Bakersfield, California sign
Photo: visitbakersfield.com/Gilbert Vega

Visit the Bakersfield Museum of Art, tour Bakersfield Crystal Palace built by country music singer Buck Owens, and learn about the local history at the Kern County Museum on your weekend trip to Bakersfield, California. Best things to do in Bakersfield with kids include California Area Living Museum, Murray Family Farms, Camelot Park, and the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History. Other popular attractions include the Kern County Raceway Park, the Sam Lynn Ballpark the Gaslight Theatre & Music Hall and the Kern River Parkway nature preserve.

»Bakersfield Museum of Art

Bakersfield Museum of Art


Located in Central Park at the corner of R Street and 19th Street, the Bakersfield Museum of Art is a fine arts museum that is made up of four galleries. The museum’s permanent collection mainly consists of works by local artists, and this collection is supplemented by rotating art exhibits. Founded in 1956, the museum was mostly funded by the Walter Osborn family in memory of their daughter, Marion Osborn Cunningham.

The museum was originally called the Cunningham Art Gallery and was changed to its current name in 1990. The 17,400 square foot museum consists of two large galleries and two small galleries, classrooms, a banquet hall, and gardens which display sculptures. The Bakersfield Museum of Art is one of the top Bakersfield attractions. Read more

1930 R Street, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-323-7219

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»Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace


Buck Owens was a country music singer and songwriter. With his band Buckaroos he had 21 No. 1 hits on the country music Billboard charts. He completed his Crystal Palace as a music hall in 1996. Today, it is still a venue for country and Western music, a museum to Buck Owens, and a popular steak restaurant. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is one of the best things to do in Bakersfield, California.

The museum has Buck’s guitars, fancy suits, memorabilia and everyday objects. The restaurant is known for its great brunches and has special menu for concert days; they serve American favorites and comfort food. Read more

2800 Buck Owens Blvd, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-328-7560

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»Kern County Museum

Kern County Museum

The Kern County Museum celebrates Kern County' culture and rich history in innovative, fun and entertaining ways, using a range of exhibits, special events and educational programs for children and adults.

The museum was founded in 1941, but the collecting pieces of California history started in 1928. The museum holds thousands of historically and culturally significant artifacts displayed on 16 meticulously landscaped acres, in 56 historic original buildings. Special treasures of the museum are one room school, jail, oil derrick, the general store and seven preserved historic homes.

The museum holds several Native American exhibits, the railroad exhibit and Bakersfield Sound, agriculture, mining and railroad exhibits. This is a great place to learn about Bakersfield and California’s rich heritage through every day’s objects, photos, buildings and documents. Read more

3801 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-437-3330

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»California Area Living Museum, Bakersfield, California

California Area Living Museum, Bakersfield, California


The California Area Living Museum (CALM) is California's Native Zoo and Garden which opened in 1983. This large park lies on 14 acres of land and its natural habitats provide home to more than 80 species of animals. CALM holds only animals that cannot be released or rehabilitated, those which have been injured or who are not able to survive in the wild. If you are wondering what to do in Bakersfield with kids, this is a great place to visit.

The most popular zoo natural exhibits are: black bear open air exhibit, exhibit of birds of prey that includes owls, hawks and eagles; a mammal house with bobcats and foxes; a pond with mallards; deer yard; a reptile house; and an area with domestic animals that can be petted. The CALM also has several endangered native species. Read more

10500 Alfred Harrell Highway, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-872-2256

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»Murray Family Farms

Murray Family Farms

Murray Family Farms are a delightful mix fun and a true family working farm. Bring the kids for a lot of fun, but also to see all the hard work involved in bringing delicious fruits and veggies to their local groceries.

This 70-acre organic vegetable and fruit farm has been growing strawberries, stone fruit, blackberries, citrus, apples, asparagus, artichokes, melons, tomatoes and pumpkins for the last 24 years. Bring the kids on the tour of the farm on their tractor-driven hay wagons across 43 acres of cultivated fields of citrus, yellow roses, lines of ripe peaches, apricots and apples. Let the kids pick the fruits, and then head to the butterfly house, cattle train, wagon rides and mazes.

The kids can get close and personal with the petting zoo animals: tame goats, ducks, sheep, chicken, geese, pigeons, peacocks, turkeys and miniature horses. Before leaving, visit their lovely Red Barn to load on produce, preserves, fresh pies and smoothies. Their Okie Fry Pies are legendary.

Big Red Barn, 6700 General Beale Road, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-330-0100

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»Fox Theater, Bakersfield, California

Fox Theater, Bakersfield, California


Located on H Street in downtown Bakersfield, the Fox Theater is a historic theater that opened in 1930. It is the main venue for the city’s performing arts and it hosts many events such as ballets, dance recitals, and pop musicians’ performances. The exterior was built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style while the theme of the inside was Mediterranean: this was changed when the interior was remodeled in the Art Moderne style.

After 47 years, the Fox closed in 1977: it was slated for demolition but a group of business people formed the Fox Theater Foundation and restoration began in 1994. The Fox can be rented for special events such as meetings, parties, weddings, and more.

2001 H Street, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-324-1369 Photo: ShpilbergStudios/Fotolia

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»Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center

Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center


The Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center is a performing arts venue and convention center located on Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield. Originally built in 1962, it was formerly known as the Bakersfield Civic Auditorium and the Bakersfield Convention Center and was one of the first structures to be built in the modern style in Bakersfield.

In 1980 the Convention Center was completed, and in 1993 the adjacent hotel was finished. Later, in 1998, the center was further expanded to include a 10,000 seat sports arena. The center hosts a large variety of events such as “Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream,” the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, “A Taste of Home,” and many more.

1001 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-852-7300 Photo: Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center

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»Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

Buena Vista Museum of Natural History


The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History is located on Chester Avenue in the downtown Arts District of Bakersfield. Founded in 1995, the museum’s collection at first centered around the fossil collection of Bob and Mary Ernst.

These fossils came from Shark Tooth Hill and this is the largest collection of fossils from this area. This group of fossils was originally housed at the California Living Museum, but as the collection grew, it was necessary to move to the current location.

In addition to the fossils, the museum’s collection also includes a replica of a triceratops skull, a model of Yosemite Valley with many buildings, roads, and trails, and much more. The museum offers several tours.

2018 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-324-6350

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»Kern County Raceway Park

Kern County Raceway Park


Kern County Raceway Park is a 0.5 mile (0.80 km) oval race car track that opened in 2013 as a replacement for the Mesa Marin Raceway. The capacity of the stadium is 5,000 seats, and there are 21 VIP suites in the grandstand for fans to view the races.

There are also 18 concession stands in the park. The capacity of the stadium can be expanded to 17,000 seats for special events. The park holds events such as NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series as well as the K&N Pro Series West and car shows.

13500 Raceway Boulevard Interstate 5 and Enos Lane, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-835-1264R Photo: Kern County Raceway Park

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»The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall

The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall


The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall is a family-friendly theater located on Jomani Drive in Bakersfield. The theater features old-time melodramas with sweethearts, heroes, and villains. Many of the performances are spoofs of things such as fantasy, sports, mystery, the Wild West and much more. After each show the company presents a Vaudeville Review that is filled with funny jokes, comedic sketches, and dance and musical numbers.

The Moosehead Lounge features snacks, light meals, soft drinks, and beer and wine. The theater offers an eight week educational program where children are taught dancing, drama, improvisation, singing, and how to apply theatrical makeup. There are also puppet shows and magic shows.

12748 Jomani Drive, Bakersfield, California, Phone: 661-587-3377 Photo: The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall

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»Kern River Parkway Trail

Kern River Parkway Trail


The Kern River Parkway is a nature preserve that runs along the Kern River from the mouth of the Kern Canyon as far as Interstate 5. Created in 1976, it is the largest municipal park in Kern County and consists of 6,000 acres.

There are several trails through the park. The trail to the north is a horseback riding trail; the trail to the south is a jogging or walking trail, but it can also be used by visitors with non-motorized forms of transportation. There is also a bike path called the Kern River Parkway Trail.

There are several lakes found in the parkway, and some of the areas within the parkway have been developed into more formal parks. Photo: Sven Maaßen/Fotolia

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»Wool Growers, Bakersfield, California

Wool Growers, Bakersfield, California


Wool Growers is a popular family-owned Basque restaurant that has been around since 1954, located in a part of Bakersfield known as the Basque Block. It is a homey eatery with old fashioned flowery wallpaper and plastic tablecloths where people come for typical Basque down-to-Earth food, and lots of it.

Wool Growers is also the place where you might bump into former President Reagan or any number of celebrities. The specials are old-fashioned Basque traditional dishes such as stewed beans, onion soups, spicy Basque tomato sauce, pickled tongue and roasted meats. Try typical Basque cocktail picon punch in their comfortable bar and lounge.

620 East Nineteenth Street, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-327-9584 Photo: Wool Growers

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»Camelot Park

Camelot Park

Located on Oak Street, Camelot Park is a family-fun park filled with attractions and events for children of all ages. Some of the attractions include bumper boats, go-karts, kiddie rides, mini-golf, and much more.

There are also many arcade games for children such as “Big Bass Wheel,” “Deal or No Deal”, “Haunted Hotel,” “Spin N Win,” and many others. The park hosts events like “First Friday Fellowship Night,” “The Ultimate Group Package,” and “All Night Play.”

Camelot Park is a popular place for birthday parties: these parties include rides, arcade games, food, and a host or hostess.

1251 Oak Street, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-859-1812 Photo: Camelot Park

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»The Mark, Bakersfield, California

The Mark, Bakersfield, California

Brick walls, dark red leather chairs and boots, soft lights and good art on the walls create an atmosphere of luxury and comfort at the Mark, an upscale restaurant located in the meticulously restored 1900’s building next to downtown Bakersfield’s Padre Hotel.

The Mark offers excellent international cuisine with the focus on high quality grilled meats and fresh seafood – mostly good old classics with several delightful surprises such as Oysters Fernandez with chorizo, peppers, fresh lime, cilantro and saffron butter. Their wine list is excellent and extensive.

If you are looking for unique date ideas in Bakersfield, this is a great place to try. There is live Jazz on Fridays and Saturdays in the bar, often featuring well-known musicians.

1623 19th Street, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-322-7665 Photo: The Mark

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»24th Street Cafe

24th Street Cafe

Who does not have a soft spot for old-fashioned classic diners? At the 24th Street Café, you will find it all: leatherette boots, formica tables, large coca cola signs on the wall, and friendly waitresses running around with big menus.

This popular neighborhood hangout has been around since 1987, serving the classics: big, juicy burgers, hot fresh soups and hearty, huge breakfasts with fabulous biscuits and pancakes.

Their biscuits and gravy are so good they were featured on the Food Network. No wonder locals come regularly and people from all over the country stop by on the way to somewhere else.

1415 24th Street, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-323-8801 Photo: 24th Street Cafe

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»Sam Lynn Ballpark, Bakersfield, CA

Sam Lynn Ballpark, Bakersfield, CA

The Sam Lynn Ballpark is a baseball park located on Chester Avenue in Bakersfield. Built in 1941, it is sometimes called the “Historic” Sam Lynn Ballpark, and it is the oldest ballpark of the Class-A Advanced California League. Once the home of the Bakersfield Badgers, today it is the home of the Bakersfield Blaze.

The ballpark was named after a local businessman who helped to fund local youth baseball leagues. The original grandstand was made out of wood: this was demolished in 1993 and replaced with a concrete grandstand. There were further renovations in 2006 and the ballpark’s current seating capacity is 3,500.

4009 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-716-4487 Photo: mtsaride/Fotolia

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»Luigi's, Bakersfield, CA

Luigi's, Bakersfield, CA


Bakersfield residents probably could not imagine their city without Luigi’s. This restaurant and Italian grocery store have been around since 1910 and on its walls you can see the restaurant’s, and the city’s, history in faded, yellowed photos of characters that passed through, famous sport figures and buildings that do not exist anymore.

The restaurant is homey and pleasant and the food is classic Italian at its best. There is a special every day, so if you want Baby Back Ribs with Pasta Rigatoni, you will have to come on a Friday.

The grocery store is foodies’ delight, with rows and rows of olive oils, wines, cheeses, cured meats, spices and sauces. It is impossible to leave this fragrant place without loading your basket.

725 E 19th St, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-322-0926 Photo: Luigi's

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»Valentien, Bakersfield, CA

Valentien, Bakersfield, CA

Valentien is a little jewel of a bistro located on a busy Truxtun street, with Zen-like décor and light French touches where it matters – the waiters’ uniform, a harmonica player in the corner, small paintings on the walls, and an adorable little outdoor patio.

Food is French, with California fresh, seasonal local ingredients. While the décor is simple, there is nothing simple in the exquisite dishes offered at Valentien. From their rich and diverse cheese board, extensive wine list and small plates like Venison and Blueberry Sausage with Grilled Apples and Pomegranate Reduction, dining at Valentien is a celebration of flavors, textures and unique ingredients.

Check their list of events; they like to celebrate all kinds of occasions with special food, wines and really great atmosphere.

3310 Truxtun Ave, Suite 160, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-864-0397

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»The Links at Riverlakes Ranch

The Links at Riverlakes Ranch


Located on Riverlakes Drive, the Links at Riverlakes Ranch is an 18 hole public golf course in Bakersfield. Designed by Ronald Fream, the course was inspired by golf courses in Scotland. Completed in 1999, the course is 6,800 yards and lies on hilly terrain that was formerly almond orchards, and cotton and vegetable fields.

More than 200 mature almond trees were saved during the creation of the course, and there are also California redwoods and Canary Island pines as well as 12 lakes and three fountains. There is a pro shop, practice facilities, and a club house. Because of the beauty of the course, it is a popular place for weddings.

5201 Riverlakes Drive, Bakersfield, CA, Phone: 661-587-5465

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19 Best Things to Do in Bakersfield, California