23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Merced (CA)

Looking for the best and fun things to do in Merced, CA?

Merced is a city in California situated in San Joaquin Valley, United States. The city has a population of about eighty thousand residents according to the last census.

Established on the first of April 1889, Merced has become a beautiful city with a well-organized council-manager administration.

The city is named after the Merced River. It’s pretty neat to know that the word ‘Merced’ means mercy. This spells out a good omen over the city.

The city is also called the gate of Yosemite because you would have to pass through Merced before you can access Yosemite National Park.

You can find a lot of beaches in Merced, as well as an adequately functioning railway aid and a pretty affordable airline known as the Merced Regional Airport.

If you are in search of the top things to do in Merced, CA? then you are in the right place. Here is a list of the top attractions in Merced.

Things to Do in Merced

1. Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Merced National Wildlife Refuge
Credits: ggcarrle / Shutterstock
Merced National Wildlife Refuge

The Merced National Wildlife Refuge was incorporated in 1951 and has a land area of about ten thousand acres.

The wildlife refuge has a landscape varying from wetlands to grasslands to vernal pools and riparian areas. The wildlife refuge is beautiful.

The place is made in such a way that its vernal pools bring frozen water During the winter to flow from the surroundings when it begins to melt.

The Merced National Wildlife Refuge makes available breeding grounds for many wintering species like geese, waterfowl, and shorebirds.

The wildlife sanctuary doesn’t just care for its resident animals and species; it also has some land for farming and pasture grazing.

This place would be perfect for a tour and some great pictures, and it’s a family-friendly place to visit. You can come along with friends also and have an excellent experience.

Address:7430 W Sandy Mush Rd, Merced, CA 95341

2. Merced County Courthouse Museum

Merced County Courthouse Museum
Credits: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr
Merced County Courthouse Museum

This courthouse museum is affectionate about giving the account of those who once lived in the Great Central Valley in the city of Merced.

The Merced County Courthouse Museum has its doors open from Wednesdays to Sundays. They are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The museum has three floors, and it was the city’s courthouse for about a hundred years. It was established in 1875 and has been in use since then.

It can be located between W.21st and N streets. The place was built by Albert A. Bennett with an Italian structural style.

The building is one of the oldest buildings in the history of California, and it is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

From the great stories of the history of Merced county to its picturesque gallery in outlook, the courthouse museum is perfect for a visit.

Address: W 21st & N Street, Merced, CA 95340

3. Lake Yosemite

Lake Yosemite
Credits: Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock
Lake Yosemite

If you love water bodies, here’s a place with lots of fun things to do in Merced, CA! Lake Yosemite is a perfect example of a fantastic water body.

Lake Yosemite can be found in the Sierra foothills outside Merced. The lake was built in 1888 for the purpose of irrigation.

Lake Yosemite is an artificially created freshwater body, and it makes water available to nearby farms in the city.

The lake is accessible to adults and children alike, and it has a list of fun things to do, including boat riding, water-skiing, sailing, and kayaking among many others.

You can also take a swim at the specified spots for swimming. There is a place for barbeques, and you can have a picnic in the shades close to the shores.

Everyone is welcome to Yosemite Lake. It’s a great place for kids as they have a playground. Parents and dating couples can also visit and have a blast of fun.

Address: Merced County, California

4. Playhouse Merced

 Playhouse Merced
Credits: Playhouse Merced / Facebook
Playhouse Merced

You can’t run out of things to do in Merced, CA, when the Playhouse is still functional. It’s a great place to visit and spend the day.

The playhouse is a live-action theater, and it was incorporated in 1994. It is one of the top-rated theater organizations in Merced.

At the playhouse, you’ll get to see dances, children’s plays, comedies, and even masterpiece creations, and they’re all live performances.

This place is perfect for a family visit and with loved ones. It’s a place that’s geared toward ensuring entertainment for all.

The playhouse Merced is also a well-known venue for epic shows and annual events. You can decide to catch a show or two with your kids.

There is nothing more wholesome than the fact that the performers are good at what they do. So visit with your friends and family and enjoy the shows!

Address:452 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340, Phone: 209-725-8587

5. Vista Ranch and Cellars

Vista Ranch and Cellars
Credits: Bukhta Ihor / Shutterstock

The Vista Ranch and Cellars is a pretty good ranch with a vineyard, a picnic area, and many other cool features.

The Vista Ranch is located at Bear CreekRanch, which belongs to George Fancher. The ranch is about twenty acres of land.

The ranch also has many acres of land used for farming, and its produce is immense. From vegetables like broccoli to sweet corn, they’ve got it.

This place’s farm-fresh produce is sold on various occasions at their farm market. The area is perfect for a visit, and you can get good food at affordable prices.

You could also find a small vineyard where wine is made at the ranch. The wine is delicious, and they are available to try out by visitors.

So if reasonably priced farm-fresh produce, an exquisite tasting room, a great wine collection, and a vineyard pique your interest, do visit sometime.

Address:7326 CA-140, Merced, CA 95340, Phone: 209-722-8200

6. Applegate Park Zoo

Applegate Park Zoo
Credits: theksu / Shutterstock

Applegate Park Zoo was established in 1962, and it features many animal habitats for its resident animals. Its visitors can safely observe these habitats.

The Applegate Park zoo is an animal hub that is zoological in nature, and it accommodates animals from various wildlife refuge centers.

The park also accentuates various picnic areas suitable for family and friends as they visit. They also have a playground to keep the kids busy.

While at the park, you’ll also get to see their gift shop, which is run by the Merced Zoological Society, where you can get a lot of good items and host events.

The park e is excellent for a family outing trip since it has a generally friendly environment, and you can’t run out of something interesting to do.

Great views are not all you can get from a visit to the Applegate Park Zoo. There’s also a playground and an excellent place for a meal. Visit sometime!

Address:1045 W 25th St, Merced, CA 95340,

7. Merced Fruit Barn

Merced Fruit Barn
Credits: Arseniy Rossikhin / Shutterstock

The Merced Fruit Barn is the perfect place to visit for things to do in Merced, CA, as it is a friendly environment for everyone.

The fruit barn sells an assortment of farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, and even honey. There’s so much to buy as well as see at the fruit barn!

The fruit farm can be located toward Yosemite at east highway 140. You’ll also see sweet and healthy delicacies like dried fruits and candied fruits at the fruit farm.

The sweet treats don’t end there. You’ll also see dried nuts, marmalade, homemade jams, preservatives, and even gift baskets.

When you’ve bought all the great stuff you want, you can try some of them out on the lawn, which has its picnic tables.

As far as tourist attractions are concerned, the Merced fruit barn is a great way to spend the day with your friends!

 Address:4526 E, CA-140, Merced, CA 95340, Phone: 209-385-2222

8. The Branding Iron Restaurant

The Branding Iron Restaurant
Credits: Thomas Hawk / Flickr
The Branding Iron Restaurant

Branding Iron restaurant is an American restaurant named after the celebration of California and its rich ranching history.

You’ll savor great dishes like the prime-cut steak, seafood, and other delicious meals at the Branding Iron Restaurant.

This place is a perfect destination for those who look forward to some good steaks and seafood. You’ll be eating in a charming setting. 

The Branding Iron restaurant has been functional for over seventy years and has been the choice of the people of Merced ever since.

Kara and Greg Parle own the place, and their top-notch upkeep of the Branding Iron Restaurant has given the place its excellent reputation today.

As much as great meals, an exquisite environment and a world-class steak are concerned, the Branding Iron is a perfect destination for a visit!

Address:640 16th Street, Merced, CA 95340

Are you considering exploring California, here is a guide on things to do in San Marcos, and things to do in Redlands for a fun vacation

9. Rockin’ Jump

Rockin' Jump
Credits: Ninafotoart / Shutterstock

Here’s another family-friendly place to visit if you are looking for the best things to do in Merced, CA. The Rockin’ jump is perfect for a tour.

Rockin’ Jump is a trampoline park with a great deal of fun waiting for its visitors. The park features various games and sporty activities for everyone.

From the trampoline dodgeball to the wall climbing arena to slam dunk and open jump arenas, the Rokin’ Jump offers a lot of fun activities.

There’s also a stunt bag area for kids. So they can live out their dream of flying like the famous hero superman and even do acrobatic stunts mid-air.

The arena has many possibilities, and it is suitable for those who don’t intend to split up during a visit. Moreover, you can do a lot of these activities with friends.

There’s also an elimination game where players can knock their opponents off their respective beams called the X-beam. It’s a must-visit location.

Address:1230 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340

10. Jantz Café & Bakery

Jantz Café & Bakery
Credits: Art_rich / Shutterstock

No vacation is complete without a great place to eat, and almost everyone likes pastries. This is why Jantz Café and Bakery is on the list.

The Jantz Café and Bakery is a beautiful café and bakery that features great bread, confectioneries, and sweets all week long.

It’s also a suitable place to grab a light breakfast and some lunch whenever needed. It is more than just a bakery.

The Café is well known for its specially made strawberry pie which has some cream on it as well as a triple scoop brownie which makes customers come back for more.

The breakfast isn’t that bad either, as they have meals like oatmeal, omelets, biscuits and gravy, burritos, and sandwiches.

You can’t afford to miss paying the Jantz Café and Bakery a visit and trying out their homemade special strawberry pie with their triple chunk brownies.

Address: 3361 G St, Merced, CA 95340, Phone: 209-726-5157

11. Toni’s Courtyard Cafe

Toni's Courtyard Cafe
Credits: Toni’s Courtyard-Cafe / Facebook
Toni’s Courtyard Cafe

Toni’s Courtyard Café is a restaurant with an exquisite taste in Mediterranean food. The Courtyard Café is a perfect destination for a great meal.

The café is based on a Tuscan restaurant that serves American and Italian dishes. You’ll get to see the beautiful design in the café.

Aside from Mediterranean dishes, Toni’s Courtyard Café also serves regular meals such as omelets, bread, toasted pumpkin, and oatmeal, to mention a few.

The Café has various outstanding features, but its most admirable outdoor patio is perfect for taking pictures.

If you’re ever in Merced, you should visit Toni’s Courtyard Café and see their beautiful paintings used as their interior design.

The resident artist made the artworks and paintings, making every part of the Café a picturesque view. Visit with your friends!

Address: 516 W 18th Street, Merced, CA 95340, Phone: 209-384-2580

12. The Merced Multicultural Arts Center

Merced Multicultural Arts Center
Credits: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

It’s very easy to love artworks and diverse cultural heritages when you see and learn about them. The Merced Multicultural Arts Center is such a place.

The multicultural arts center is laden with the responsibility of upholding the cultural history and heritage of Merced county.

It does this by igniting and encouraging the love of art in Merced. The multicultural arts center is located at 645 W. Main Street.

The multicultural arts center consists of about twenty-eight thousand square feet of arts hub featuring a concert venue as well as a gallery.

You’ll get to see various beautiful arts and crafts by a local artist on interim display at the multicultural arts center.

There’s so much one could learn about Merced at the multicultural arts center with your friends. It’s also a great place to take one-of-a-kind pictures. It’s only a trip away.

Address:645 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340, Phone: 209-388-1090

13. Laura’s Fountain

Laura’s Fountain
Credits: Andy Tolsma / Flickr
Laura’s Fountain

It’s believed that a fountain is a perfect place to cast a coin and make a wish. Most of the wishes are considered to be for true love.

Here’s a fountain in Merced that is well known for its coin tosses and a wish to find true love and a tragic story about the fountain.

Mr. Charles Huffman built Laura’s fountain in memory of his wife Laura after she passed on. The fountain has been a tourist attraction ever since.

The fountain was relocated from the El Capitol Hotel to the Applegate Park in 1935. The fountain was built in 1888.

Laura’s fountain is a great place to stop by with your loved ones and just admire its beautiful structure. You can also make a wish for a good one at the fountain.

The fountain is an excellent place with a mix of a good love story behind it and its tragic origin. You’ll surely enjoy a visit to the fountain.

Address: M St, Merced, CA 95340, United States

14. The Partisan

The Partisan
Credits: photokirov / Shutterstock

The Partisan was created in the eighteenth century by the locals of Merced, and it been functional ever since.

The building was once used as a saloon from 1885 to 1888 and a furniture store. Rudy’s Jazz and Blues pub also rented it.

Since 2007, the partisan has been a venue for live music. It presently contains a bar that has a bar of cocktails and significant events.

The Partisan hosts karaoke nights as well as parties and special themed nights. It’s an overall location for fun and a good time.

The place is perfect for a visit with friends if you’re looking out for fun things to do in Merced, and you are sure to enjoy your stay.

Delicious cocktails, karaoke, and a good party are all it takes to light up a dark mood at the Partisan. If you’re in or around Merced, do visit!

Address: 432 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340, United States

15. Merced County Fair

Merced County Fair
Credits: Renee Foskett / Shutterstock

There’s always something interesting at fairs, and Merced has its own county fair to raise money for its community and neighboring areas.

You can’t run out of things to do in Merced, especially at a county fair. The Merced County Fair has a variety of entertainment, music, and racing games, among many.

The County fair is full of fun activities in store for its visitors. The County fair is also full of exhibits on display for many to see and admire.

The County fair also hosts an auction for its exhibits on display, and many visitors participate in the auction for the best set of products in the exhibition.

Within the exhibits are a variety of topics of interest ranging from agriculture to gardening to photography and even mechanical science.

The County fair holds every June once a year, and it’s a great place to spend the day and get cool stuff with friends and family. You should visit if you’re in Merced by June.

 Address: 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Merced.

Are you planning an exploration of California? here is a guide on things to do in Vacaville and things to do in Santa Maria for a fun trip.

16. Merced Dog Park

Merced Dog Park
Credits: FotoES / Shutterstock

We all know that a dog is a man’s best friend, and what better way to spend time with your furry friend than at the park?

Merced Dog park is perfect for dog owners who can’t be away from their pets for long or don’t have a caretaker for them.

Most tourist sites and attractions have a “no pet” policy, so it’s a delight to see a place where you can bring your dog and have some fun with them.

The park has about eight acres of land and is well-spaced for a good game of fetch with your dog.

There are also water fountains available for the dogs( low water fountain) and their owners (regular water fountain).

The park also has a lot of seating areas available for visitors just in case they get exhausted from playing fetch with their pets. It’s a great place to visit!

Address:R St & W Yosemite Ave Merced, CA 95348.

17. Merced Antique Mall

 Merced Antique Mall
Credits: Merced Antique Mall / Facebook
Merced Antique Mall

What’s not to like about fabulous antiques and one-of-a-kind items? The Merced Antique Mall is a go-to location for visitors, residents, and tourists alike.

The antique mall is a place comprising antiques and collectibles which occupy about seven thousand five hundred square feet of its building.

The place also has a basement full of treasures that remind you of the good old days. What’s better is that the antiques are changed at intervals so don’t get bored.

You need not to worry about getting attended to because the antique mall has up to thirty antique dealers which you can choose from.

If you think you’ve seen it all, this antique mall is highly recommended for you as you’ll get to know a lot of limited collections of various items.

From toys to ceramics to books to rare cards, the antique mall is sure to have something that catches both you and your kid’s attention.

Address: 320 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340, United States

18. Merced Flea and Farmer’s market.

Merced Flea and Farmer’s market.
Credits: Chubykin Arkady / Shutterstock

There’s almost nothing you can’t find in the flea market, and if you’re all about a good bargain, then the Merced Flea Farmers market is the right place for you.

The Merced Flea Farmer’s market was built in the 1980s by the Merced County after the land area was rented out for a farmer’s fair.

One of the purposes of the market was to raise funds to sustain certain things in the county, and it is still being run today.

The Farmer’s Market has about four thousand customers daily, which makes its two hundred vendors always active.

Customers can never run out of things to do or buy, and it’s rare to see a merchant at the farmer’s market having a slow business.

This place is perfect for those looking for the best things to do in Merced, CA. The market has a variety of fresh farm produce, among many other things. Visit sometime!

Address: 900 G St, Merced, CA 95341, United States

19. Castle Air Museum

Castle Air Museum
Credits: Don Barrett / Flickr
Castle Air Museum

The Castle Air Museum is about thirteen minutes away from downtown Merced. It was established in 1981.

Castle Air Museum has many aircraft from the Second World War as well as other places. Its first exhibit was the B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft in 1981.

If you’re looking for the top things to do in Merced, the Castle Air Museum should be part of your list since it’s not too far from Merced.

The museum is an excellent place to visit with your family and friends as you can learn a lot about military aircraft and how they helped humanity in various ways.

Castle Air Museum has a total of forty-nine aircraft in its collection, and it arguably has the rarest military aircraft collection in the world.

This is a great place to visit with your kids and take great pictures to show off to their friends. Do well to see the place sometime.

Address: 5050 Santa Fe Dr, Atwater, CA 95301, United States

20. Henderson Park

Henderson Park
Credits: Phae / Flickr
Henderson Park

There are many fun things to do in Merced, CA, and Henderson Park is an excellent location for a wholesome day out with family and friends.

Henderson Park is a couple of minutes away from Merced, and it is located in an area enclosed by tall trees, which makes for shade in the park.

The park is excellent for an outdoor experience as it is a place you can relax. Aside from kayaking and canoeing, the park has a lot in store for its visitors.

The park is located in Snelling, California, and is considered to the best park in the county. The park is a great place for awesome pictures as well.

Many county Parks have a “no swimming” policy, but the Henderson Park doesn’t, as its water is open for swimming.

The park is also an excellent place for a lovely picnic with friends as it has beautiful and lush grass for a good breeze. Come experience the fun for yourself!

Address: 2641 Merced Falls Rd, Snelling, CA 95369, United States

21. Elmer Murchie Park

Elmer Murchie Park
Credits: Rock and Wasp / Shutterstock

When you think about green lush grass and beautiful horizons as well as a picturesque environment, the Elmer Murchie Park should come to mind.

Located at Jacob’s Drive, the Elmer Murchie Park has a land area of about three acres, and it has an excellent variety of amenities to enjoy.

The park is a great place to walk your dog and play exciting games. You could spend the whole day playing catch with your dog at the park.

The place is ideal for a family day out and a day out with your friends. There are benches all over the park, as well as bike paths for kids to ride.

Adults can also ride their bikes on the paths if they feel like it. The park also has a barbecue grill accessible to anyone who’s in for it.

The Elmer Murchie park also features playgrounds, drinking fountains, a soccer field for kids, among many others, which makes it a great place to visit

Address: Jacobs Dr, Merced, CA 95348, United States

22. Fahrens Park

Fahrens Park
Credits: wellphoto / Shutterstock

Fahren’s park is another excellent place to spend the day with your family and friends. The location is perfect for a picnic.

You can get snacks in the park, and there are many other activities lined up for those looking for fun things to do in Merced.

The Park is located at Buena Vista Drive, and it has a lot of visitors on weekdays. It is open from 10 am to 3 pm.

Fahren’s park features an exciting barbecue place as well as bike paths for everyone to ride along. There are also playgrounds for kids in the park.

You’ll also get to see a disc golf course at the Fehren Park. It’s a great place to test your accuracy and compete with your friends or kids at the game.

It’s impossible to rule out fun activities from the Fehrens Park. They also have restrooms available, which some places don’t. It’s a good idea for a visit.

Address:945 Buena Vista Dr, Merced, CA 95348, United States

23. Rahilly Park

Rahilly Park
Credits: lzf / Shutterstock

The Rahilly Park is a community park with 2.9 acres of land area available for people to visit and spend some time with friends and family.

The park features a playground, picnic shelter, and a bike path for people who come to the park with their bikes.

Located at Parson’s avenue, the park has a great view and a moderately peaceful environment with many exciting activities to do.

The park has a barbecue grill where many excellent grilled food can be made, and it can be eaten in the indoor picnic area.

There’s also a horseshoe pit for those who are feeling a bit competitive and a soccer field. The park has wholesome games to play.

So whether you’re looking for someplace quiet to spend the day or a good place for great games, Rahilly Park has what you are looking for. Do visit sometime!

Address:3400 Parsons Ave, Merced, CA 95340, United States

Check out more cities in California, here is  a guide on things to do in San Juan Capistranothings to do in Indio, and fun things to do La Quinta in for a fun time

Plan a Trip to Merced

The city of Merced is a beautiful place to visit or reside. Its beauty and rich history and a great variety of things to do make it a spectacular location.

You are sure to have an experience of a lifetime at Merced. There are a lot of exquisite restaurants, theaters, and museums, among many others.

If you’re in or around Merced, you shouldn’t hesitate to explore these attractions.