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Bakersfield is a city in Kern County in the San Joaquin Valley of California.


Bakersfield is one of the fastest growing large cities in the United States. Bakersfield has a population of approximately 323,000 and a metropolitan area of approximately a half million. Bakersfield is famous for being the home of country music singers Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, and has the nickname "the country music capital of the West Coast." Bakersfield has also produced its share of football players such as Joey Porter, Frank Gifford, and David Carr. Bakersfield is a very conservative, religious city compared to most of the state.

Get in

By car

Bakersfield is located at the juncture of California State Routes 99 and 58, about 25 miles north of the town of Wheeler Ridge at the juncture of CA-99 and Interstate 5.

By air

Bakersfield's Meadows Field Airport (IATA: BFL) [16] is served by United and USAirways, with service from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Denver.

From Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX) [17], there is a shuttle to the bus terminal located in downtown Bakersfield, with 7 trips per day.

Alternative airports may be found in Fresno (about 110 miles north of Bakersfield on CA-99) and Burbank (about 78 miles south of Wheeler Ridge on I-5).

By train

Amtrak [18] also serves Bakersfield, with a nice main terminal downtown. Bakersfield is the southern terminus of Amtrak's San Joaquin [19] route, which travels north through the Central Valley to either Sacramento or the Bay Area. Bakersfield is also served by a number of Amtrak bus routes, which connect San Joaquin passengers to many southern California cities, as well as Las Vegas, Nevada.

Get around

Bakersfield is a car-based city with poor mass transit options, so driving your own car or renting one is probably wise. The Golden Empire Transit (GET) bus system is fairly limited (especially in the Rosedale area), and taxis are expensive and uncommon.


  • Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. The legendary country music performer might have passed, but look for other country artists performing at the venue throughout the year. Memorabilia from Buck's career is found all over the walls.[20]


This city will never be a tourist destination, but there are things to do. The Kern County Museum is a great place to visit, with 56 historic exhibits in a lush shady 16 acre setting. The historical exhibit buildings include everything from an 1800s log cabin to a 1936 gas station, with jails, one-room school, Victorian era homes and everything in between. The Lori Brock Children's Discovery Center is great fun for the kids. Outstanding special events are offered all year. Just a short hop from Highways 204, 99 or 58 this is great stop just north of downtown Bakersfield. Check out the website at for more information on current exhibits and special event offerings. Admission is charged, but $8 for adults is a bargain. Picnicking is welcome on regular admission days, and some events offer free admission. Car shows, an annual antique show, and Clock Tower Holidays are all worth the visit.

For entertainment there are many cultural and sporting opportunities. The Rabobank Arena hosts sporting events, concerts, circuses, and other shows throughout the year, and the downtown Fox Theater schedules standup comedy and musical guests. Each May the CSU Bakersfield campus is home to the popular weekend Jazz Festival. Ethnic food and culture festivals--including Scottish, Indian, Basque, and Greek--occur in the spring and summer as well. Cinema fans enjoy year-round showings of award-winning international films at the downtown Fox Theater. [21]

  • Bakersfield Speedway, +1 661 393-3373 (fax: +1 661 393-7085), [1]. Bakersfield Speedway is the oldest motor racetrack in California. It is a 1/3 mile (0.5 km) clay oval racetrack featuring a full ticket of races.


Large shopping centers and strip malls are abundant. The Marketplace, near the CSU Bakersfield campus, is relatively upscale, while the Promenade area on Rosedale Highway is a sprawling collection of major retailers and restaurants. Two indoor malls also serve shoppers: the larger and more popular Valley Plaza at 2701 Ming Avenue in the southwest, and the East Hills Mall in the northeast off of Highway 178 between Mt Vernon Ave & Oswell St. Small, locally-owned antique shops are found in the Downtown and Old Town areas.


There are numerous chain restaurants throughout the city and in its shopping centers, but there are also plenty of delicious local places to sample. Good Basque food is easy to find. Bakersfield has what is most likely the largest single cluster of Basque restaurants in California. --try Maitia's, Benji's, Narducci's, The Pyrenees or Woolgrowers. Italian food fans might enjoy Joseph's, Rosa's, Luigi's, or Uricchio's. Cafe Med is known for its Mediterranean flair and excellent wines. There are several Thai restaurants that have opened in the last couple of years, while Japanese and Indian cuisines are popular as well. More unusual offerings include Mama Roomba's (Caribbean) and Flames & Skewers (middle eastern), both downtown. Of course, hearty American food is everywhere, especially at the 24th Street Cafe (a favorite breakfast spot) and Mr. Tibbs Ribs (a local barbecue institution). Bakersfield is also home to Dewar's Candy Shop, a local ice cream parlor and candy shop that has been featured on the Travel Channel on several occasions. Make sure that you try one of their famous black and whites and don't forget to buy a box of Dewar's chews on your way out!


  • Downtown. Bakersfield's bar and club scene is primarily centered around the intersection of 19th St & Eye st.
  • Lengthwise. Bakersfield's only microbrewery serves up reasonably priced beer and pub style food. [22]


  • America's Best Inn, 200 Trask St., +1 661 764-5221 (fax: +1 661 764-5505), [2].
  • Best Western Crystal Palace Inn & Suites, 2620 Buck Owens Boulevard, +1 661 327-9651 (toll free: +1 800 424-4900, fax: +1 661 334-1820), [3].
  • Best Western Heritage Inn, 253 Trask Street, +1 661 764-6268 (fax: +1 661 764-5181), [4].
  • Best Western Hill House, 700 Truxtun Avenue, +1 661 327-4064 (toll free: +1 800 300-4230, fax: +1 661 327-1247), [5].
  • Courtyard Bakersfield, 3601 Marriott Drive, +1 661 324-6660 (fax: +1 661 324-1185), [6]. Conveniently located off the intersection of Highways 99, 58 and 178, blocks from Buck Owens Crystal Palace and near the Kern River Parkway. $119-$149.
  • Days Inn Bakersfield, 818 Real Road, 213-380-6910, [7].
  • Holiday Inn Express, 4400 Hughes Lane, +1 661 833-3000, [8].
  • Holiday Inn Select, 801 Truxtun Avenue, +1 661 323-1900, [9].
  • Motel 6 Bakersfield Airport, 5241 Olive Tree Court, +1 661 392-9700 (fax: +1 661 392-0223), [10].
  • Motel 6 Bakersfield Convention Center, 1350 Easton Drive, +1 661 327-1686 (fax: +1 661 327-2337), [11].
  • Motel 6 Bakersfield East, 8223 East Brundage Lane, +1 661 366-7231 (fax: +1 661 366-8834), [12].
  • Motel 6 Bakersfield South, 2727 White Lane, +1 661 834-2828 (fax: +1 661 834-3923), [13].
  • Residence Inn Bakersfield, 3801 Marriott Drive, 6613774000 (fax: +1 661 321-0721), [14].
  • SpringHill Suites Bakersfield, 3801 Marriott Drive, [15].
  • Hampton Inn, 1017 Oak Street, (661) 633-0333‎.

Stay Safe

Bakersfield is a relatively safe city with a murder rate that has been on the decline since 2005. However, property theft and drug activity have seen a sharp increase within the city and there are certain parts of the city that are dangerous even during the daytime. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive (formerly named Lakewood Ave, and turns into Cottonwood Rd), parts of East Bakersfield and areas surrounding the Kern County fairgrounds and South High School are plagued by gang violence and can be very dangerous. The Bakersfield suburb of Oildale (which shares its borders with Bakersfield at the Kern River) has a bad reputation for racism and poverty. However, attitudes towards minorities have improved significantly over the years in Oildale, and the town is relatively safe (although not a tourist attraction).

Get out

About an hour's drive east of town on Highway 178, the Kern River/Lake Isabella area is popular for fishing, kayaking, camping, and boating activities, and in winter there is downhill skiing at Alta Sierra-Shirley Meadows.

Drive about an hour east on Highway 58 to see Tehachapi and its large wind farm, or the historic railroad loop near Keene.

Wasco, just north of Bakersfield, hosts an annual spring Rose Festival that attracts visitors from all over southern California.

Los Angeles the second biggest city in the United States is less than a two hour drive south of Bakersfield on Highway 99 then Interstate 5.

Pismo Beach is also a short drive from Bakersfield, and is the closest beach to the city.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!