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Visalia, CA (Population: 117,774)

Visalia, with a population of 117,774, is located in Central California in the San Joaquin Valley. Nicknamed "Sequoia Valley" and "Gateway to the Sequoias," the city is the county seat of Tulare County. These nicknames come primarily from the fact that Visalia is the closest city to the Sequoia National Forest. The city also lies only miles from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Visalia is the center of one of the most productive agricultural areas in the United States.

Downtown Visalia is known for its numerous restaurants and shopping. The Fox Theater, also located downtown, is a historic theater playing host to performing arts and music events. Recreation Park, a minor baseball league stadium, home to the Visalia Oaks, is also located downtown. For local events and shows, the Visalia convention center is another popular location. Of course, nothing can beat the majesty of nature-- something that is certainly not lacking in Visalia's surroundings. The city is also home to a well-maintained park system. Whether it's a quick afternoon in the park or a day spent hiking among the giant sequoias, this is the perfect place to appreciate the great outdoors. The city is also well known for its preservation of oak trees.

Visalia has embraced the multi-cultural aspect of life in Central California. The Tulare County Mooney Grove Museum, located in Mooney Grove Park, houses many historic artifacts from the area's original Native American inhabitants, the Yokuts. The Central California Chinese Cultural Center, which has an exhibit of cultural artifacts as well as painting and architecture, is located in the city as well. The Center also has a Confucian Temple on site.