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Top Things To Do In Bakersfield

As the home of famous country singers, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, Bakersfield was once known as the “Country Capital of the West.” In fact, Bakersfield country singers were so popular that they even created their own country music sub-genre called the Bakersfield sound. Today, downtown Bakersfield maintains this tradition with live musical performances every weekend. Located just north of Los Angeles proper, Bakersfield offers easy access to well-known California wineries, including Solvang and Paso Robles Wine Country. Continue reading to learn about some of the best things to do in this exciting city.

Bakersfield’s live music scene is one of its top attractions. Two of the best live music venues include On the Rocks and The Padre. Bakersfield is also home to a variety of diverse restaurants, including a handful of Basque establishments like Maitia’s and Wool Growers. For something a little closer to home, visit El Camino Real or Red Pepper. Some of the best things to do near Bakersfield include:

  • Going to a concert at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
  • Trying barbecue at Mr. Tibbs Ribs
  • Eating jerk chicken at Mama Roomba’s
  • Satisfying your sweet tooth with ice cream from Dewar’s Candy Shop
  • Learning about Bakersfield history at the Kern County Museum

It’s easy to explore Bakersfield on a budget. The city has several public parks, hiking trails, and green spaces. In downtown Bakersfield, Kroll Park offers a leash-free space for dogs, while Hart Park is home to a flock of 30 or so friendly peacocks. Central Park at Mill Creek even has an area for local artwork and a creek running through the middle of the park. A few cheap things to do near Bakersfield include:

  • Checking out the shops at the Northwest Promenade
  • Playing volleyball or horseshoes at Jastro Park
  • Having a picnic or grilling some food at Lake Ming
  • Going swimming at the McMurtrey Aquatic Center
  • Cooling off in the splash pad at Polo Park

One of the top attractions in Bakersfield is the Kern County Museum. This historic space was built in 1941, and its exhibits include a log cabin from the 1800s, a one-room school, and a home from the Victorian era. Murray Family Farms is another popular tourist destination. Located in the southeast part of the city, this family-owned farm lets visitors pick their own seasonal fruits and veggies. Some of the most popular attractions near Bakersfield include:

  • Visiting the museum inside Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
  • Looking at the artwork in the Bakersfield Museum of Art
  • Learning about fossils at the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History
  • Seeing wild animals at the California Living Museum
  • Hiking through the scenic Panorama Bluffs

Start your day in Bakersfield with a visit to The Park at Riverwalk. This verdant recreational area features two lakes, a quaint stream, and even popular fishing area. Afterwards, head to Woolgrowers for a bowl of their signature Oxtail Stew. Finish the day off with a blockbuster movie at Edwards Bakersfield Stadium 14. Other exciting activities near Bakersfield include:

  • Taking a dip at Hart Park
  • Catching a baseball game at Sam Lynn Ballpark
  • Seeing a race at Bakersfield Speedway
  • Taking a tour of the city’s unique church buildings
  • Swimming at the McMurtrey Aquatic Center

Bakersfield’s live music scene is one of the best things to do at night. Riley’s and B Ryders Sports Bar both offer affordable drinks and live performances by local bands. For something more up-beat, check out Club Odyssey, Cielo 9 Bar, or Martini’s Feel Good Lounge. Other nighttime activities near Bakersfield include:

  • Taking in the tropical atmosphere at Tiki-Ko
  • Grabbing a beer and bowling at The BLVD
  • Having a “dive bar” experience at VIP Lounge
  • Relaxing with the locals in South Bakersfield at Elixir Cafe & Hookah Lounge
  • Singing karaoke at the Silver Fox Starlight Lounge

Bakersfield hosts several themed festivals throughout the year, the largest of which is known as the Basque. This annual event features vendors, performances, and food from the Basque area between the southern France and northern Spain. The Bakersfield Jazz Festival is also quite popular. Past performers include Poncho Sanchez, the Lao Tizer Band, and the Dave Stryker Quartet. Other weekend activities near Bakersfield include:

  • Playing games and eating funnel cake at the Kern County Fair
  • Renting a campsite at the Kern River campground
  • Unwinding at the Warrior 1 Yoga Spa
  • Sipping mimosas with brunch at Camino Real
  • Taking a day trip to Morro Bay for surfing or kayaking

There are plenty of things to do in Bakersfield with kids. Families with young children will appreciate the interactive exhibits at Lori Brock Discovery Center, while older children can enjoy Respawn, the city’s only tactical laser tag arena. Bakersfield is also home to the Fall Family Fun Fest, which takes place every October at Murray Farms. Stop by for a corn maze, duck races, and more. Some of the best family-friendly things to do near Bakersfield include:

  • Grabbing ice cream at Dewar’s Candy Shop
  • Going go karting and bumper boating at Camelot Park
  • Playing on the jungle gym at Jastro Park
  • Seeing the animals at the California Living Museum
  • Going on a easy hike through Hart Park

Need a few date ideas? Look no further than a couples massage at La Petite Day Spa. This local establishment even includes a complimentary glass of wine with your spa treatment. Afterwards, snag a table at Blue Elephant Thai Cuisine and order the mango sticky rice for dessert. Other date night ideas near Bakersfield include:

  • Watching the sunset at Sam Lynn Ballpark
  • Grabbing dinner and watching a show at Studio Movie Grill
  • Going on a twilight walk along the Panorama Bluffs
  • Checking out a concert at Rabobank Arena
  • Eating an authentic Italian meal at Mama Tosca’s

Whether you’re hanging out with friends, family members, or co-workers, Bakersfield has plenty of activities for large groups. The Rabobank Theater and Convention Center is home to the Bakersfield Condors, a team in the American Hockey League. It also hosts popular acts like Jack White and Jerry Seinfeld. After the show, stop by Lengthwise, the only microbrewery in town. A few other things to do with friends near Bakersfield include:

  • Drinking bottomless mimosas with brunch at Centro 18 Latin Steakhouse
  • Eating a Basque dinner at a large shared table at Noriega’s
  • Seeing a race at the Bakersfield Speedway
  • Solving puzzles as a team at Bakersfield Escape Room
  • Testing trivia knowledge on Mondays at Sandrini’s Public House

Bakersfield has plenty of opportunities to explore the great indoors. Visit Corks and Strokes for an evening of drinking wine and finding your inner painter. For something truly out of this world, stop by the Bakersfield College planetarium for stunning visual depictions of super volcanoes, NASA, and our solar system. Other things to do indoors include:

  • Seeing a play at the Bakersfield Community Theatre
  • Catching a movie in the recliner seats at Maya Cinemas
  • Relaxing at the Essentiels Spa Et Beaute in the Marketplace
  • Grabbing a quick bite to eat at the Tea Bar
  • Shopping among the many stores of Valley Plaza

The Panorama Bluffs, a.k.a. The Bluffs are one of the most popular landmarks in the city. This natural wonder is an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or bike ride with a loved one. For aquatic activities, pay a visit to Lake Ming, a popular area for boating, water-skiing, and sailing. Other outdoor activities in Bakersfield include:

  • Hiking among the wild animals at the Wind Wolves Preserve
  • Swimming or horseback riding at Hart Park
  • Bird watching for parakeets at Beale Park
  • Taking a scuba diving lesson at Bakersfield Scuba
  • Picking apples at Murray Family Farms

Top Attractions