Where to Rest Your Head: Built in 1928, The Padre Hotel is a historic landmark in the heart of Bakersfield which recently underwent a renovation by the San Diego-based EAT.DRINK.SLEEP group. This is the first time in the Valley’s history that a true boutique style hotel erected itself to offer the Central Valley the type of decadence one would expect to find in New York. This nine-story landmark beacons the Padre name with a giant neon sign that’s reminiscent of ’40s Times Square signage. Every beautifully appointed room offers Tempur-Pedic beds, flat-screen TVs and some “playful” highlights such as the see-through shower and rooms with dual shower heads and poles. Padre’s renovation was masterminded in such a way to include a happening bar scene with a rooftop lounge, upscale dining and an ultra-chic lounge and café for your morning latte. Padre Hotel redefines elegance in the San Joaquin and definitely wears the crown of “Hippest Place in the Valley.”
Get Your Arts and Culture On: A short drive down Chester Boulevard and you’ll visit the Kern County Museum (www.kcmuseum.org). A great place to see the 50+ historic exhibits and take yourself back to the time of There Will be Blood (This Daniel Day-Lewis vehicle was set in the San Joaquin Valley). Old-time structures, oil drilling platforms and equipment along with an impressive collection of shark teeth from nearby Sharktooth Hill will educate and intrigue. Heading west to the famous Crystal Palace is home to all things Buck Owens (www.buckowens.com). This famous venue is where Garth Brooks proposed to his soon-to-be wife and played an intimate set for the fortunate few who happened to be in the audience. As a country music pioneer and co-host to Hee Haw, Buck Owens helped propel the popularity of county music and the American sound.
Why You’ve Gotta Come Back: For a good ole’ fashioned pastime visit Dewar’s Ice Cream and Fine Candies (www.dewarscandy.com). On the edge of town, Hart Memorial Park offers serene surroundings of the Kern River with plenty of shade for picnicking and playing. Just outside town lies the obscure Sharktooth Hill, where for unknown reasons millions of sharks teeth can be found (Caution: valley fever is present in these hills). Other events uniquely Bakersfield include the Kern County Basque Festival (www.kcbasqueclub.com) and the Lowrider Nationals (www.lowridernationals.com).
The Padre Hotel, 1702 18th Street, Bakersfield, (661) 427-4900; www.thepadrehotel.com.