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Friday, February 9, 2018

BAKERSFIELD: The Top Ten Attractions


Last week, I saw a list of the most underrated cities in each state. A wine county up north was listed for California.  That's not even a city and wineries dot this state's map like measles. 

If you know me or are a long time reader of this site, you know what city I think is the most underrated and, no, it's not a joke (it seems every time I post something about this city at the bottom of the San Joaquin Valley, someone thinks I'm pulling their leg).

It's cheap, it's real, it's fun, and it's only two hours north of Los Angeles...Bakersfield.

Here are our top ten attractions in this city that is surprisingly full of them.



10. Take a hike along the Kern River in Hart Park.  When it's flowing good in the spring, you'll see a lot of kayakers challenging themselves in the rapids here.  It's a gorgeous, natural river in a woodland setting, still in the city limits.



9. CALM, also in Hart Park, is Bakersfield's zoo. Only animals that cannot be released into the wild (injured, pets, or too used to humans) are displayed here.



8. Wind Wolves Reserve, south of town, is a very large protected natural area with great hiking up into the adjacent mountains and a birder's paradise.



7. Tule Elk Reserve...climb up into the wheelchair-accessible viewing stand to see if you can see these miniature and endangered elk just west of town.

6. Minor league hockey at Rabobank Arena downtown. The Ducks minor league team, the Condors, play here during the season.



5. Kern County Museum, north of downtown on Chester, has recreated an historical village out of old buildings that were saved and moved here. Next on the list is the house that Merle Haggard grew up in, made out of an old boxcar, which has been moved here and restored. The oil industry section is not to be missed as is their collection of old, Bakersfield neon signs.



4. The Bakersfield Blaze is a single A minor league baseball team that plays in the ancient Sam Lynn Ballpark, just north of the Kern County Museum, also on Chester. (The Blaze discontinued operations in 2016. A new independent team has replaced them, the Bakersfield Train Robbers - Ed)



3. Bakersfield is huge in the world of Country music, it's basically Nashville west and even has it's own "Bakersfield Sound." The last of the true honky tonks sits on Chester in Oildale, across the Kern River from Bakersfield. It's Trout's.  Closed, June 2017. Try Ethel's Old Corral near Hart Park instead.



2. The city has three auto race tracks...a drag strip in nearby Famoso, a 1/2 mile paved track alongside I-5 west of town...Kern Raceway...and Bakersfield Speedway in Oildale.  We prefer the 1/3 mile dirt track of Bakersfield Speedway. The action is tighter and more exciting plus they have decent food and a nice selections of beers.



1. The Crystal Palace is the place to go for a more upscale country music show. This steakhouse and nightclub built by the legendary Buck Owens serves up hearty food and live country music. 

There you go, the top ten things to do in Bakersfield...and we didn't even get into the fantastic array of places to eat yet, either.

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
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