Bakersfield is one of California's most characterful destinations, dotted with 19th-century architecture, pocket-sized museums and one of the state's best antique stores. It's also a great place to explore Sequoia National Forest and spot native Californian wildlife.
Things to do in Bakersfield
Downtown Bakersfield is lined with historic buildings that house cafes, restaurants and theatres. You can also browse quirky stores like the Five & Dime Antique Mall, which contains three storeys of vintage treasures.
Once home to a famous civil rights leader, the Cesar E Chavez National Monument is the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America labour union. You’ll find a collection of exhibits celebrating Chavez's campaigns for better wages, safe use of pesticides and access to fresh water. You can also peer into his original office and visit his gravestone.
Find out more about life in early America at the Kern County Museum. The recreated pioneer village is dotted with over 50 historic buildings, including a replica of Merle Haggard's childhood home. In the main building you'll find taxidermy wildlife and music memorabilia.
Nature buffs will love the California Living Museum. Home to over 200 native animals, it doubles as a zoo and botanical garden. Don't miss the rattlesnake house, where you can observe seven different species found in California. You can also check out black bears, bobcats and beavers.
Getting around Bakersfield
Downtown Bakersfield is easy to get around on foot, while cars are best for travelling further afield. The town is also serviced by a network of buses. Meadows Field is the closest airport, located 15 minutes away.