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15 Best Things to do in Bakersfield, CA

15 Best Things to do in Bakersfield, CA

Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Bakersfield, California, along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.

Bakersfield is one of the most populated cities in California with a population of around 384 000. It is the county seat of Kern County and is particularly known as a hub for energy production and agriculture.

In this article, you can read more about the best places to visit in Bakersfield as well as the city’s main attractions. 

Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace

The Buck Owens Crystal Palace is a music hall in Bakersfield, California. The Crystal Palace is a famous venue for country music but also offers a museum for visitors interested in the life of Buck Owens.

The building was constructed in the Western Revival style and is meant to resemble buildings that were commonly found in the American Old West. Visitors will feel like they are part of a cowboy movie when entering the premises.

The Crystal Palace also features a great restaurant, bar, and nightclub, making it the perfect place to party and enjoy the local nightlife of Bakersfield.

Buck Owen's Crystal Palace

Photo: Richard Thornton /

Fox Theater

The historic theater was opened in 1930 and has been used as a center for performing arts and community events ever since. To this day the Fox Theater hosts a multitude of events, such as ballets, movies, or music acts.

The theater is known for its fine acoustics and interesting blend of Spanish Colonial and Art Deco style of architecture. From fall to spring the Fox Theater showcases the best foreign films of the past year as part of the Bakersfield foreign film program.

Fox Theater in Bakersfield

Photo: ELW /

Sequoia National Forest

The namesake of this national forest is the world’s tallest tree, the Sequoia. What is remarkable about the Sequoia National Forest is that it offers the highest concentration of Sequoia groves in the world.

The so-called ”skyscrapers of the natural world” can reach an impressive height of more than 90 meters and live up to 3,000 years. Experiencing this fantastic tree firsthand is one of the most impressive experiences that Mother Nature has to offer for us.

Sequoia National Park is one of the most impressive and beautiful national parks in California, and it’s just a 3-hours drive from Bakersfield. 

Sequoia National Forest

Kern County Museum

One of the best places to learn about local history is the Kern County Museum. The most interesting aspect of the museum is the Pioneer Village. It consists of over 50 original houses from the late 19th century and allows a unique glimpse into the past.

The Kern County Museum is a great family destination because children can enjoy the Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center, a place specialized in teaching kids about history.

Another remarkable feature of the Kern County Museum is the Beale Memorial Clock Tower. Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Bakersfield with kids, for educational purposes. 

Kern County Museum

Photo: Richard Thornton /

Bakersfield Museum of Art

Another interesting museum is the Bakersfield Museum of Art. The permanent exhibits mainly focus on artists of the region and are rounded off by temporary collections from all over the world.

Since 1991, the museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum also offers its guests educational courses, including specialized courses for children and teenagers.

Visitors should keep in mind that the museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and on some public holidays.   

Panorama Vista Preserve

A visit to the Panorama Vista Preserve is perfect for all hikers and nature-lovers. Even though the preserve is located within Bakersfield it offers untouched nature and serenity.

The 930 acres of land are not just great hiking grounds but also suitable for mountain biking and horseback riding. The purpose of the Panorama Vista Preserve is not just recreation but also serves as a conservation site of endangered plant species and wildlife.

Visitors who enjoy spending time outdoors will definitely enjoy this beautiful area. Hiking in the Panorama Vista Preserve is definitely one of the best things to do in Bakersfield, CA, for outdoor lovers. 

Panorama Vista Preserve

The Park at River Walk

The public park contains two lakes and acts as an oasis within the city of Bakersfield. The Spectrum Amphitheater is located within the River Walk Park and is a great place to watch shows.

Taking a walk along the Kern River is a great way to relax and unwind from the stress of everyday life. Fishing is also possible at the lower lake. The park also offers several other amenities such as picnic tables and barbecues, a great spot to meet with friends and family, and spend time outdoors.    

The Park at River Walk

Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science covers a huge spectrum of science including Anatomy, Astronomy, Archeology, Anthropology, Biology, Geology, and Paleontology.

This broad offering makes the museum unique and particularly interesting. The museum is a great place to learn and offers a variety of programs, courses, and even field trips for children.

Murray Family Farm

Food-lovers and people interested in how fruits and vegetables are grown and harvest are in the perfect place at Murra Family Farms. Throughout the year a number of interesting events are hosted that give an insight into the seasonal fruits and vegetables.

The big farmer’s market is a great place to shop for fresh produce and get in contact with the people that produce our food. There is also a ”pick your own” section in which visitors can harvest their own food.  

Murray Family Farms

Photo: Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB /

Kern County Raceway Park

The 0.8 km oval speedway opened in 2013 and hosts many top-motorsports events such as the NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series. The raceway park has a seating capacity of up to 17,000 and guarantees motorsport-lovers a great experience.

Apart from the asphalt track used for the NASCAR series, there is also a dirt track that is commonly used for motorbike events and dirt cars.

Visiting the Kern County Raceway Park is a great opportunity to experience American racing culture and a dream come true for people in love with loud engines, fast cars, and action.  

The Gaslight Theatre & Music Hall

The Gaslight Theatre & Music Hall is a family entertainment venue that offers melodramas and specially themed shows in a great, rustic atmosphere.

Concerts take place every Monday night and are also great fun and entertainment. Guests can enjoy fair-priced food and drinks in a casual atmosphere and just enjoy themselves. The theatre also offers summer camps for kids and a special youth theatre.

Lake Ming

Lake Ming is a man-made lake that is popular for motorboats and water-skiing. The races of the Jet Boat Association take place at the lake throughout the year and are a great spectacle.

Other than that, the lake is also a fantastic fishing spot and hosts large numbers of Bass, Catfish, Crappie, and Rainbow Trout. Many camping spots, picnic tables, and playgrounds can be found around the lake and invite visitors to stay overnight with family or friends.

Lake Ming

Rabobank Arena (Mechanics Bank Arena)

The Mechanics Bank Arena, formerly known as the Rabobank Arena, is located in the center of Bakersfield and acts as a multi-purpose arena. The most prominent team that uses the arena is the ice hockey team Bakersfield Condors, participant of the American Hockey League.

The California State University also occasionally holds Men’s NCAA Division I basketball games. Attending games held in the Mechanics Bank Arena is a great way to experience the uniquely American sports culture. But the arena is also used as a concert venue, so for visitors who aren’t interested in sports music events might be a good alternative.    

Watch a Game at Sam Lynn Ballpark

Another great way to experience the local sports culture is by attending a game held at the Sam Lynn Ballpark. The ballpark is also known as the Historic Sam Lynn Ballpark, due to its rich history dating back to the year 1941 when it was founded as the home pitch of the Bakersfield Badgers.

Many of the baseball fans that are coming here to attend games are very passionate about the sport and support the local team, the Bakersfield Train Robbers. 

Even visitors that aren’t baseball-fans will find a visit to the Sam Lynn Ballpark an interesting experience due to how familial and authentic the atmosphere is.

Want more recommendations on things to do in Bakersfield, California? Leave a comment below!