City of Bakersfield Sign in central California | By Albert Campbell | Shutterstock

This rapidly developing city in the southern Central Valley is full of special surprises.

Once recognized for oil and agriculture, Bakersfield is morphing right into a Central Valley hub for arts, culture, and sports activities while still providing a glimpse of the region’s past. 

While in Bakersfield, you will experience the golden state’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country-western music on the side.

Bakersfield is a city of 350,000 locals, and like any large city, there are lots to do.

We’ve selected quite a few activities, so you can get some exercise, find some entertainment, and generally have fun. Whether you live in Bakersfield or are simply visiting.

Things to Do in Bakersfield:

1. Hart Memorial Park

Hart Memorial Park, Bakersfield, CA : By sc_images

Rating: 4.6  

Location: Hart Park, 10 miles from downtown Bakersfield.

The entry fees: Free.

  • Kern County’s oldest parks.
  • Lakes, Fishing & Boating.
  • Picnic Areas.

Dedicated in 1929, Hart Memorial Park nevertheless holds the hidden treasures of what makes northeast Bakersfield unique.

If you are seeking out free activities in Bakersfield, This park gives jaw-droppingly fantastic scenery whichever season you choose to visit.

  • Why you should go:

Located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and nestled alongside the banks of the Kern River, this 370-acre public area features fishing lakes stocked with rainbow trout, bluegill, and bass.

The entire park is covered with shade thanks to numerous mature trees; it’s also dotted with picnic facilities and tables, playgrounds, two disc golf courses, abundant wildlife, fishing areas, spacious grassy fields,  well-maintained restrooms, and paved walking trails, 

  • Things to do:

One of the things you have to see in Bakersfield is the peacocks that roam freely at Hart Park.

In addition to the peacocks, you can spot various additional wildlife and birds at Hart Park.

Besides watching wildlife, you can also do other activities, like playing baseball, having a picnic in one of the multiple picnic facilities across the park, swimming, fishing, and many other activities. 

2. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, Calif | bakersfieldnow.com

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 2800 Buck Owens Boulevard.

  • Country Music.
  • Fun atmosphere.

If you love country music, this would be one of the things you do in Bakersfield, and even if you don’t, you should still visit this place to get the whole Bakersfield experience; this is a must-see place while in town.

Buck Owens was a country music songwriter and singer.

The on-site Buck Owens Museum features memorabilia and interpretive information about the local musician’s career and the rise of country western music in the United States.

  • Why you should go:

It’s hard not to enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Crystal Palace, even if you are not a country music fan.

It’s fun for the whole family. 

The Crystal Palace is a music venue, restaurant, and museum all in one; it is dedicated to keeping the Bakersfield Sound alive.

This Crystal Palace is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions; it features contemporary and classic country concerts and dancing.

The menu at the Crystal Palace offers delicious food ranging from appetizer opening acts to main stage entrees, including chicken fried steak.

  • Things to do:

Enjoy a night out in Bakersfield as you watch spectacular live shows of talented, exceptional musicians.

While keeping yourself well-entertained, you can enjoy their delicious food or visit the museum, which has Buck Owens’s guitars, fancy suits, remembrance, and everyday objects. 

3. California Area Living Museum (CALM)

This great pic was taken by Animal Keeper Shandyn

Rating: 4.7  

Location: 10500 Alfred Harrell Hwy.

The entry fees: Adults $10; Senior (60+) $7, Child (3-12 years) $6; children under 3 can enter for free.

  • Award-winning zoo.
  • Fun and informative attraction.

The California Living Museum (CALM) is California’s top native zoo and garden.

A visit to the lovely grounds of CALM will take you through different animal exhibits and plant communities to present you with an encapsulated glimpse at the diversity of the golden state.

CALM is located on 14 park-like acres and features over 400 non-releasable animals and California native plants. 

  • Why you should go:

The California Living Museum (CALM) offers a home for injured and non-releasable California native animals who can not survive in their native environment.

Animals below the care of CALM include black bears, bighorn sheep, and numerous birds.

This zoo also offers you countless attractions for your enjoyment, like animal exhibits, a carousel, a climbing tower, a ropes course, a children’s area, and many other fun options.

  • Things to do:

In CALM, you can experience many fun activities, Like watching animals like barn owls and mountain lions, riding a train through the park, rock climbing, watching lighting fixtures show all through the holidays, and more.

The most famous zoo natural exhibits are black bear open-air showcase, a showcase of birds of prey that consists of eagles, hawks, and owls, a mammal house with foxes and bobcats, a pond with mallards, a reptile house; and an area with domestic animals that may be petted.

The CALM additionally has several endangered native species.

CALM is a great place to visit if you are looking for things to do in Bakersfield with kids.

4. Kern County Museum

looking for a location to have your event in 2022? | Facebook

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 3801 Chester Avenue.

The entry fees: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and military members, 5$ for children, and children under two can enter for free.

  • Long and exciting history.
  • Family-friendly attraction

The Kern County Museum, founded in 1941, immerses visitors into the storied history of Kern County; this educational experience features well-preserved artifacts and a plethora of exciting history. 

  • Why you should go:

The museum’s outdoor Pioneer Village contains over 60 historic structures, a living-history museum spanning over 16 acres.

An interactive exhibit regarding the region’s history with the oil industry offers insight into the black gold that spurred improvement in Kern County.

If you like history, The Kern County Museum is a place you must visit in Bakersfield.

  • Things to do:

The Kern County Museum celebrates Kern County’s culture and rich history in creative, fun, and entertaining ways, using a wide range of exhibits, special events, and educational programs for all ages.

In the Museum, you can listen to lectures, make crafts with your children, discover Bakersfield and California’s rich heritage through everyday objects, photos, buildings, and documents, look through antiques, and more.

The museum also offers engaging events throughout the year, like music festivals and Halloween celebrations.

5. Fox Theater

Fox theater, Bakersfield, CA, October 2021.

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 2001 H Street.

The entry fees: Tickets vary depending on the show; children under age two do not require a ticket if seated with an adult. 

  • Historic landmark.
  • Exciting shows.

The Fox Theater is known as the Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater.

Opened on Christmas Day 1930, The Fox was one of the last of its kind built in the Gilded Age. 

  • Why you should go:

If you are looking for fun things to do in Bakersfield, drop by the Fox Theater to watch live music performances and shows by talented artists take over the stage, adding a great soundtrack to enjoy the decorative interior.

The venue is full of vintage charm, complete with velvet curtains and matching architecture.

  • Things to do:

While in Bakersfield, head over to the Fox Theatre and book your tickets to watch live shows such as concerts, ballets, movie screenings, comedic acts, and numerous other options.

6. Kern River Parkway Trail

Kern River Parkway, Bakersfield, CA. | Shutterstock

Rating: 4  

Location: Enos Lane.

  • A great spot to walk, ride a bike, or simply watch the sunset.

A free and delightful way to spend the day, the Kern River Parkway Trail follows the banks of the scenic Kern River.

This trail connects Bakersfield’s many natural spaces and outdoor attractions, including Hart Memorial Park and Riverwalk Park; this scenic corridor is famous for strollers, runners, and cyclists.

  • Why you should go:

This asphalt trail that runs 21.4 miles from Alfred Harrell Hwy to Enos Lane along the Kern River offers a fantastic escape if you want to enjoy some outdoor activities like walking or biking. 

An incredible asset to the Bakersfield community, the Kern River Parkway Trail provides a beautiful escape for biking or walking. 

  • Things to do:

If you are an outdoor enthusiast visiting Bakersfield, the Kern River Parkway Trail is a must-see for you.

The trail is primarily used for walking, running, bird watching, and road biking and is best used from April until October.

7. Bakersfield Museum of Art

The Kern County Museum building completed in 1928 | By Richard Thornton

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 1930 R Street.

The entry fees: $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, children five and under can enter for free.

  • Small, Charming Museum. 

Established in 1956, the Bakersfield Museum of Art (BMoA) has offered a window into the innovative Kern County community for almost 60 years.

BMoA features regularly touring exhibits and a permanent collection of 20th-century California artists.

The museum includes vast galleries and small galleries, classrooms, a banquet hall, and gardens that display sculptures.

  • Why you should go:

If you appreciate art, then visiting the Bakersfield Museum of Art is one of the things you have to do in Bakersfield.

There are four galleries to explore, each brimming with many stunning artworks like paintings, sculptures, and photography that will leave you astonished.

  • Things to do:

In the Bakersfield Museum of Art, you can view magnificent artwork, enroll your kids in art classes, go on guided tours, practice yoga, and attend workshops on drawing, photography, and lots more.

The museum fills its event calendar with lots of fun activities such as First Fridays Free Admission and education programs for children and adults, so make sure to check out their event calendar before visiting. 

8. Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 1001 Truxtun Ave.

The entry fees: Tickets vary depending on the event or show.

The top spot for live entertainment in Bakersfield, the Rabobank Arena is the city’s most prominent venue for activities and unique performances.

Home to the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League, this multi-purpose area additionally features concerts, Broadway performances, and different sporting events, such as monster truck rallies and Disney on Ice.

  • Why you should go:

The Rabobank Arena, Theater & Convention Center, built-in 1998, has a capacity of 10,400.

It is a multi-purpose area offering a wide variety of entertaining shows.

The well-decorated outdoor plaza of Rabobank Arena tips at the grandeur inside this contemporary area.

Many hotels are located close to the facility, providing comfortable accommodations for those traveling for an event.

  • Things to do:

Check their website in advance of time and prepare to watch unique shows, like symphony orchestras, concerts, games like basketball and ice hockey, live recreations of your favorite movies like Trolls, and plenty more.

9. Sequoia National Forest

Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Park | By Hans Debruyne

Rating: 4.8  

Location: 47050 Generals Hwy Ste 35, Three Rivers. Fifteen miles drive from Downtown Bakersfield.

The entry fees: The park entrance fee is $35 for private vehicles and $20 for individuals on foot or bike and is valid for seven days.

  • Giant forest.
  • Bucket-list worthy.

This dramatic landscape testifies to nature’s size, beauty, diversity, huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s most giant trees.

  • Why you should go:

Bakersfield is blessed with magnificent scenic environments near the city.

The Kern River Canyon starts just northeast of the downtown district and leads deep into the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, including the mesmerizing world of Sequoia National Forest

The park encompasses wild and scenic rivers, glacier-carved canyons, and 30 groves of towering sequoia trees.

Popular ways to discover the forest include backpacking and hiking, whitewater rafting and kayaking, and spending the night at one of the many campgrounds throughout.

  • Things to do:

The forest is home to six distinctive designated wilderness areas, such as the 95,000-acre Domeland Wilderness

The best time to plan your visit to Sequoia National Park is June through August, while the weather is the most stable.

The park is open year-round; however, there are particular challenges during certain seasons.

For example, snow chains or tires are required to navigate park roads during the winter months safely.

10. The Big Red Barn, Murray Family Farms

By visitbakersfield | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.4  

Location: 6700 General Beale Rd.

The entry fees: You can buy tickets online for various activities. 

  • Great for families.
  • Delicious pies.

Murray Family Farms is a family-owned farm that sells fresh produce and provides many family-friendly activities.

The farms are a delightful mix of fun and a proper family working farm.

  • Why you should go:

Murray Family Farms is the perfect place to stop by to shop for farm-fresh goods, like fruits and vegetables.

It additionally features many facilities to make your visit more fun, like picnic tables, hayrides, a butterfly house, an animal garden, and a lot more.

This 70-acre organic fruit and vegetable farm has grown strawberries, stone fruit, blackberries, citrus, apples, asparagus, artichokes, melons, tomatoes, and pumpkins for the past 24 years.

  • Things to do:

Spend a day with your family at Murray Family Farms and enjoy a lot of fun activities like making your way through a maze, viewing colorful butterflies, picnicking, going on tractor wagon rides, shopping for fresh vegetables and fruits.

Visitors can also experience petting animals like tame goats, ducks, sheep, chickens, geese, pigeons, peacocks, turkeys, and miniature horses, picking fruits like strawberries and berries, riding a train, and a lot more.

Before you leave, make sure to visit their Red Barn to load on produce, preserves, fresh pies, and smoothies. 

11. Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science

Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science | bakersfield.com

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 2018 Chester Ave.

The entry fees: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children 3 to 11, and free for children two and under. The third Thursday of each month is $2 for all ages.

  • Family-friendly attraction.
  • Amazing exhibits.

The Buena Vista Museum is a few blocks away from the Fox Theater in Downtown Bakersfield. Established in 1995, the museum displays artifacts and fossils from Kern County and beyond.

  • Why you should go:

This museum of natural history & science is impressive and features paleontology, geology, and anthropology exhibits.

It has many galleries and displays to view, a gift shop selling a wide range of items, and fun programs for you.

This museum aspires to educate the community on geology, paleontology, and anthropology.

  • Things to do:

This museum allows you to ponder over the existence of the human species and what came before us.

While visiting, explore the various exhibits at the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science. You can view such things as displays about the Miocene period, rare rocks and minerals, African animal specimens, Native American artifacts, and dinosaur fossils.

For a more informative experience, you can additionally attend informative lectures, take participate in science-related activities, experience digging for fossils, and so on.

12. Gaslight Melodrama Theatre

The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall | Facebook

Rating: 4.8  

Location: 12748 Jomani Drive.

The entry fees: Tickets vary depending on the show. 

Showtimes: Friday and Saturday at 7 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm.

  • Fun evening activity.
  • Talented cast.

The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre is a shining, family-friendly performing arts theater providing a plethora of enjoyable shows.

  • Why you should go:

At the Melodrama Theatre, you can watch live shows, like musicals, theatrical productions, entertaining melodramas, holiday extravaganzas, and more by talented, world-class performers that will keep you thoroughly entertained.

  • Things to do:

Visiting the Gaslight Melodrama Theatre is one of the best things to do while in Bakersfield.

While you enjoy the show, you can eat delicious American food, such as popcorn, pizza, sandwiches, salads, freshly baked cookies, nachos, soft drinks, beer and wine, and lots more.

The theater also offers an eight-week educational program for children where they are taught dancing, drama, improvisation, singing, and the way to apply theatrical makeup.

There also are puppet shows and magic shows.

13. Kern County Raceway Park

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 13500 Raceway Blvd Interstate 5 and Enos Ln.

  • Racing Venue.

The Raceway Park is an oval track hosting many racing events all through the year.

  • Why you should go:

If you are a racing fan and love getting some adrenaline rush while watching thrilling race shows, then head over to the .

It is the ideal destination in Bakersfield to observe unique races that will take your breath away.

  • Things to do:

Buy your tickets and get ready to watch thrilling race shows at the Kern County Raceway Park.

Kern County Raceway Park is the place to witness wing cars push themselves to the limit on asphalt and dirt tracks.

The racetrack’s website has a complete calendar of events, so take a look at the site before your trip to see what’s occurring there.

14. Camelot Park

visitbakersfield.com | Camelot Park Bakersfield

Rating: 4  

Location: 1251 Oak Street.

  • Small, fun amusement park.

With lots of entertainment to choose from for your entire family, Camelot Park offers something for the kid in all of us, including Mini Golf, Go-Karts, Kiddie Rides, and a big Video Game Arcade, a variety of food, snack bar, and more!

  • Why you should go:

Camelot Park is a family park filled with thrilling rides and events for families and children of all ages. They have affordable prices and good service.

  • Things to do:

Camelot Park is ideal for birthday parties, family group events, or just an afternoon of fun while visiting Bakersfield.

15. McMurtrey Aquatic Center

Mcmurtrey Aquatic Center – Visit Bakersfield

Rating: 4.4  

Location: 1325 Q Street Suite 200.

The entry fees: $4 per person or $13 for a group of 4 people.

  • Clean and affordable Aquatic Center.

If you are at a loose end one afternoon and the heat is too much, then head down to the McMurtrey Aquatic Center.

There is a recreation pool as well as an Olympic-sized pool for competitions.

  • Why you should go:

The recreation pool has lots for the whole family to enjoy, including water slides, diving boards, a water volleyball area, and interactive floating toys.

  • Things to do:

For a hot summer Bakersfield day, the McMurtrey Aquatic Center is where you need to go.

The McMurtrey Aquatic Center includes many fun water activities.

The aquatic center also has a snack area on site as well as picnic tables.

16. The Park at RiverWalk

The Park at RIverwalk, Bakersfield-Uppermost waterfall, north of the east lake. | Pinterest

Rating: 4.7

Location: 11298 Stockdale Hwy.

The Park at River Walk spans 32 acres with two lakes connected by a stream and is one of Bakersfield’s most beloved parks.

  • Why you should go:

If you feel like walking around while enjoying the fresh air and taking in scenic views, stop by the Park at RiverWalk.

You can have a great time in nature while taking advantage of the park’s facilities, like pavilions, picnic tables, grills, shaded areas with barbecue facilities, well-maintained restrooms, fishing areas, and a lot more. 

  • Things to do:

The Park at RiverWalk offers many refreshing attractions for you to enjoy, like biking, fishing, strolling through the scenic areas, and countless more. 

The massive trees throughout the park offer plenty of shade so you can relax with a good book or sit with friends.

There are lots of strolling paths around the park where you can exercise or jog.

You can also take the biking trail that runs alongside the lovely Kern River.

Dogs are welcomed in the park on a leash, and there is a playground for kids at the park.

17. Valley Plaza Mall

bakersfield.com | Valley Plaza Mall

Rating: 4.2  

Location: 2701 Ming Ave.

  • Lots of shopping opportunities.
  • Diverse dining options.

Opened in 1967, The Valley Plaza Mall is one of the largest shopping centers in Bakersfield. 

  • Why you should go:

If you enjoy shopping and exploring various shops, head to Valley Plaza Mall for a fantastic shopping experience.

  • Things to do:

You can find numerous stores to explore at Valley Plaza Mall, like Forever 21, Target, Macy’s, Vans, Sephora, Apple, Express, and H&M, and lots more.

When you’re done shopping, dine at one of the mall’s various restaurants or watch a movie at its theater.

18. Sam Lynn Ballpark

Sam Lynn Ballpark | JamesV34 | Flickr

Rating: 4.3  

Location: 4009 Chester Ave.

Built-in 1941, the Sam Lynn Ballpark is a local baseball park called after a businessman in Bakersfield. It is sometimes called the ‘Historic’ Sam Lynn Ballpark and is also the oldest ballpark of the Class-A Advanced California League.

  • Why you should go:

Today the ballpark is a historic place used for adult basement leagues. Local teams play on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. The park additionally hosts dog shows, 5K running events, and drive-in movies from time to time.

  • Things to do:

The Bakersfield Train Robbers are a professional team that performs in the Pecos League and at the park from May through July. There also are plenty of fun activities held at the ballpark, mainly throughout the summer. So, make sure to check out the ballpark’s website and social media platforms to see if anything is taking place during your trip to Bakersfield.

19. Panorama Vista Preserve

Panorama Vista Preserve during Summer Season, Bakersfield, California | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Locations: 901 E Roberts Lane.

The entry fees: Free to hike

  • Excellent walking and biking trails.
  • Dog-friendly.

Panorama Vista Preserve is your go-to place if you feel like escaping into nature for a while without having to wander too far away from the city.

  • Why you should go:

Panorama Vista Preserve is a hidden gem right in Bakersfield’s backyard. It has more than 930 acres of land that may be used for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and different outdoor recreational activities.

This preserve is likewise used to protect and repair local endangered species like San Joaquin Kit Fox, Bakersfield Cactus, and more.

  • Things to do:

Explore the various picture-perfect trails, countless plants and animals, a sparkling river, and a gorgeous forested landscape that the preserve has to offer. This trail runs alongside the Kern River, where you can also find exciting spots such as Kern River Stage Station, Gordon’s Ferry,  and Kern Island Oil Field.

20. Puzzle Effect

Rating: 4.9  

Location: 3616 Coffee Rd C.

The entry fees: $29.95 per person.

What if your favorite board game came to life? Imagine an utterly immersive room filled with puzzles, clues, riddles, and one hour on the clock.

No phones, no distractions.

Just unexpected twists, scenery that transports you, and that feeling of accomplishment when you solve a puzzle (or maybe the whole room!). 

  • Why you should go:

Each scenario is for six players or less and lasts for one hour.

That way, in case you don’t escape in under an hour, you’re set free; however, the real fun is discovering the clues, solving the puzzles, and escaping on your own.

Check out the Puzzle Effect website for room trailers and plenty more.

  • Things to do:

Escape rooms are perfect for friends, family, date nights, birthday celebrations, and team building.

Once you enter the room, you’ll get your story; next, you have to find the clues, then simply escape the room, and don’t forget that there’s a time limit! 

Written by OBP

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