Together Our Travel Tips Can Rule Fresno! The Best Things to See, Do and Eat in an Underappreciated, Over-traveled City

(With apologies to Harvey Korman for the title..!)

Thanks to everyone for participating in the National Car Rental “Underappreciated, Over-traveled” travel tips contest and giveaway. Though the entries are on the light side relative to many of the giveaways I do — because I actually required you to offer a legitimate travel tip for Fresno in order to enter — I was somewhat surprised to have well over 300 entries between comments on the blog and twitter submissions!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • $250 AMEX gift card
  • National Extreme Sport Duffel
  • National Case Logic Zippered Tech Journal
  • National Ultimate Privacy Luggage Tag
  • National 14oz Striped Coffee Tumbler
  • National BicRoundstic & Notepad

Five additional winners will receive the following prize pack:

  • $50 AMEX gift card
  • National Extreme Sport Duffel
  • National Ultimate Privacy Luggage Tag
  • National 14oz Striped Coffee Tumbler

I’ve gone through the entries. Sorry, I had to reject any travel tip mentioning Me ‘n Ed’s Pizza because frankly it’s awful. Taste may be subjective to a certain extent, but I’ve lived in Fresno. I’ve eaten Me ‘n Ed’s. I can’t imagine why anyone would go back a second time.

Though I can’t declare it a winner, I did love

Denis‘s contribution, “There are 25 CVS stores near Fresno and many will sell [Vanilla Reload cards] to you with a [credit card].”

The grand prize winning tip comes from Ric Garrido who said,

Park Inn Fresno is a Club Carlson category 1 hotel property for 9,000 points per night or 9,000 points for 2 nights if Club Carlson Visa card holder.

Club Carlson members can buy 9,000 points for $63. That is quite a savings on the hotel’s standard rates.

Club Carlson has a Radisson, Park Inn, and Country Inn in Fresno — a trifecta, great for when they run promotions. The Park Inn used to be the Four Points. It has a great pool and is attached to the Smuggler’s restaurant (the place is an institution and has been through several incarnations over the years). Getting it at $63 a night (with last night free if you have the co-branded credit card) has to be the best Fresno travel tip. Thanks, Ric!

The five additional winners are as follows:

  • Brad: “Best cheap fun golf course has to be Airways located right next to the airport.”
  • Nic: “For families visting: The Star Party at the Discovery Center. For $5, arrive with a picnic dinner and a blanket around 6-7ish. You can look thru telescopes and learn about the stars from a guide. A nice way to wind down the day…star gazing with your children.”
  • Karl P: “Fresno Chaffee Zoo is an amazing place. It has stingray exibits and a water tunnel that almost rivals Seaworld, and a Rainforest exhibit that will enthrall all ages.”
  • Mark: “For a unique dining experience and a fabulous tri-tip sandwich, visit the Dog House Grill in Fresno.” (I had to include this because tri-tip is something I hadn’t ever had before moving to Fresno in 1989, and I missed it after leaving the Central Valley.)
  • Dustin: “There is a nice little dinner theater in the Tower district called Roger Rocka’s. For an even more intimate local theater experience try Second Space.”

Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to National Car Rental for providing the prizes. I understand they’ll be compiling the tips and generating a useful resource.

For folks looking for things to do, see, and eat in Fresno and coming across this post on the best travel tips for Fresno in the future I thought I’d also chronicle some of the runners up.

  • Dustin: (who won above!) “Another fun family idea: there is a fairly unique laser tag place called Tac-ops. Games are played as teams, so communication and tactics become more important than just good aim.”
  • TerryH: “Kearney Mansion Museum is a very interesting afternoon visit. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places, and was said to be inspired by the famous Chateau de Chenonceaux in the Loire valley in France. Tours are given by charming local volunteers. Beautiful gardens too!”
  • Mami2jcn: “Fulton Mall is a pedestrian-only 6 block long street, shaded by trees and historic high rise buildings dating between 1910 and the 1930′s. There are shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, music venues and fountains with many benches to stop and rest along the way.”

And I’ll also add my own, that in December it is an absolute must to drive down Christmas Tree Lane.

Winners will be hearing from National’s rep in the coming days. Thanks all!

    You can join the 30,000+ people who see these deals and analysis every day — sign up to receive posts by email (just one e-mail per day) or subscribe to the RSS feed. It’s free. Don’t miss out!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Sorry I missed this thread, raised in this area. Ill try to give some tips the next time. Congrats to the winners.

  2. I’m canceling my trip to the Maldives, Fresno here I come!
    (hope wifey doesn’t mind)

  3. Thanks for this post. My wife’s family lives here, so I’m always looking for fun things to do. I wish I had seen this contest, because I’m sure her family could have provided some great submissions.

  4. Spent my entire childhood there and still have a lot of relatives in the area. It’s not a bad place to raise kids actually and real estate prices are great, but good luck getting a good job. Thanks for the contest!

  5. Gary, a place you may want to check out next time you’re in Fresno is Me ‘n Ed’s Pizza. All kidding aside, there’s one location left in the Los Angeles area. Gets a 3.5 on Yelp, compared to the ones in your former hometown which generally don’t fare as well. It’s worth a lunch special every 18 months or so. (So long as no one’s watching.)

  6. Stop at The Habit for lunch; awesome food. Grilled burgers, grilled fish sandwiches, vegetarian offerings. Everything is made fresh. You’ll love it!

    702 West Shaw Ave.
    Fresno, CA 93704
    (559) 226-2128
    Mon-Sat: 10:30am-9pm
    Menu: View Menu

  7. @unknown – do you disagree that was the best tip? He was the first to mention it. And for what it’s worth my sense is Ric doesn’t much like me, he just objectively offered the best tip.

  8. @Brad – I emailed the winners over the weekend, heard back on Monday that they would reach out — I will follow up as I would have expected that to have happened by now.

  9. Thanks for following up Gary! Also I never received your email over the weekend with regards to those that won. That maybe why I have yet to hear from the National folks?

  10. Winning the National Car Rental prize just came to my attention a few minutes ago, five days after this post.

    I respectfully decline the grand prize. I was offered the same giveaway opportunity from National Car Rental for my blog so I feel the relationship is too close to be a qualified winner of the Grand Prize.

    I just happened to see your blog post about Fresno and the Park Inn as a good hotel deal came to mind for sharing with your readers.

    It was a pleasure to meet you and your wife last week in Las Vegas.

  11. @Ric Garrido – apologies the notification took so long, and while it doesn’t surprise me that National offered you a prize I certainly didn’t know about it, and National had nothing to do with picking the winner. Thanks for the followup!

  12. My family had a great time in Fresno. We had a wonderful time there and enjoyed the culture of the region. The nightlife was fantastic, and the city’s elegance is indescribable. We are in love with the place and explored so many places. After reading your blog I would like to visit again.

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