Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Bakersfield, CA

  • Published 2022/05/10

Filled with lush green forests and majestic views, Bakersfield draws people of all ages.

The county seat of Kern County, Bakersfield places much emphasis on its art and cultural scenes.

Home to stunning parks, lakes, and hiking trails, it’s a slice of heaven for nature lovers.

At the same time, the city also boasts impressive museums, restaurants, and a charming downtown area.

Interested in what else you can do and see in this enchanting city?

Here are the best things to do in Bakersfield, California:

Visit the Hart Memorial Park

Tranquil water at Hart Memorial Park

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Hart Memorial Park is one of the top attractions of Bakersfield.

The place is filled with panoramic scenes of this Californian city and is one of the best places to spend time in Bakersfield.

A man fishing in a pond at Hart Memorial Park

Richard Thornton /

Located in the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains along the gorgeous Kern River, Hart Memorial Park is a vast space open to the public.

Built on a vast area of almost 360 acres, the park is open to the public.

Peacock at Hart Memorial Park

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It is even blessed with a lake with many fish like bass and rainbow trout.

There are even many options for hiking and fishing that bring in a lot of tourists and even locals.

Get Amazed at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Pastel buildings at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

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Most of you might have been familiar with Buck Owens, an iconic Californian singer-cum-songwriter.

The Crystal Palace built by Buck Owens was not essentially his home, but it was a music studio built for his personal uses.

Now, it’s a museum entirely dedicated to him.

Front view of Buck Owens' Crystal Palace

Skyman9999, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the museum, you will be able to find a lot of documents related to his music career.

There are a lot of memorabilia and instruments he used.

You will also be able to find one of the best steakhouses in Bakersfield inside the Crystal Palace.

Closeup of an building at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace

Richard Thornton /

Check Out the Art of the Bakersfield Museum of Art

Entrance of Bakersfield Museum of Art

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The scenic Bakersfield is already a work of art itself, but you’ll find more remarkable art pieces around the city.

To see some of the most awe-inspiring art in Bakersfield, head to the Bakersfield Museum of Art, formerly known as Cunningham Art Gallery.

Front view of Bakersfield Museum of Art

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There are four galleries inside the museum of art.

The funding for this lovely museum came from the house of the iconic Walter Osborn family.

Close up of the tall yellow building at Bakersfield Museum of Art

Richard Thornton /

Pay a Visit to the Kern County Museum

Exterior view of Kern County Museum

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The Kern County Museum was established to preserve Kern County’s cultural heritage.

Kern County has a rich history, and the museum exhibits this in quite an engaging way.

Name board of Kern County Museum

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The museum, which first opened its doors to the public in 1941, has a lot of pieces from old Californian history.

Clock tower at Kern County Museum

User: (WT-shared) Mistoffeles at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are many treasures hidden in this museum.

It’s up to you to discover them for yourself.

Catch a Show at the Fox Theater

Front view of Fox Theater


One of the landmarks of Bakersfield, the Fox Theater is located downtown, on H Street.

Being situated in one of the city’s best spots, the theater draws in a lot of publicity from the neighborhood and outside of California.

Ticket counter at  Fox Theater

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A building that was constructed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the Fox Theater has a different interior style.

The theater undergoes renovations quite often, making it always look good as new.

A young woman taking picture in front of  Fox Theater

Richard Thornton /

Go Cycling around the Kern River Parkway Trail

Dusty road running parallel to the river in Kern River Parkway Trail

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Running along the gorgeous Kern River, the Kern River Parkway Trail is one of the most enchanting sights in Bakersfield.

The iconic trail happens to be a vast space filled with fun-filled activities to enjoy.

Clean paved road along the Kern River Parkway Trail

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Everything is possible at the Kern River Parkway Trail: jogging, walking, hiking, or even horseback riding.

You can even find mesmerizing lakes along the trail.

Beautiful purple flowers blooming along the Kern River Parkway Trail

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As you go into the park, you will find lots of visual treats.

Don’t forget to bring your cameras to snap photos of all the gorgeous scenes.

Visit The Park at River Walk

Calm waters on the Park at Riverwalk

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The Park at River Walk is close to the Kern River Parkway Trail.

The best part about this place is that you get to see the amalgamation of two pretty lakes.

Mother duck and ducklings walking on the grass in The Park at River Walk

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An amphitheater is present here, along with a lot of picnic spots.

It is an excellent location to visit with friends and family and have a nice get-together.

A pond surrounded by rocks in The Park at River Walk

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Check Out the Organic Farm at Murray Family Farms

Colorful Name board of Murray Family Farms in the entrance

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In the middle of the gorgeous Californian sun, there lies a beautiful farm: Murray Family Farms.

One of the best places to cherish the Californian greens, Murray Family Farms is a must-visit for those traveling with family and kids.

The farm extends across almost 70 acres of land.

Beautifully painted water tank at Murray Family Farms

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They grow innumerable fruits and vegetables here, including blueberries, strawberries, apples, tomatoes, peaches, artichokes, and apricots.

There are areas where plenty of yellow roses grow during the winter.

Learn Something New at the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

Street view of the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

Skyman9999, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History is one of the best places to check out in Bakersfield to learn about the city’s past.

Bob and Mary Ernst had one of the best collections of fossils from Shark Tooth Hill.

Established in 1995, the museum centers on the couples’ collection of Miocene fossils.

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History also houses taxidermy animals from Africa and a replica of a triceratops skull.

Prepare to have your mind blown!

Check Out Mechanics Bank Arena

Exterior of the Rabobank Arena

Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mechanics Bank Arena, formerly known as Rabobank Arena, is one of the most entertaining spots in Bakersfield.

It serves as a go-to venue for various events in the city, including concerts and performances.

It’s well-lit and aesthetically decorated.

The arena is renowned for holding special Broadway performances and Disney on Ice.

If you’re attending a big event in the Mechanics Bank Arena, it would be best to book a hotel nearby.

There are a lot of accommodations located in the vicinity, which will make it easy for you to go back and forth between your hotel and arena.

Have a Fun Day at Camelot Park

Are you looking for a place to enjoy with your little ones?

Take them to Camelot Park.

The park is filled with things kids love and enjoy, such as attractions like go-karting and mini-golf.

You’ll enjoy spending time here just as much as your kids will!

Have a Delicious Meal at Luigi’s

It won’t come as a surprise if you find yourselves starving after a day filled with sightseeing.

If you’d like to treat yourself to a satisfying meal, head to one of Bakersfield’s staple restaurants: Luigi’s.

This restaurant-slash-grocery store has been a part of Bakersfield since 1910.

When you enter the place, it gives off a vintage vibe.

On the walls, you’ll see many pictures of every famous personality that has visited the restaurant.

Ribs and pasta are their best-loved menu items.

You can also get your hands on some delicious cheese and wine to pair with your meal.

Enjoy the California Living Museum

The California Living Museum (CALM) is one of the most popular spots among families.

If you are in Bakersfield with your kids, add this museum to your itinerary.

Kids always seem to fall in love with the place.

The California Living Museum is a zoo built on almost 14 acres of land.

It’s home to almost 80 different animal species, including exotic and native ones.

The best part about this place is that the institution only cares for damaged or injured animals.

The zoo lets them go back to their natural habitats when they recover.

Have a Green Day at the Sequoia National Forest

Sunlight seeping through the thick leave at Sequoia National Forest

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Bakersfield has some of the best scenes in all of California.

The Sequoia National Forest offers some serene views along with the best hiking trails.

A mother and baby looking at the gigantic trunk of the trees at Sequoia National Forest

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The Pacific Crest Trail is the best among all the trails in the area.

Its paths are well-maintained and evenly paved.

Natural tunnel log at Sequoia National Forest

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The sequoia trees that you’ll see on both sides of the paths are mesmerizing.

The stunning forest is covered with thousands of these trees.

See Performances at The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall

It’s no surprise that the Gaslight Melodrama Theatre is a successful, family-friendly performing arts venue.

The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre is a great place to spend a day with your traveling buddies.

In addition to being delighted by world-class performances, you and your guests may partake in delectable cuisine, locally brewed beer, and superb wine.

The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre is one of the most incredible things to do in Bakersfield, California.

There are various live performances to choose from, including musicals, plays, comedies, melodramas, and seasonal extravaganzas.

You may try its delicious cuisine like popcorn, sandwiches, pizza, salads, and so on as you watch a show.

Wine, beer, and other delightful alcoholic drinks are also available.

Have a Date Night at Wool Growers Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge

Wool Growers Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge is home to famous Basque cuisine in Bakersfield.

Bring your significant other for an extraordinary dining experience.

For years, the restaurant has been a hotspot for celebrities and dignitaries alike, including former president Ronald Reagan.

Its cozy, vintage decor and delicious cuisine have made it a local favorite.

Their foods are also Instagram feed-worthy, so pack your camera before leaving your hotel or Airbnb.

Appreciate the Panorama Vista Preserve

Stunning view of the Panorama Vista Preserve

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The breathtaking Panoramic Vista Preserve is located quite close to downtown Bakersfield.

Occupying both sides of the Kern River, the Panorama Vista Preserve is built on a vast area of land of almost 900 acres.

Three trees lined up one after another at Panorama Vista Preserve

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Can you believe there was once no sign of greenery here?

It was entirely thanks to the efforts of the government and the city’s residents that this area was blessed with nature once again.

Name board of Panorama Vista Preserve with greenery in the background

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Now, the Panorama Vista Preserve is one of Bakersfield’s most popular tourist locations.

Catch a Racing Event at Kern County Raceway Park

Bird's eye view of Kern County Raceway Park

Rickybassman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Kern County Raceway Park is an oval racetrack that hosts various racing events all year long.

Does watching thrilling race broadcasts make you want to get into the driver’s seat?

Drive on over to Kern County Raceway Park if you are.

It’s the place in Bakersfield where you’ll see some of the most breathtaking racing in the area.

Kern County Raceway Park is where to go if you want to see an exciting racing spectacle.

Race cars, motorbikes, little dwarf cars, and the like may be seen in action at this location.

Catch a Baseball Game at Sam Lynn Ballpark

The Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield is a must-visit if you’re a sports lover, at the very least.

Bakersfield has been home to a Blaze Baseball team for seven decades now.

They are a minor league baseball club affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds that play in the California League.

In an unusual scenario, the stadium recently underwent reconstruction.

For the first time in professional baseball history, the Blazers had to start their games at a later hour since their batters confront the sinking sun when they attempt to hit.

Discover the Experiences of People during the Great Depression at Weedpatch Camp

Library and Post office at Weedpatch Camp

Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Weedpatch Camp was established in the 1930s.

In the aftermath of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, it was used as a safe haven for migrant laborers in need.

Community hall in Weedpatch Camp

Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to accommodating migrant workers in need, it also provides educational tours for individuals who want to learn more about the Great Depression’s impact on the United States.

Knowing about what life was like during the Great Depression helps you understand the masses’ struggles.

For an exciting and memorable experience, contact in advance to schedule a tour.

Final Thoughts

People visiting Bakersfield will find many fun activities, from unique museums to exciting amusement parks to busy zoos, beautiful parks, breathtaking art galleries, bustling shopping malls, and many entertainment choices.

It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and have an adventurous holiday.

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