you will not find “Palmdon” on this list because there is no way that can be a legal name.

So. Take a cool name and add a little city importance, you get this:

  • Van Ness Extension. Like hell if we’re going to think up a new name. Let’s just slap “extension” on it, even though it’s over a mile away.
  • West. Because it actually goes North & South.
  • Ivy League School Series. Yale. Harvard and the other ones and stuff.
  • Bullard. When you drive through Fresno State’s fields you can go all fast and there is the slight danger of a tractor crossing your path.
  • Palm. Premier bike lanes in the city – suck it, Brandau.
  • Shaw. It sounds like something Wayne or Garth says, in place of “AS if!” “ShaWW right.”

via GIPHY

  • Fulton. Part of the lazy “just use San Fransico street names” series.
  • Blackstone. It has all the things; even HOOKERS! Wait. Blackstone still has hookers, right?
  • Fresno. Duh.
  • Friant. It’s also a dam. It’s dangerous. It totally flooded by Woodward Park the other day.
  • Weldon. Fun to say. Wel Don. Weldon. Weldadadon.
  • Fruit. Because fruit is what makes the cash around these parts and I have a totally “legally purchased” Fruit sign on my work bench.

Not making the list is Ashlan, Tuolumne and McKinley, because they are hard to spell.

I Did Not Know This: Fresno Has AirBnBs.


I found myself asking…myself the other day “Does Fresno have Airbnbs?” Well of course they do, silly. But, you see, I’ve never stayed in one. Don’t really know what it’s about outside of the obvious: people renting out their house or a room in their house to random people for a couple nights.

Sure, tourist areas have them. SF has them because they can charge a shit-ton of money. But Fresno? Hey, why the hell not!? We are close to all the cool National Parks like the National Park Formally Named Yosemite. Plus we have viral burritos.

Some Interesting Fresno Airbnbs

This one is called a “Temptation in the Tower“: A “temptation” in the Tower, eh? Sounds like my horizons might be broadened if I stay there. And for only $37 a night? That’s a bargain.

Also, I saw there is one for $865 a night. What is that all about? Sadly it dropped off and I can’t find it now. Damn curious to know where I could stay in Fresno that would cost me $865. A night at Bubba’s house where you get to play Chief Gillespie and Mayor Autry plays, well, Bubba? Worth it.

Christmas Tree Lane’s first walk night is Saturday night. You might want to look into this one. Good place to party from.

Jordan’s Loft (pictured at the top of this post) is in the old Security Bank Building. Nice views of Fulton Mall Street construction. Might be kinda cool to stay in for a couple nights if you’re looking to try out loft living.

One local Airbnb I think I’ll pass on: the “spacious” couch in CLOVIS with the table cloth for a blanket. No matter how cheap or nice the renter is, there is no damn way I am paying to sleep on a couch in Clovis…in fact, you should pay ME to sleep on your Clovis couch!

Truth: I Probably Will Never Stay In One

Although it feels kinda safer testing the Airbnb waters in your hometown, I can’t see me doing this.

For one, I definitely don’t want to have to talk to the owner or hang out with them in the house. Having to manage some small talk or run into them while trying to find the bathroom in my Star Wars underwear. Sounds too damn weird.

But hey, maybe if I’m outta cash and out of town, I could stay in an Airbnb someday. But put a room up in my house? Hell na. Hell. NO! I don’t want one of these nightmares:

A dude walking around your living room, wearing a ponytail? Fuuuuuuck that man. Scary.

The Portals Into Fresno: Which Is Best?

Fresno Sign by David Husted

What are the best entry points to Fresno?

Let’s say you are escorting a person into Fresno that has never been here before and you want to make the most Fresno-y impression. Where are you getting off the freeway? What do you want them seeing first?

Many things to consider here. Do you go for the cleanest? The most representative? Most relevant? Most interesting?

Simply, what entry point would you use?

Shaw and 99. You’ve got the Forestiere Underground Gardens, the convenience of getting off Highway 99 and In & Out. But it looks like shit. Weeds and fast food. Could be a decent spot if they cleaned up the area around Underground Gardens and made it more of a park and light touristy area. But they aren’t.

Blackstone and Friant/Nees (AKA River Park). For some this would be impressive. If you’re going South on Blackstone from Nees it looks sorta nice. And there are those that just like new stuff. They like shopping. They like chain stores. This Fresno portal has all of that.

Herndon and 99. There is a bunch of new businesses there on the other side of the tracks. Northernmost entrance. Rademacher even plays a song about it, so that’s something – one of my favorite all-time songs by a local band, btw:

Shaw and 41. Well the Silver Dollar is no longer there so that’s all screwed. But there is Heroes Comics and Rocket Dog and that’s a rad representation of Fresno, in this nerd’s mind. Plus right there is Shaw & Blackstone which is considered the cross-streets of the Valley.

The Airport. I guess if somebody is flying in you don’t have much of a choice. I don’t see too many United flights landing at Sierra Sky Park. As it has been written, I am fond of Fresno Yosemite International (yep, flying to Mexico counts as “International”, look it up, bro). Plus Swear Bear greets travelers over the PA, touting Fresno’s awesomeness.

Herndon and 41. No chance for me here. It’s just an excuse to wedge in an old “Cross Streets” video from Dumb Drum:

The Amtrak Station. I kinda like this one. Nice area of Downtown. You can pop onto a freeway and get anywhere in the city in 15 minutes.

Tulare and 41. Maybe when the Farmers Market food court was there but I don’t want a Starbucks and Office Depot representing the entrance to my city.

Highway 99 and Fresno Street. It has Fresno street in the name. Center of Downtown and about where Fresno literally started. The Chuk is right there. The Downtown Fresno skyline is staring back at you. But it’s kinda sketch.

Shaw and 168. Fresno State. Doghouse Grill. Save Mart Center. The new Campus Point thingamathing. Looking kinda good here. WAIT! Clovis is on the other side of the freeway. Fuck. That. Way too close.

TOO DAMN MANY CHOICES

I wanna go with the Airport. But I think a place where you drive into Fresno would be a more accurate way to figure this out. Hummmmmm.

Screw it: Shaw & 41. Not the nicest for sure but best represents the City as a whole. I guess. Not real excited about that.

What do you think? What was missed? I’m expecting some comments on this one. Don’t make me look like a douche and leave me with no comments on this post, Fresnan.

(Fresno Sign photo by David Husted)