Welcome to Bakersfield, California’s ninth largest city where there is always More to Explore!
Visitors to Bakersfield are surprised to find out how close the wilderness is to the city. A short drive up the Kern River Canyon and one finds themselves in the middle of the Sequoia National Forest. Within an hour of Bakersfield, visitors can hike, mountain bike, rock climb and fly fish among mountain peaks and lush forests. Seasonal activities such as white-water rafting, boating, snow skiing and snowshoeing are also available.
For those who prefer a more citified visit, Bakersfield is emerging as a hub of Art and Culture. The fertile ground of the Central Valley has cultivated artists of all forms who now call Bakersfield home. The result is a budding arts & culture district encompassing most of downtown Bakersfield. The historical area is now the canvas for murals, sculptures, galleries, theaters, and stage houses. From original Rembrandt artwork to galleries filled with local up-and-coming artists, you’ll find it on the streets (and buildings!) of Bakersfield.
Speaking of culture, did you know Bakersfield is home to largest population of Basque restaurants outside of the Pyrenees Mountains? Traditionally meals are served family style and dinner is delivered in courses: soup and bread, salad, beans, french fries, and a meat entree. Local Basque eateries include Woolgrowers (Barbra Streisand and James Brolin’s favorite!), Noriega’s, Pyrenees, Chalet Basque, Benji’s, and Narducci’s.
The “Bakersfield Sound” is a distinct genre of country music made popular in the 1950s by Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Billy Mize and has created a musical legacy unlike any other. The sound continues to thrive with artists such as Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley carrying on the musical style of their predecessors. The total Bakersfield Sound experience includes: a live show at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, a historical look at the musical roots of Bakersfield at the Kern County Museum and a night spent dancing away at one of the last true honkytonks, Trout’s in Oildale. The Country Music Capital of the West …. Nashville West, whatever you want to call it, we call it Bakersfield.
- The last original Woolworth’s lunch counter in the U.S. still running serves daily at until 4 PM. The building is now an antique store with a 74-foot lunch counter in the middle.
- Hometown of the musical group KORN
- Bakersfield Community Theater is the oldest continually operating community theater in California, and second oldest amateur community theater west of the Mississippi.
- Bakersfield is the inspiration for the Bakersfield chain of restaurants with locations in Charlotte, Cincinnati Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Nashville, and Pittsburgh.
- Bakersfield is one of only six stops featured on Yelp’s “Perfect West Coast Road Trip” from Seattle to San Diego. The only other intermediate stops are Portland, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.
More to Explore:
- The Bakersfield Museum Trail is a 15-mile driving route connecting four unique and family-friendly museums: Bakersfield Museum of Art, Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science, California Living Museum and Kern County Museum.
- Hockey is the hottest sports ticket in town with the popular hometown Bakersfield Condors, a farm team of the Edmonton Oilers, who play in the American Hockey League
- Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is Bakersfield’s premier live entertainment venue. Check out Buck’s Pontiac convertible (the “Buckmobile”) behind the bar and the boardwalks lined with memorabilia from the careers of great country music stars.
- Festivals! There always seems to be one going on, from mac and cheese to menudo, bluegrass to jazz, Greek to Scottish, Celtic to Basque, and craft beer to wine.
- Attention race fans: check out Bakersfield Speedway (the West’s fastest 1/3-mile-high banked clay oval), Kern County Raceway Park (NASCAR), Auto Club Famoso Raceway (drag racing) and Buttonwillow Raceway (open-wheel racing).
With all there is to see and do in Bakersfield, what will YOU explore?