Located 100 miles north of Los Angeles in California's San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield offers great southern California climate without the traffic congestion and high cost of living associated with coastal California. The area is considered the most productive agricultural region in the world, producing more than 250 varieties of crops. The Bakersfield area is the largest producer of carrots in the USA and is home to Bolthouse Farms, known for premium refrigerated vegetable juices and fruit smoothies. Bakersfield is a center of street rod culture, hosting the Street Rod Nationals in spring and the California Hot Rod Reunion in autumn. Since the 1970's Bakersfield has grown in population from 70,000 to nearly 350,000 residents today.
The population of California exploded during the Gold Rush of 1849, bringing many settlers to the San Joaquin Valley and along the Kern River. Colonel Thomas Baker built a flower mill in 1868 on the Kern River, and the area became known as Baker’s Field. Shortly after, Bakersfield was incorporated as a city. This only lasted for 3 years when the city decided to disincorporate in 1876 as a way to remove the city’s Marshall from public office. The city reincorporated 22 years later as population grew in response to the discovery of oil. An earthquake in 1952 led to the loss of many of the city’s historic structures. Among the few remaining significant structures are the Bakersfield Californian Building, The Beale Memorial Library, the First Baptist Church, and the Kern County Land Company Building.
Precipitation is far below the US average, with an annual precipitation of less than 6 inches. Temperatures in the summer months approach 100 degrees during the hottest part of the day, cooling to the 60’s and 70’s at night. In winter, average daily temperatures hover around 50 degrees, and dip below 40 at night, but rarely drop into the freezing range.
Meadows Field is Bakersfield’s primary airport, located about 10 miles north of the city center. The airport supports international private flights, and offers regular flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston, and Denver. Bakersfield is also served by Amtrak, with train service to Sacramento and San Francisco. Daily bus service is available in Bakersfield through the Golden Empire Transit District.
Cost of Living in Bakersfield
While most people think of California as an expensive place to live, Bakersfield is actually slightly below the national average, and more than 25% below the average cost of living for the state of California. Use these cost of living tools to determine how your current budget matches living in Bakersfield.
Bakersfield is home to 112 primary and secondary schools in the Bakersfield City School District, with many receiving better than average ratings based on standardized tests.
Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is the largest regional medical center in the Southern Valley and is well known for its nationally certified stroke center. Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is a general medical and surgical facility. If you have recently moved to Bakersfield, get to know the medical resources available to you:
Bakersfield Real Estate
Housing is very affordable due to a more than 50% drop in housing prices since 2005. Use the links below to explore your housing options available in Bakersfield.
When visiting Bakersfield, you’ll find plenty of comfortable and modern hotels for your stay, but if you seek a unique and exceptional hotel experience, try the Padre Hotel in the heart of downtown Bakersfield. Check the links below to help locate travel accommodations.
No trip to Bakersfield is complete without dinner at The Noriega Hotel, a Basque boardinghouse and restaurant that serves exceptional Basque meals with family-style seating at one of 3 long tables. For a more tropical flavor, Mama Roomba serves tasty Caribbean cuisine in Bakersfield. The 24th Street Cafe is a local favorite for country-style breakfast with friendly service and generous servings. Explore all of the local restaurants using the links below.
Things to Do in Bakersfield
Bakersfield has an unpretentious, small city feel, yet there is plenty of fun and excitement nearby. Bakersfield is within a 2 hour drive to Los Angeles and to the beaches of Ventura County. The great redwoods of Sequoia National Park, the Mojave Spaceport and Edwards Air Force Base are all within a one hour drive. If you are looking for something for the family, the Kern County Museum is home to numerous structures and artifacts that tell the history of Bakersfield. Country music legend Buck Owens hailed from Bakersfield, and you can view a collection of memorabilia spanning his more than 40 year career in country music at the Crystal Palace. Also, nothing beats a show at the Majestic Fox Theatre. If you love the gasoline-fueled thunder of hot rods, make your way to the Famoso Raceway where drag races and automotive events are held throughout the year.