Top Attractions for First-Timers

Kern County Museum

History buffs will love the Kern County Museum. This outdoor living history museum spans over 16 acres and includes more than 55 restored and recreated buildings from Bakersfield’s past. Walk through the pioneer village, see what life was like in an early 20th century blacksmith shop, explore the eighteenth century Neff Store, and so much more. The museum also houses an extensive collection of archival photographs, documents, and artifacts related to Kern County history.

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Pay homage to Bakersfield’s status as the “buckle of the country music belt” with a visit to Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. This music venue, restaurant, and museum celebrates the legacy of country music legend Buck Owens. See memorabilia from Buck’s storied career, catch a live show, line dance, and chow down on classic BBQ dishes.

The Bakersfield Museum of Art

Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Bakersfield Museum of Art in the Arts District downtown. This modern museum houses a comprehensive collection of contemporary artwork with a focus on European and Californian painters and sculptors. The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions, art classes, lectures, and other cultural events.

Hart Memorial Park

Hart Memorial Park is a gorgeous green space in the northeast part of the city. The park features shaded picnic areas, a playground, tennis courts, walking paths, and the Seven Oaks Pond. Rent a pedal boat and cruise around the pond or simply relax under the majestic oak trees that give the park its name. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.

Murray Family Farms

If you’re visiting Bakersfield with kids, don’t miss Murray Family Farms. This beloved seasonal attraction has activities like a petting zoo, pig races, tractor-pulled wagon rides, corn mazes, and u-pick fruit orchards. Pick your own strawberries, blueberries, or pumpkins depending on the harvest season. It’s wholesome family fun with a taste of the countryside.

Bakersfield Farmers Market

For delicious local eats, head to the Bakersfield Farmers Market on Saturday mornings from March to December. This open-air market features farm-fresh produce, artisanal cheeses and baked goods, food trucks, kids activities, and live music. It’s a great place to support local agriculture and small businesses while enjoying a relaxing morning.

Rabobank Arena

If you’re a sports fan or want to catch a live show, be sure to check out events happening at Rabobank Arena in downtown Bakersfield. This large multi-purpose arena hosts minor league hockey games for the Bakersfield Condors as well as major concerts and performances by artists like Elton John, the Eagles, and Cirque du Soleil. Upcoming rodeos, motor sports events, and family shows are also held at the arena throughout the year.

Mill Creek Linear Park

This peaceful green space follows the path of Mill Creek through northeast Bakersfield. The park has shady cottonwood trees, walking paths, a playground, exercise equipment, and access to the creek. You can take a relaxing stroll, have a picnic, and even do some urban fishing on the creek. It’s a nice spot for an easy outdoor excursion.

Las Brisas Recreation Center

Las Brisas Recreation Center in northwest Bakersfield has indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, a gymnasium, sports fields, a skate park, picnic shelters, and playgrounds. Daily passes are available. It’s a great place to cool off and entertain the kids on a hot Bakersfield afternoon.

Bakersfield Blaze Baseball

Catch an exciting minor league baseball game at Bakersfield’s Recreation Ball Park, home to the Bakersfield Blaze. This Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Colorado Rockies plays 70 home games each season from April to September. Enjoy an affordable family-friendly sporting event complete with mascots, giveaways, fireworks nights, and more.

Outlets at Tejon

About 30 minutes south of downtown Bakersfield near the Grapevine pass, the Outlets at Tejon offers great savings at name brand stores. Shop over 75 outlet retailers like Nike, Gap, Levi’s, Vans, and Coach. You can also grab a bite to eat at one of the outlet center’s casual dining options.

Bakersfield Breakfast Spots

Start your morning off right at a classic Bakersfield breakfast joint like Happy Jack’s Pie ‘N’ Burger, Uncle’s Coffee Shop, or Rainbow’s End Cafe. These beloved local eateries serve up hearty comfort food like chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, omelets, and more. It’s the perfect fuel before a day exploring Bako.

Best BBQ

You can’t visit Bakersfield without sampling our famous Santa Maria-style barbecue. Hit up local favorites like Rusty’s BBQ, Emiliano’s Restaurant, and Moo Creamery for perfectly charred tri-tip, smoked brisket, ribs, and more. Their outdoor grills infuse everything with that smoky BBQ flavor we love.

Padre Hotel

History meets modern luxury at the Padre Hotel in downtown Bakersfield. Built in 1928, this National Historic Landmark recently underwent an extensive renovation. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine at the on-site restaurant, handcrafted cocktails in the swanky second-floor lounge, and chic accommodations in their 112 guestrooms and suites.

CA Living Museum

The California Living Museum (CALM) is a must-visit for animal lovers and families. This zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum highlights wildlife and plants native to California’s diverse ecosystems. See black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles, desert tortoises, and other species up-close. Interact with docile creatures like porcupines and parrots at daily scheduled animal encounters.

How to Get Around Bakersfield

Public Transportation

Bakersfield is serviced by the Golden Empire Transit District, which operates local buses throughout the city. Routes connect major residential areas to popular destinations like CSU Bakersfield, downtown Bakersfield, and the Amtrak station.

Taxis and Rideshares

Taxis are available for hire 24/7 in Bakersfield, although they tend to be quite limited. Popular rideshare services like Uber and Lyft offer another convenient transportation option. Rates vary based on availability and demand.

Charter Buses

For group travel or private events, consider renting a charter bus. Our team at Bakersfield  Party Bus provides charter bus rentals for groups of any size, whether you need a minibus for a bachelorette party winery tour or a 56-passenger coach for a company retreat. Our modern buses include amenities like leather seats, WiFi, and entertainment systems. Contact us today at 661-829-1742 to start planning your Bakersfield group transportation!

Ready to Get Started?

We hope this guide gave you a helpful preview of things to see, do, and know before visiting Bakersfield for the first time. With vibrant arts and culture, historical sites, outdoor recreation, delicious dining, and efficient transportation options, you’ll find plenty of activities to fill your Bakersfield itinerary. Contact Bakersfield Party Bus Company at 661-829-1742 to book group transportation and start exploring this Central Valley gem. We can’t wait to show you the best of Bako!