Bakersfield is a city of surprises. It welcomes you with a hometown feel while offering urban area amenities. The ninth-largest city in California has countless food and entertainment options. And year-round sunshine means outdoor activities–biking, hiking, river rafting, fishing and boating–are always in season.
On the streets of Bakersfield, the city’s fun food experiences have been the focus of national attention. Seven local restaurants were spotlighted on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. An Indian food truck–Punjabi Dhaba–was featured in The New York Times and a Mexican restaurant, Nuestro Mexico, was hailed by Thrillist.com as having the best tacos in California. And Bakersfield’s many notable Basque restaurants continue to draw visitors as they have for decades.
The city’s brewery trail was such a hit when it launched in early 2021 that it was recently expanded to include breweries throughout the county. The Bakersfield Kern County Brewery Trail now touts twelve local breweries, providing more chances to check in and win.
In a few short weeks in February the annual almond blossom extravaganza bursts forth, courtesy of Mother Nature. A sea of white and pink almond blossoms blankets the CentralValley in a show that some say rivals the cherry blossoms in Japan. And that show begins in Bakersfield, because it is the warmest.
On the city’s selfie trail, check out the only shoe-shaped building in America with shoe laces. It’s 30 feet long and 20 feet tall. Bike or walk along more than 30 miles of the Kern River Parkway Trail, where you might see rabbits, roadrunners, and other wildlife, all protected from development. Several hiking options are ready for you, like the Panorama Bluffs Walking Trail over looking the Kern River, or 370 acres of Hart Park, where you might see wandering peacocks.
Eat dinner and see a show at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, country music’s legendary music venue, where the Buckmobile, Buck’s Pontiac convertible, is mounted on a wall behind the bar. Legend has it that he won it from Elvis in a poker game.
Jazz fans will enjoy the weekly Bakersfield Jazz Workshop every Tuesday evening at the Petroleum Club. Other types of music are on the playlist with concerts at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, the Historic Fox Theater, and Mechanics Bank Arena.
A stop in Col. Baker’s field is not complete without taking a taste of Bakersfield home with you. Pyrenees French bread is Bakersfield’s bread. The sourdough bread is still baked in brick ovens using the same Old World techniques and recipes since 1944. Dewar’s chews are Bakersfield’s favorite candy. Made the same way for more than 100 years, they have been featured in numerous articles and on Food Network. Rio Bravo Ranch’s award-winning olive oil has earned gold and silver medals in several competitions. La Rosa Fruit Bars and Ice Cream serves up refreshing treats that you will find only in Bakersfield; they are handmade daily with fresh natural fruits and come in 26 assorted flavors. And My Husband’s Nuts specializes in seasoned and candied California almonds, direct from the farmer’s wife.
Winter is busy season for the area’s fruit packing facilities, so grab some freshly picked citrus while in Bakersfield. California Fruit Depot is one of the state’s smallest packing facilities and packs navel and Valencia oranges. You might even see some oranges being packed when you visit. Murray Family Farms offers fun farm entertainment, a petting zoo, country store and bakery, and you can pick your own fruit at its Big Red Barn.
Plan your visit to the streets of Bakersfield at VisitBakersfield.com.