Food and Fun on the Streets of Bakersfield
Bakersfield is a city of surprises. It offers urban amenities and a homey feel. California’s ninth-largest city has many entertainment and food options. All year sunshine means outdoor activities like hiking, river rafting and fishing are all possible.
The city’s fun food experiences are the center of national attention. Guy Fieri’s Diners and Drive-Ins, Dives Show featured seven local restaurants. A Punjabi Dhaba Indian food truck was featured in The New York Times. Nuestro Mexico Mexican restaurant was praised by Thrillist.com for having the best tacos anywhere in California. Bakersfield’s many Basque restaurants continue to attract visitors, as they have for decades.
The city’s brewery trail was such a hit when it launched in early 2021 that it was recently expanded to include breweries throughout the county. Twelve local breweries are now part of the Bakersfield Kern County Brewery Trail, giving you more chances to win.
Mother Nature’s annual almond blossom extravaganza explodes in a few weeks. The CentralValley is blanketed in pink and white almond blossoms, a display that rivals Japan’s cherry blossoms. Bakersfield is where the show starts, as it is the hottest.
On the city’s selfie trail, check out the only shoe-shaped building in America with shoe laces. It’s 30 feet long and 20 feet tall. Bike or walk along more than 30 miles of the Kern River Parkway Trail, where you might see rabbits, roadrunners, and other wildlife, all protected from development. Several hiking options are ready for you, like the Panorama Bluffs Walking Trail over looking the Kern River, or 370 acres of Hart Park, where you might see wandering peacocks.
Eat dinner at Buck Owens Crystal Palace and enjoy a show. This is country music’s most famous music venue. The Buckmobile, Buck’s Pontiac convertible convertible, is mounted behind the bar. Legend has it that he took it from Elvis during a poker game.
Jazz lovers will enjoy the weekly Bakersfield Jazz Workshop every Tuesday night at the Petroleum Club. You can also find other types of music at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame and Historic Fox Theater as well as concerts at the Mechanics Bank Arena.
A visit to Col. Baker’s field would not be complete without bringing a piece of Bakersfield home. Bakersfield’s bread is Pyrenees French bread. The sourdough bread is still baked in brick ovens using the same Old World techniques and recipes since 1944. Bakersfield’s favourite candy is Dewar’s Chews. Made the same way for more than 100 years, they have been featured in numerous articles and on Food Network. Rio Bravo Ranch’s award winning olive oil has won gold and silver medals at several competitions. La Rosa Fruit Bars and Ice Cream serves up refreshing treats that you will find only in Bakersfield; they are handmade daily with fresh natural fruits and come in 26 assorted flavors. And My Husband’s Nuts is a specialty in candied and seasoned California almonds, straight from the farmer’s wife.
Winter can be a busy season for the area’s fruit packing plants. So grab some freshly picked citrus while you are in Bakersfield. California Fruit Depot is one the state’s smallest packing plants and packs Valencia and navel oranges. You might even be able to see oranges being packed during your visit. Murray Family Farms offers entertainment on the farm, a country store, bakery, and a petting area. You can also pick your own fruit at the Big Red Barn.
Plan your visit to the streets of Bakersfield at VisitBakersfield.com.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.