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.
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.
Commercial air service
Meadows Field (IATA: BFL) is Bakersfield's primary commercial airport, which is about 10 miles north of Downtown. Currently, the airport is used by three carriers: United Express, US Airways Express, and Allegiant Air. There is frequent service to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix. There is twice daily service to Houston and once daily service to Denver. There is also two-day weekly service to Las Vegas: on Friday and Sunday.
Meadows Field is also an international airport, although there are currently no international carriers. However, the airport is capable of handling international private planes, both arriving and departing.
Rental car facilities are located at the airport. In addition, there are several other methods of travel from the airport. Taxis are available outside the terminal. The city's bus system does not provide regular service to the airport's domestic terminal, although service is provided to the downtown transit center when requested in advance.
Private air service
Private aircraft that are traveling to Bakersfield can land either at Meadows Field, or Bakersfield Municipal Airport (in South Bakersfield). In addition, there are a variety of other general aviation airports in the region. These include: Delano Municipal Airport, Kern Valley Airport, Lost Hills Airport, Minner Field (Shafter), Taft Airport, Tehachapi Municipal Airport, and Wasco Airport.
A primary alternative is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX) (120 miles in Los Angeles). Airport Bus of Bakersfield provides round trip bus service between the airport and their terminal near the intersection of F St. and Golden State Ave. Other nearby airports are Bob Hope Airport (78 miles, in Burbank), and Fresno Yosemite International Airport (110 miles, in Fresno).
Amtrak also serves Bakersfield, with a nice main terminal downtown. Bakersfield is the southern terminus of Amtrak's San Joaquin 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.
Bakersfield Taxicabs 80-100 taxicabs serving the greater Bakersfield area 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The rate for taxicab service in Bakersfield is $3.00 + $2.75 per mile. To order a taxicab in Bakersfield call +1 661-374-2227.
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, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. 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.
- California Living Museum (CALM), 10500 Alfred Harrell Hwy. 9AM-4PM daily. This zoo is in a park like setting in northeastern Bakersfield. It features rare or endangered animals that have been hurt in some way and will never be able to go back to the wild. Adults $9, Seniors $7, Children (3-12) $5, Children (under 3) free.
This city will never be a premier tourist destination, but there are things to do. Ethnic food and culture festivals - including Scottish, Indian, Basque, and Greek - occur in the spring and summer.
- Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave, ☎ . Mo-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. 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 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. Adults $10, Seniors $9, Students (13-17) $9, Students (6-12) $8, Children (3-5) $7, Children (under 3) free.
- Murray Family Farms, 6700 General Beale Rd, ☎ . Kern County's major agricultural attraction offers fresh and you-pick produce, educational and group tours, a hay wagon and picnic grounds.
- Rabobank Arena, Theater and Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Hosts sporting events, concerts, circuses, and other shows throughout the year.
- Fox Theater, 2001 H St. The downtown Fox Theater schedules standup comedy and musical guests. The Bakersfield International Film Society hosts year-round showings of award-winning international films at the Fox Theater.
- Jazz Festival. Each May the CSU Bakersfield campus is home to the popular weekend Jazz Festival.
- Bakersfield Speedway, 5001 N Chester Ave Ext, ☎ , fax: +1 661 393-7085. 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. Small, locally owned antique shops are found in the Downtown and Old Town areas.
- The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave (Near the CSU Bakersfield campus). Relatively upscale shopping mall, home to a 14-screen movie theater, a Vons grocery store, several restaurants, and numerous shops.
- Northwest Promenade, 9300 Rosedale Hwy. A sprawling collection of major retailers and restaurants including Target, Cost Plus World Market and CVS Pharmacy.
- Valley Plaza, 2701 Ming Ave (In the southwest). The larger and more popular of Bakersfield's two indoor shopping malls. Home to Target, the Apple Store, JCPenney, Sears, Macy's, and numerous small shops and restaurants.
- East Hills Mall, 3000 Mall View Rd (In the northeast off of Highway 178 between Mt Vernon Ave & Oswell St). Bakersfield's other indoor mall. Home to Regency Theaters.
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, Noriega's, Benji's, Narducci's, The Pyrenees or Woolgrowers. Italian food fans might enjoy Joseph's, Rosa's, Luigi's, or Uricchio's. There are several Thai restaurants that have opened in the last couple of years, while Japanese and Indian cuisines are popular as well.
- Cafe Med, 4809 Stockdale Hwy (Stockdale Fashion Plaza Shopping Center), ☎ . Known for its Mediterranean flair and excellent wines.
- Mama Roomba, 1814 Eye St (Downtown), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo–Fr 11AM–10PM, Sa 5PM-10PM. Caribbean.
- Flames & Skewers, 1201 24th St (Downtown). Middle eastern.
- 24th Street Cafe, 1415 24th St. A favorite breakfast spot serving hearty American food.
- Dewar's Candy Shop, 1120 Eye St. 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!
Bakersfield's bar and club scene is primarily centered in the downtown area around the intersection of 19th St & Eye st.
- Lengthwise Brewing Company, 6720 Schirra Ct. Bakersfield's only microbrewery serves up reasonably priced beer and pub style food.
- Best Western Hill House, 700 Truxtun Ave, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 661 327-1247.
- Courtyard Bakersfield, 3601 Marriott Dr, ☎ , fax: +1 661 324-1185. $119-$149.
- Days Inn Bakersfield, 818 Real Rd, ☎ .
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, 1505 Mill Rock Way, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12 noon.
- Marriott at the Convention Center, 801 Truxtun Ave, ☎ .
- Motel 6, 1350 Easton Dr, ☎ , fax: +1 661 327-2337.
- The Padre Hotel, 1702 18th St. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. This boutique hotel offers five unique food and beverage venues.
- Red Lion Hotel, 2620 Buck Owens Blvd, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 661 334-1820. 198 rooms. Property amenities include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, hot tub, 42" flat screen TVs with HBO, free Wi-Fi, complimentary made-to-order breakfast, fitness center, and 4,000 square feet of meeting space.
- Residence Inn Bakersfield, 4241 Chester Ln, ☎ , fax: +1 661 321-0721.
- SpringHill Suites Bakersfield, 3801 Marriott Dr.
- Vagabond Inn Buttonwillow I-5, 200 Trask St., ☎ , fax: +1 661 764-5505.
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 Lakeview Ave, and turns into Cottonwood Rd), Union Ave, 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).
- Keene - Located east on Highway 58, the Tehachapi Loop is located just outside of town and is a favorite of railroad fans around the world since the engineering wonder is one of the few places where a train can be seen passing over itself.
- Tehachapi - Located further east on Highway 58, Tehachapi is home to a massive wind farm.
- Wasco - Bakersfield's neighbor to the northwest is known as the city of roses, with 55% of all roses in the grown in the USA grown in and around Wasco. Its annual spring Rose Festival that attracts visitors from all over southern California.
- McFarland - Located north of Bakersfield on Highway 99, McFarland is a small farming community that may be best known for the cross-country team that inspired the 2015 movie McFarland, USA.
- Buttonwillow - This town is west of Bakersfield on Highway 58, offers lodging options and services, and is home to the Buttonwillow Tree, a state landmark that gave the town its name.
- Taft - An oil town located southwest of Bakersfield that offers food, gas, and lodging services. Taft is also home to the West Kern Oil Museum and a replica of Sutter's fort that was built in 1940 as a Depression-era project.
- Maricopa - This oil & agriculture town is located southwest of Bakersfield and was the site of one of the largest oil spills in history when the Lakeview Gusher unleashed nine million barrels of oil onto the surrounding countryside.
- Wheeler Ridge - Wheeler Ridge is south of Bakersfield on I-5 is home to the outlets at Tejon and a slew of traveler-focused restaurants and hotels for the thousands of cars traveling on the interstate.
- Lake Isabella - 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.
- 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.
|Routes through Bakersfield|
|Santa Margarita ← Buttonwillow ←||W E||→ Keene → Barstow|
|Fresno ← McFarland ←||N S||→ Wheeler Ridge → Los Angeles via|
|END ←||W E||→ Inyokern → Death Valley N.P.|
|Sacramento / Emeryville ← Wasco ←||N S||→ END|