Bakersfield, nestled in the heart of California’s Central Valley, is a hidden gem that’s often overlooked by travelers. But let me tell you, this city is brimming with activities that can charm visitors from all walks of life. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, Bakersfield has something special in store for you. So, buckle up as we dive into the top 10 things to do in this vibrant city.
1. Explore the Kern County Museum
First up, the Kern County Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s rich history. With exhibits that transport you back to the early days of the oil boom and the pioneer era, it’s a must-visit for anyone curious about the past. Strolling through the museum’s Pioneer Village, with its collection of over 50 historic buildings, is like stepping into a time machine.
2. Catch a Show at the Fox Theater
For the culture vultures, the Fox Theater is an absolute treat. This historic venue, dating back to 1930, is not only an architectural marvel but also a hub for live entertainment. From concerts to comedy shows, there’s always something happening here. And trust me, the ambiance is just as captivating as the performances.
3. Get Outdoors at Hart Park
If you’re itching for some fresh air and greenery, Hart Park is the place to be. With acres of open space, picnic spots, and trails, it’s perfect for a family outing or a solo adventure. Don’t forget to pack a lunch; picnicking here is a local favorite pastime.
4. Savor the Local Cuisine
Foodies, rejoice! Bakersfield’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of traditional and modern flavors. Be sure to try the famous Basque restaurants, where family-style dining is the norm. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, local ice cream shops offer unique flavors that you won’t find anywhere else.
5. Visit the California Living Museum (CALM)
Animal lovers can’t miss the California Living Museum, affectionately known as CALM. This zoo and botanical garden focuses on native Californian species, offering an intimate look at the state’s diverse wildlife. It’s educational, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to spend the day.
6. Take a Drive Along the Kern River Parkway
For those who love scenic drives, the Kern River Parkway is a dream come true. This stretch of road runs alongside the Kern River, offering stunning views and plenty of spots to pull over and soak in the natural beauty. Whether you’re on a bike or behind the wheel, this parkway is a breath of fresh air.
7. Enjoy Live Music at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
Country music fans, you’re in for a treat at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. This legendary music venue and museum pays homage to the Bakersfield Sound. With live music, great food, and a collection of memorabilia, it’s a toe-tapping, heartwarming experience.
8. Hit the Links at Bakersfield’s Golf Courses
Golf enthusiasts will find plenty of greens to conquer in Bakersfield. The city boasts several well-maintained courses that cater to all skill levels. Whether you’re looking to play a leisurely round or challenge yourself, you’ll find the perfect course here.
9. Shop and Stroll in the Downtown Arts District
The Downtown Arts District is a hub for creativity and commerce. With galleries, boutiques, and eateries, it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon of shopping and exploration. The murals and public art installations add a splash of color to the experience.
10. Attend a Race at Kern County Raceway Park
Last but not least, for those who crave high-octane excitement, the Kern County Raceway Park delivers. This state-of-the-art facility hosts a variety of racing events that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. It’s fast, it’s loud, and it’s unforgettable.
- What’s the best time of year to visit Bakersfield?
Spring and fall offer the most pleasant weather, making them ideal times to visit. Summers can be quite hot, while winters are mild.
- Is Bakersfield family-friendly?
Absolutely! Many attractions, like CALM and Hart Park, are great for kids and families.
- How can I experience the Bakersfield Sound?
Head to Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace for live music, or visit the Kern County Museum for a historical perspective.
Bakersfield is a city that may surprise you with its diverse array of activities and attractions. From the historical treasures at the Kern County Museum to the lively tunes at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, there’s a slice of Bakersfield for every taste. Outdoor spaces like Hart Park offer a natural escape, while the Downtown Arts District provides a cultural feast for the senses. Whether you’re here for the food, the music, or the great outdoors, Bakersfield’s top 10 things to do are sure to leave you with lasting memories. So why not pack your bags and see for yourself what this California City has to offer?