Moving to Bakersfield

Welcome! Pull up a chair and let's embark on an energizing journey exploring life in Bakersfield, California. Gently nestled between the mesmerizing Sequoia National Park and the refreshing coastline, Bakersfield promises a harmonious blend of picturesque landscapes and urban sophistication. It's a city that dances to a lively beat of country music, while also boasting succulent foodscapes and bustling local markets. But there's so much more to unveil! Our Bakersfield relocation guide promises to reveal all the hidden gems and practical tidbits that will transform your moving experience into an adventure you'll cherish. So, are you ready to dive in?

Moving to Bakersfield, CA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Bakersfield

1. Pick Your Hood Wisely

If you're planning on moving to Bakersfield, the first thing you need to know is that the city is divided into unique neighborhoods. Looking for a slice of renovated splendor? Try Westchester. More in favor of modernity and newly constructed houses? Northwest Bakersfield is calling. Love the quietude of rural life? The quaint community of Oildale might be your cup of tea! Make sure to visit and get a feel for different areas before deciding where to settle permanently.

2. A Paradise for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Bakersfield might be a city, but it's surrounded by nature's wonderland. The city serves as the gateway to great nature escapes including the Sierra Nevada, the Mojave Desert, and the stunning Pacific Coast. Try river rafting on the Kern River, hiking in the lush mountains, or even skiing in the winter. Get set for your new active lifestyle now!

3. Peculiar Weather Patterns

So you think you know sunshine? Wait until you've lived in Bakersfield. This city boasts over 300 days of sunshine each year. However, it's not all sunglasses and suntans; Bakersfield also gets its fair share of 'Tule' fog in winter months, resulting in near-zero visibility conditions. So, invest in some good fog lights for your vehicle!

4. Did someone say "Oil"?

Unique fact alert! Bakersfield sits on top of one of the largest oil reserves in the US. The city is the fourth most productive agricultural county in the nation and a leading producer of carrots. Believe it or not, approximately 90% of the nation's carrots come from Bakersfield and its surrounding areas!

5. An Unexpected Musical Hotspot

Bakersfield has a deep and influential history in country music. Ever heard of the Bakersfield Sound? It refers to a genre of country music that originated in the area in the late 1950s. The city celebrates this heritage with the annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival that brings in music lovers from all over the nation. "Where words fail, music speaks" clearly rings very true to this vibrant city.

6. Food for Every Palate

Lastly, get ready to unleash your inner foodie in Bakersfield! Known as the food capital of California's agricultural heartland, the city offers a wide range of food choices. From fresh fruit stands to innovative food trucks and high-end restaurants, the city offers it all. Don't forget to try the tamales from Bakersfield's famous 'Tamale King'!

To wrap it all up, Bakersfield, CA, promises a unique melange of experiences from its diverse neighborhood, exciting outdoor activities, peculiar weather patterns, understated oil and agricultural dominance, influential music scene, and world-class food options. Of course, just like any gem, it might take some "digging" and getting used to before the city reveals all it has to offer. Now, here's to a beginning full of novel adventures!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Bakersfield

Pros of Living in Bakersfield

Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to many other California cities, Bakersfield offers a lower cost of living, making it an attractive option for families and retirees. Expenses like groceries, utilities, and rent tend to be less than the California average, adding some relief to your budget.

Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Bakersfield is surrounded by a variety of landscapes, providing lots of opportunities for outdoor adventure. From hiking and mountain biking in the Sequoia National Forest to water sports at Lake Buena Vista, recreational activities abound.

Rich in Oil Industry Opportunities

As one of the most productive oil producing counties, Bakersfield offers abundant job opportunities in its oil industry. This can be a great career advantage for those in or interested in this field.

Diverse Food Scene

Bakersfield is renowned for its diverse and delicious food scene. Influenced by its agricultural surroundings, the city offers a variety of farm-to-fork dining experiences, and it's also well-known for its Basque cuisine.

Strong Sense of Community

The community in Bakersfield is tight-knit and welcoming, with a small-town vibe. This can make the transition for newcomers more enjoyable, helping them feel like part of the community quickly.

Cons of Living in Bakersfield

Air Quality

Bakersfield has struggled with air pollution issues, due mainly to its location in a valley and the presence of heavy industry. This can lead to respiratory issues and is something to consider for those with health concerns.

Higher Crime Rates

Like many cities, Bakersfield experiences crime, with higher rates than the national average. This can be a concern for prospective residents, particularly for families with children.

Limited Cultural Amenities

Though within driving distance of more metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles, Bakersfield itself lacks some of the cultural amenities and attractions. The city has fewer museums, galleries, and high-end shopping options, which may dissuade some individuals.

Less Diverse Job Market

While Bakersfield's oil industry provides numerous jobs, the overall job market can be less diverse. This could potentially make it more challenging for people in other professional fields to find work.

Hot Summers

Summers in Bakersfield can become very hot, with temperatures frequently reaching over 100 degrees. This intense heat can make outdoor activities less enjoyable and increase cooling costs.

Modern day picture of Bakersfield, CA highlighting pros and cons of living in Bakersfield, CA

Is Bakersfield a Good Place to Live?

Bakersfield, CA is a great place to live because of its sunny weather, affordable living, and thriving art and music scene. Not only does it offer a diverse range of cultural foods and beautiful parks, but it also provides phenomenal outdoorsy experiences with the nearby Sequoia National Forest and the Kern River. Living in Bakersfield, you never run out of things to explore!

What Is Bakersfield Famous For?

Bakersfield Sound

The city of Bakersfield is known as the birthplace of the 'Bakersfield Sound', a genre of country music that gained popularity in the 1960s. This twangy, rock-and-roll influenced style was championed by musicians like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, who put Bakersfield on the global music map.

Oil Production

No, it's not Texas. Believe it or not, Bakersfield leads the state of California in oil production. The city is home to the Kern River Oilfield, which has produced over two billion barrels of oil since it was discovered in 1899. Talk about liquid gold!

The World's Largest Basque Population (Outside the Basque Country)

In Bakersfield, you'll find the highest concentration of Basque Americans in the United States. Originally from a beautiful region straddling the border of Spain and France, the Basque community has flourished in Bakersfield, bringing a plethora of unique cultural experiences, language, and oh-boy-delicious Basque cuisine to the region.

Crystal Palace

Bakersfield is home to Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, a must-see locale for a dose of country music history. The Palace is a bar, restaurant, museum, music venue, and all-around tribute to the Bakersfield Sound and its creator, Buck Owens. Step inside for an experience that's both entertaining and educational.

Capital building of Bakersfield, CA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the average property tax rate in Bakersfield, CA is 1.17%, which is significantly less than the national average property tax rate of 1.18%. This implies Bakersfield residents generally pay less in property taxes compared to other regions in the US.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in Bakersfield, CA is 7.25% as of 2023. This rate is the same as the California state rate, but slightly higher than the national median sales tax rate of 7%.

Income Tax

The highest personal income tax rate in California is 13.3%, the highest in the nation as of 2023. Despite this, Bakersfield residents earning a median income can expect to fall significantly below this bracket, with an approximate rate of 9.3%.

Housing Market

In comparison to the national average, Bakersfield, CA offers a more affordable housing market. With the median home cost at around $242,700, it is significantly lower than the national median of $231,200. The homeownership rate in Bakersfield is around 60%, higher than the US average. Renters will find the average monthly rate to be approximately $1,000, lower than the US average. However, the city experiences higher-than-average property taxes and home insurance costs. Its rental vacancy rate is about 7%, lower than the US average, indicating a more competitive rental market.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Bakersfield, CA is generally lower than the state's average and significantly lower than most major cities in California. For instance, housing is approximately 66% cheaper than Los Angeles. Groceries, healthcare, utilities, and transportation are also more affordable in Bakersfield, contributing to a lower overall cost of living. However, income levels in Bakersfield tend to be lower than the state's average, slightly offsetting these lower costs. Therefore, while Bakersfield offers cheaper living conditions, it's important to balance this against potential earning capacities.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Bakersfield, California, is characterized by a semi-arid climate, marked by long, hot, dry summers and brief, cool, rainy winters. The summer months usually experience highs up to 100degF, while winter temperatures rarely fall below 35degF. Bakersfield's annual average rainfall is less than 7 inches, primarily falling in winter. The occurrence of natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires is fairly common in the region due to its proximity to the San Andreas Fault and dry weather conditions. Flooding can also occur during periods of heavy rain. Additionally, Bakersfield has a unique environmental challenge - it battles with dense tule fog in the winter months, which could affect visibility considerably, posing challenges to commuters. Despite the weather tribulations, Bakersfield maintains its allure through its year-round sunshine and clear blue skies that never fail to captivate.

Typical weather in Bakersfield, CA

Economy & Job Market

* Agriculture and Farming

* Oil and Energy

* Healthcare

* Education

* Manufacturing

Bakersfield, CA, enjoys a playful mix of top industries that keep its economy eager to roll up its sleeves and get to work. Agriculture and farming have been a cornerstone of Bakersfield's economy since its foundation, thanks to its rich soil and favorable climate for growing a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts (did someone mention almonds?). But don't let the farm fresh produce fool you, this is not a one-trick pony town. The city is also perched atop one of the largest oil fields in the country, making it a humming hub for oil and energy. More recently, Bakersfield's economic landscape has broadened, diversifying into healthcare, education, and manufacturing, making it an all-around financial fiesta.

If you're planning on skipping into town and looking for a job, Bakersfield is ready to welcome you with an employment ropeway! With unemployment rates lower than both state and national averages, you may just start calling Bakersfield, CA your lucky charm. Your fortunes might twinkle even brighter in the healthcare and education sectors, as these industries have been steadily expanding and opening up plenty of job opportunities. But don't underestimate the gift horse of the traditional industries of agriculture and oil. With the city's steadfast commitment to these sectors, jobs in these fields are reliably aplenty. Whatever your heart might be set on, in Bakersfield, CA, the job market is as fun and promising as a game of pin the tail on the donkey at your favorite birthday party!

Traffic and Transportation

Welcome to Bakersfield, CA! A city where the average commute time is a breezy 22 minutes - a delightful change of pace from more crowded Californian cities. Zipping about town is convenient on the Golden Empire Transit, our robust, public bus system. Plus, enjoy the charm of historic trolley tours, hinting at a more leisurely time in our past. For those with a love of the open sky, we have Meadows Field Airport, providing easy outbound and inbound flights for our travelers. It's a rare city that offers a speedy commute, robust transport options, and convenient air travel all built into one beautiful package. And that city is Bakersfield, Californ-yeah!

What is the traffic like in Bakersfield, CA?

Best Neighborhoods in Bakersfield

1. Westpark

Get ready to fall head-over-heels for Westpark, a neighborhood filled with charm and community spirit. Westpark is a seasonal spectacle with rich fall foliage and vibrant spring blossoms. The scenic neighborhood park is the focal spot for most community activities. The kids will love the playground and the adults will appreciate the well-maintained jogging and cycling trails. With numerous dining, shopping, and sightseeing possibilities, you will never have a dull moment.

2. Seven Oaks

If luxury living is your forte, Seven Oaks will blow your mind. This upscale neighborhood, with its grand houses and impeccably maintained landscapes, exudes elegance. The Seven Oaks Country Club, with its lush fields, is great for golf enthusiasts. For nature lovers, Riverwalk Park, with its beautiful lake and trails, is a soul-soothing experience.

3. Downtown Bakersfield

If you are a lover of nightlife, history, and culture, Downtown Bakersfield is your paradise. Art lovers will appreciate the Bakersfield Museum of Art and theater-goers will enjoy live performances at the Fox Theater. In addition, Downtown Bakersfield is a foodie heaven with noteworthy restaurants serving up a smorgasbord of global cuisines alongside original farm-to-table creations.

4. Laurelglen

For those who admire suburban life with a dash of chic, Laurelglen is your destination. The locals are friendly, and it's not uncommon to see neighborhood block parties, garage sales and community gardening events. The Marketplace, the neighborhood's top shopping destination, offers a mix of retail stores, eateries, and a cinema for weekend fun.

5. Stockdale Estates

Nestled amid dazzling river view settings, Stockdale Estates offers a sense of privacy and a connection with nature. The Ming Avenue Shopping Center and the Bakersfield Country Club lend an air of prestige and provide exciting leisure opportunities. With unique homes full of character and the captivating beauty of Kern River, Stockdale Estates offers an unbeatably calm and peaceful environment.

In conclusion, Bakersfield, CA boasts a wide range of neighborhoods to fit any lifestyle. So, pack your bags, because your Bakersfield adventure is just about to begin!

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Things to Do

Welcome to Bakersfield, CA, a city tucked away at the southern end of California's Central Valley. Known for its country music roots, oil industry, and agricultural endeavours, Bakersfield is a humble jewel in Southern California. So, ready to start exploring the town? Here are seven top things you need to do immediately after settling in your new home!

1. Embark on a Historical Adventure at Kern County Museum

Start your journey in Bakersfield by familiarizing yourself with its rich history at the Kern County Museum. Here, over 50 historic buildings and exhibits spanning 16 acres will transport you back in time to the Gold Rush era, the oil boom, and many other captivating periods.

2. Explore the Wildness of California at Kern River Parkway Trail

Ready for some energy burning? Kern River Parkway Trail offers over 30 miles of bike lanes and walking paths. From beautiful parks and wildlife to playgrounds and disc golf courses, the trail presents numerous attractions begging for your exploration. Be on the lookout for diverse wildlife, including the elusive bobcats and hawks!

3. Enjoy a Theatrical Performance at The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall

Yes, Bakersfield knows how to put on a show too! The Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall, one of the rare melodrama theatres still operating in the U.S., will immerse you into an evening of laughter and fun. Enjoy original comedies, melodramas, and musical performances, all completed with interactive audience participation!

4. Savor Classic Basque Cuisine

Bakersfield is famous for the concentration of its Basque restaurants, a unique emblem of its farming heritage. From Noriega Hotel to the Wool Grower, dip your culinary toe into Bakersfield's speciality - family style dining with hearty lamb stews, creamy garlic soup, and tender oxtail.

5. Delight in the Local Music Scene at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace

No Bakersfield experience is complete without country music, and there's no better place to enjoy it than Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. This concert hall, restaurant, and museum dedicated to the city's Bakersfield Sound, hosts live concerts, line dancing, and serves up some amazing southern cuisine!

6. Unearth an Architectural Gem - The Fox Theater

Now for the hidden secret: The Fox Theater. This beautiful movie palace from the 1930s is not only an architectural delight, it is a vibrant cultural hub hosting concerts, film screenings, and special events. Not many people know this, but the Fox hosts silent movies with a live organist, taking you back to another time and place!

7. Pan For Gold at the Kern River's Foothills

And for our last pick, release your inner prospector! Bakersfield sits near the edge of the famous California goldfields and you can still pan for gold in the foothills of the Kern River. Whether you leave with your pockets full or not, the pristine river views and the excitement of the hunt are absolutely priceless.

Joyful, historical, and with its own unique charm, Bakersfield will capture your heart if you give it a chance. As you start your journey in this city, remember to soak up the unique culture and explore all the hidden and popular gems it has to offer. Welcome to your new home!

Things to do in Bakersfield, CA?

Find Movers for Your Bakersfield Relocation

As you embrace this thrilling shift to Bakersfield, CA, partner with a team capable of making your transition smooth and hassle-free. Great Guys Moving streamlines your moving experience by edifying connections with esteemed, affordable movers. We ensure that your move is handled by licensed, insured professionals that are laser-focused on your needs. Kick start your Bakersfield adventure by making a wise, fully informed decision. Why navigate this journey alone when you can solicit the aid of reliable movers? Visit Great Guys Moving now and treat yourself to a quick, free moving quote. Let's make your move to Bakersfield memorable and stress-free.

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