30 Fun Things to Do in Bakersfield, California

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A red rock mountain with sand in front of it under a blue sky with clouds
Fun activities in and around Bakersfield include going to Red Rock Canyon State Park

Bakersfield is located in California, United States. While this city is lesser-known than some of its famous neighbors, like Los Angeles, you can still discover many fun things to do in Bakersfield, California.

Activities range from visiting museums and theaters to hiking in nearby forests and checking out coffee shops and tiki bars. No matter what you enjoy doing, there are fun activities and attractions for you in Bakersfield! Keep reading for 30 top activity suggestions.

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🏨 Top accommodations in Bakersfield

30 Fun Things to Do in Bakersfield, CA

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Bakersfield, CA, Things to Do

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A white building with orange details next to green grass and a palm tree
Kern County Museum features exhibits on the city's history

Learn something new at Kern County Museum

The Kern County Museum is a great place to learn more about Bakersfield and the rest of Kern County. The museum has an array of artifacts relating to the area's history. You can also visit replicas of old buildings, including a general store and a pioneer village.

🏨 Accommodations near the Kern County Museum

Explore the Kern River Parkway

A fun outdoor space to explore in Bakersfield is the Kern River Parkway. The natural preserve covers 6,000 acres and is the largest municipal park in Kern County. When visiting, you can walk or bike along scenic trails and will also spot lots of wildlife.

🏨 Accommodations in close proximity to the Kern River Parkway

Sightsee in Bakersfield on a scavenger hunt

If you're new to the city and want to get to know the area, one of the most fun activities in Bakersfield, CA, is going on a scavenger hunt.

This activity allows you to visit a range of landmarks and popular attractions while solving puzzles and looking for clues. Along the way, you'll also learn lots of fun facts about Bakersfield.

🏨 Stay near 515 Truxtun Ave

A pond surrounded by trees and greenery on a clear day
Kern River County Park is a pretty place to explore, with trails, ponds, and wildlife

Hang out at Kern River County Park

Located next to the Kern River, Kern River County Park is another perfect place to spend some time outdoors. The 1,012-acre park has a range of trails to follow, a lake, and a golf course. There's also a campground here if you want to spend the night in nature!

Discover dinosaurs at the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

Another excellent museum in Bakersfield is the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History. The attraction has exhibits on anthropology, geology, paleontology, and the like.

Notably, you can see real dinosaur fossils and an impressive velociraptor model. In addition, the museum sometimes hosts workshops and other events that allow you to learn even more about various natural history topics.

🏨 Places to stay near the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science

Watch a race at Kern County Raceway Park

Going to a speedway race at Kern County Raceway Park is a fun activity, even if you don't know much about the sport. Races are held frequently, and the park has both dirt and asphalt tracks.

You can also get food and drinks on site as you enjoy the races. Events are held during the day and at night, making it easy to find something that fits your schedule.

Go to the California Living Museum

The California Living Museum is a zoo and park with animals and plants native to California. There's also a wildlife rehabilitation center. Creatures to see during your visit range from coyotes and gray foxes to raccoons, possums, and golden eagles.

One of the fun things to do in Bakersfield, CA, is visiting Murray Family Farms
Going to Murray Family Farms is one of the fun things to do in Bakersfield, CA

Buy local produce at Murray Family Farms

One of the fun places in Bakersfield, CA, to check out is Murray Family Farms. There are actually two locations in the city, the Big Red Barn and the Little Purple Barn. Both spots sell a variety of locally grown produce, freshly made pies, fudge, and more. The farms also host events throughout the year, like fruit picking days.

Shop at Valley Plaza Mall

Valley Plaza Mall is a popular shopping center with many stores. You can find well-known chains, higher-end brands, and some more unique independent shops.

After shopping, you can get some snacks, with fast food and sit-down restaurants available. Valley Plaza Mall also has a movie theater and is a perfect place to visit on rainy days.

🏨 Accommodation in close proximity to the Valley Plaza

Catch a baseball game at Sam Lynn Ballpark

Another of the fun places in Bakersfield, California, for sports fans is Sam Lynn Ballpark. This stadium is home to two local independent baseball teams, the Bakersfield Train Robbers and Wasco Reserve Baseball Club. Even if you don't usually watch baseball, enjoying the atmosphere and cheering on the teams is sure to be exciting and memorable!

Interact with nature at Panorama Vista Preserve

Panorama Vista Preserve is a stunning outdoor area covering 930 acres. Visitors can hike or bike trails and marvel at the area's landscape.

Along with seeing a range of plants and trees native to California, you can spot lots of wildlife at the preserve. Just a few animals to see include gray beavers, lynx, kestrels, and turkey vultures.

Visiting Hart Memorial Park is one of the fun things to do in Bakersfield, California
Going to Hart Memorial Park is one of the fun things to do in Bakersfield, California

Have a picnic at Hart Memorial Park

Hart Memorial Park is situated next to Kern River County Park. The scenic 370-acre space features a lake, trails, and picnic areas. It's the ideal place to visit on a sunny day to enjoy a walk and picnic surrounded by nature.

You'll also likely see wildlife, like beavers, ducks, and herons. In addition, there's a playground if you're visiting with kids, and you can bring your dog along, as long as they're kept on a leash.

Swim at the McMurtrey Aquatic Center

On warm days, the McMurtrey Aquatic Center is one of the most fun places to go in Bakersfield, CA. The public outdoor Olympic-sized pool has diving boards and water slides, plus areas to swim laps.

In addition, the aquatics center has locker rooms on site, as well as a snack bar. You can also find three other public pools in the area if this one is busy.

🏨 Accommodation close to the McMurtrey Aquatic Center

See a show at Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall

Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall is a fun place to spend the evening. This theater hosts a variety of shows, including musicals and comedy plays. As you enjoy the show, you can order snacks and beer or wine.

Enjoy a movie at the Fox Theater

The Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater, or Fox Theater for short, is another great entertainment venue in the city. Opened in 1930, the venue today shows a range of classic movies. The theater also has some other events, like live music acts and comedy shows.

🏨 Accommodation in close proximity to the historic Bakersfield Fox Theater

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An old-fashioned pastel-colored saloon with a tree and grass in front of it
Buck Owens' Crystal Palace is a fun place to hear live music in Bakersfield

Listen to country music at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace

Going to Buck Owens' Crystal Palace is a must if you like country music. The bar and restaurant hosts live country music acts most nights that the venue is open. While watching a show, you can order cocktails, beer, wine, and classic American dishes like steak, chili, and mud pie.

Experience a performance at Mechanics Bank Arena

Mechanics Bank Arena, Theater, and Convention Center is another of many fun places to go in Bakersfield, California, to spend the evening.

The multi-purpose arena holds 10,000 people and hosts many shows, from concerts and dance performances to comedy shows and events like Disney on Ice. There are also multiple restaurants around the arena, allowing you to enjoy a meal before or after the show you see.

Take your family to Camelot Park

A popular family-friendly attraction in Bakersfield is Camelot Park. At the medieval-themed amusement park, you can enjoy go-kart racing, mini golf, an arcade, and more. After checking out all the attractions, you can get classic theme park snacks like pizza, slushies, and hot dogs.

🏨 Nearest accommodations to Camelot Park

Appreciate local artworks at the Bakersfield Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts won't want to miss visiting the Bakersfield Museum of Art. The museum has multiple galleries featuring works from regional artists.

You can see the museum's permanent collection, temporary exhibits, and a beautiful sculpture garden during a visit. Events like evening art shows and yoga sessions are also frequently hosted at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

A lake next to hills under a blue sky
Lake Ming is a great place to kayak, boat, or water-ski

Kayak on Lake Ming

Lake Ming is a large lake located in Kern River County Park. It's the ideal place to go kayaking while enjoying the fresh air and scenic surroundings. Other water activities to participate in on the lake include boating and waterskiing.

Try tropical drinks at Tiki-Ko

For those looking for fun stuff to do in Bakersfield, CA, in the evening, Tiki-Ko is another exciting bar to visit. The colorful tiki bar serves tropical drinks that are highly Instagram-worthy! You can also get yummy dole whip here. The bar has a cool nautical-themed underground area called The Sinking Ship Room too.

Spend some time in the fresh air at The Park at River Walk

The Park at River Walk is a scenic 32-acre park situated about ten minutes from downtown. At the park, you can follow trails, walk around two pretty lakes, and join the Kern River Bike Trail. You can also find the Dignity Health Amphitheatre, formerly called the Spectrum Amphitheatre, within the park, which hosts concerts.

Gamble a little at Golden West Casino

Golden West Casino is a fun place for a night out in Bakersfield. Located just ten minutes from downtown, the casino offers various games, like blackjack and Texas Hold'Em poker.

There are also slot machines, and they host poker tournaments which may be of interest if you're a good player. Between games, you can visit the casino's restaurant and get drinks.

Tackle an escape room at Puzzle Effect

Trying an escape game at Puzzle Effect is a great idea. It's also one of the fun things in Bakersfield, CA, that you can enjoy almost whenever because the venue stays open until late. Visitors can choose from different themed escape rooms and have an hour to escape by solving puzzles and discovering clues.

Sip cocktails at Foxtail Lounge

Foxtail Lounge is a sophisticated place to get some drinks in Bakersfield. The Hollywood glam-style bar features a stunning exterior with velvet couches, gold accents, and trendy patterned wallpaper.

The menu has an extensive selection of signature and classic cocktails. You can also order wine, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks. Sipping a cocktail or two in this luxurious bar is sure to please!

🏨 Place to stay close to the Foxtail Lounge in Bakersfield

Relax with a coffee at Cafe Smitten

Cafe Smitten is a trendy and laid-back coffee shop to hang out at in Bakersfield. The cafe serves a range of hot and cold coffee drinks, iced tea, and shakes. You can also order alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, and cocktails.

To accompany your drinks, Cafe Smitten has many food options, like salad bowls and burgers. In the evening, they also have sharing plates on the menu.

Fun Things to Do Near Bakersfield, CA

A city skyline with palm trees, grass, and a lake in front of it
Los Angeles is just two hours from Bakersfield, making it a fun day trip location

Drive to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is just two hours from Bakersfield, making it the ideal place to spend the day. If you have some extra time, you could spend a weekend in LA too!

Once in the city, you can visit famous Los Angeles landmarks or head to some more off-the-beaten-path locations popular with locals. If you do stay overnight, you can also find a variety of things to do at night in LA, and you have the option to book one-of-a-kind Los Angeles tours that allow you to see the city differently.

🏨 Accommodations close to Los Angeles

Boats in a marina with palm trees behind them under a blue sky with some clouds
Long Beach is another excellent destination to visit for a day or overnight trip

Plan a trip to Long Beach

Long Beach is another place to plan a day trip. Located just over two hours from Bakersfield, you can find many fun and unique things to do in Long Beach.

Activities range from exploring parks, like Rainbow Lagoon, to getting local ice cream and checking out fun bars. If you're on a budget, no problem! There are also many free things to do in Long Beach.

🏨 Accommodations near Long Beach

A person on a path with sequoia tree trunks surrounding
You can see amazing sequoia trees like these in Sequoia National Forest

Hike in Sequoia National Forest

Located just 20 minutes from central Bakersfield is one of the best parks on the West Coast, Sequoia National Forest. The park sits within the Sierra Nevada mountains and is known for its namesake sequoia trees.

You can hike a range of trails at the park while enjoying the fantastic natural surroundings. You can also camp overnight or rent a cute cabin!

A red rock mountain with sand and shrubs in front of it under a blue sky
Red Rock Canyon State Park is a stunning place to hike and spot wildlife

Explore Red Rock Canyon State Park

Red Rock Canyon State Park is a natural California landmark located about an hour and 20 minutes from Bakersfield. The park features a desert landscape and red rock cliffs.

It's the perfect place to hike, view incredible scenery, and enjoy the fresh air. You can also camp within the park and will likely see wildlife, like lizards, squirrels, and roadrunners.

In Conclusion

There's no shortage of fun things to do in Bakersfield, CA! Activities to enjoy range from visiting parks and local farms to watching baseball games and sipping drinks at unique bars. Whether you live in Bakersfield or are visiting, you'll have a great time checking out these exciting attractions.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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