New to Fresno? Here are 10 tips to make the most of our region

This year, the waterfalls of Yosemite are a special treat

A historic 2017 rainfall year made that spring's waterfall display one for the ages.
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A historic 2017 rainfall year made that spring's waterfall display one for the ages.

You may wonder why anyone would move to Fresno County. But the truth is, people are moving here and for lots of reasons: job, family, or to start a new life.

A recent analysis by www.sparefoot.com of U.S. Census data shows that from 2011 to 2015, 31,581 people moved to Fresno County. And from July 2015 to July 2016, the population grew by 1 percent to 979,915.

Some of the growth comes from births and immigration, but much of it is due to people moving here from somewhere else. Census data shows that 81 percent come from within the state, places like Los Angeles, Tulare, Kern, Madera and Kings counties. And 19 percent are moving here from out of the state from places like Clark County, Nevada; Josephine County, Oregon; and Kenai Penisula Borough, Alaska.

So for those out-of-towners, or even those from nearby, here are 10 pieces of advice for people who just moved to Fresno.

1. Explore the outdoors. Not only does Fresno County have two rivers that run through it, the San Joaquin and the Kings, there are also national parks nearby, including Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon. Also, get a national park pass. It will help.

Half Dome Village in Yosemite Valley. Fresno Bee file

2. Don’t be afraid to explore your community. In other words, it’s OK to travel south of Shaw Avenue. The city of Fresno is made up of many different ethnic groups, distinctive neighborhoods, restaurants and shopping districts. You may discover you really like pho.

Beef pho

3. Speaking of pho, the southeast Asian noodle dish, Fresno and the rest of the county is loaded with interesting restaurants from hole-in-the wall joints to restaurants with contemporary and innovative cuisines. For a taste of the good life, try Annex Kitchen, Cracked Pepper Bistro, Max’s Bistro and Bar, Trelio and Harris Ranch.

The 3-ounce blue crab cake with jalapeño remoulade and mango salsa is one of the signature appetizers featuring local produce at Trelio in Clovis. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

4. Fresno County is one of the most productive farming areas in the world, so take advantage. The area is loaded with farmers markets that offer freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Many of the markets are seasonal but the county also has several year-round markets as well. You can get a list of farmers markets and fruit stands here, or visit the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.playfresno.org.

Yanira Ortiz of Chay’s Farms in Watsonville puts out strawberries during the Market on Kern farmer’s market in April 2017. JOHN WALKER jwalker@fresnobee.com

5. If you love sports, you’ll like living here. Not only can you play your favorite sport nearly year-round, but there are also college sports. Fresno State is an NCAA Division 1 school with competitive athletic programs and a rabid fan base. There is also Fresno Pacific University, an NCAA Division 2 school. We also have professional baseball and soccer with the Fresno Grizzlies and Fresno Football Club. Both teams play at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno. The Fresno Fuego, a popular amateur club, also plays at Chukchansi.

Fresno State football coach Jeff Tedford directs his players before taking the field for the Bulldogs’ season-opener against Incarnate Word Sept. 2, 2017 in Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fresnobee.com

6. Get used to eating tacos, lots of tacos. Fresno is the self-appointed taco capital of the state. There is a major festival devoted to the beloved taco – Taco Truck Throwdown – and taco trucks abound. Just ask who has the best tacos in town and you will get a dozen different answers.

A season-high crowd of 14,651 showed up for the 2016 Taco Truck Throwdown at Chukchansi Park. Fresno’s Héctor Cortez bites into a carne asada taco from La Jacko Mobile. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA Vida en el Valle file

7. Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a local treasure. The zoo is located in Roeding Park near downtown Fresno. It recently underwent a major expansion and renovation, complete with restaurant, giraffe feeding area, sea lion exhibit and multi-species exhibit featuring lions, African elephants, cheetahs, Southern white rhinoceros and zebra.

Visitors to Fresno Chaffee Zoo enjoy a little show at Sea Lion Cove. Fresno Bee file

8. Explore Fresno’s art scene. Along with the Fresno Art Museum, there is also Arte Américas, the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley and Fresno County’s Historical Museum. Don’t forget Art Hop, one of the coolest events the city has. The first Thursday night of each month is devoted to visiting art galleries, retailers and restaurants featuring an artist’s work.

Scenes from the recital organized by the Teocalli Cultural Academy at Arte Américas. Dances ranged from Mexican folkloric to hip hop to flamenco. Juan Esparza Loera Vida en el Valle file

9. Although home prices are slowly going up, Fresno is still a very affordable place to live – just ask your friends in the Bay Area or Los Angeles how much they paid for their house.

Humberto Guzman of Garcia Construction carries lumber while beginning construction on a home in the Gary McDonald Homes tract at Chestnut and Copper in the Copper River Ranch area Feb. 11, 2016. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

10. Don’t listen to the haters. Fresno isn’t New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. And we sort of like it that way. This is still a friendly place, where you can enjoy life without too much stress. And did we mention we love tacos?

Robert Rodriguez: 559-441-6327, @FresnoBeeBob