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5 Must-Visit Historic Sites In Bakersfield, California


by Vivi Haddock


Bakersfield, California, is a city steeped in rich history, boasting a treasure trove of fascinating historic sites that offer a glimpse into the past. From its early Native American inhabitants to the arrival of European settlers and the subsequent development of the region, Bakersfield’s heritage is a tapestry woven with diverse cultural influences. Exploring the city’s historic sites provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the stories of the past, gaining a deeper understanding of the events and people that have shaped Bakersfield into the vibrant metropolis it is today. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a curious traveler, or simply eager to uncover the roots of this dynamic city, Bakersfield’s historic sites offer a captivating journey through time.

Kern County Museum

The Kern County Museum is a historical hub showcasing the rich heritage of Bakersfield and the Kern County area. Spanning across 16 acres, the museum features numerous attractions, including Pioneer Village, a collection of over 50 historic buildings that offer a glimpse into the region’s past. Visitors can explore the Black Gold exhibit, which delves into the history of oil production in the area, and view the notable Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center. The museum is also home to the famous ‘Bakersfield Sound’ exhibit, celebrating the city’s influence on country music. With its diverse range of exhibits and immersive experiences, the Kern County Museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and families alike.

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is a living monument to the remarkable vision and accomplishments of Colonel Allen Allensworth, a former slave who became the first African American to reach the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Founded in 1908, the town of Allensworth was the first California town to be founded, financed, and governed by African Americans. Today, the park stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of its founders and offers a fascinating insight into the early 20th-century African American experience in California. Visitors can explore the historic buildings, including the schoolhouse, library, and church, and gain a deeper understanding of the community’s legacy and contributions.

Bakersfield Museum of Art

The Bakersfield Museum of Art is a cultural gem, housing a diverse collection of artwork that spans centuries and continents. The museum’s permanent collection features works by renowned artists such as Marc Chagall, Mary Cassatt, and Salvador Dali, alongside an array of contemporary pieces. The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions, showcasing local and regional artists, as well as offering educational programs and events for art enthusiasts of all ages. With its commitment to fostering a deeper appreciation for the arts and providing a platform for creative expression, the Bakersfield Museum of Art is an essential stop for visitors seeking to explore the city’s cultural heritage.

Fox Theater

The Fox Theater stands as a historic landmark and architectural treasure in the heart of downtown Bakersfield. Originally opened in 1930, the theater’s stunning Art Deco design and lavish interior have captivated audiences for generations. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fox Theater continues to host a diverse array of performances, from concerts and plays to film screenings and community events. Its rich history and ongoing role as a vibrant entertainment venue make it a must-see destination for those interested in Bakersfield’s cultural legacy.

California Living Museum (CALM)

The California Living Museum, commonly known as CALM, offers a unique opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystems and wildlife of California’s Central Valley. The expansive facility features natural habitats housing a variety of native animals, including black bears, mountain lions, and birds of prey. Visitors can also stroll through the native plant gardens and learn about conservation efforts aimed at preserving the region’s natural heritage. CALM’s mission to educate and inspire visitors about the importance of environmental stewardship makes it an invaluable resource for both residents and tourists looking to connect with the natural history of Bakersfield and its surrounding areas.


Exploring the historic sites in Bakersfield, California, is a journey through time, offering a deeper understanding of the city’s rich heritage and cultural significance. From the iconic Kern County Museum to the historic Fox Theater, each site tells a unique story that adds to the tapestry of Bakersfield’s history. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture buff, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the past, Bakersfield’s historic sites have something special to offer. So, pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and embark on a captivating adventure through Bakersfield’s fascinating history. These sites are not just places to visit; they are gateways to the past, connecting you to the roots of this vibrant city.

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Q: What is the best way to explore these historic sites in Bakersfield?
A: The best way to explore the historic sites in Bakersfield is by planning a walking or driving tour. Many of the sites are located in close proximity to each other, making it convenient to visit multiple locations in a single day.

Q: Are these historic sites suitable for family visits?
A: Absolutely! These historic sites offer engaging experiences for visitors of all ages. Many of them have interactive exhibits, guided tours, and special events that are perfect for families.

Q: Are there any admission fees for visiting these historic sites?
A: While some sites may have admission fees, many offer free or donation-based entry. It’s advisable to check the individual websites or contact the sites directly for the latest information on admission fees.

Q: Can I take photos at these historic sites?
A: Yes, photography is generally allowed at these historic sites for personal use. However, it’s important to respect any signage or guidelines regarding photography to preserve the historical integrity of the sites.

Q: Are the historic sites wheelchair accessible?
A: Most of the historic sites in Bakersfield are wheelchair accessible, with facilities to accommodate visitors with mobility challenges. It’s recommended to check the accessibility information on the respective websites before planning your visit.

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