Bakersfield has a lot going for it – an abundance of facilities, a plethora of hotel rooms and mild weather. But its central location –within four hours of 90% of the population of California – makes it a regional favorite for sports events.

With three professional sports teams, 23 athletic venues and facilities for everything from ice hockey to water polo, Bakersfield has hosted many tournaments and competitions, including NCAA basketball, professional bike racing and CIF high school tournaments.

From the Great Indoors to the Great Outdoors

Rabobank Arena

This is Bakersfield’s largest sports facility. It can seat up to 10,000, with 26 private suites, a four-sided video board, and all the amenities that you’d expect from a facility that houses both the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors and the CSU Roadrunners men’s basketball team. For participants, this multi-use arena has eight locker rooms and additional practice or staging space available in the connected Rabobank Convention Center.

Wrestling at Rabobank Arena. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Wrestling at Rabobank Arena. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Kern County Soccer Park

San Joaquin Valley’s largest lit-field complex, the park has 34 regulation-sized soccer fields, ample parking and concessions. There are multiple restrooms throughout the complex and separate referee buildings and tournament headquarters.

State Farm Sports Village

Phase One of this 170-acre is complete; it includes landscaped grounds, concessions and 16 soccer fields. Phase Two will add a gymnasium for indoor sports, meeting areas, multi-use trails, four football fields and 10 baseball/softball diamonds.

Sports Village. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Sports Village. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

CSU Bakersfield Icardo Center

This facility is home of the well-known “blue floor” as well as the CSU Roadrunners volleyball, track and field, and women’s basketball teams. Its roomy 44,000 square feet and 3,800 seating capacity make it a good choice for similar sports.

CSU men's soccer

CSU men’s soccer. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Bakersfield College Gym

This venue is fully equipped for indoor sports, thanks to its north and south balconies, skybox, locker rooms and 14,000 square feet of space. For fans, there is seating that can accommodate 2,200, lots of parking and concessions.

Bakersfield College Gym. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Bakersfield College Gym. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Bakersfield College Memorial Stadium

This massive, 19,000-seat stadium can host multiple events. As home of the Bakersfield College Renegades football team and track and field program, it has the facilities you’d expect for collegiate-level sports: a regulation-sized football and soccer field and track runways.

Bakersfield College Memorial Stadium. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Bakersfield College Memorial Stadium. Credit: Bakersfield CVB

Unique Eats, Popular Beats and Cultural Sights

Bakersfield is sometimes called the Nashville of the West, thanks to its strong ties to country music. Music plays a major part in the local attractions; perhaps nowhere is this more noticeable than at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, a country-music themed venue where guests can eat dinner, listen to live music, dance, visit the store, or see guitars and other country music memorabilia.

For an educationally-themed break from sports, groups can visit the Kern County Museum (including the Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center), Bakersfield Museum of Art, California Living Museum (think zoo) and Buena Vista Museum of Natural History.

Another Bakersfield specialty is Basque cuisine. While there is a lot of variety in this city’s culinary scene, it is especially known for this style of cooking. The Basque region lies in the Pyrenees Mountains, taking in parts of southern France and northern Spain, and it is noted for its hearty, satisfying food. For larger groups, the Pyrenees Cafe and Wool Growers Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge offer banquet-sized seating areas.

Central Location a Big Plus

Bakersfield is located at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, almost exactly between Fresno (109 miles) and Los Angeles (112 miles).  It is about 15 minutes east of Interstate 5. The closest major airport is LAX, but Bakersfield does have its own regional airport a short distance from the city. Meadows Field Airport, with flights from Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco, is served by United, US Airways and American Airlines.

Bakersfield’s combination of convenient location, 5,000-plus available rooms and reasonable lodging rates – about 40% cheaper than the California average – makes it popular for in-state events.