Visalia, California


2013 Best Small Towns in America

Contest ends:  September 3, 2013

2 Votes - "Friendliest"
2 Votes - "Best For Food"
1 Votes - "Most Beautiful"


Known as both the Gateway to the Sequoias and the Jewel of the Valley, Visalia lies in the center of the San Joaquin Valley nearby both Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks. The location is perfect for every variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, golfing, camping, fishing, boating, or skiing.

Visalia boasts something for everyone from the Tulare County Symphony in the Fox Theatre to a Rawhide baseball game at Recreation Park. With 50 murals around town, Visalia embraces local art. The town hosts an annual spoof called Sofa Art, an Arts Market, a “Trash to Fashion” Earth Day fashion show, and exhibits throughout local businesses.

Visitors can take the free trolley down Main Street to some of the highly acclaimed restaurants including Alejandra’s, Figaro’s, Vintage Press, and Jack and Charlie’s. Locals also boast of great produce from farmer’s markets to fruit stands and cheese farms. Visalia’s known for world famous sweet oranges and offers varied agriculturally themed tours.

Even though it has a population of over 100K, it still retains that small town feel. As in Cheers, "Everybody knows your name". There are many restaurants and many such as the Vintage Press, the Tazzaria, Cafe 225, Colimas, Jack & Charlies, Fugazzi's to be a few provide a great place to dine in our downtown. Many utilize the local products and can be seen testing the produce at our weekly farmer's market. The Tazzaria and Bothof always has great bakery items. Yes, we have our usual chain restaurants, but it is the locally owned restaurants who are the "icing on the cake".
Reviewed by risakai
on September 17, 2012
Visalia is the only town I know that can pull off a large population and manage to keep that simple small-town charm, Main Street especially. There is so much variety and so much livelihood to be credited for. Alejandra's is my all time favorite. Nothing can top the best margarita, a basket of chips and salsa, and a couple of chicken enchilidas...mmmm! Besides the food, it's always a good time. I've been coming to this place for over a decade. Thank god for Alejandra's!
Reviewed by ballerina
on September 17, 2012
This is exciting! We've known for years that Visalia is the Best Place for Dining in, well, the larger part of the world! We have the most quaint and beautiful Downtown, and it boasts over 50 restaurants!! Not bad for a small city of less that 125 000 people! Unique types of eateries include fine dining at a beautifully restored historic train depot, or the basement of the old jail, elegant cuisine at the Vintage Press or fine Italian fare at Little Italy. Then there's the exquisite tastes of California cuisine at Cafe 225 or Fugazzi's. There are Brazilian, Mexican and Chinese (Talk about original! The Visalia Tea Garden is the oldest restaurant under the same family in town!! fresh cooked to order! for over 70 years). Coffee Houses with their treats of yummy pasteries and sandwiches, like Tazzaria and Visalia Coffee Co.are wonderful. Be sure to try a Taylors Hot Dog at their 50's walk-up and the Main St Diner for a 50's flair. It's soooo hard to pick a favorite. I love all of these .....and more! have fun visiting our wonderful Downtown!
Reviewed by suzq47
on September 17, 2012
I love chatting with tourists who come into my place of employment, Mike's Quality Cameras on Main Street. I always brag about Downtown's fantastic restaurants then ask what type of food they like. Then I point them in the direction of some our notable Downtown restaurants such as Fugazzis, Tazzaria, Cafe 225, Brewbakers, Valhalla, Vintage Press, Lum Lum's, Colima, Picnic Sandwich Shop, Jack & Charlies to name a few. Since very often those tourists are headed to Sequoia National Park I also like to suggest my favorite places to visit and photograph.
Reviewed by PamCozHill
on September 17, 2012
After moving from Los Angeles 35 years ago, Downtown Visalia still remains our favorite place to grab a quick bite or enjoy a relaxing meal. After dark, Main Street transforms into the place to go for good music at any number of locally owned establishments. Take a stroll down Main Street some evening you're likely to find several places to enjoy some great live music by local talent. Some of our downtown favorites are Crawdaddy's for a New Orleans' atmosphere, Little Italy for great Italian and Acequia on Main for a unique Mediterranean cuisine. Brubaker's is a great micro-brewery and Colima's offers some great Mexican food. The list goes on and on. Trek just 20 minutes to the east, down Highway 198, and you’ll enjoy the experience of a lifetime. The Orange Blossom Junction offers exquisite dining in a rustic, home-town atmosphere. You may even be fortunate enough to catch some world class guitarists who make this place a regular stop when they have a day off from their tour schedules. This is an incredible venue that offers an unbelievably up-close and personal concert experience that's just plain fun! It’s well worth the few extra minutes of travel time. As I mentioned, all of these places, and more, are locally owned and operated, with proprietors who pay close attention to detail. One Visit to Visalia and you’ll be hooked.
Reviewed by AlanRB
on September 17, 2012
Showing 131 through 135 of 200 reviews



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