20 Things To Do In Bakersfield

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As the ninth-largest city in California, and a destination located inland from the state’s famous coast, Bakersfield is often overlooked as a travel destination. Although it may not have the same quantity of legendary attractions as California’s larger cities, that doesn’t mean that Bakersfield is short on things to offer.

In fact, just a short distance from Sequoia National Park and a considerable working-class population, it provides an excellent opportunity to see the other side of the region’s landscape and experience how the average Californian lives. These 20 things to do in Bakersfield will help you fill out your travel itinerary and discover some of the often-overlooked gems of the city.

Bakersfield, California

20 Things To Do In Bakersfield

things to do in bakersfield sign
Looking for things to do in Bakersfield?

1- Marvel At The Exhibits In The Bakersfield Museum Of Art

bakersfield city buildings
Another of the things to do in Bakersfield is to explore the city’s art scene.

Opened in 1954, the Bakersfield Museum Of Art is a wonderful complex featuring four galleries, two small and two large.

While primarily housing work by artists from California and the surrounding area, the museum also hosts rotating exhibits from further afield.

With beautiful gardens full of sculptures and classrooms that host educational programs and kids’ classes, the Bakersfield Museum Of Art is an excellent stop for anyone wanting to see or learn more about local art.

Bakersfield Museum Of Art is at 1930 R Street, Bakersfield, 93301.

2- Enjoy The Great Outdoors In The Park At River Walk

things to do with kids in bakersfield Kern Island Canal at Mill Creek Park
Bakersfield is a city of parks and exploring Mill Creek Park is one of the outdoorsy things to do in Bakersfield with kids.

The Park At River Walk is an idyllic outdoor destination, with 32 acres (13 ha) of fields, wide-open green spaces, lakes, and water features like fountains set along the bank of the Kern River.

It is home to the Dignity Health Amphitheatre, a 4,000 seater venue that hosts concerts and movie screenings.

Whether you want to take a stroll, enjoy the views, catch some entertainment, or relax and enjoy the weather in the great outdoors, The Park At River Walk is a relaxing place to do it.

The Park At River Walk is at 11298 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, 93311.

3- Have A Wild Day At Camelot Park

Camelot Park is a Medieval-themed amusement park in the heart of the city.

With rides, amusements, batting cages, bumper boats, mini-golf, festive events, and various dining opportunities, it is an opportunity for all ages to let loose and have a little fun for a while.

Camelot Park is at 1251 Oak Street, Bakersfield, 93304.

4- Learn The Local History At The Kern County Museum

things to do in bakersfield this weekend

The Kern County Museum was created in 1941 to educate the history of miners, pioneers and Native Americans in Kern County.

It is also the location of the iconic Beale Memorial Clock Tower.

The Pioneer Village features 50 buildings that demonstrate life in a settlement here during the time of the pioneers, and the “Black Gold” exhibit details the region’s oil mining history.

Meanwhile, the main building hosts rotating exhibits dedicated to the region’s entire history.

Kern County Museum is at 3801 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, 93301.

5- See Ancient Artefacts At Buena Vista Museum Of Natural History 

bakersfield oil rigs
The Kern River Oil Fields is California’s third-largest oil field and one of the things to do near Bakersfield is to fill your Instagram feed with stunning sunset images.

Established in 1995, the Buena Vista Museum Of Natural History & Science is dedicated to anthropology, archaeology, geology, and palaeontology.

Among its incredible exhibits, you will find the most extensive collection of Miocene fossils from Shark Tooth Hill, known as the Mary Ernst Collection, as well as a scale model of Yosemite Valley, and replicas of dinosaur skeletons and the Yokuts from traditional Indian villages in the area.

This makes the museum the perfect place to learn about the region’s history, while artifacts from further afield help educate the wider world.

Buena Vista Museum Of Natural History & Science is at 2018 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, 93301.

6- Explore The California Living Museum

fun things to do in bakersfield ca
There are more than enough things to do in Bakersfield with friends for a fun weekend away.

Despite its name, the California Living Museum is more of a zoo and botanical garden than a museum.

The zoo is home to 250 animals from 80 different species, including bears, birds, bobcats, cougars, deer, foxes, reptiles, and even barnyard and domestic animals.

Meanwhile, the gardens host a wide range of different plants and trees.

With fossils, libraries and wildlife care programs, CALM has maintained and educated on flora and fauna since 1983.

The California Living Museum is at 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway, Bakersfield, 93306.

7- Test Your Wits In An Escape Room 

fun things to do in bakersfield
Exploring the city’s museums is one of the things to do in Bakersfield with kids.

Escape rooms are becoming a popular attraction, as they are a great way to have fun, test your wits, and build team chemistry.

With three great escape room companies in Bakersfield, which include a combined 11 rooms with themes like adventures, pirates, criminal investigations, the circus, mafia, aliens, swamps, Christmas, horror, and historical locations, you have lots of choices to keep you occupied for days.

Ingenious Escape Rooms – Bakersfield: 8908 Forest Oaks Court, Bakersfield, 93312
Real Escape Bakersfield: 6225 District Boulevard #103, Bakersfield, 93313
Brainy Actz Escape Rooms Bakersfield: 5880 District Boulevard Suite 23, Bakersfield, 93313

8- Watch High-Octane Entertainment At The Bakersfield Speedway

The Bakersfield Speedway is a 1/3 mile (.5 km) oval racetrack that claims to be the fastest in the west and hosts some of the top motorsport events in the city.

With stock car and drag racing, as well as fabulous food and drink vendors, it is an excellent spot for an evening out enjoying some high-speed entertainment.

Bakersfield Speedway is at 5001 North Chester Avenue Exit, Bakersfield, 93308.

9- Try Your Luck At The Golden West Casino

While California isn’t as well known for gambling and casinos as neighbouring Nevada, it is an industry that is currently on the rise.

The Golden West Casino is a perfect example of this.

Visitors can enjoy games such as baccarat, blackjack, poker, and various other casinos staples before celebrating or drowning their sorrows in one of the dining and drinking establishments in the supersized venue.

Golden West Casino is at 1001 South Union Avenue, Bakersfield, 93307.

10- Have Fun At The Kern County Fairgrounds

free fun things to do in bakersfield
Exploring Kern County’s landscape is one of the popular things to do when visiting Bakersfield.

The Kern County Fairgrounds, also known as the Kern County Fair & Event Center, is best known as the home of the city’s annual fair each September.

If you happen to be in town at this time, you have to stop in and spend an afternoon enjoying the rides and amusements.

However, with regular conventions and events throughout the year, it is a destination where you can have some fun, no matter when you visit.

Kern County Fairgrounds is at 1142 South P Street, Bakersfield, 93307.

11- Take A Hike Up Breckenridge Mountain

best things to do in bakersfield windmills line the hillside
One of the free things to do in Bakersfield is to take a drive to see the wind turbines.

Breckenridge is the mountain that Bakersfield sits in the foothills of.

Just south of Sequoia National Forest and National Park, it features a similar environment, filled with stunning landscapes, breathtaking views, and incredible wildlife.

Fans of the outdoors should take the opportunity to hike up to its peak and soak in the more natural side of the region that surrounds the city.

Breckenridge Mountain, California, 93518.

12- Support Local Art At The Empty Space

The Empty Space is an arts establishment that relies on donations to operate.

Hosting everything from art exhibits to performances of both new and classic plays, it is a fabulous place to support the local arts community, see some of the best up and coming talent, and perhaps even spot a future star before they are famous.

The Empty Space is at 706 Oak Street, Bakersfield, 93304.

13- Catch An Event At The Mechanics Bank Arena

The Mechanics Bank Arena, Theater and Convention Center is a complex featuring a 10,000 seat arena, 3,000 seat theatre, and 17,840 square foot (1,657 square metres) exhibition hall.

Hosting everything from arena football, athletics, basketball, boxing, ice hockey, and wresting to stand-up comedy, concerts, conventions, and dramatic performances, it is where you will catch some of the very best events held anywhere in Bakersfield.

The Mechanics Bank Arena is at 1001 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, 93301.

14- Attend A Bakersfield Blaze Game 

The Sam Lynn Ballpark is a historic, 3,500 seat baseball venue, which first opened in 1941, making it the oldest in the ‘Class A’ Advanced California League.

As one of only two venues in the professional system in the U.S., and the only one west of Massachusetts, where the batter faces west, it is known for hosting many of the latest games in the country, with start times regularly as late as 8 pm.

If you want to see the Bakersfield Train Robbers play a game and enjoy some baseball in a unique venue during your visit, this is the place to do so.

Sam Lynn Ballpark is at 4009 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, 93301.

15- Experience Country Culture At Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

The Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is a live music and dining venue created by country music star Buck Owens’ in 1996.

Designed in the Western Revival Style, it features a museum dedicated to Buck Owens, featuring collections of his personal effects, as well as a bar, restaurant, and nightclub.

Country fans come from far and wide to watch terrific bands, sample fantastic food and have a fun and exciting wild west night out.

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is at 2800 Buck Owens Boulevard, Bakersfield, 93308.

16- Soak Up Nature In Hart Memorial Park

what to do in bakersfield power lines and orange sky at sunset
Another thing to do in Bakersfield is to photograph the sunsets.

Located in the north-eastern corner of Bakersfield, Hart Park is a picturesque, 370-acre (149 ha) expanse of wide-open green spaces, with two lakes and three canals, on the banks of the Kern River.

Completed in 1936, it is the oldest section of a larger area known as the Kern River Country Park.

It is one of the best places with lawns, sports fields, baseball diamonds, picnic areas, BBQ facilities, a bandstand, hiking and equestrian trails, regular and disk golf courses, and designated swimming and fishing areas Bakersfield to enjoy some outdoor recreation.

Hart Memorial Park is at Hart Park, Bakersfield, 93308.

17- Watch A Performance At The Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater

where to go in bakersfield orchards
One of the things to do around Bakersfield is to go for a drive and visit orchards.

First opened on Christmas Day in 1930, The Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater is an ornate, 1500 seater Art Deco theatre in the very centre of Bakersfield. Despite having fallen into disrepair in the late 1970s, it has been faithfully restored to its former glory.

Visitors to Bakersfield can therefore enjoy performances such as ballets, comedians, concerts, dancing, movies, and various other community events while soaking in the epitome of style from yesteryear.

Fox Theater is at 2001 H Street, Bakersfield, 93301.

18- Follow One Of The Kern River Parkway Trails

things to do in bakersfield california
Kern Island Canal at Mill Creek Park, another popular park in Bakersfield.

At 6,000 acres (2428 km), the Kern River Parkway is the largest municipal park in the United States.

Opened in 1976, it operates as a nature preserve, with five smaller parks sectioned off within it.

You also have biking, hiking, and equestrian trails that run throughout the parkway, guiding you along one of the banks of the river.

This provides the perfect opportunity for those who love to explore to head out on a natural adventure, surrounded by beauty, without even leaving the city.

Kern River Parkway is along the Kern River, Bakersfield.

19- Be Wowed By The Views In Panorama Vista Preserve

fun things to do in bakersfield with family
Getting outdoors and discovering nature is one of the free things to do in Bakersfield.

The Panorama Vista Preserve is a wildlife refuge on the north bank of the Kern River, on the very outskirts of the city.

Abundant with wildlife, particularly birds, it is a fabulous destination for nature lovers.

However, what truly sets the Panorama Vista Preserve apart and earns its name are the stunning views of the city and its surrounding area that the refuge offers.

With ample trails, you can enjoy a spot of photography or make the most of soaking in the incredible scenery.

Panorama Vista Preserve is at 901 East Roberts Lane, Bakersfield, 93308.

20- Visit Murray Family Farms

bakersfield things to do olive plantation and mountains in the background
Visiting an olive plantation is another thing to do near Bakersfield.

The Murray Family Farms on the outskirts of town is a fabulous destination for anyone who enjoys fresh produce or is interested in agriculture.

Among the activities on the site, you will find guided tours, pick your own sessions, an animal train and petting garden, and attractions like super slides and ball toss games.

Whether you want to have some fun, do a little learning, enjoy some fresh fruit, or a combination of all three, the Murray Family Farms is a fabulous option for an afternoon out.

Murray Family Farms is at 6700 General Beale Road, Bakersfield, 93307. 

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.