Like Stockton, Fresno can’t seem to shake its negative press. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Fresno has led the country in auto thefts for the past few years (consistently ranked in the top 5).  But we like to focus on the positive at Cheap Insurance, so here’s a little guide to all the great things about this Central California city.

One of the coolest events in Fresno happens every March. The Rogue Festival is a “non-juried arts festival that celebrates the independent performer and artist (quoted from their FAQ page).” Their purpose is to provide a promoted venue for independent artists to showcase their work. The Festival attracts a wide variety of artists, including film-makers, musicians, dancers, performance artists, puppetry artists, etc. Basically, anyone with something creative to share is welcome to join, and it promises to be a unique experience for every visitor.

In 1906, Baldassare Forestiere, a Sicilian immigrant, began constructing a subterranean villa, modeled after the Roman aqueducts that fascinated him as a child. It was under continuous construction until his death in 1946, and features nearly 100 rooms and chambers, including passageways, courts, patios, and gardens. The gardens themselves contain a diverse mix of plants and fruit trees, some of which are over 100 years old. Forestiere’s relatives still give tours of the immense underground estate, and it inspired T.C. Boyle to write a fictionalized account of Forestiere and his obsession.

Besides those two quirky Fresno attractions, here are some other interesting sights and facts:

– “Popping,” the dance style, supposedly evolved in Fresno during the 1970s, so all those dancers on TV owe the city a huge nod.

The Tower Theatre (not to be confused with the one in Sacramento) was built in 1939, inspired by the “Star Pylon” seen at New York World’s Fair. Now a Historic landmark, the venue is still in use.

The Fresno County Fruit Trail is a self-guided tour through California’s agricultural heartland, with stops along the way for visitors to taste the huge variety of local produce.

See what we mean? Don’t let the news and the crime statistics fool you. Fresno has a lot of charm, and is home to a lot of unique and creative people.