Bakersfield : California


What It Is Like to Retire in Bakersfield

Bakersfield, an inland city between Los Angeles and Fresno, is one of the largest cities in California. Located in the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County,is also very fast growing with a population over 300,000.  Its economic routes are in agriculture, petroleum, and (long ago) gold mining. Bakersfield College and California State University-Bakersfield are 2 large colleges in the area.

Where to Retire in Bakersfield and Home Prices

Bakersfield has many neighborhoods. Because it has grown so fast there are many developments, quite a few of which are 55+ or active adult communities which come to the area because of its large population and relatively cheap land (see Active Communities link at right). Median prices were severely affected by the real estate slump, falling from almost $300,000 in 2006 to about $125,000 in mid 2011. According to Zillow, the median home value in early 2021 was $281,968


What Is Special about Bakersfield

Bakersfield is one of the few places you can live in California where housing prices are below the national median.  The city has one of the highest concentrations of Basque restaurants in the country.  Outdoor enthusiasts will love the close proximity of the Sierra Nevada.

What Is Not Special about Bakersfield

There is traffic and polluted air, and charm is sometimes hard to find.

Who Will Like Retirement in Bakersfield

People who want to stay in California and find an affordable place to live will like it here.

Local Economy Is Driven by

The Bakersfield area is one of California's biggest oil producing regions. There is quite a bit of manufacturing as well as agriculture.

Climate and Physical Environment

Bakersfield is in the San Joaquim Valley, midway between Fresno and Los Angeles.The Kern River flows here and the Sierra Nevada is nearby.  January average temperatures are in the mid to high 40s, going into the high 90s in July.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

As a city of 350,000 people there are the usual cultural attractions and restaurants.  The 2 colleges add to the cultural mix. Many of Bakersfield's oldest and most historic restaurants are Basque, including Woolgrowers and Maitia's.  The historic Fox Theatre hosts plays and musical events. There are a number of festivals and events through the year.


The crime rate is above the national average.


Medical Facilities

There appear to be 5 hospitals in Bakersfield.


Bakersfield has bus service as well as an Amtrak station. There is a municipal airport. Bakersfield is below average in walkability when compared to other communities.


Valuable Links

Bakersfield Convention and Visitors Bureau


What people are saying about Bakersfield

Worst air in the United States
Bakersfield, CA is known for having terrible air quality. The American lung association lists Bakersfield as having the \"dirtiest air in the U.S\". I was born and raised in Bakersfield and moved out as soon as I retired. Now, when I visit relatives there I cannot breathe.
Posted by North2retire on July 30, 2013
A better alternative to Bakersfield
Yes, housing is quite affordable in Bakersfield. There is a reason for this . . . Bakersfield has the worst smog in the entire state. Blame it on the geography. Its smog is not locally generated, it flows down the San Joaquin valley from the cities and agriculture further north. If you desire to live in that area, a \"better\" alternative would be to locate about a 1/2 hour drive southwest to the community of Tehachapi. It is located in a mountain valley at about the 4,200 foot level. Smog is pretty much non-existent and there are four distinct seasons, unlike most of California. It is a fairly small community, but with enough amenities to make life enjoyable. For major shopping, it is easy enough do drive down the hill to Bakersfield. If I were to stay in California when I retire in a few more years, I would move to Tehachapi. However, I\'ll be leaving the state.
Posted by volosong on July 24, 2013

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