Located in the San Joaquin Valley, Madera is often nicknamed ‘The Heart of California’ as it located close to the geographic center of the state. Visitors from all over flock to experience the Madera Wine Trail which winds through some of the area’s most renowned establishments. Other popular things to do include seeing the towering Giant Sequoia trees in Nelder Grove, browsing the extensive collection of artifacts at Madera County Museum, and going out for a night of drinking, dining, and dancing at ApCal.

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1.Nelder Grove

Nelder Grove
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Located within Sierra National Forest, Nelder Grove is a Giant Sequoia grove that spans 1,540 acres. Within it, you will be able to see over 100 mature Giant Sequoia trees, as well as several other plants and rocks. An interesting feature is the stumps you may come across - remnants of the grove’s ancient sequoia trees which were logged before being protected by the US Forest Service. Visitors of all ages will love exploring the gorgeous grove and take pictures with these towering trees. You’re sure to come across a variety of flora and fauna, so if one night isn’t enough, stay over in their camping grounds.

Located in Sierra National Forest: Sky Ranch Rd, Oakhurst, CA 93644, Phone: 559-297-0706

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2.Madera County Museum

Madera County Museum
© Madera County Museum

The Madera County Museum houses an extensive collection of photographs, documents, and artifacts which preserve Madera’s history. It is housed in the original Madera County Courthouse which was built in the 1900s. The extensive collection housed within it is sure to bring the valley’s history to life. The main floor is divided into exhibits which focus on major themes such as Native Americans, agriculture, pioneers, logging, and the turn of the century. Some of the most popular artifacts that you’ll come across are an altar cloth from a temple in Madera’s Chinatown, a full-size reproduction of a logging flume, and an excellent collection of Native American basketry.

210 W. Yosemite Avenue, Madera, CA 93637

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3.Ficklin Vineyards

Ficklin Vineyards
© Ficklin Vineyards

Ficklin Vineyards was founded in 1946 and is America’s oldest Port winery, winning several awards along the way such as ‘California’s State Fair’s Wine Lifetime Achievement Award’. You can traverse through the stunning winery that has been crafting premium Ports for over seventy years; there are several tours to choose from. The Historical Tour gives you an in-depth look at the actual winery where the Ficklin family have lived and worked since its inception while the Barrel Tasting Tour lets you taste your way through five unique ports right from the Barrel Room. Their Wine Making Tour is one of the most popular and is tailored to the seasons so that you see what they are working on at that time.

30246 Ave 7 1/2, Madera, CA 93637, Phone: 559-661-0075

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4.Quady Winery

Quady Winery
© Quady Winery

The Quady Winery dates back to 1975 when Andrew and Laurel Quady set out to southern California is search of a rural way of life making they were passionate about: wine. Fast forward to many years and many expansions later, Quady Winery is an award-winning establishment that was recognized by the International Wine and Spirits Competitions with an IWSC Trophy for ‘Best Overall Results’. Their wines are delicious expressions of fruit that can be found in the San Joaquin Valley, making them rich and full-bodied. Head over to their tasting room or visit one of the many events they participate in such as the Wine Showcase days with the Madera Vintners Association.

13181 Rd 24, Madera, CA 93637, Phone: 559-673-8068

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© ApCal

If you’re in Madera and looking for something fun to do on a Friday or Saturday night, head on over to ApCal where you can party in a deserted country space surrounded by vineyards and picturesque views. The outdoor venue is renowned for being beautiful, comfortable, and safe as you enjoy great music you can dance to and an array of local wines and beers at their famed 75-foot-long bar. There are over 50 wines and beers to choose from as you have a great time with friends and family. If you’re not in the mood to dance, no problem, bring a blanket and relax on the lush rolling land just taking in the amazing atmosphere. The menu changes for each event, guaranteeing you have a wonderful time complete with delicious food and drink.

32749 Ave 7, Madera, CA 93637, Phone: 559-674-9463

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6.CRU Wine Company

CRU Wine Company
© CRU Wine Company

The CRU Winery was started by two friends who had a passion for creating some of the best wines California has ever produced. Their mutual interest grew and soon a portfolio of handcrafted wines was produced, each of them diverse and delicious in their own way. CRU focuses on Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays while their second label, Mariposa, ventures into other varietals. Visit their winery and tasting room to try out glasses of their refreshing wines and talk to the professionals to get an idea of what happens behind the scenes. Join their wine club to gain exclusive access to their entire portfolio, no matter if you’re into reds of whites.

20146 Rd 21, Madera, CA 93637, Phone: 559-673-6372

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7.Birdstone Winery

Birdstone Winery
© Birdstone Winery

The Birdstone Winery is a family owned and operated establishment that can be found on the eastern edge of Madera County. They use the best fruits to create great wines that will satisfy even the most particular palate. The entire Kirk family as well as their extended family and friends all partake in the winery’s operations, whether it’s to crush the grapes during harvest or to serve patrons from behind the bar. Visit their tasting room to have a glass or a bottle of hand-crafted bliss such as their Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Port, or Cabernet Sauvignon. Pair your wine with some delicious cheese, chocolates, or even a juicy steak - anything to have the ultimate tasting experience.

9400 Rd 36, Madera, CA 93636, Phone: 559-970-2060

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8.Toca Madera Winery

Toca Madera Winery
© Toca Madera Winery

Located on the beautiful rolling hills of Madera and surrounded by vibrant vineyards, the Toca Madera Winery is a lovely place to have a unique wine tasting. You’ll be able to listen to music, appreciate the beauty of the natural surroundings, and generally have a good time with friends and family. Toca Madera won gold in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition, and rightly so as their unique blends range from Syrah and Mouvedre to Muscat and Zinfandel. If you can, be sure to stop by on a weekend when a local artist or musician is invited for the entertainment of their patrons.

36140 Ave 9, Madera, CA 93636, Phone: 559-474-8286

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9.San Joaquin Winery

San Joaquin Winery
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The Joaquin Wine Company was founded in 2005 by Steve Schafer and his wife Cindy. Steve had a lot of experience as he grew with the family farm business, having produced almonds and 12 varietals of wine grapes in Madera County for over 40 years. Wine production started in 2009 with four varietals and now has 18 varietals under nine different labels. They produce over 22,000 cases annually, much of which is exported to Canada, Japan, and other countries around the world. You can visit their on-site tasting room to better explore the beautiful facility, understand their process for production, and try what’s currently available.

21801 Ave 16, Madera, CA 93637, Phone: 559-673-0066

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10.Madera Wine Trail

Madera Wine Trail
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Madera is home to some of the greatest vineyards and wineries in the United States, many of which have won awards and international recognition for its unique flavors. The Madera Wine Trail is a way for locals and visitors to enjoy the unique grape growing region whilst visiting tasting rooms and chatting with the knowledgeable hosts themselves. Wineries that take part include the Birdstone Winery, the Fasi Estate Winery, Ficklin Vineyards, and Idle Hour Winery among others. You can participate in several events such as Ladies Night Out, Wine Showcase Day, and Yoga! Then Wine Down which many of the wineries along the way host on a weekly basis.

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11.The Vineyard Restaurant & Bar

The Vineyard Restaurant & Bar
© The Vineyard Restaurant & Bar

Featuring delicious Italian-American cuisine, the Vineyard Restaurant & Bar is a relaxed and comfortable dining establishment where you can enjoy a delicious meal and a glass of local wine. The atmosphere is elegant and the setting is beautiful, making it the perfect place for a night out with friends, a romantic date, or a celebratory meal with your family. Generations of Madera’s residents and visitors flock to the restaurant to feast on popular dishes such as their Shrimp Remoulade, the Sriracha Maple Fried Chicken, and Lamb Sliders which are topped with feta cheese. Be sure to try their handmade pasta which can be found in favorites such as the meat ravioli or the Vineyard’s Signature Lasagna.

605 S I St, Madera, CA 93637, Phone: 559-674-0923

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12.Sal's Mexican Restaurant

Sal's Mexican Restaurant
© Sal's Mexican Restaurant

Sal’s Mexican Restaurant is a homey, family-owned place where you can enjoy mouth-watering Mexican cuisine and a margarita that hits the spot. The restaurant was originally established in 1942 serving dishes that used quality ingredients and followed authentic recipes. Even today, a visit to Sal’s guarantees that you’ll come across their trademark flavors which continues to be as delicious as the day they opened. Popular items from their menu include the chili verde nachos, short ribs baked in Sal’s secret sauce, chimichangas, the seafood tacos topped with pico de gallo, and their Camarones Mojo De Ajo, which are prawns grilled in garlic and butter.

2001 W Cleveland Avenue, Madera, CA 93637, Phone: 559-673-7257

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12 Best Things to Do in Madera, California