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Fire Dates: Five things to do in Visalia for a romantic night (or day!) out

Suzanne | 02/14/2019 | Dine, Downtown Visalia, Nightlife, Sequoia National Park, Things to Do

By Niccolo Go 
IG: @joaquin.around

Visalia is a charming little city with a rich history, and unexpected surprises, two things that make for a great time for fun or romance. Here are five fire dates, that are sure to spark your imagination and creativity while you are visiting the Gateway to the Sequoias. 

THE CLASSIC 


Historic Visalia Fox Theater Show and Downtown Restaurants

It’s a classic date combination for a reason, it’s a sure winner. The Visalia Fox Theater is a silent movie era throwback with a three story working clock tower and a bulb lighted marquee; red velvet seats surrounded by a temple themed atmosphere made popular in the 1930’s. It is beautiful and it is the place to sneak a kiss with your beloved on the grand staircase. The world class Sequoia Symphony Orchestra takes up residence from September to April. And throughout the year the Fox plays host to international musicians like Lyle Lovett and Morrissey; and comedians Carlos Mencia and Marlon Wayans. Pre and post theater dinner options abound in downtown Visalia, with recent entries Bistro Di Bufala bringing the fire from their Neapolitan pizza oven, handmade pastas, and craft cocktails - it is a show in itself, take a seat at the bar and watch the bartender and the pizzaolo play. 


SANDWICH AND SEQUOIAS 


Panini Nut House and Sequoia National Park

Visalia takes great pride in being the Gateway to the Sequoias. Just a 45 minute drive east on Highway 198 takes you to a picturesque drive through orange orchards undulating foothills and Kaweah Lake. As you near the park you enter the village of Three Rivers, full of charming little shops, galleries, and restaurants. But before heading out from Visalia we recommend picking up a couple picnic sandwiches and packable snacks from The Panini Nut House on Main St. The shop is perfect for an early start with it’s 50 cent coffee, and breakfast sandwiches to start your day. Order a couple sandwiches to go like the OVC Stack, or the B.L.A.T., bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato with the wet ingredients on the side to keep your sandos from getting soggy. Grab some snacks like pecans, almonds, dried beets, and okra, or chocolate covered raisins, and you’re set for an adventure in the land of giants. Once in the park, stop along the visitor centers, the Giant Forest Museum, or climb up Moro Rock for picnicking vistas that will be instagrammable, but put the phone away and opt for some uninterrupted one on one time with your beloved. 


COFFEE AND CRAFT 


Component Coffee Lab and Garden Street Art Studio

We start at Component Coffee lab, tucked away between Center and Main Streets. Housed in an old brick building with many past lives, an outdoor patio invites you to enter a bright and airy cafe. With coffee roasting on site, and various extractions at your disposal this is the perfect start for coffee fueled love. Feed your creativity with donuts made in house, a chicken and waffle cone, and avocado toast. You will raise your heart rate a couple notches, but it very well could be love or caffeine. In any case it’s time to put that energy to use. Take a short walk to Garden Street Art Studio, where owner Jenny Zeeb and her crew will show you how to make your very own glass or tile mosaic. You could express your undying love in a colorful heart shaped piece with you and your partner’s initials, but we don’t recommend it on your first date. Be sure to call up the studio to make an appointment. 


PASS THE GUARD AND PASS THE PIZZA 


Elite Team and Planing Mill Artisan Pizzeria

Nothing says “I want you” like getting sweaty and rolling around on the ground. AMIRITE? A world class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym and pizza restaurant in the same building is perfect for martial arts enthusiasts ready to carb load. Elite Team Visalia trains champion athletes (look them up on IG), and learners at all skill levels and ages. Once you’ve sufficiently worked up a sweat learning how to pass the guard, change into your best athleisure ensemble and take a few steps next door to Planing Mill Artisan Pizzeria. With a wide assortment of craft beers, and signature pies like the Thai Pie, and Muscles from Brussels (my personal favorite) you’ll be ready for another round of grappling soon after. But take your coach’s advice and don’t do any strenuous activity after a full meal, but what you do at home is your own business :)


TIME TRAVEL 


Mooney Grove and Tulare County Museum

Imagine what it was like to be in love in the early 1900’s before Tinder and Netflix and chill. An afternoon date at the Tulare County Museum at Mooney Grove Park will take you back in time. As you enter the park you will be greeted by the valley oaks’ upturned branches rising towards the sky welcoming you into the forest. This vast park echos the calls of geese, ducks, and various birds, as you walk around a large pond near the Tulare County Museum. The museum is a time capsule of life at the turn of the century. Explore restored school rooms, a train caboose from the Southern Pacific Depot, and personal belongings of lives past. You will lose yourself in an afternoon exploring the lives of native people and early settlers, and the history of agriculture. The wonder of a museum is not within the artifacts themselves but in the journey of your imagination, so let these artifacts whisk you away to another time.  As the museum closes in the afternoon make your way to End of Trail bronze statue at the edge of the park. Lay out a blanket for your picnic and allow the sunset to cast a silhouette of this beautiful and poignant figure, a native American on his horse driven to the edge. It will give you and your date much to think about, deeply, together. 



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P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141