Bakersfield is a city in Kern County, California, on the southern end of the Central Valley. It is a cosmopolitan city built on a foundation of oil, agriculture, and country music.
Much of this past has been incorporated into contemporary attractions, including a burgeoning art and cultural scene backed by a vibrant creative community. This, along with a storied cultural heritage, has established Bakersfield as the West Coast’s Country Music Capital.
The Bakersfield Sound, a kind of country music popularised in the 1950s and 1960s by local artists such as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, would have to be the soundtrack for visiting. At the moment, tourists may experience the Bakersfield Sound at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace and the Kern County Museum, which has a tour of Merle Haggard’s boyhood home.
Additionally, Bakersfield serves as a gateway to the great outdoors. The enormous Kern River runs through the city, paralleled by the pedestrian-only Kern River Parkway Trail. This paved path connects the city’s other stunning open spaces, providing outdoor recreation for the region’s often sunny weather.
Hart Memorial Park is Bakersfield’s crown gem open space. It is located on the banks of the Kern River in the Sierra Nevada foothills, approximately a 20-minute drive northeast of town. And inside its 370 acres, there are several activities to enjoy.
The park is punctuated by picnic tables, playgrounds, and paved walking paths. Additionally, two fishing lakes stocked with rainbow trout, bluegill, and bass are located here. Additionally, the park is strewn with shadow due to the presence of various mature trees.
As a result of these factors, the park is frequently crowded with hikers, family picnickers, and enthusiastic anglers.
Hart Memorial Park is also a popular destination for disc golfers. Two disc golf courses wind across the park’s various landscape. A somewhat flat 18-hole course winds across the manicured gardens beside the river. The other course, Shark Tooth Mountain Disc Golf Course, is a difficult 18-hole course that winds across the mountainsides.
Hart Memorial Park is located inside the vast Kern River County Park. Additionally, this huge county park features area attractions such as the neighbouring California Area Living Museum (CALM) and Lake Ming. Additionally, it is the site of a bigger regional soccer complex.
Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace combines the functions of a music venue, restaurant, and museum. It is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and is dedicated to the preservation of the Bakersfield Sound.
Perhaps the most well-known aspect of the Crystal Palace is its modern and classic country western shows and dance. Each week, the lineup features a variety of artists. Attend these popular weekly gatherings dressed in western attire. For dinner and a performance, the Crystal Palace menu ranges from appetisers to main stage fare.
The on-site Buck Owens’ Museum is also a compelling reason to visit. It features artefacts and interpretive information on the career of the local performer, as well as the evolution of country western music in the United States as a whole.
To gain a better understanding of the Bakersfield Sound, the Kern County Museum features a special exhibit devoted to the musical phenomenon.
Bakersfield, California 2800 Buck Owens Boulevard
The Kern County Museum is a popular educational excursion for families located just north of downtown. It transports visitors to Kern County’s mythical past through costumed characters and well-preserved antiquities and architecture.
Over 60 ancient houses comprise the museum’s outdoor Pioneer Village, a 16-acre living history museum. These structures range from jail cells on trains to homesteading huts and small enterprises. While many of these constructions are only visible from the outside, others include plexiglass windows that allow visitors to peer inside.
Within the town, an interactive display delves into the city’s oil history, demonstrating how black gold fueled Kern County’s expansion. Additionally, the Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center is located on-site, combining science instruction with hands-on learning.
Buck Owens is featured prominently in the museum, and the “Bakersfield Sound” exhibit pays tribute to a number of notable performers who developed their sound in Bakersfield. Visitors may learn more about local legend Merle Haggard both in the exhibit and in the museum’s Haggard House–the historic home where Merle was born and raised.
Bakersfield, California 3801 Chester Avenue
Downtown Bakersfield offers the most densely packed experience of Bakersfield culture. This sprawling downtown area stretches east and west along Chester Avenue for several city blocks. Hundreds of cafes and elegant stores draw visitors here.
This is also the place to go shopping in Bakersfield, whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or unusual antiques.
The 18hundred and Locale Farm to Table Eatery are two notable downtown gourmet eateries. Additionally, the Woolworth Diner and the Padre Hotel are popular neighbourhood establishments.
And for a romantic evening or a celebration meal, visit the Horse in the Alley vintage steakhouse, which is housed in one of the city’s oldest structures, dating all the way back to the 1890s.
Shopping in downtown might easily consume a whole day. Local boutiques sell contemporary clothing, yet the city is probably best known for its antiques part. Several of these antique dealers are located off Chester Avenue between 19th and 20th streets.
Here, businesses such as 19th Street Antique Mall and Merry Go Round Antique Mall stock unusual treasures just waiting to be discovered.
The Fox Theater, which opened on Christmas Day 1930, is a historic venue in Bakersfield that is renowned for its exquisite design and excellent acoustics. It began as a silent-movie theatre and eventually exhibited some of the first “talkies” to include touch-screen technology.
Today, live music performances take over the Fox Theater’s stage, providing an excellent accompaniment for appreciating the stunning interior.
Throughout the 1980s, this architectural gem came dangerously close to being demolished. Community efforts rescued it, and in 1994, the Fox Theater Foundation founded and re-invented the theatre.
Bakersfield, California 2001 H Street
The Kern River Parkway Trail connects the Kern River Parkway Trail to The Park at Riverwalk, located southwest of downtown. This wonderful municipal park is bordered by two duck-filled lakes and a charming cobblestone creek that circulates the water.
The stream that connects the lakes meanders through the remainder of the 32-acre park, with several wonderful footbridge crossings.
The two connected lakes are well-known for their fishing, with bass, carp, and crappie caught all year. Additionally, the park is a popular location for family picnics and leisurely strolls, and the place truly shines after night.
The Dignity Health Amphitheatre, located within the park, is one of the county’s largest outdoor venues, hosting live music festivals and events throughout the year. This stunning outdoor arena frequently hosts shows attended by thousands.
Bakersfield, California 11298 Stockdale Highway
The Kern River Parkway Track is a non-motorized walking trail that runs the length of the city along the banks of the scenic Kern River. It’s a free and enjoyable way to spend the day that connects a variety of natural areas and outdoor attractions. Panorama Park, Beach Park, and The Park at Riverwalk are just a handful of the parks along the route.
This scenic corridor is popular with strollers, joggers, and cyclists. Kern River is a Sierra Nevada Mountain watercourse. Often, it is completely dry when it reaches the city. Nonetheless, this desert habitat provides vegetation along the way as well as a lovely route to follow.
The California Living Museum (CALM) is located northeast of downtown, near Hart Memorial Park, as part of the larger Kern River County Park. It is recognised by the Zoological Association of America and provides a safe haven for injured and non-releasable California native animals.
CALM’s mission is to connect the community to indigenous wildlife via education, inspiration, and hands-on experience. CALM is home to black bears, bighorn sheep, and a variety of wildlife.
Lake Ming, which is also located inside Kern River County Park and is a short drive from CALM, adds additional scenic appeal and a camping area. Picnic tables and shaded areas line this man-made recreational lake, which is ideal for fishing and picnicking near the beach.
Kern River Campground is located on the lake road and allows travellers to stay in tents or RVs with nearby flushing toilets and showers.
Bakersfield, California 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway
The Bakersfield Museum of Art (BMoA) opened in 1956 and has provided a window into Kern County’s artistic community for over 60 years. The museum’s permanent collection includes works by California painters from the twentieth century.
The BMoA rotates its collection in and out of exhibition on a regular basis and hosts visiting national exhibits, ensuring that each visit provides something new to observe.
Paintings, sculptures, and photography are the most prevalent mediums at the BMoA. Around three galleries house the majority of the artwork on display, as well as a beautifully lighted lobby
Additionally, the museum features an outdoor Tejon Ranch Sculpture Park, which is ideal for admiring art in bright weather.
The museum has an active programme of events throughout the year. Yoga at the Museum and First Fridays Free Admission are two popular programmes. Throughout the week, educational programmes for children and adults are also held.
Adjacent to the Bakersfield Museum of Art, the beautifully stunning Mill Creek Park and boardwalk provide an excellent spot for a daytime respite. It has a one-of-a-kind covered bridge and a sizable green space.
Additionally, this linear park features playgrounds, park seats, and a scenic walk that follows an old irrigation canal.
Bakersfield, California 1930 R Street
Panoramic Park is located on the city’s northern outskirts, perched atop a cliff overlooking the Kern River. It’s an excellent spot to visit at any time of day, but especially around sunset. It is mostly a linear park connected by a paved hiking trail that connects two parks with parking on both ends. With a two-mile hike, visitors may complete the park’s loop.
Near the park, enough parking is available along Panoramic Drive. Bring binoculars or a zoom lens to concentrate on the abundant scenery on the canyon’s rim. Along with the riparian corridor along the Kern River, guests may view the huge oil fields upon which Bakersfield was built.
The remainder of Panorama Vista Preserve is located below Panoramic Park and on the other side of the Kern River.
This natural area is recovering into the magnificent woodland environment it once was, thanks to citizen initiatives and massive replanting operations. It’s becoming increasingly popular for low-impact trail activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Bakersfield, California 901 E Roberts Lane