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Downtown, It Has My Heart
By Eduardo Rodriguez
I always look for something to do in Fresno. Moreover, I always try to make sure it is different from what is generally available, i.e. River Park which feels like a stucco filled paradise and Old Town Clovis, which exemplifies the small town image. Rather than see my town as a cultural dead zone or a city with no nightlife, I venture about looking for live shows, art food, and music. I look to go out, have a good time with the people around, and experience something of this nature so I have a memory with them or for myself. In my constant search around the city, I have ended up spending my nightlife in Fresno Downtown.
Victorian brick buildings, a classic skyline, the Fulton Mall, and the touches of modernity with Chukchansi Park and the Federal Court House; the architecture Downtown is diverse and defines Fresno better than River Park or the Fashion Fair Mall will ever be able to. For an agriculturally driven city, building like the Security Bank Building and the California Hotel build that expectation business in the day and life at night. The sense of busyness, with people of all occupations going every other direction is interesting.
Downtown Fresno has the diversity in appearance that the rest of Fresno does not, that is clear. Signs of diversity can been see in businesses like the Iron Bird Café, which is one of the many businesses of the first floor to the Iron Bird Lofts on the corner of Divisadero and Fulton Street. The café sits in the cultural district of Downtown and is an Art Hop venue, a monthly art event coordinated by theaters, galleries, and museums (there are four to five museums and studios within walking distance). Being an Art Hop stop, there is local art on the wall and entertainment, like a one-man-blues-band at all times of the week. The best part of it is that none of it feels forces.
Walking outside is its own experience. There are murals on buildings down Fulton Street and Broadway from the Fulton Mall all the way to Divisadero. In River Park, Fashion Fair Mall, and the Sierra Vista Mall there is nothing that comes to mind as expressive. I deem them stucco filled parking lot paradises because of their generic appearance, generic signage, and abundant asphalt. The three mentioned all look the same and involve a drive for bar hopping and driving. I have found that once I learned Downtown everything is walking distance. Walking Downtown from one end to another is about a mile, the same distance to walk from end to end of the Fresno State Campus. The difference with Downtown, there many places to check out before you do a whole mile.
I can easily hit Heroes Sport lounge, Karma, Fulton 55, Tokyo Gardens, and Fulton 55 which all have good entertainment depending on what you are looking for and good food. It is easy to make a night walking Downtown.
Don’t get me wrong, I will be realistic and acknowledge Downtown Fresno doesn’t have the large retail chain like Fashion Fair Mall or River Park, but what about Local businesses? I like looking up and around and being able to see Fresno Past and Future.