10 Hidden Gem Things to Do in Bakersfield, CA
Bakersfield is a city of 350,000 residents, and like any big city, there is plenty to do. We’ve selected a variety of activities so you can get some exercise, find some entertainment, and generally have fun. Whether you live in Bakersfield or are just visiting, here are some great spots to check out.
Puzzle Perfect Bakersfield
Puzzle Perfect Bakersfield, also known as the Bakersfield Escape Room, provides escape challenges for all ages. Each scenario is for up to six players and lasts for one hour. Yes, that means that if you don’t escape in under an hour, you’re set free. Of course, the real fun is discovering the clues, solving the puzzles, and escaping on your own. Scenarios include “Amnesia,” “Grim Stacks,” Knight & Rook,” and “The Crimson Storm.” Check out Puzzle Perfect website for room trailers and much more.
Buena Vista Museum of Natural History
This is a great place for children and adults to learn about science and Earth history. You’ll find exhibits in a variety of scientific disciplines, including anatomy, astronomy, anthropology, and paleontology. Every month, the museum holds an art contest. Children can submit art based on the monthly theme and win prizes.
The types of exhibits you’ll often find highlight gems and minerals, dinosaurs and fossils, and Native Americans. Before going, we encourage you to peruse the Buena Vista Museum website where you can watch educational videos, learn about current and past exhibits, and even order from the museum store.
California Living Museum (CALM)
Yes, Bakersfield has a zoo, and it’s not just any zoo. The California Living Museum is filled with Californian animals, including birds, mammals, and reptiles, from various habitats around the state. You’ll find acorn woodpeckers, black-tailed mule deers, raccoons, desert tortoises, and more. The zoo also hosts school-year and summer programs.
Also, you can ride the train, check out the California Coast Room, a 10-foot aquatic touch tank, and check out the farm animals at the Children’s Park. Of course, there’s also a gift store, and annual family and individual memberships are available.
Bakersfield Museum of Art
Every city needs an art museum, and the Bakersfield Museum of Art is a local treasure. Here, you’ll find several art exhibits per year showcasing select artists in a variety of media. The museum also provides art education for all ages and provides outreach to bring art into local schools. The White Wolf Wellness Foundation teaches Yoga classes at the museum, encouraging fitness, mindfulness, and wellness. Thanks to Museums for All, anyone receiving SNAP benefits gets reduced or free admission to the Bakersfield Museum of Art.
General admission is affordable and membership options are available.
Central Park at Mill Creek
In 2009 downtown Bakersfield received numerous renovations. Central Park at Mill Creek was part of that. Among other changes, a million pounds of boulders from the Kern River were brought in for landscaping and the city added a covered pedestrian bridge and stylish concrete walkways. The park has a playground, a large lake, plus lots of trees and green areas.
Also, it’s just down the street from the Bakersfield Museum of Art, so stop here before or after you visit the museum.
Murray Family Farms, The Big Red Barn
If you’re looking for a fun farm experience, you need only visit Murray Family Farms. Tour the farm area, enjoy the animal farm and the petting zoo, grab a farm-fresh meal in the Cal-Okie Kitchen, and take a hayride or tractor tour. Visit the pumpkin patch during their October Fun-fest, and in the winter, participate in Christmas on the Farm. The Big Red Barn is the farm’s expansive produce store where you can get delicious fruits, vegetables, and more during your visit.
Stars Theater Restaurant
The Stars Theater Restaurant is a combination of eatery and performance theater. Food served includes burgers, chicken, fries, and salads with soft drinks, tea, and lemonade. At the bar in the lounge, adults can order a specialty alcoholic beverage.
The musicals are put on by Bakersfield Music Theater (BMT) and perform two musicals each summer. BMT also has a summer acting workshop for kids and teens ages 6 to 18.
Hart Memorial Park
In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the bank of the Kern River, you’ll find the gorgeous Heart Memorial Park. This natural area has so much to do. Fish in Hart Park Lake for bass, bluegill, and rainbow trout, take your kids to one of the many playgrounds, and have lunch at a picnic table. You can hike or bike on one of the many trails or just relax under a shady tree. There are also two disc-golf courses, one with 18 holes. This is a popular spot for locals and is just 10 miles from downtown.
Buck Owens' Crystal Palace
Have you ever heard of the Bakersfield Sound? This is a subgenre of country music with a heavy rock ‘n roll influence, developed in Bakersfield. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is dedicated to the memory of country superstar Buck Owens, one of the originators of the Bakersfield Sound.
This place has so much to do. It has a music venue that, in non-quarantine times, has several country music acts every week. It has a restaurant, serving chicken fried steak, chimichangas, chili fries, salads, steaks, pork chops, and lots more. It also has a museum with exhibits all about Owens’ career.
Buck Owens isn’t the only place to hear the Bakersfield Sound. Another great venue with related country music acts is Bakersfield’s Fox Theater. Perhaps it was auspicious that it opened on Christmas, 1930. While this ornately decorated theater faced the possibility of being destroyed in the 1980s, it made it through and went from being primarily a movie theater to a performance center.
We think that’s ideal since the Fox has fantastic acoustics. Upcoming acts for 2021 include Amy Grant, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tanya Tucker, and .38 Special.
Of course, there’s a lot more fun to be had in Bakersfield, but these seven spots will give you a great start. Meanwhile, if you need some extra space to store personal or business items, look no further than Derrel’s Mini Storage. We have facilities throughout the area.