Things to do in Bakersfield – California

Explore Vibrant Cultural Experiences in Bakersfield

Bakersfield is a city with a rich heritage and a vibrant arts scene. It offers a range of attractions and activities that showcase its unique cultural experiences, making it an ideal destination for tourists looking for a mix of entertainment and education.

Nature and Adventure

Bakersfield is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Tourists can explore the city’s natural beauty while enjoying activities such as hiking, camping, and sightseeing. For those looking for a unique outdoor experience, we recommend visiting the Wind Wolves Preserve, the largest non-profit nature preserve on the west coast. Here, visitors can take self-guided hikes, observe wildlife, and participate in seasonal events.

Museums and Art Galleries

Bakersfield boasts an impressive collection of museums and art galleries that offer a glimpse into the city’s cultural past and present. The Bakersfield Museum of Art features works from local artists, as well as traveling exhibits from across the country. The Kern County Museum is another must-see destination that documents the region’s history, from the pioneer era to the oil boom.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Bakersfield is home to a variety of cultural events and festivals that celebrate the city’s diverse heritage. The annual Greek Festival is a popular event that features traditional Greek food, music, and dance. History buffs will enjoy the annual Civil War Days, which offers reenactments, exhibits, and lectures about the Civil War era. For a unique experience, visitors can attend the Dia de los Muertos celebration, a Mexican holiday that honors deceased loved ones with music, food, and art.

Bakersfield offers a variety of entertainment options that cater to all interests. Its vibrant arts scene, historic landmarks, and scenic outdoor spaces make it a top destination for tourists. Stay tuned for our recommendations on the best places to eat, stay, and play in Bakersfield.

Indulge in Bakersfield’s Food Scene

When it comes to experiencing the flavors of Bakersfield, your taste buds are in for a treat. This city is known for its diverse and delicious food scene, which showcases a variety of local and international cuisines that are sure to satisfy any craving.

One of the best ways to explore Bakersfield’s food scene is to visit the city’s many restaurants and eateries. From traditional American fare to exotic international dishes, there’s something for everyone. Some of the best places to visit in Bakersfield for foodies include:

Restaurant Cuisine
The Padre Hotel Modern American
La Costa Mariscos Mexican Seafood
Cafe Med Mediterranean
Pho 88 Vietnamese

In addition to restaurants, Bakersfield is also home to a variety of food trucks and markets, which offer unique culinary experiences and a chance to sample local specialties. Some of our favorite food trucks include The Grilled Cheese Truck and The Green Shack, while the Kern County Farmers Market is a great place to discover fresh produce and artisanal goods.

For those looking to embark on a more curated dining experience, food tours are a great way to discover the best of Bakersfield’s food scene in one adventure. Options include the Bakersfield Food Tours and the Grape Adventures Wine Tours, which explore local wineries and vineyards.

Whether you’re a foodie or simply looking to experience the best of Bakersfield, the city’s food scene is not to be missed. Be sure to add these places to visit in Bakersfield to your list of best things to do in Bakersfield.

Uncover Bakersfield’s Historical Landmarks

Bakersfield is rich in history, and there are many landmarks that offer a glimpse into the city’s past. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique experience, these points of interest should be on your list of places to visit in Bakersfield.

1. Kern County Museum

The Kern County Museum is an outdoor museum that showcases the history of Kern County and Bakersfield. It features over 50 historic buildings, including a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse, and an oil derrick from the early 1900s. The museum also hosts special events throughout the year, such as Pioneer Village Days and a holiday festival.

2. Padre Hotel

The Padre Hotel is a Bakersfield landmark that has been around since 1928. The hotel has hosted many famous guests over the years, such as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy. Today, the Padre Hotel is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, with its rooftop bar offering stunning views of the city.

3. Fox Theater

The Fox Theater is an iconic Bakersfield landmark that has been around since 1930. It was designed in the Art Deco style and features a stunning interior with intricate details and murals. The theater hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, movies, and theater performances.

4. Bakersfield Museum of Art

The Bakersfield Museum of Art is dedicated to promoting the visual arts in Bakersfield. It features a collection of over 1,400 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. The museum also hosts special exhibitions and events throughout the year.

These are just a few of the historical landmarks that Bakersfield has to offer. Be sure to add them to your list of places to visit in Bakersfield to get a glimpse into the city’s rich past and culture.

Experience Bakersfield’s Outdoor Adventures

When it comes to outdoor activities, Bakersfield has plenty to offer. From hiking and biking to fishing and camping, there are numerous opportunities for visitors to explore the beauty of the surrounding area.

One of the most popular destinations is the Kern River, a great spot for fishing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. The nearby Lake Ming is another great location for water-based activities, including boating and swimming. For those who prefer to stay on land, the Kern River Parkway Trail offers scenic views and a chance to explore the area’s wildlife.

Another popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts is the Wind Wolves Preserve, a natural habitat for many species of plants and animals. Visitors can hike the trails and enjoy the stunning views of the San Joaquin Valley. The Tejon Ranch, a sprawling 270,000-acre property, is also a popular destination for hiking, camping, and exploring the rugged landscape.

Bakersfield Outdoor Activities: Location:
Kern River Kern County
Lake Ming Bakersfield
Kern River Parkway Trail Bakersfield
Wind Wolves Preserve Kern County
Tejon Ranch Lebec

Experience Bakersfield’s Outdoor Adventures

For hiking enthusiasts, the Pacific Crest Trail runs through the nearby Tehachapi Mountains and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is a challenging but rewarding experience that attracts hikers from all over the world.

Bakersfield is also home to several parks, including the Hart Memorial Park, which features picnic areas, playgrounds, and hiking trails. For those who want to combine their outdoor activities with a touch of history, the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History is a must-visit destination. The museum is home to a collection of fossils and exhibits that showcase the area’s natural history.

  • Kern River
  • Lake Ming
  • Kern River Parkway Trail
  • Wind Wolves Preserve
  • Tejon Ranch

Whether you’re an avid hiker, a water sports enthusiast, or simply enjoy spending time outdoors, Bakersfield has something for everyone. Plan your visit today and discover the natural beauty of this vibrant city.

Best Places to Stay in Bakersfield

When planning your visit to Bakersfield, finding the perfect place to stay is key to making your trip enjoyable and comfortable. Here are some of our top picks for accommodations in the city:

Hotel Location Price Range
The Padre Hotel Downtown Bakersfield $$
The Padre Hotel Downtown Bakersfield $$
The Padre Hotel Downtown Bakersfield $$

The Padre Hotel is a stunning boutique hotel located in the heart of Downtown Bakersfield. It boasts luxurious rooms and suites, exceptional dining options, and a rooftop bar with breathtaking city views. For those looking for more budget-friendly options, there are many affordable hotels and motels along the city’s main highways.

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bakersfield

If you’re looking to stay in a specific neighborhood, here are some recommendations:

  • Downtown: The heart of Bakersfield, this area is perfect for those who want to be in the center of the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene.
  • Laurelglen: Located in the southwest part of the city, this neighborhood is known for its spacious parks and family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Oildale: Just a few minutes north of Downtown, this neighborhood offers a more laid-back atmosphere and is a great option for those looking for affordable accommodations.

Overall, Bakersfield offers a range of accommodations to suit any budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel or a cozy motel, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant California city.

Explore Surrounding Areas of Bakersfield

While Bakersfield itself has plenty to offer visitors, the surrounding areas are also worth exploring. Here are some nearby towns, scenic drives, and unique attractions that offer additional options for visitors looking to expand their Bakersfield adventure.

The Tehachapi Loop

The Tehachapi Loop is a fascinating engineering marvel located about an hour’s drive from Bakersfield. This circular railroad track is located in the Tehachapi Pass and allows trains to climb the steep mountain terrain. Visitors can watch trains loop around the track from a viewing platform and learn about the history and mechanics behind this impressive feat of engineering.

Lake Isabella

For outdoor enthusiasts, a visit to Lake Isabella is a must. This beautiful reservoir located about an hour’s drive from Bakersfield offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and hiking. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains, Lake Isabella is a tranquil and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Sequoia National Forest

Just a short drive from Bakersfield lies the Sequoia National Forest, home to some of the largest trees in the world. Visitors can hike among the towering sequoias, explore crystal-clear streams, and observe wildlife in its natural habitat. With over a million acres to explore, the Sequoia National Forest is a stunning natural wonder that should not be missed.


A quick 30-minute drive from Bakersfield will take you to the small oil town of Taft. The town has a rich history steeped in oil production, and visitors can learn about the industry and its impact on the town at the West Kern Oil Museum. Taft is also home to the Taft Ale House, a popular brewery and restaurant where visitors can try locally brewed beers and delicious food.


The small town of Caliente, located about an hour’s drive from Bakersfield, is a hidden gem that is worth exploring. The town has a rich railroad history, and visitors can learn about it at the Caliente Railroad Depot. Caliente is also home to the Devil’s Den, a unique geological formation that features towering cliffs and stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape.

With these nearby towns, scenic drives, and unique attractions, visitors to Bakersfield can expand their horizons and experience even more of the beauty and diversity that California has to offer.

Discover Bakersfield’s Arts and Music Scene

When it comes to arts and culture, Bakersfield has a lot to offer. From art galleries to music venues, the city’s creative community is thriving. Here are some of our top picks for experiencing Bakersfield’s arts and music scene:

Art Galleries

Bakersfield boasts a diverse range of art galleries, featuring local and national artists. The Bakersfield Museum of Art, located in Central Park, is a must-visit for both contemporary and traditional art enthusiasts, and often hosts exhibitions and events throughout the year. Another notable gallery is The Art Space, which showcases the work of local artists and offers workshops and classes for aspiring creatives.

Music Venues

Bakersfield has a rich music history, and the city continues to be a hub for emerging and established artists. The Fox Theater is a historic venue that has hosted countless musical legends, including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Another popular spot is the Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, a restaurant, and music venue named after the legendary country musician. Visitors can enjoy live performances from local and national acts while indulging in delicious comfort food.


Bakersfield’s music and arts scene also offers a variety of events throughout the year. The Kern County Fair, held annually, features live music, art exhibitions, and other cultural attractions. The Bakersfield Jazz Festival is another must-see event for music lovers, featuring local and national jazz artists. Other events include First Friday, a monthly art walk showcasing local artists, and Art After Dark, an event that combines art, music, and food.

Whether you’re an art aficionado or a music lover, Bakersfield’s vibrant arts and music scene has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore this aspect of the city during your visit.

Family-Friendly Activities in Bakersfield

Looking for some fun-filled family activities during your visit to Bakersfield? We’ve got you covered with a list of kid-friendly attractions and experiences that will keep everyone entertained.

1. Visit the California Living Museum

Also known as CALM, the California Living Museum is a unique zoo and botanical garden that showcases the native plants and animals of California. Kids can get up close and personal with local wildlife, including mountain lions, bears, and bald eagles. The museum also offers educational programs and interactive exhibits that are perfect for curious little minds.

2. Explore Murray Family Farms

Murray Family Farms is a beloved local attraction that offers a variety of activities for families to enjoy. Take a wagon ride tour of the farm, pick your own fruits and vegetables, or let the kids play in the farm-themed playground. There are also seasonal events like pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms that are perfect for making lasting family memories.

3. Head to Camelot Park

Camelot Park is an indoor and outdoor amusement park that offers a variety of rides and attractions for kids of all ages. From mini-golf and go-karts to bumper boats and arcade games, there’s something for everyone. They also offer special packages for birthday parties and group events.

4. Visit the Kern County Museum

The Kern County Museum is a great place to explore Bakersfield’s history with the entire family. The museum features over 50 historic buildings and exhibits that offer a glimpse into the city’s past. Kids will love the hands-on activities and interactive exhibits that make history come alive.

5. Get Creative at Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine is a pottery painting studio that offers a fun and creative activity for the whole family. Choose from a variety of ceramic pieces and let your imagination run wild as you paint and decorate your creation. It’s a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

These are just a few of the many family-friendly activities that Bakersfield has to offer. So pack up the kids and get ready for a fun-filled adventure in our vibrant city!

Shop ’til You Drop in Bakersfield

Bakersfield offers a variety of shopping experiences, from bustling shopping centers to unique local boutiques. Whether you are in search of the latest fashion trends or hunting for a one-of-a-kind treasure, Bakersfield has something for everyone.

Indoor Shopping Centers

For a classic shopping experience, head to one of Bakersfield’s indoor shopping centers. The Valley Plaza Mall is a popular destination, featuring a wide range of stores including Macy’s, H&M, and Victoria’s Secret. The Shops at River Walk is another indoor option, boasting a mix of high-end stores and restaurants.

Valley Plaza Mall The Shops at River Walk
Bakersfield attractions Bakersfield attractions
Places to visit in Bakersfield Places to visit in Bakersfield
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Local Boutiques

If you’re looking for something unique, Bakersfield’s local boutiques are a must-visit. The Artisan Alley in downtown Bakersfield offers a collection of locally made crafts, art, and clothing. For fashion-forward finds, head to LuLu’s Boutique or Dear Danger.

  • Artisan Alley
  • LuLu’s Boutique
  • Dear Danger
Artisan Alley LuLu’s Boutique Dear Danger
Bakersfield attractions Bakersfield attractions Bakersfield attractions
Places to visit in Bakersfield Places to visit in Bakersfield Places to visit in Bakersfield
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Don’t miss out on the chance to shop ’til you drop in Bakersfield!

Dive into Bakersfield’s Nightlife

As the sun goes down, Bakersfield comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. From live music to comedy clubs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Live Music Venues

Music lovers won’t want to miss out on Bakersfield’s iconic venues. The Fox Theater is a historic art deco theater that hosts a variety of concerts and events throughout the year. For a more intimate setting, head to the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, where you can catch local and national acts. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is another must-visit venue, known for its country music and unique decor featuring memorabilia from the legendary Buck Owens.

Bars and Lounges

When it comes to grabbing a drink, Bakersfield offers plenty of options. The Padre Hotel’s rooftop bar, Prospect Lounge, offers stunning views of the city and a sophisticated atmosphere. For a more casual vibe, head to Lengthwise Brewing Company’s pub, where you can enjoy their award-winning craft beer and delicious food. For a unique experience, stop by Temblor Brewing Company, where you can enjoy a game of mini-golf or shuffleboard while sipping on a cold brew.

Comedy Clubs

Get ready for a night of laughter at one of Bakersfield’s comedy clubs. The Rocket Shop Cafe hosts comedy nights every Friday, featuring both local and touring comedians. Savage Cinema Club also hosts monthly comedy shows, as well as film screenings and other events.

Whether you’re in the mood for live music, cocktails, or a good laugh, Bakersfield’s nightlife scene has something for everyone.

Bakersfield’s Annual Events and Festivals

When it comes to events and festivals, Bakersfield has something for everyone throughout the year. From cultural celebrations to music festivals and sporting events, there’s always something happening in this vibrant city.

Kern County Fair

The Kern County Fair is one of the most popular events in Bakersfield, drawing thousands of visitors each year. Held in late September, the fair features a wide variety of attractions, including live music, carnival rides, and agricultural exhibits. Visitors can also enjoy mouthwatering fair food, from deep-fried favorites to classic cotton candy.

Whiskey Flat Days

Every Presidents’ Day weekend, Bakersfield celebrates its Wild West heritage with Whiskey Flat Days. The festival takes place in Kernville, just a short drive from the city, and features live music, street vendors, and Western-themed activities for all ages. Visitors can even witness a staged gunfight between cowboys and outlaws.

Bakersfield Jazz Festival

The Bakersfield Jazz Festival is a must-attend event for music lovers. Held in May, the festival showcases some of the best local and national jazz musicians, as well as other genres of music. Visitors can relax on the lawn at the California State University Bakersfield Amphitheatre and enjoy the smooth sounds of the saxophone and trumpet.

Bakersfield Country Music Festival

If country music is your jam, then the Bakersfield Country Music Festival is not to be missed. Held in late April, this festival features some of the biggest names in country music, performing on multiple stages throughout the weekend. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of food and drink vendors, as well as Western-themed merchandise.

Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza

Every Fourth of July, Bakersfield puts on a spectacular fireworks show, lighting up the night sky over the Kern River. The event takes place at the Kern County Fairgrounds and features live music and food vendors. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the festivities with family and friends.

These are just a few examples of the many events and festivals that take place in Bakersfield throughout the year. Whenever you choose to visit, you’re sure to find something exciting and fun to experience.

Enjoy Bakersfield’s Sports Scene

If you’re a sports enthusiast, you’ll love Bakersfield’s vibrant sports scene. From local teams to recreational activities, the city offers plenty of options for visitors to enjoy. Whether you prefer to watch a game or participate in outdoor activities, Bakersfield has something to offer.

One of Bakersfield’s most popular sports attractions is the Rabobank Arena, Theater and Convention Center, which hosts a wide range of sporting events throughout the year. You can catch professional basketball, hockey, and indoor football games, as well as wrestling matches and other events.

If you prefer to participate in sports, Bakersfield has several recreational areas where you can enjoy outdoor activities. The Kern River Parkway Trail offers an opportunity for hiking, jogging, and biking with stunning views of the Kern River, while Lake Ming provides water sports such as fishing, boating, and water skiing.

If you’re looking for a unique sporting experience, check out the Bakersfield Speedway, where you can catch exciting dirt track racing events. The speedway offers weekly events during the season, so be sure to check their schedule to catch the action.

No matter what your sports preferences are, Bakersfield has something to offer to sports lovers. From exciting events to outdoor activities, the city has a diverse range of options to suit every taste.

Unwind at Bakersfield’s Parks and Recreation Areas

For visitors looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Bakersfield offers a variety of parks and recreation areas to enjoy. These spaces provide opportunities for outdoor relaxation, recreation, and connecting with nature.

One such space is the Kern River Parkway Trail, a scenic trail that runs along the Kern River and is perfect for hiking, biking, and bird watching. For water enthusiasts, the Lake Ming offers boating, fishing, and water sports. Another popular park in Bakersfield is the Hart Park, which features hiking trails, picnic areas, and a wildlife sanctuary.

Bakersfield also boasts several community parks, including the Murray Family Park, which has playgrounds, a splash pad, and sports facilities, and the Riverwalk Park, which offers a serene atmosphere for picnics and walks along the Kern River.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an active day outdoors, Bakersfield’s parks and recreation areas offer something for everyone and are a must-visit during your trip to the city.

Plan Your Visit to Bakersfield

Now that you’ve explored all the amazing things to do and see in Bakersfield, it’s time to start planning your trip. Whether you’re coming for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, there’s plenty to experience in this vibrant city.

Getting There

Bakersfield is easily accessible from major cities throughout California and beyond. The city has its own airport, Meadows Field Airport, which offers direct flights to cities like Phoenix, Denver, and San Francisco. If you’re driving, Bakersfield is located at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and is easily accessible via major highways like I-5 and State Route 99.


Bakersfield is known for its warm, sunny weather, with average temperatures ranging between 50°F and 90°F throughout the year. The summer months can get quite hot, with temperatures reaching up to 100°F or more.

Where to Stay

When it comes to accommodations, Bakersfield has a range of options to suit all budgets and preferences. From budget-friendly motels to luxury hotels, there’s something for every traveler. Some popular options include the Hotel Rosedale, Best Western Plus Hill House, and DoubleTree by Hilton Bakersfield.

Getting Around

Getting around Bakersfield is easy thanks to its well-planned streets and highways. If you’re flying into Meadows Field Airport, renting a car is a convenient option. The city also has a public transportation system called GET (Golden Empire Transit), which offers bus routes throughout the city.

When to Visit

Bakersfield is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is between March and May or September and November. During these months, the weather is mild and comfortable, and there are fewer crowds than during the summer months.

Final Thoughts

With so many incredible things to see and do in Bakersfield, it’s no wonder why it’s a popular destination for travelers of all kinds. From its vibrant cultural scene to its delicious food and beautiful outdoor spaces, Bakersfield has something for everyone. So start planning your trip today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!


Q: What are some popular attractions in Bakersfield?

A: Some popular attractions in Bakersfield include the Bakersfield Museum of Art, the California Area Living Museum, and the Kern County Museum.

Q: Where can I find the best places to eat in Bakersfield?

A: Bakersfield is known for its diverse and delicious food scene. Some highly recommended places to eat include Woolworth’s Diner, Moo Creamery, and Luigi’s Restaurant.

Q: Are there any historical landmarks in Bakersfield?

A: Yes, Bakersfield has several historical landmarks worth exploring. Some notable sites include the Fox Theater, the Kern County Museum, and the Padre Hotel.

Q: What outdoor activities can I do in Bakersfield?

A: Bakersfield offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking in the Kern River Parkway, visiting Hart Memorial Park, and exploring the Wind Wolves Preserve.

Q: What are some recommended places to stay in Bakersfield?

A: Recommended places to stay in Bakersfield include The Padre Hotel, Hotel Rosedale, and Best Western Plus Hill House.

Q: Are there any surrounding areas of Bakersfield worth visiting?

A: Yes, there are several surrounding areas near Bakersfield that offer additional attractions. Some worth exploring include Tehachapi, Lake Isabella, and the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

Q: Does Bakersfield have a thriving arts and music scene?

A: Yes, Bakersfield has a vibrant arts and music scene. Visitors can explore art galleries like the Metro Galleries, catch live performances at the Fox Theater, or attend music events like the Kern County Fair.

Q: Are there any family-friendly activities in Bakersfield?

A: Yes, Bakersfield offers family-friendly activities such as visiting the Murray Family Farms, exploring the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, and enjoying the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Q: Where can I go shopping in Bakersfield?

A: Bakersfield has several shopping centers, boutiques, and local markets where visitors can shop till they drop. Some popular options include Valley Plaza Mall, The Marketplace, and the Bakersfield Farmers Market.

Q: Does Bakersfield have a vibrant nightlife?

A: Bakersfield has a vibrant nightlife with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. Visitors can enjoy live music at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, dance the night away at Elements Venue, or relax at craft beer bars like Lengthwise Brewing Company.

Q: What annual events and festivals take place in Bakersfield?

A: Bakersfield hosts a variety of annual events and festivals throughout the year. Some popular ones include the Bakersfield Jazz Festival, the Kern County Fair, and the Fourth of July Spectacular.

Q: Are there any sporting events or activities in Bakersfield?

A: Yes, Bakersfield has a thriving sports scene. Visitors can catch a Bakersfield Condors hockey game, participate in recreational activities at the Bakersfield Sports Village, or watch races at the Kern County Raceway.

Q: Where can I unwind and enjoy nature in Bakersfield?

A: Bakersfield has several parks and recreation areas where visitors can relax and enjoy nature. Some recommended spots include Yokuts Park, Riverwalk Park, and Hart Memorial Park.

Q: What practical information should I know for planning a visit to Bakersfield?

A: When planning a visit to Bakersfield, consider transportation options such as the Meadows Field Airport and the Amtrak station. Additionally, check the weather forecast and pack accordingly for the best experience.