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Bakersfield, California lies near the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley, and the southern tip of the Sierra Nevadas are just to the east.
Bakersfield lies approximately 100 miles north of Los Angeles and about 300 miles southeast of the state capital, Sacramento.
Bakersfield is the second largest city in the United States that is not directly linked to an Interstate highway, although Interstate 5 runs just west of it while another north-south freeway, State Highway 99, bisects the city.
The name Bakersfield brings to mind its association with country
music, and in particular with the "Bakersfield sound." Former Oildale resident
and retired Sonoma State University professor Gerald Haslam's book Workin'
Man Blues proposes that this Bakersfield Sound grew out of several
different styles of music and that performers picked and chose the styles they
liked and thus created their own brand of music found nowhere else in the
The Bakersfield Sound was marked by the sharp, loud, high-end
sound of the electric and steel guitars, fiddles, and lead and harmony vocals
influenced by rock and roll and rockabilly as well as traditional country
It was a reaction to the early ('50s and) '60s sweetening of
country music as characterized by the Nashville Sound. Bakersfield music
was, by comparison, rawer, twangier and more in line with rock music.
Performers such as Cousin Herb Henson, Bill Woods, Billy Mize,
Oscar Whittington, Eugene Moles, Jelly Sanders, Johnny Cuevelo, and others
played to appreciative crowds within the smoke-filled honky tonks in and around
Bakersfield. The Blackboard Café, Bob's Lucky Spot, the Rainbow Gardens, the
Pumpkin Center Barn Dance, the Beardsley Ballroom, the Clover Club, Tex's Barrel
House, Trout's, and a number of other establishments offered music seven nights
This rich musical heritage, along with oil
and agricultural production, is what put Bakersfield on the map as a California
travel destination. The local
music scene has produced popular performers such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard
and the alternative band, Korn. Buck Owens still makes his home in Bakersfield
and performs regularly at the Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace Steakhouse. The Crystal
Palace features veterans of country western music alongside some of the hottest
up-and-coming young artists.
The downtown theater district offers visitors an
opportunity to view live performances while dining in intimate surroundings.
Vintage movies appear on the big screen and national touring theatrical
companies perform. For more than 70 years, the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra
has made beautiful music.
Visitors can catch some of the greatest touring
performances at the Bakersfield Centennial Garden. The Garden converts into one
of the most competitive sporting arenas in the San Joaquin Valley and has hosted
basketball’s L.A. Lakers, hockey’s L.A. Kings, Fight Night at the Garden, and
When spring arrives, thoughts turn to rafting,
and the Kern River offers some of the best white water rafting available. If
fast action is not your attraction, make sure to enjoy the many hiking trails,
natural sites, and the famous Spring Kern Wildflower Tours. Beauty abounds as
the wildflowers bloom and blanket the hillsides with color. Make sure to bring
your camera for those perfect shots.
The city's downtown area invites you to enjoy a
day of shopping and experience the award-winning streetscape. Downtown offers
time for relaxation as you can take in the architecture of the past; dine at
many of the downtown eateries and browse through antique and specialty stores.
Corner benches allow visitors to rest and enjoy the beauty of the flowers
planted in the street medians.
If the visual arts appeal
to you, tour the remodeled Bakersfield Museum of Art, located in downtown
Bakersfield, where the architecture promotes a feeling of grace and elegance.
Find outstanding displays of artwork in three different galleries featuring
local artists and world-renowned traveling exhibits. In addition to the arts,
evening concerts in the park, ballet, original plays and multi-cultural displays
engage all ages and interest levels.
Professional sporting events and
entertainers are featured at the City's Centennial Garden & Arena. For those
who enjoy exercising and having "cool fun", check out Bakersfield Ice Sports
Center located behind Centennial Gardens. The Bakersfield Ice Sports Center
offers public skating, figure skating, and more. In addition, the Ice Sports
Center is the official practice facility for the Bakersfield Condors Hockey
Team. Most weekends bring topnotch auto racing at Bakersfield Speedway and
streetracing is an ongoing and very popular attraction.
For water enthusiasts, the completion of the
McMurtrey Aquatics Center offers additional fun to those visiting during the hot
summer months. The multi-purpose swim facility is located next to the Ice Sports
Center of Bakersfield. The Center has an 8,551 square foot recreation pool and a
50-meter competition pool as well as a double water slide, interactive wet play equipment, and
a water volley
Those who enjoy the great
outdoors may want to bring along a bicycle, roller blades, or running shoes and
experience first hand the beautiful scenery of the Kern River Parkway. The Kern River Parkway
extends nearly 20 miles along the banks of the Kern River, starting at the
California Living Museum northeast of town and ending near Cal State
Visit Bakersfield soon for a fantastic
country experience, and help keep the Bakersfield sound alive!