Bakersfield, California

A- Overview:

The name Bakersfield brings to mind its association with country music, and in particular with the “Bakersfield sound.” Former Oildale resident and retired Sonoma State University professor Gerald Haslam’s book Workin’ Man Blues proposes that this Bakersfield Sound grew out of several different styles of music and that performers picked and chose the styles they liked and thus created their own brand of music found nowhere else in the country.

The Bakersfield Sound was marked by the sharp, loud, high-end sound of the electric and steel guitars, fiddles, and lead and harmony vocals influenced by rock and roll and rockabilly as well as traditional country music. It was a reaction to the early (’50s and) ’60s sweetening of country music as characterized by the Nashville Sound. Bakersfield music was, by comparison, rawer, twangier and more in line with rock music.

Performers such as Cousin Herb Henson, Bill Woods, Billy Mize, Oscar Whittington, Eugene Moles, Jelly Sanders, Johnny Cuevelo, and others played to appreciative crowds within the smoke-filled honky tonks in and around Bakersfield. The Blackboard Café, Bob’s Lucky Spot, the Rainbow Gardens, the Pumpkin Center Barn Dance, the Beardsley Ballroom, the Clover Club, Tex’s Barrel House, Trout’s, and a number of other establishments offered music seven nights a week.

This rich musical heritage, along with oil and agricultural production, is what put Bakersfield on the map as a California travel destination. The local music scene has produced popular performers such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and the alternative band, Korn. Buck Owens still makes his home in Bakersfield and performs regularly at the Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace Steakhouse. The Crystal Palace features veterans of country western music alongside some of the hottest up-and-coming young artists.

The downtown theater district offers visitors an opportunity to view live performances while dining in intimate surroundings. Vintage movies appear on the big screen and national touring theatrical companies perform. For more than 70 years, the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra has made beautiful music.

Visitors can catch some of the greatest touring performances at the Bakersfield Centennial Garden. The Garden converts into one of the most competitive sporting arenas in the San Joaquin Valley and has hosted basketball’s L.A. Lakers, hockey’s L.A. Kings, Fight Night at the Garden, and WWF Smackdown.

When spring arrives, thoughts turn to rafting, and the Kern River offers some of the best white water rafting available. If fast action is not your attraction, make sure to enjoy the many hiking trails, natural sites, and the famous Spring Kern Wildflower Tours. Beauty abounds as the wildflowers bloom and blanket the hillsides with color. Make sure to bring your camera for those perfect shots.

The city’s downtown area invites you to enjoy a day of shopping and experience the award-winning streetscape. Downtown offers time for relaxation as you can take in the architecture of the past; dine at many of the downtown eateries and browse through antique and specialty stores. Corner benches allow visitors to rest and enjoy the beauty of the flowers planted in the street medians.

If the visual arts appeal to you, tour the remodeled Bakersfield Museum of Art, located in downtown Bakersfield, where the architecture promotes a feeling of grace and elegance. Find outstanding displays of artwork in three different galleries featuring local artists and world-renowned traveling exhibits. In addition to the arts, evening concerts in the park, ballet, original plays and multi-cultural displays engage all ages and interest levels.

Professional sporting events and entertainers are featured at the City’s Centennial Garden & Arena. For those who enjoy exercising and having “cool fun”, check out Bakersfield Ice Sports Center located behind Centennial Gardens. The Bakersfield Ice Sports Center offers public skating, figure skating, and more. In addition, the Ice Sports Center is the official practice facility for the Bakersfield Condors Hockey Team. Most weekends bring topnotch auto racing at Bakersfield Speedway and streetracing is an ongoing and very popular attraction.

For water enthusiasts, the completion of the McMurtrey Aquatics Center offers additional fun to those visiting during the hot summer months. The multi-purpose swim facility is located next to the Ice Sports Center of Bakersfield. The Center has an 8,551 square foot recreation pool and a 50-meter competition pool as well as a double water slide, interactive wet play equipment, and a water volley ball area.

Those who enjoy the great outdoors may want to bring along a bicycle, roller blades, or running shoes and experience first hand the beautiful scenery of the Kern River Parkway. The Kern River Parkway extends nearly 20 miles along the banks of the Kern River, starting at the California Living Museum northeast of town and ending near Cal State Bakersfield.

Visit Bakersfield soon for a fantastic country experience, and help keep the Bakersfield sound alive!

B- City Information:
Population: 267,900

Elevation: Bakersfield is 492 feet above sea level.

Location: Centrally situated along California’s main transportation corridor between major population centers in southern and Northern California, Bakersfield is the hub for three key freeways – Interstate 4 and State Routes 99 and 58. Bakersfield is located at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. The valley is partially surrounded by three mountain ranges, the Temblor Range to the west, the Tehachapi’s to the south and the Sierra Nevada’s to the east. The Kern River flows through the valley adding natural beauty to the area.

Time Zone: Pacific Time Zone

Weather: For National Weather Service Information call 559- 584-3752














When to go: With so many interesting places to visit in Bakersfield, it’s difficult to choose one season over another. Spring temperatures averaging in the 50’s make it a great time to attend the many outdoor sports and festivals. Summer, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid-80’s, allow the visitor to enjoy the many parks and water activities. The Fall is a great time to experience the Kern County Fair, a local favorite. Enjoy a brisk walk in the winter where temperatures seldom fall below 40 degrees or visit one of the many museums.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day last Mon. in May

Independence Day July 4

Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31

Getting there:

By Air

Meadows Field Airport


Meadows Field Airport provides commercial flight service. Regular non-stop flights to three of the West Coast’s largest hubs, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco, are conveniently scheduled throughout the day. With many arrival and departure times to choose from, travelers have easy access to virtually any city throughout the world.

Bakersfield Municipal Airport

Bakersfield Municipal Airport offers a full range of business, agricultural, recreational and personal aviation activities.

By Train



Amtrak’s San Joaquin route offers service to San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno and Hanford to the north.

By Bus

Greyhound Bus


Throughway buses provide service to Los Angeles, Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Oceanside and San Diego to the south as well as to major airport connections both north and south.

Distances From Bakersfield, in Miles

Anaheim 136

Los Angeles 110

Las Vegas 279

Napa 301

Pismo Beach 145

San Diego 235

Las Vegas 289

Sacramento 272

San Francisco 288

Sequoyia Nat. Park 122

Yosemite Nat. Park 207


Emergency Calls 911

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Bakersfield Museum of Art

1930 R Street, Bakersfield, Ca 93301

661- 323-7219

Features a permanent collection of California regional art and traveling exhibits, situated in Central Park. Call to reserve guided group tours.

California Living Museum (CALM)

10500 Alfred Harrell Hwy. Bakersfield, CA 93306

661- 872-2256

Offers a wide array of fascinating exhibits pertaining to California plant and animal life.

Live exhibits focus on native California wildlife.

Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

2018 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield 93301

661- 324-6350

Collection of fossils from Kern County, educational collection of area gems and minerals and Native American artifacts from local Yokuts group.

Minter Field Air Museum

401 Vultee, Shafter 93263

Lerdo Hwy & Freeway 99

661- 393-0291

Open Saturdays from 10AM – 2PM

Museum admission and Parking is Free! Donations are accepted.

The Museum is housed in the original fire station built at Minter Field in 1941. The base was a major basic training facility where 11,261 pilots received basic training in BT-13’s (Vultee Valiant), UC-78’s (Cessna Bamboo Bomber), and other aircraft.
Minter Field is a center for aircraft restoration, with several shops that specialize in WWII aircraft

12 Miles North of Bakersfield on Highway 99, exit Lerdo Highway, then one mile West.

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

2800 Buck Owens Blvd., Bakersfield, CA 93308

661- 328-7560

Admission charged.

The Crystal Palace is an all-in-one restaurant, museum, country store and theater focusing on the rich history and sounds of country music.

Golden West Casino

1001 S. Union Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93307

661- 324- 6936

Card Club Casino. Play poker or California games. Restaurant and lounge and weekend entertainment. Open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Edwards Air Force Base

15 E. Mojave Blvd.
Edwards, CA 93524

Base Operator: 661- 277-1110

[Due to the attacks of Sept. 11, and in accordance with established security procedures, Edwards Air Force Base is suspending all public tours until further notice. While it is important for the public to come and see their Air Force firsthand, it is paramount Edwards Air Force Base takes the necessary steps to support our primary mission of flight test and national defense objectives.]

Located on the western edge of the Mojave Desert, about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.

Air Force Flight Test Center Tours
Edwards Air Force Base – home of the Air Force Flight Test Center, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory – offers visitors a flight line bus tour, a flight test center museum and, once a year, an Open House and Air Show.

Tours are available for both the Edwards Air Force Base flight line and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.


Public Golf Courses

Admission charged.

Sycamore Canyon Golf Course, 661- 854-3163

North Kern, 661- 399-0347

Kern River, 661- 872-5128

Buena Vista, 661- 398-9720

Peppertree, 661- 832-2259

Wasco Valley Rose, 661- 758-8301


Bakersfield Racquet Club, 661- 325-8652

Village Premier Rio Bravo Resort Includes 4 clay courts, 661- 872-5000

Laurel Glen Tennis Club, (661) 833-3740

Water Sports

Bakersfield attracts thousands of visitors each year because of the great climate for water recreation. White water rafting, water skiing, jet skiing, windsurfing and sailing are just some of the activities available.

White Water Rafting

Mountain & River Adventures 760-376-6553

Kern River Tours 800-844-7238

Experience the thrill and challenge of white water rafting. Take an adventurous ride down the Kern River and view the river as you’ve never seen it before.


Mesa Marin

11000 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield, CA 93306

661- 366-5711

Admission charged.

One of California’s finest racing facilities with a half-mile, high banked paved oval track and test track. NASCAR California 600, late model Stock Cars, Modified Stock Cars, Grand American Modified, Craftsman Trucks, and NASCAR Winston West Series 200 races are held at the raceway.

Famoso Raceway

33559 Famoso Road, McFarland, CA 93250

661- 399-2210

Admission charged.

12 miles north of Bakersfield, CA.

Quarter mile drag strip featuring the Good Guys Nostalgia March Meet, NHRA FM series in April, and the NHRA CHRR IX in October.

Willow Springs International Raceway

3500 75th St. West, Rosamond, CA 93560

661- 256-2471

Races every weekend, 5 circuits available. Car, motorcycle, kart driving & racing schools.

Buttonwillow Raceway Park

24551 Lerdo Hwy. Buttonwillow, CA 93206

661- 764-5333

Admission charged.

Three-mile road racing track.

Bakersfield Blaze Baseball – Sam Lynn Baseball Park

4009 Chester Avenue.

661- 322-1363

Admission charged.

April through September

Directions: From State Route 99 exit California Ave. Go east on California, turn left (north) on Chester Ave. to 4009 Chester Ave.

Home of the Bakersfield Blaze, a co-op Single A farm team, affiliated with the California League.

Bakersfield Condors Professional Ice Hockey

1001 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, 93301

661- 324-7825

Admission charged.

October – April

Home games are played at Bakersfield’s new Centennial Garden Arena.

Kern River Parkway Bike Path

The parkway is located along the Kern River from Lake Ming in the northeast to California State University, Bakersfield in the southwest and offers many miles of scenic bike path for bicyclers, joggers and roller blading.

818 Real Road, Bakersfield, CA 93309

661- 325-6428

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Camelot Park Family Entertainment Center

1251 Oak Street (corner of Oak and California Ave.)

661- 325-1379, 325-5453

Admission Charged.

Seven acre family park includes miniature golf, bumper boats, go-carts, batting cages and a 10,000 square foot arcade.

John’s Incredible Pizza

3709 Rosedale Hwy

661- 859-1111

Experience Bakersfield’s only pizza buffet. Large arcade area complete with bumper cars, video skill & carnival games, simulator ride, and more.

Kern County Museum

3801 Chester Avenue

661- 852-5000

Experience Kern County’s past in this restored Victorian Village. You will see buildings such as an 1899 general store, a one room schoolhouse and a grand Queen Anne Victorian home.

Lori Brock Children’s Museum

3801 Chester Avenue

661-861-2132, 852-5000

Monday –Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sundays, 12- 5pm

Tickets for admittance to the museum are sold until 3:00 p.m. each day.

Admission Charged.

Exhibits and classes are offered year round for “hands on” teaching. Displays include art, history, humanities and science and encourage creative thought.

Kern County Fairgrounds

1142 South P Street

661- 833-4900

Admission Charged.

Home of the Great Kern County Fair, held each year in September. The fairgrounds host many annual events: car shows, gem & mineral shows, equestrian events, rodeos and much more.

Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area

1361 Iron Bark

661- 861-2063, 661-763-1526

Camping Reservations 661- 868-7050

Directions: approximately 25 miles southwest of Bakersfield, CA, off I-5 onto Highway 119, then about two miles south on Highway 43.

Admission Charged.

Activities available include waterskiing, sailing, jet skiing, fishing, swimming and picnicking. The Recreation Area has a play area for children in the shape of a giant toy soldier as well as concession buildings, covered picnic areas reserved for large groups (400 capacity) or small groups (100 capacity), numerous other picnic spots throughout the park, three boat launching sites and an RV dump station.

Lake Ming

Lake Ming Road, 10 miles northeast of Bakersfield, off the Alfred Harrell Highway on the Lake Ming Road exit.

661- 868-7000

Closures: Approximately 20 days a year the lake is closed to the public and reserved for special, organized boating activities. Call the Kern County Parks Department for closure information.

The national boat drag races attract thousands of visitors each year to the Bakersfield area. The lake offers boating, water skiing, sailing, windsurfing and provides a great picnic and playground area. Hills surround the lake, and the Greenhorn Mts. stretch along the eastern horizon. From a hilltop picnic ground overlooking the lake, the view is breathtaking. Fishing is allowed between October 31 and March 31 in designated sections with a valid CA State Fishing License.

Bakersfield Museum of Art
1930 R Street (at 20th and R Streets, downtown in Central Park)
661- 323-7219

Tuesday – Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday / Sunday noon – 4pm

Admission Charged.
Three galleries showcase a wide range of international artists as well as rising local talent. Art education classes are available.

Buena Vista Natural History Museum
2018 Chester Ave


Thursday-Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM, and by appointment.

Closed on most major holidays.

Admission Charged.
Millions of years ago this area was an ocean bay. Some of the sendiment has been eroded and exposed in a nearby area called Sharktooth Hill. This bonebed covers over 110 square miles, but much of it is still deep underground.

California Living Museum [CALM]
14000 Alfred Harrell Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93306-9654
Tuesday–Sunday, 9am-5pm

Admission charged.
California’s Premier Native Zoo and Garden. CALM displays and interprets native animals, plants, specimens, and artifacts to teach a respect for all living things through education, recreation, conservation, and research. Zoological and biological exhibits cover California wildlife and plants including mountain lions, desert tortoise, fox, eagles and reptile house. Summer education programs for children.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Arts and Entertainment

Dore Theater

9001 Stockdale Hwy., Bakersfield, Ca 93311

661- 664-2213

Admission charged.

Located on the campus of California State University Bakersfield.

Bakersfield Music Theatre/Stars Theatre

1931 Chester Ave., Bakersfield, Ca 93301

661- 325-6100 – Dinner Theater

Admission charged.

Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

1328 34 Street, Suite A, Bakersfield, CA 93301

661- 323-7928

Admission charged.

Theatre Arts Productions/Spot Light Theater

1622 19th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301

661- 634-0692

Admission charged.

Located in the Historic Hayden Atrium Building in downtown Bakersfield, Spotlight Theatre showcases performances on weekend evenings and Sunday matinees throughout the year. Every seat in the ninety-nine seat theatre offers a great view and excellent acoustics.

Bakersfield Community Theatre

2400 South Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, Ca 93304

661- 831-8114

Admission charged.

Having staged seasons uninterrupted since 1927, Bakersfield Community Theatre holds special recognition as The Oldest Continuing Community Theatre in California.

Historic Fox Theater

2001 H St., Bakersfield, CA 93301

661- 636-0918

Admission charged.

This historical theater in downtown Bakersfield hosts many nationally acclaimed

performers and productions.

The Marketplace Shopping & Entertainment Center

9000 Ming Ave

661- 664-6513

A premier shopping and entertainment center, the Marketplace is home to Edwards newest multi-plex theatre and offers many exclusive shops and restaurants.

Major Event Facilities

Bakersfield Centennial Garden and Convention Center

1001 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301

661-852-7300 Or 852-7308

Admission charged.

With seating capacity up to 10,000, a variety of events are held at the convention

center throughout the year. Bakersfield Condors Hockey & California State University, Bakersfield Basketball Team call the Centennial Garden home.

Bakersfield College Memorial Stadium

1801 Panorama Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93305


Admission charged.

Seating capacity 19,044. Home of the Shriner’s Potato Bowl and home of the Bakersfield Renegades.



Bakersfield Blaze Baseball – Sam Lynn Baseball Park

4009 Chester Avenue.

661- 322-1363

Admission charged.

Call for exact dates and times.

Directions: From State Route 99 exit California Ave. Go east on California, turn left (north) on Chester Ave. to 4009 Chester Ave.

Home of the Bakersfield Blaze, a co-op Single A farm team, affiliated with the California League.


Downtown Street Fairs

Sponsored by the Downtown Business Association

2000 K Street #120

661- 325-5892

The association sponsors evening street fairs on Chester Avenue. the annual Up on the Roof event and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Festival.


The Marketplace Shopping and Entertainment Center

9000 Ming Avenue


Thursday nights, 7-9pm

Call for exact dates.

Admission Free.

Summer concert series at the fountain.

Bakersfield Jazz Festival

California State University

9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, CA

661- 665-6142 Or 664-3093

This annual event takes place in May on the Cal State University campus.

The festival features local jazz artists, as well as performers from around the state.


Kern County Fair

661- 833-4900

1142 South P Street

Usually held at the end of September through early October. Call for exact dates.

Admission Charged.

The Kern County Fair has been serving Bakersfield and the surrounding communities for over 75 years with food booths, concerts, carnival rides, displays, contests, rodeo, livestock shows and auctions. A variety of interim events go on year-round such as home and garden shows, concerts, antique shows and more!


Bakersfield Condors Professional Ice Hockey

1001 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, 93301

661- 324-7825

Admission charged.

Call for exact dates and times.

Home games are played at Bakersfield’s new Centennial Garden Arena.


Holiday Lights at CALM


Usually held the end of November through December.


Call for hours and dates.

Admission charged.

Josh Barnett’s Lightasmic is a visual holiday spectacular including two million lights in 35 displays featuring animation and themed music.