Fun Things to Do in Bakersfield, CA | Parks, Museums, and More
Whether you’re based in LA or are on vacation at a cosy Airbnb in San Diego, a visit to Bakersfield is highly recommended. What is Bakersfield known for, you might ask?
It’s a charming city with some surprise attractions that will pique your interest, so stay for a day or three to experience as many fun things to do in Bakersfield as you possibly can.
Places to Go in Bakersfield
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As little cities go, Bakersfield is far from dull. There are plenty of activities and highlights, from charming country amusements to environmental recreations. Get ready to explore all that Bakersfield has to offer.
Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
If you’re a country and western music fan, you’re bound to have heard of Buck Owens, but have you heard of the pink and white music hall named after him?
It’s a top attraction in the area and one of the fun things to do in Bakersfield for adults and kids alike. There’s also classic American fare up for grabs at the lively restaurant on site.
After a hearty helping, stroll around the museum where you can see Buck’s guitars and performance outfits on display, and maybe catch a country and western concert while you’re there.
California Area Living Museum
Also referred to as CALM, the California Area Living Museum is easily one of the best things to do in Bakersfield.
It’s a native zoo that serves as a respite for injured animals or ones that cannot survive in the wild by themselves. You’ll see black bears, birds of prey, bobcats, and deer, to name a few of the more than 80 species that call this park home.
There’s also a carousel, climbing tower, and rope course to keep the children amused and let them run off their excess energy. For a more intimate experience, try the petting area and thrill at a close encounter with some of the more domesticated animals.
Kern County Museum
When in Bakersfield, things to do should include a trip to the Kern County Museum. It has a picturesque outdoor Pioneer Village with over 60 historical structures.
There are plenty of creative ways to dive into the interesting history of Kern County at this unique museum, with interactive exhibits and craft tables for kids. You’ll also learn more about how the County built itself upon the wealth of the oil industry.
At certain times throughout the year, the museum welcomes the public to music festivals and holiday celebrations that it hosts in the spirit of community engagement.
Hart Memorial Park
Looking for a peaceful retreat for the day? Look no further than Hart Memorial Park. Home to many Bakersfield lakes, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to catch some rainbow trout and bluegill while enjoying the scenery.
There are plenty of picnic spots to enjoy a lovely lunch while watching for wildlife and letting the kids frolic at the playgrounds. The two disc golf courses will keep the young and old alike entertained, and a relaxing walk along any of the paved trails will satisfy your need for inner (and outer) peace.
This gorgeous Spanish Colonial Revival theatre adds a massive amount of vintage charm to the city.
Opened in 1930, it’s a historical location known for its architecture and being the hub for the city’s performing arts. You’ll see ballets performed here as well as dance recitals, smaller-scale pop concerts, and comedic skits.
The interior is as plush and decorative as you’d imagine, with red velvet everywhere and large gold decals, ensuring this monument to a bygone era is a cosy experience.
Kern River Parkway Trail
For hikers, bikers, and casual strollers alike, the Kern River Parkway Trail is something you shouldn’t miss. The undulating waters of the Bakersfield river (Kern River) lap gently at grassy embankments as you pass by or stop to take in the beautiful views.
There are several trails to choose from, including a horse riding one to the north, and an opportunity to catch up on some local birdwatching.
Sequoia National Forest
Even if you’re a local looking for things to do in Bakersfield this weekend, visiting the awe-inspiring Sequoia National Forest has to be top of your list.
Your inner wild child will thrill at the white-water rivers, canyons shaped by glaciers, and 30 groves of gigantic sequoia trees where you can grab a bucket-list selfie.
There are multiple ways to experience the forest. You can go backpacking, hiking, or kayaking, though adrenaline junkies might prefer a thrilling whitewater rafting adventure.
Campsites are available for those who want to extend their stay and enjoy the beauty of the landscape by moonlight.
Mechanics Bank Arena, Theatre and Convention Centre
Previously known as the Rabobank Arena, the Mechanics Bank Arena is renowned for Bakersfield’s top-notch entertainment. From sporting events and monster truck rallies to Broadway shows and Disney on Ice, many of the best shows passing through town are hosted here.
Its large and impressive contemporary architecture lends itself to the grandeur of the events it offers to the masses. Check the schedule of upcoming performances to see what’ll be on when you’re in town.
Murray Family Farms
Murray Family Farms is one of those secret places in Bakersfield your average tourist might bypass unknowingly.
This ultra-American big red barn isn’t your average farm stall selling fresh produce. There’s a butterfly garden to delight in, tractor wagon rides through the farm, and the chance to pet any of the tame goats, chickens, and other animals on the farm.
Catch glimpses of the resident peacocks, pick your own strawberries, and stock up on fresh smoothies and rustic pies from the shop before you head home. You can spend an entire afternoon basking in the agricultural glow of this charming farm.
What to Do in Bakersfield, CA
With hopping music halls and gorgeous natural landscapes, Bakersfield is brimming with exciting things to do for locals and holiday makers alike. There’s rustic adventure and tranquil respite alike, from casual farm life to whitewater rapids. When considering what to do in Bakersfield, CA, you won’t be disappointed with any of these fantastic options.
Are you a motorbike enthusiast and planning on passing through Bakersfield? If so, check out these incredibly scenic motorcycle routes in California.