The Getaway
15 Things to Do in Bakersfield, CA

Nestled in the heart of California's Central Valley, Bakersfield is a city that boasts a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a vibrant community spirit. Whether you're a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a music lover, Bakersfield offers a plethora of activities to explore. From the iconic sounds of the Bakersfield Sound to the scenic trails of the Kern River, this city invites travellers to discover its many treasures. Bakersfield's agricultural roots and oil industry have shaped its development, creating a city with a rich economic history and a diverse population. Visitors can enjoy a variety of experiences, from exploring local cuisine to attending community events that celebrate the city's heritage.


01 Explore the Kern County Museum

Kern County Museum

Dive into the local history at the Kern County Museum, where exhibits span from the region's indigenous roots to its oil boom days. The museum's Pioneer Village offers a captivating glimpse into the past with over 50 historic buildings set across 16 acres. Visitors can walk through a blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, and oil derrick, among other structures, to get a feel for life in early Bakersfield. The museum also hosts special events and educational programs throughout the year, making it a dynamic place to learn and engage with the community.


02 Enjoy a show at the Fox Theater

fox theatre Bakersfield

Experience the grandeur of the 1930s at the beautifully restored Fox Theater. This historic venue hosts a variety of performances, from concerts to plays, providing an elegant backdrop for a night out in Bakersfield. The theater's ornate interior and state-of-the-art sound system make it a premier destination for entertainment. It's not just a place to watch performances; the Fox Theater is a beloved landmark that represents the city's commitment to preserving its cultural assets.


03 Take a stroll through the Bakersfield Museum of Art

Bakersfield Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Bakersfield Museum of Art, which showcases an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional works. The museum's serene gardens are perfect for contemplation and relaxation. With rotating exhibitions and community art programs, the museum serves as a hub for artistic expression and education. It's a place where visitors can connect with the creative spirit of Bakersfield and gain inspiration from the works on display.


04 Visit the California Living Museum (CALM)

Get up close with California's native wildlife at the California Living Museum, also known as CALM. This zoo and botanical garden focuses on the state's diverse species, offering educational and interactive experiences for all ages. CALM is dedicated to conservation and rehabilitation, providing a sanctuary for injured and orphaned animals. The facility also features beautiful gardens that showcase the region's flora, making it a peaceful retreat for nature lovers.

05 Experience the Bakersfield Sound

Buck Owens' Crystal Palace

Immerse yourself in the city's musical heritage by visiting venues known for the Bakersfield Sound, a genre that revolutionized country music. Buck Owens' Crystal Palace is a must-visit for live music and memorabilia. This genre, characterized by its twangy guitars and raw edge, has influenced artists worldwide. The Crystal Palace not only offers live performances but also serves as a museum dedicated to the legacy of Buck Owens and other country music legends.


06 Hit the trails at Kern River Parkway

Kern River Parkway

Outdoor adventurers can hit the trails at Kern River Parkway, a lush natural space offering miles of paths for biking, running, and walking. The parkway is a peaceful escape within the city limits. It follows the Kern River and provides opportunities for fishing, bird watching, and even kayaking in certain areas. The parkway is a testament to Bakersfield's commitment to outdoor recreation and conservation.


07 Sample local cuisine at the Farmers Markets

Farmers Market a display of a variety of garlic for people to choose from

Savor the flavors of the Central Valley by visiting Bakersfield's farmers markets. Sample fresh produce and artisanal goods while supporting local farmers and vendors. These markets are a celebration of the region's agricultural bounty, featuring everything from stone fruits to nuts and wines. They also serve as community gathering places where locals and visitors alike can enjoy live music, crafts, and cooking demonstrations.


08 Attend a race at Kern County Raceway Park

Feel the adrenaline at Kern County Raceway Park, where you can watch thrilling races on the oval track. The venue also hosts concerts and other events throughout the year. It's a family-friendly environment that offers a variety of racing events, including stock car and motocross, catering to motorsport enthusiasts of all ages. The raceway park is a modern facility that provides an exciting atmosphere for high-speed entertainment.

09 Go antique shopping on 19th Street

Browse through a treasure trove of vintage finds on 19th Street, Bakersfield's hub for antique shopping. Each store offers a unique selection, from furniture to collectibles. This area is known for its charming atmosphere and friendly shop owners who are passionate about their collections. It's a great place to find one-of-a-kind gifts and to learn about the history behind each item.

10 Relax at Hart Park

Hart Park

Unwind at Hart Park, a sprawling outdoor area with picturesque lakes, picnic spots, and ample space for recreational activities. It's a perfect spot for a family outing or a leisurely afternoon. The park also features sports facilities, including baseball diamonds and soccer fields, making it a popular location for local sports events. With its natural beauty and recreational offerings, Hart Park is a beloved oasis for residents and visitors.


11 Learn at the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History is a fascinating destination for those interested in paleontology, geology, and anthropology. The museum's exhibits include fossils and artifacts that tell the story of Earth's history. It's particularly well-known for its extensive collection of Miocene Epoch marine fossils, which were discovered in the nearby Sharktooth Hill area. The museum also offers hands-on activities and educational programs, making it an engaging experience for all ages.

12 Play a round of golf at RiverLakes Ranch

Golfers can enjoy a round at RiverLakes Ranch, a challenging course with stunning water features and well-maintained greens. The course is suitable for all skill levels. With its beautiful landscaping and strategic design, RiverLakes Ranch provides a tranquil yet stimulating environment for golfers. The clubhouse offers amenities such as a pro shop and a restaurant, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Thomas Northcut / Getty Images

13 Watch a performance at the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

For a touch of sophistication, attend a performance by the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. The talented musicians bring classical and contemporary pieces to life in an enchanting setting. The orchestra is a cornerstone of the city's cultural scene, with a history of bringing high-quality musical experiences to the community. Their concerts often feature guest artists and are held in various venues around the city, making classical music accessible to a broad audience.

ORCHESTRA VIOLINIST Yellow Dog Productions / Getty Images

14 Visit the Murray Family Farms

Murray Family Farms

Murray Family Farms offers a delightful day out for families, with opportunities to pick your own fruit, navigate a corn maze, or enjoy a tractor ride. The farm's market sells fresh produce and homemade treats. This family-owned and operated farm emphasizes sustainable farming practices and provides an educational experience about where food comes from. Seasonal events, like pumpkin picking and berry festivals, make it a year-round destination for fun and learning.


15 Take a drive on the historic Route 66

Route 66

Bakersfield is a gateway to the legendary Route 66. Take a drive on this historic highway and explore the roadside attractions that capture the spirit of America's Main Street. The stretch near Bakersfield is dotted with classic diners, motels, and gas stations that evoke the nostalgia of the golden age of road trips. It's an opportunity to step back in time and experience the allure of one of the most famous roads in California.


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