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.

Visalia has a pedestrian-friendly downtown crammed with restaurant options. You can stay downtown, walk to a restaurant and then walk to a movie or another place to listen to music, enjoy a cocktail or chat. Downtown also is intensely local -- as are the restaurants and other eateries. We particularly enjoy both the food and the atmosphere of the Vintage Press, where we've been dining for decades. Not only is the food a model of fresh and local ingredients, changing with the seasons, there are new twists on old faves, too. All is complemented by a welcoming, attentive staff that knows the menu and the specials and remembers patrons. The winelist is worldclass and priced so everyone can find an excellent bottle for a great price. And it doesn't stop there in Visalia, truly a treasure in our region.
Reviewed by lannylarson
on September 17, 2012
Having lived in Visalia almost my entire life I am very familar with all of the great food options we have here. As so many others have mentioned, downtown Visalia is a virtual treasure trove of culinary choices. There is a reason restaurants like Brewbaker’s, Colima’s, to Fugazzi’s, Café 225, Tommy’s and Gozen get mentioned over and over again. They are just that good! One of the best parts about living here though, is that there always seems to be an undiscovered diamond in the rough. Some little spot a friend will have heard about from some other friend. Taking that journey with friends to seek out some new taste, new take, or refreshing twist on those cuisines we may or may not be familiar with is priceless. Whether in Visalia or one of the other surrounding communities, the trip is almost always worth the effort. Beyond those mentioned above, personal favorites include Pita Kabob, Chapala Grill, Bravo Farm’s (Tulare), Shanghai, The Lunch Box and Chubby’s Diner.
Reviewed by Downtime13
on September 17, 2012
Visalia is a fantastic medium sized city in the heart of the great San Joaquin Valley with a wonderful small town feel. The downtown area has wonderful locally owned restaurants, many of which serve local recipes using farm fresh ingredients from the neighboring farms. Tulare County is the second largest agricultural producing region in the nation, and the #1 dairy producing county in the United States! The food at places like Fugazzis, Vintage Press, Tommy's, Cafe 225, and Jack and Charlies is outstanding! My husband and I dine out frequently and LOVE Visalia's charm and its chefs! Other favorites include Brewbakers, Valhallas, and so many more!
Reviewed by patriciastever
on September 17, 2012
Visalia is a small town with big city amenities: Minor League Baseball, Art Galleries, Eclectic Shops and salons, Convention Center, Nearby Lakes, Parks, Fishing, Whitewater Rafting, Fox Theatre Theatre which is always bringing in Big Names (Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Cosby, BB King etc), Visalia has a Childen's Museum, Annual Festivals, Farmer's Market, and of Course many, many fine locally owned Restaurants, Coffee Shops and Bakeries, most of which are walking distance to Main Street and Visalia's flagship hotel, The Visalia Marriott which hands down has the best view of Dowtown and the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Visalia is Gateway to The Sequoia's and Home of The General Grant and The World's Largest Tree, the General Sherman. Visalia's Central Californinia location is ideal, as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Monterey, Napa, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite are easy, enjoyable day trips. There is a casino only 30 minutes away. There are more restaurants than you can shake a stick at (Vintage Press, Fugazzi's, Jack and Charlie's, Depot, Little Italy, Tazzaria are amongst the best for dinner and for breakfast or lunch, I would suggest Valhalla, Zhuo or Corner Cafe. The locals are friendly, educated, accomodating and always enjoyable to interact with.
Reviewed by Jaws60
on September 17, 2012
Alejandra's is the best mexican restaurant in towm. Great food, friendly service, excellent drinks. I recommend it to anyone who visits Visalia.
Reviewed by sjennings
on September 17, 2012
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