David Lyman

Visit Bakersfield Manager David Lyman.

The news story was about two local fellows producing videos to counter the myth that there is nothing to do in Bakersfield. Nothing to do in Bakersfield? Really?

Bakersfield is larger population-wise than the cities of Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Honolulu. If there is nothing to do in a city larger than Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Honolulu, imagine how desolate it must be in smaller places like, say, Visalia, Palm Springs or Monterey.

At Visit Bakersfield, we promote all there is to see and do here. Our focus is not limited to visitors. After all, when friends and family come to visit, local residents are the ones who show them around. So how would locals find out what is going on? There are several resources. One is “The Month Ahead” feature in The Bakersfield Californian that previews events for the coming month.

Another is Visit Bakersfield’s events calendar (VisitBakersfield.com/Events-Calendar). Also check out our Facebook page (Facebook.com/VisitBakersfield) for updates on local events and activities. In addition, we are always updating our in-house inventory of things to see and do here. For longtime Bakersfield residents, there are places and activities in Bakersfield even they might not know about. Here are a few: Bakersfield Jazz Workshop every Tuesday evening. Model train clubhouse every Saturday morning. Dewar’s candy factory tour Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Temblor Brewing Company tour Saturday. Panorama Vista Preserve, rock climbing wall at Action Sports, walking tour of historic Bakersfield, downtown public art walking tour and lunch at Woolworth’s Luncheonette, any day.

As I write this article, I looked at the upcoming events posted in the Visit Bakersfield lobby and saw these (some will have happened by the time you read this):

Super Cruise Car Show, Super Import Cruise Show, Basque Crawl, Jewish Food Festival, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Workin’ Man Music and Arts Festival, Winter Exhibitions at Bakersfield Museum of Art.

The idea that there is nothing to do made me think back to years ago when I grew up in Bakersfield. In 1970, the population of the Bakersfield area was only about a third of what it is today. In that much smaller community, I do not remember having nothing to do. Now fast-forward to today, and I see my hometown, much larger as the ninth largest city in California, through the eyes of visitors. They never reflect a lack of things to do. On the contrary, they are surprised of the options we present to them. Their regret: having only a few hours or days to spend here.

Our 62-page Official Bakersfield Arrival Guide has details on much, much more. The question, then, is not, “What is there to do?” The question, which we hear regularly from visitors is, “What will I not be able to do?” That’s why we say, in Bakersfield there really is more to explore! 

David Lyman, Ph.D., is the manager of Visit Bakersfield. The views expressed in this column are his own.

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