Bakersfield Introduction Walking Tour, Bakersfield

Bakersfield Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Bakersfield

Colonel Thomas Baker established the city now known as Bakersfield in 1863. His small original settlement has developed into one of the largest cities in California. There are many notable landmarks in downtown Bakersfield that highlight the cultural and historic significance of the city. Take this self-guided tour to get acquainted with the beautiful monuments, parks, and cultural venues spread throughout Bakersfield.
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Bakersfield Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Bakersfield Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Bakersfield (See other walking tours in Bakersfield)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Rabobank Arena, Theater, and Convention Center
  • Beale Memorial Library
  • Kern Veterans Memorial
  • Central Park at Mill Creek
  • Bakersfield Museum of Art
  • Kress Building
  • Buena Vista Museum of Natural History
  • Fox Theater
  • Bakersfield Californian Building
  • Kern County Vietnam War Memorial
  • Colonel Thomas Baker Statue
Rabobank Arena, Theater, and Convention Center

1) Rabobank Arena, Theater, and Convention Center (must see)

The Rabobank Theater and Convention Center is a performing arts theater and convention facilities located in Bakersfield, California.

The Civic Auditorium was originally constructed in 1962, to attract the convention trade to the city. The first show at the auditorium was the Ice Capades, which was on November 20, 1962. The structure was one of Bakersfield's first buildings constructed in a definitively modern style. The facility would feature one of the largest stages in the world. In addition to housing the communities’ musical groups, such as the Bakersfield Symphony, it also contained a scenery loft and an orchestra pit, to facility Broadway musicals and ballets.

By 1976, Bakersfield began plans for the facilities first major expansion. The plan would include construction a convention center. It would also include the construction of a hotel directly adjacent and connected to the theater.The name was also changed to the Bakersfield Convention Center.

In 1998, the facility was again modified. The parking lot, located east of the facility, was removed for the construction of the 10,000-seat sports arena. The combined complex was renamed the Centennial Garden and Convention Center. Incorporated in the design of the sports complex was a connection to the exhibit hall. This unique feature allows for the convention center to be used as a staging ground or warm-up facility for events being held in the arena. The entire complex was renamed seven years later, Theater and Convention Center.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Beale Memorial Library

2) Beale Memorial Library

Beale Memorial Library was established at the beginning of the 20th century. The building, furnishings, and a number of collections were donated to the city by the Beale family in memory of General Edward F. Beale. The original library building was ruined in the earthquake of 1952. Beale Memorial Library moved into the new, 130,000-square-foot building on Truxtun Avenue in 1988. It serves as Kern County's central research library and has about 300,000 items, including a huge local history and genealogy collection.
Kern Veterans Memorial

3) Kern Veterans Memorial

The Kern Veterans Memorial is a monument located in Kern County, California. It honors all Kern County residents who served in the armed forces, both in peacetime and in war. It is located in downtown Bakersfield. The memorial is adjacent to the Kern County Visitors Bureau, Bakersfield Amtrak Station, and Beale Memorial Library. It is also in between the two segments of Mill Creek.

The memorial was designed by John Cohrs. It is a circular plaza, with two paths. The outer path is level while the inner path ascends to a second level. In the center is a fountain, with both granite and glass spiraling upward to a point. The inscription on the granite reads “To honor all those who served.” At night, lights in the fountain reflect off of the glass in rotating colors of red, white, and blue. The fountain is also used to cover the noise of the busy Truxtun Ave, which is directly adjacent.

Along the outer path of the memorial are nine flags. They are: United States of America, State of California, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and POW/MIA. In between the flag poles will be the wall of valor. It list the names of those people who were killed or missing in action during wartime. The names are etched in glass panels, and painted in gold for visibility.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Central Park at Mill Creek

4) Central Park at Mill Creek

Central Park at Mill Creek is bounded by 21st, 19th and R Streets. The Bakersfield Museum of Art and the Bakersfield Community House are adjacent to the park. The park was originally established in 1937 along the Kern Island Canal. Local authorities decided to redevelop the park in 2009, and Meyer Civil Engineering has spearheaded this project. The park currently occupies 1.5 acres and features the New Mill Creek covered bridge, concrete walkways, and fountains. Construction continues, however, and there are further plans to transform the canal into a lake and build more facilities. Even with the building going on, the park is a fun place to visit.
Bakersfield Museum of Art

5) Bakersfield Museum of Art

The Bakersfield Museum of Art is an art museum, in Bakersfield, California. It is located in Central Park. It has four galleries, which contains a permanent collection mainly from regional artists, as well as room for traveling art exhibits. In 1991, it was accredited by the American Association of Museums.

The museum was founded in 1956 by the Walter Osborn family. The museum was originally named the Cunningham Art Gallery, in memory of their daughter, Marion Osborn Cunningham (1911–1948).

The Bakersfield Museum of Art is 17,400 square feet (1,620 m2). It contains two classrooms and a banquet hall. Outside, the museum has several gardens which display various sculptures and other art forms. The museum’s permanent collection is primarily from regional artists. The museums mission is to: " a broad spectrum of visual arts experiences through the exhibition and preservation of fine art, educational programs, community outreach, and special events."
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Kress Building

6) Kress Building

The Kress Building is situated in downtown Bakersfield, facing 19th Street and K Street. It was built in 1931 out of reinforced steel and brick. The designer of this splendid Art Deco building was American architect Edward Sibbert. It originally housed the Kress Department Store but now serves as an office building.
Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

7) Buena Vista Museum of Natural History (must see)

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum in Bakersfield, California. It is located in the Arts district, downtown. The museum focuses on three areas: Geology, Anthropology, and Paleontology.

The museum was originally founded in 1995. The museum was centered around the Bob and Mary Ernst Collection of Miocene fossils from Shark Tooth Hill. It is the largest collection of Miocene fossils from that location. Originally the museum was housed out of a small space in the California Living Museum (CALM). The collection would continue to grow, encompassing areas outside of Kern County. Because of the growth, the museum would move several times before arriving at the current location in downtown.

The centerpiece of the museum is the Mary Ernst Collection of Miocene fossils from Shark Tooth Hill. Other exhibits include: collection of taxidermy animals from Africa, replica of a triceratops skull, replica of a yokuts Indian village, and a model of Yosemite Valley complete with roads, buildings, and trails.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Fox Theater

8) Fox Theater (must see)

The Fox Theater is located at 2001 H Street in Downtown Bakersfield, California. The theater, which opened on Christmas Day, 1930 is the performing arts hub, and hosts a variety of performing talent, ranging from ballets to contemporary pop and rock acts.

The Fox Theater in Bakersfield, California opened with the feature film Just Imagine, a sci-fi film set 50 years in the future. The 1930s were a strong period for the Fox Theater. The silver screen featured the latest "talkie" pictures, and the stage was graced by numerous acts including Bakersfield native Metropolitan Opera baritone Lawrence Tibbett (1933); world-renowned soprano Kirsten Flagstad (1939); the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1939); and the classic pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1940). Because of the Fox Theater's Type I construction of poured concrete over steel, the theater withstood the 1952 earthquake which shook Bakersfield and leveled many buildings throughout the city.

Today, the Fox Theater is the heart of Downtown Bakersfield's arts and entertainment district. The theater is home to FLICS, Bakersfield's foreign film program which runs fall through spring yearly, showcasing the best foreign film of the past year. The Fox Theater also sees a variety of music stars including Cyndi Lauper, Olivia Newton John, and Switchfoot. The Theater also hosts numerous local dance recitals, as well as performing arts events such as Russian ballet.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Bakersfield Californian Building

9) Bakersfield Californian Building

The Bakersfield Californian Building is a historic office building in Bakersfield, California. The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 10, 1983. It was built for and is currently occupied by the newspaper, The Bakersfield Californian.

The Bakersfield Californian Building consists of two structures, both faced with reddish-brown bricks and with a primary facade facing east. Originally, the four-story main building was rectangular in shape, but over time additions made it L-shaped. A detached, 900 square feet (84 m2) rectangular structure, designed as a women's rest facility, is located at the northeast corner of the larger one. Exterior brick pilasters on the secondary sides cover the structural steel. The main entry on the eastern facade consists of seven wide granite steps which lead to polished brass double glass doors. The entry is divided into three sections by columns, each features a large, rectangular opening. The two side sections hold large, multipaned windows and heraldic shields above, one with the name of the architect. The center section, framed by Corinthian columns includes the main door along with a multipaned transom. The parapet above the sections is inscribed with "The Bakersfield Californian"; a later renovation placed a new inscription, using a new font, in front of the original inscription.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Kern County Vietnam War Memorial

10) Kern County Vietnam War Memorial

The Kern County Vietnam War Memorial is located in front of the Kern County Superior Court on Truxtun Avenue. It consists of a black rectangular block flanked by two lighter-colored wing-shaped stones. The central block is inscribed with the names of Kern County residents who died during the Vietnam War. Kern County Vietnam War Memorial is a beautiful tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for their country.
Colonel Thomas Baker Statue

11) Colonel Thomas Baker Statue

The Colonel Thomas Baker Statue can be found at the entrance to Bakersfield City Hall at 1501 Truxtun Avenue. This historical landmark was created in 1944. It depicts a man seated, holding a document. The statue is dedicated to Colonel Thomas Baker, a noted intellectual, adventurer, and pioneer who served as an officer in the Revolutionary War. He first settled the area around 1863, and Bakersfield is named in his honor.

Walking Tours in Bakersfield, California

Create Your Own Walk in Bakersfield

Create Your Own Walk in Bakersfield

Creating your own self-guided walk in Bakersfield is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Bakersfield Historical Buildings Tour

Bakersfield Historical Buildings Tour

Many buildings in Bakersfield were damaged during the earthquake of 1952. Fortunately, many of them have since been carefully restored and preserved. Take this tour to explore Bakersfield's past by visiting some the city's buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places or as Historic Sites in Kern County.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles