Best Places to Visit in Bakersfield
Bakersfield is located in Kern County at the southern end of the California Central Valley. A city built on a rich history of oil, agriculture, and country music. Much of this history is combined with today’s modern attractions, including new art and cultural scene driven by the creative community. This and rich cultural history have made Bakersfield the country music capital of the West End.
The soundtrack to visit should be Bakersfield Sound, a country music subgenre popularized in the 50s and 60s by local musicians like Buck Owens and Mel Haggard. Today, visitors can experience Bakersfield Sound at places like Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace and Kern County Museum, where they can wander through Merle Haggard’s childhood home.
Bakersfield is also a gateway to the great outdoors. The mighty Kern River runs directly through the city, paralleling the Kern River Park Trail, which is only within walking distance. This paved road connects other natural open spaces in the city, providing outdoor enjoyment for the area’s usually sunny weather.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Bakersfield and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Bakersfield
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Bakersfield:
1. Hart Memorial Park
Hart Memorial Park in Bakersfield’s crown of open space. It is located on the Kern River at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 20 minutes drive northeast of the city. There is more than one way to spend the day on its 370-acre estate.
Picnic tables, playgrounds, and paved walkways surround the park. It is also home to two fishing lakes stocked with rainbow trout, bluegill and perch. The entire park is dotted with the shade of many mature trees. For these reasons, the park is often packed with hikers, family picnickers, and anglers.
Hart Memorial Park is also popular with Frisbee golfers. The park has two disc golf courses that run across different terrains. A relatively flat 18-hole course runs along with landscaped lawns close to the river. The other course, known as the Shark Tooth Mountain Disc Golf Course, is a challenging 18-hole course that sails down the slope.
Hart Memorial Park is part of the larger Kern River County Park. This massive county park also includes nearby attractions such as the California Regional Living Museum (CALM) and Clear Lake. It is also home to a larger regional football center.
2. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is a music venue, restaurant and museum. It is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and is dedicated to keeping the Bakersfield Strait alive and well.
Crystal Palace is probably best known for its contemporary and classical country western concerts and dances. Squads usually include more than one artist each week. Bring some western wear for these popular weekly events. For dinner and shows, Crystal Palace’s menu ranges from appetizer openings to main stage entrees.
The on-site Buck Owens Museum is also another reason to visit. It contains memoirs and revealing information about the general rise of American country western music, as well as the careers of local musicians. The Kern County Museum has a special exhibit detailing the musical phenomenon for a deeper understanding of the Bakersfield Gorge.
Address: 2800 Buck Owens Avenue, Bakersfield, California
Official website: https://www.buckowens.com/
3. Kern County Museum
The Kern County Museum is a favorite educational experience for families north of downtown. It draws visitors into Kern County’s storied history through costumed figures and well-preserved artifacts and buildings.
More than 60 historic buildings make up the museum’s open-air Pioneer Village, a 16-acre living history museum. These buildings range from wagon prison cells to farmhouses and general stores. While many of these buildings are only visible from the outside, others have plexiglass windows to look inside.
Inside the village, an indoor interactive exhibit provides insight into the city’s oil history, showing how black gold has spurred growth in Kern County. Also on site is the Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center, which combines science education with hands-on learning.
Buck Owens is on full display at the museum, and the “Voice of Bakersfield” exhibit highlights the many influential musicians who gave their voices to Bakersfield. Visitors can learn more about local legend Merle Haggard through the exhibit and at the Haggard House on the museum site, the original house where Merle was born and raised.
Address: 3801 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, California
Official website: https://kerncountymuseum.org/
4. Downtown Bakersfield
For the best of Bakersfield culture, head downtown. This major downtown area runs along Chester Avenue and spans two city blocks, east and west. Here, dozens of restaurants beckon you with local menus and trendy shop windows. It’s also a great place to shop in Bakersfield, whether it’s the latest fashion trends or rare antiques.
Some of the notable eateries in the city center include The 1800 and Locale Farm to Table Eatery. Other local favorites include the Woolworth Diner and the Padre Hotel. For an elegant date night or celebratory meal, head to The Horse in the Alley Vintage Steakhouse, located in one of the oldest buildings in the city center and dates back to the 1890s.
Shopping in the city center can easily spend the whole day. The area has local boutiques with a modern twist, but the area is probably best known for its ancient precinct. Many of these antique dealers are located off Chester Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets. Here, places like the 19th Street Antiques Mall and the Merry Go Round Antiques Mall hold rare treasures just waiting to be discovered.
5. California Living Museum (CALM)
The California Museum of Living (CALM) is part of the larger Kern River County Park near Hart Memorial Park, northeast of downtown. It provides a home for injured and unpublished California native animals and is accredited by the American Zoological Association.
CALM is committed to connecting communities with local fauna through education, inspiration and hands-on experience. Animals looked after by CALM include black bears, bighorn sheep and a variety of birds.
Also within Kern River County Park, a short drive from CALM, Clear Lake offers more scenic attractions and campgrounds for overnight stays. Perfect for shore fishing or picnicking, this artificial lake is surrounded by picnic tables and a canopy. Kern River Campground is located on Lake Road, and visitors can spend the night in tents or caravans with flush toilets and showers nearby.
Address: 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway, Bakersfield, California
Official website: http://calmzoo.org/
6. Bakersfield Art Museum
Founded in 1956, the Bakersfield Museum of Art (BMoA) has been a window into Kern County’s creative community for nearly 60 years. The museum’s permanent collection includes 20th-century California artists. BMoA regularly rotates these collections in and out of the exhibit and presents traveling national exhibits that allow you to see something new each time you visit.
BMoA’s most representative tools are painting, sculpture and photography. About three galleries contain a brightly lit hall along with major works on display. The museum also has the open-air Tejon Ranch Sculpture Park, which is pleasant to see art in sunny weather.
The museum fills its calendar of events throughout the year. Some popular activities include yoga at the museum and free admission on the first Friday. Educational programs for children and adults also continue throughout the week.
The beautiful Mill Creek Park and Trail, adjacent to the Bakersfield Museum of Art, is a great place to relax during the day. It features iconic covered bridges and plenty of green space. This linear park is also home to playgrounds, park benches, and a scenic trail running along the old irrigation canal.
Address: 1930 R Street, Bakersfield, California
Official website: https://www.bmoa.org/
7. Panorama Park
Panorama Park is located on the north side of the city, on top of a cliff overlooking the Kern River. A nice place to spend any time of the day, especially at sunset. Primarily, it is a linear park with a paved walking track that connects the two parks and the parking lots on either side. Visitors can hike two miles in the park.
There is ample parking on Panorama Boulevard next to the park. Bring some binoculars or a zoom lens and focus on the expansive view of the canyon rim. Along the riparian corridor that runs along the Kern River, visitors can also see the extensive oil field where Bakersfield is located.
Below Panorama Park and on the other side of the Kern River, the rest of the Panorama Landscape Reserve offers more trails to explore. Thanks to community efforts and an extensive reforestation effort, this scenic area is being restored to what was once lush woodland. It is now popular for low-impact trail activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Address: 901 Roberts Lane, Bakersfield, California
Official website: http://panoramavista.org
8. Sequoia National Forest
Bakersfield has prime views close to the city. The Kern River Gorge begins northeast of downtown and reaches deep into the Southern Nevada Mountains, including the enchanting world of Sequoia National Forest.
This remarkable national park includes wild and scenic rivers, glacier-carved canyons, and at least 30 towering sequoia forests. Popular ways to explore the forest include backpacking and hiking, whitewater rafting and kayaking, and overnight at one of the many campgrounds.
The cross-country Pacific Ridge Trail winds its way north through national forests to Sequoia National Park, with thousands of miles of hiking trails, well-maintained trails, and gravel trails surrounding this lush natural area.
The forest is part of six different designated wilderness areas, including the 95,000-acre Domeland Wilderness. Sequoia National Forest rises to an elevation of 12,000 feet and offers winter activities year-round and semi-annually.
Official website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sequoia/home
9. Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science
The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science is just blocked from the Fox Theater in downtown Bakersfield. It showcases an extensive collection of marine fossils from nearby Shark Tooth Mountain, along with artifacts and fossils from Kern County and beyond.
Skeletal remains, taxidermy, and numerous interpretive exhibits can be found at this downtown museum, along with information on various scientific disciplines. The museum is also home to ancient excavations at Shark Tooth Mountain.
Address: 2018 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, California
Official website: http://www.sharktoothhill.org
10. Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center
Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield’s premier venue for major concerts and shows. This is the most significant event and special performance venue in the city. The multipurpose space also hosts concerts, Broadway shows and other sporting events such as Monster Truck Rally and Disney on Ice.
The arena is also home to the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League. These exciting hockey games are played throughout the winter and always attract crowds.
The beautifully decorated Rabobank Arena open-air plaza alludes to the grandeur of this modern arena. Numerous hotels near the resort offer suitable accommodation for those coming to the event.
Address: 1001 Truxtun Street, Bakersfield, California
Official website: http://www.rabobankarena.com/
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Bakersfield. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Bakersfield, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.