30 Things to do in Merced

In the San Joaquin Valley of California, in the United States, the Things to do in Merced city of Merced serves as both the county seat and the county’s largest city. The city’s population increased to 86,333 as of the 2020 Census from 78,958 in the 2010 Census.

Due to its foundation in agriculture, the great outdoors and environment still play a significant role in this area. Yosemite is close by, and the county provides a fantastic staging place off of east Highway 140.

The wildlife refuge terrain includes riparian zones, vernal pools, grasslands, and wetlands. The animal sanctuary is lovely. The area is constructed in such a manner that its vernal ponds draw melted snow from the surroundings throughout the winter.

Many wintering species, including geese, ducks, and shorebirds, have nesting grounds accessible thanks to the Merced National Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife sanctuary contains some acreage for farming and pasture grazing in addition to caring for its resident animals and species.

This location is ideal for a tour and some fantastic photos, and it’s a terrific destination for families. You may go along with pals and have a great time as well.

List of things to do in Merced

Here is the list of things to do in Merced during your visit such as Merced national wildlife refuge, Merced fruit barn, Applegate park Zoo, Merced county courthouse museum, Merced multicultural arts center, Castle air museum, playhouse Merced, Branding iron restaurant,

1. Merced County Courthouse Museum

Merced County Courthouse Museum Merced

The history of folks who originally resided in the city of Merced’s Great Central Valley is lovingly recounted in this courtroom museum. The Merced County Courthouse Museum is open every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Mondays and Tuesdays are their off days.

The three-story museum once served as the city’s courthouse for about a century. Merced county courthouse Museum has been in use ever since it was founded in 1875.

Between W. 21st and N streets is where you may find it. Albert A. Bennett used an Italian structural design when he created the location. The structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is among the earliest structures in central Californian history.

2. Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Merced National Wildlife Refuge Merced

Due to its remarkably diverse topography, the Merced national wildlife refuge in Merced CA is home to a diverse mix of flora and animals and spans an astounding area of over 10,000 acres.

In addition to permanent grasslands that are home to elk, deer, and rabbits, the Refuge has wetlands where ducks, geese, and other plants may be found. The Merced national wildlife refuge is worth visiting at any period of the year since it has so much to offer throughout the year.

3. Applegate Park Zoo

Applegate Park Zoo Merced

The Applegate Park Zoo is currently home to more than half of the animals, who were formerly housed in wildlife rescue facilities. The 1962-founded park houses numerous habitats for the animals to live in, giving visitors a glimpse into their natural surroundings.

Several picnic areas, as well as a playground, are provided for visitors in the county park who want to have their meals outside.

Additionally, the Merced Zoological Society (MZS) runs a gift shop and plans special events and get-togethers from which the zoo receives a portion of the revenues.

4. The Community Theatre

The Community Theatre Merced

The community not only owns and operates this theater, but it also benefits the community. It serves as both a place of learning and a fantastic location to catch top-notch live theater. One of the biggest attractions in Merced CA, the theater draws more than 40,000 visitors annually. The theatre offers a variety of entertainment, including musicals, comedies, and even kid-friendly productions.

5. Lake Yosemite

There are dozens of enjoyable activities in Merced, California, if you enjoy water bodies. The ideal illustration of a wonderful body of water is Lake Yosemite.

In the Sierra foothills outside of Merced CA is Lake Yosemite. Yosemite lake was constructed in 1888 with irrigation in mind. An artificially made freshwater lake, Lake Yosemite, provides water to the city’s neighboring fields.

Both adults and kids may use the lake, and there are many enjoyable activities there including boating, water skiing, sailing, and kayaking. At the locations designated for swimming, you can also go swimming.

You may enjoy a picnic in the shade near the coastlines and there is a location to have barbecues. Lake Yosemite is open to everyone. Kids will love it because there is a playground there. Parents of newly-dating couples are both welcome to attend and have a blast.

6. Playhouse Merced

 Lake Yosemite Merced

There are always things to do in Merced, California as long as the Playhouse is open. It’s a wonderful spot to explore and spend the day. The playhouse Merced was formed in 1994 and is a live-action theater. It is regarded as one of Merced’s best theatrical groups.

You may watch dances, kid’s plays, comedies, and even masterworks at the theatre, and they’re all live performances. A trip here with family or close friends is ideal. It’s a location designed to make sure that everyone can have fun there.

The Merced theatre is a well-known location for monumental performances and yearly festivities. You can choose to take your kids to a few shows.

7. Merced Fruit Barn

Merced Fruit Barn Merced

Honey, dried fruits, and nuts are among the many locally produced foods offered by Merced Fruit Barn. Ice cream and deli sandwiches are also available at Merced fruit barn. The barn also has a number of farm animals and picnic spaces.

But the best fresh and dried fruits in all of California can be found in Merced fruit Barn, which is the major incentive to come. If you get hungry while you’re there, the deli offers great fresh sandwiches that you may eat while admiring the animals at picnic tables.

8. The Merced Multicultural Arts Centre

The Merced Multicultural Arts Centre Merced

The MMAC is a terrific place to examine art, take classes, or even attend a live performance of theater or music in the so-called Black Box. Since it was finished in 1996, the center, which is located in a former department store, has been a popular destination.

Since its founding, the MMAC has received several honors, including those for “American Architecture” and “Arts and Quality of Life.”

9. Vista Ranch and Cellars

The Vista Ranch and Cellars is a decent ranch with a picnic area, a vineyard, and lots of other interesting things. George Fancher’s Bear Creek Ranch is where the Vista Ranch is situated. Approximately twenty acres of land make up the ranch.

The Vista ranch also contains a sizable amount of farmland, and it produces a staggering amount of food. They have everything, including sweet corn, sweet treats, and veggies like broccoli. At their farm market, this location often sells farm-fresh food. It’s a great place to visit, and you can eat well for a reasonable price.

The Vista ranch also has a small vineyard where wine is produced. Visitors may sample the delectable wine, which is offered.

10. The Partisan

The Partisan Merced

The live music venue in Merced has been locally owned, locally operated, and locally made since 2007. The tavern is located in a building from the 18th century.

Between 1885 and 1888, the state’s historic resources inventory was a bar before changing its name to Fred Clough’s Furniture Store. Before The Partisan, Rudy’s Jazz and Blues Club and Trails End Pub occupied the space.

Partisan hosts Karaoke nights in addition to a variety of live bands and DJs. At this tavern, you may get beer, cocktails, and food. If you’re lucky, the pub will host special events, parties, and themed evenings.

11. Merced Agriculture Museum

Merced Agriculture Museum Merced

The Merced agriculture museum is an excellent resource for learning more about the agricultural sector, which has always played a significant role in Merced. The Merced agriculture museum features a functional blacksmith shop as well as an extensive collection of vintage home and farming equipment. An interesting model of the future New Yosemite Valley Railway is also on display in the museum.

12. Fahrens Park

Fahrens Park Merced

Another great area to spend the day with your family and friends is Fahren’s Park. The area is ideal for a picnic. Snacks are available at the park, and there are a ton of additional events planned for those searching for something entertaining to do in Merced.

Fahren’s Park has a fun BBQ area and open-access bike lanes for everyone to use. Kids can play on playgrounds throughout the park.

Fahrens Park also features a disc golf course. It’s a terrific location to put your accuracy to the test and play the game with your friends or kids.

13. The Branding Iron Restaurant

The Branding Iron Restaurant Merced

American restaurant Branding Iron is named in honor of California and its long history of ranching. The Branding Iron Restaurant serves excellent fare including prime-cut steak, shrimp, and other delectable entrees.

For people who enjoy tasty steaks and seafood, this area is the ideal vacation spot. You’ll be having dinner at a lovely location. Since it opened more than 70 years ago, the Branding Iron restaurant has been a favorite among Merced residents.

The establishment is owned by Kara and Greg Parle, and because of their exceptional maintenance work, the Branding Iron Restaurant has earned a stellar reputation in the community. The Branding Iron is the ideal place to go when you want delicious food, a luxurious setting, and a world-class steak.

14.  Hilmar Cheese Company

Hilmar Cheese Company Merced

The Hilmar Cheese Company is the only place to go if you enjoy cheese in Merced. With an astounding daily production of one million pounds of cheese, the facility is the biggest single-site cheese factory in the whole world. Visitors may take a tour of the facility, observe the cheese being packed, and receive plenty of free cheese to try.

15. Rockin Jump Trampoline Park

 Rockin Jump Trampoline Park Merced


If you are seeking the top fun things to do in Merced, California, here is another family-friendly location to check out. For a tour, the Rockin jump is ideal. Visitors to the trampoline park Rockin Jump are in for a lot of fun. Everyone can play games and engage in sports at the park.

The Rokin’ Jump provides a variety of entertaining activities, such as trampoline dodgeball, wall climbing, slam dunking, and open jump arenas.

Kids can use the stunt bag area as well. So kids may fulfill their desire to fly like the well-known superhero Superman and even do acrobatic maneuvers while in the air. The arena is ideal for individuals who don’t want to break up while visiting because it offers a variety of options.

16. Merced County Fair

Merced County Fair Merced

Every June, the Merced County Fair is held for the benefit of the neighborhood and the surrounding region. The fair offers thrilling rides, midway games, rodeo, tractor pull, auto and motor racing, spectacular entertainment, and music headliners.

The fair has a wide range of exhibits, including subjects such as mechanical science, big and small animal showing, judging, and auctions, as well as agriculture, gardening, floriculture, art, photography, crafts, hobbies, and home arts like baking and sewing.

17. Jantz Café & Bakery

Jantz Café & Bakery Merced

Without a fantastic restaurant, no holiday is complete, and practically everyone enjoys pastries. Jantz Café and Bakery is on the list for this reason. Great bread, confections, and sweets are available every day of the week at the gorgeous Jantz Café and Bakery.

Additionally, you may have a quick lunch or light breakfast there anytime you need to. It’s not just a bakery, either. The Café is well renowned for its uniquely crafted, cream-topped strawberry pie and triple-scoop brownie, both of which keep visitors coming back for more.

They offer items like oatmeal, omelets, biscuits and gravy, burritos, and breakfast sandwiches, which aren’t all that awful either.

18. Oh Wow Nickel Arcade

Oh Wow Nickel Arcade Merced

Each game at Oh Wow Nickel Arcade costs 10 cents or less to play, and there is over 100 total. There are a variety of contemporary and vintage games, such as air hockey and skeeball, and tickets may be won and redeemed for rewards.

19. Toni’s Courtyard Café

Toni’s Courtyard Café Merced

A restaurant with great taste in Mediterranean cuisine is called Toni’s Courtyard Café. The Courtyard Café is the ideal place to go for a delicious supper.

The café provides both American and Italian cuisine and is modeled after a Tuscan eatery. You may see the café’s exquisite decor.

Along with traditional breakfasts such as omelets, bread, toasted pumpkin, and oatmeal, Toni’s Courtyard Café also provides Mediterranean food.

The Café boasts a number of exceptional characteristics, but its beautiful outside terrace is the best for photos. If you’re ever in Merced, you should go to Toni’s Courtyard Café to view the lovely paintings that were utilized to decorate the interior.

20. Merced Dog Park

Merced Dog Park Merced

The eight-acre Merced Dog Park has more attractions than other public parks combined. There is a steady flow of water, so you’ll be able to remain hydrated. You and your dog may drink from the fountains inside the covered area, which has a high and low water dispenser, instead of carrying your dish.

The dog park is close by, and there are also public restrooms. Dog park stands out from the others due to the quantity of open space it offers. In this park, it’s simpler to play activities like fetch and catch. There are places for people to sit all across the park.

21. Laura’s Fountain

Laura’s Fountain Merced

It is said that casting a penny into a fountain will grant your request. The majority of the desires are said to be for real love.

Here is a famous Merced fountain noted for its coin tosses, a yearning to find true love, and a terrible backstory. Following his wife Laura’s death, Mr. Charles Huffman erected Laura’s fountain in her honor. Since then, the fountain has been a popular tourist destination.

In 1935, the fountain was moved from the Hotel El Capitol to Applegate Park zoo. In 1888, the fountain was constructed.

22. Merced Antique Mall

Merced Antique Mall Merced

round 7500 square feet of antiques and collectibles can be found in the Merced Antique Mall, which also has a large basement filled with memorabilia.

With more than 30 dealers, it often updates its inventory. In its selection, everyone may discover something they enjoy. Among the various items available are books, clothes, jewelry, home goods, toys, sports, magic, Pokémon, and Yugioh cards, as well as blades.

It is a great place to visit if you’re seeking vintage vinyl. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a sign appears directing to the store’s basement, where there’s even more stock.

23. Merced Flea and Farmer’s market

Nearly everything can be found at a flea market, so if you’re looking for a good deal, the Merced Flea Farmers Market is the place for you.

After renting out the land area for a farmer’s fair, Merced County established this market in the 1980s. The market, which is being operated today, has as one of its goals raising money to support particular county-wide initiatives.

The Farmer’s Market sees roughly 4,000 visitors each day, keeping its 200 sellers busy all the time. There is always something for customers to do or purchase, and it’s uncommon to see a vendor at the farmer’s market doing slow business.

24. Hollywood Theaters – Mainplace Stadium Cinema

Hollywood Theaters - Mainplace Stadium Cinema Merced

Moviegoers may purchase food and drinks at the Hollywood Theaters – Mainplace Stadium Cinema. The cinema offers free parking as well as a Pac-Man arcade game.

25. Castle Air Museum

Castle Air Museum Merced

Downtown Merced can be reached from the Castle Air Museum in roughly thirteen minutes. It was started back in 1981.

Many aircraft from the Second World War are on display at the Castle Air Museum. In 1981, the B-17 Flying Fortress airplane served as its first exhibit.

The Castle Air Museum needs to be on your list of must-see attractions in Merced because it’s close by and one of the best things to do in Merced.

With your family and friends, the museum is a great destination since you can learn a lot about military aircraft and how they have benefited society in numerous ways.

26. Cue Spot Billiards

Cue Spot Billiards Merced

Cue Spot Billiards features a ton of billiard tables for customers to play at, and a jukebox provides the music. A ping pong table is also available, and the bar offers a large variety of bottled sodas and beers.

27. Rahilly Park

Rahilly Park Merced

Rahilly Park is a neighborhood park with 2.9 acres of space for visitors to enjoy alone or with friends and family.

The park has a playground, a covered picnic area, and a cycling lane for those who bring their bikes. The park, which is near Parson’s Avenue, has wonderful natural landscapes, a relaxed atmosphere, and a variety of fun things to do in Merced.

There is a BBQ grill in the park where delicious grilled food may be prepared, and there is an inside picnic area where it can be consumed.

28. Henderson Park

Henderson Park Merced

In addition to the numerous entertaining activities available in Merced, California, Henderson Park is a great place to spend a healthy day out with loved ones.

Henderson Park is a short distance from Merced and is situated in a surrounding area with big trees that provide shade for the park.

The park is a great spot to enjoy the outdoors since you can unwind there. In addition to kayaking and canoeing, the park offers a number of other activities to its guests.

The best county park is Henderson park, which is situated in Snelling, California. The park is a fantastic location for stunning photos as well.

29. Merced Fairgrounds Speedway

Merced Fairgrounds Speedway Merced

A 1/3-mile dirt track, the Merced Fairgrounds Speedway hosts IMCA events and promotes sprint car racing. From the grandstand, spectators may watch the race while sipping beverages from the concession stand.

30. Elmer Murchie Park

Elmer Murchie Park Merced

The Elmer Murchie Park should spring to mind when you consider lush, green grass, stunning vistas, and a charming setting. The three-acre Elmer Murchie Park, which is situated near Jacob’s Drive, provides a great selection of attractions to enjoy.

The park is a terrific spot to take your dog for a stroll and engage in fun activities. Playing catch with your dog in the park is something you could do all day long.

Both a day out with your family and friends are perfect to spend here. The park features bike pathways for youngsters to ride along with seats all over it.


What is Merced CA known for?

The city sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to Yosemite,” has an affordable cost of living and a high standard of living. Merced is only a short two-hour trip between San Francisco and Sacramento and is situated adjacent to Yosemite National Park.

What is Merced short for?

From the abbreviated version of the Marian name Maria de la Merced or the title Nuestra Seora de la Merced, which comes from the word Merced, which means mercy. The surname could possibly be a connection to a nearby chapel of the same name that is devoted to the Virgin Mary.


It is lovely to go to or live in the city of Merced. It is a fantastic site because of its beauty, rich history, and wide range of activities to do. At Merced, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Among many other things, there are numerous great restaurants, theaters, and museums. In California’s Merced County, which was established as an agricultural community, nature and the great outdoors are very important.

The area is popular with tourists who wish to keep coming back because there are so many attractions there. Don’t wait to check out these attractions if you’re in or around Merced.

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