Outer East Bakersfield – Bakersfield, CA

Outer East Bakersfield centers around several gated housing developments at the tip of the vast Sequoia National Forest. The area serves as Bakersfield's recreation destination, with waterways, golf courses, bike paths and campgrounds in the immediate vicinity. Residents of Outer East Bakersfield spend a little more on their properties in exchange for peace and quiet, cleaner air and mountain views. With Bakersfield a mere 10 miles away, neighborhood residents enjoy the luxury of choosing when to get their fix of city life.

Schools in Outer East Bakersfield

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Restaurants & Nightlife

Rio Bravo Country Club members enjoy the club's restaurant, and the annual Christmas and New Years dinners never lack for attendance. Most Rio Bravo residents belong to this private country club, which also welcomes members of surrounding communities to join. Venturing down the hill into East Bakersfield brings more dining options into view for Outer East Bakersfield residents. The area's traditional Basque heritage lives on at local institutions Noriega's and the Pyrenees Café. Formerly known as the Iberia Hotel, Noriega's, a part of the hotel, has been satisfying local customers since 1893. A virtual time capsule, Noriega's serves up unique Basque favorites in a down-to-earth setting. Long communal tables often find old timers mingling with yuppies and tourists over bowls of their popular lamb stew with fresh baked bread. Despite Noriega's tourist-attracting accolades (a James Beard award-winner), the place also appeals to plenty of locals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Calling ahead helps to avoid missing out on the fun, since the place jumps around dinner time. Since 1935, Sumner Street's Pyrenees Café has served hungry sheepherders, farmers, businesspeople and families. Dinners come accompanied by "the setup": pinto beans, bread, salsa, soup and picked vegetables. The pickled tongue ranks as a recommended delicacy even for the squeamish. The hearty portions animate boisterous communal crowds chatting over plates of delicately roasted lamb and rice, fried chicken and ravioli, and other specialties. In the evenings the attached saloon gets packed, and becomes a loud and friendly meet-and-greet. Locals look beyond the tasty donuts at Smith's Bakery, locally owned and operated since 1945. With scrumptious house-made cakes, pies, tarts and cookies, Smith's bakes the kind of treats that neighborhood residents remember from childhood. Weddings, promotions and morning office smiles have revolved around Smith's for decades. This local institution still retains that 1950s feel, and the little old ladies behind the counter move the weekend crowds along with friendly brevity. The coveted pink-champagne cake disappears quickly, so reserve one ahead of time. Getting your drink on in Outlying East Bakersfield means heading west to Ethel's Old Corral. A hole-in-the-wall surrounded by oil fields and ranch land, Ethel's doesn't just look the part of a roadside cowboy bar. Step inside for a couple of local-favorite slow-roasted tacos and a cold beer, and stay for the live country music and line dancing. Ethel's provides the only place around to get out of the sun, although the covered patio makes for a nice afternoon over a pitcher and a couple of buffalo burgers. Leave your credit cards in your wallet as this place takes cash only. East-side dwellers come home to roost at Frank Amestoy's Bar, the long-standing destination of Bakersfield hot-rodders back in the day. Old folks hold court during the weeknights, and weekends usher in a younger crowd. Opened by self-proclaimed hot-rodder Frank Amestoy and his wife Marie in 1948, Amestoy's has a reputation for traditional cocktails, cold beers and jukebox music. The classic neon marquis reminds patrons that they're entering Bakersfield's history every time they walk in through the back door.

History & Culture

Since the 1980s, the developments northeast of Bakersfield have attracted upper-middle-class residents seeking seclusion. The Rio Bravo Country Club, purchased from a resort company in 1991, became the center of an upscale neighborhood of middle-aged adults and retirees. Across Kern Canyon Road, young professionals enjoy access to golfing and Kern River's recreational diversions in the Tuscany development. Young families enjoy similar bucolic perks in Mountain Meadows south of Rio Bravo and Tuscany. Down the hill, historic Bakersfield supports a dynamic local arts scene centered around public art walks and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. For over five decades, this local institution has supported the creative endeavors of Bakersfield artists. The organization hosts a lecture series every Wednesday, and several annual celebrations including Artmix, a shindig blending craft cocktails and fine art. Don't miss the yearly Italian Street Painting Festival, when the streets become the canvas.


The majority of Outer East Bakersfield residents drive or carpool to work in Bakersfield along route 178. A commute into downtown Bakersfield takes up to 40 minutes. Route 178 bee-lines into downtown Bakersfield, also intersecting with the 99B connector to routes 58 and 99 for destinations north and south of the city. The 178, locally known as Kern Canyon Road, also leads northeast over the mountains to Lake Isabella and beyond. Because of the remote locations of these outlying developments and the change in altitude, most locals do not use their two feet or bikes for commuting. Cabs and Uber, which services the area, do not cruise the streets of the neighborhood, so residents must text or phone for a lift. Parking on the streets does not suffer a time limit since Outer East Bakersfield communities remain mostly gated.


The cost of living in the Outer East Bakersfield communities peaks about 8 percent higher than the city average. Workers must commute daily, and amenities such as groceries, household supplies and services await at least a 20-minute drive west. Additionally, prices at the pump run 17 percent higher than the national average. Although most Outer East Bakersfield residents own their homes, median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the area averages a refreshingly low $653 per month. The average cost of a beer hovers around $4 for a pint.


Outlying East Bakersfield residents shop at Albertsons about 15 minutes west of the neighborhood, or venture further west for Vons, Trader Joe's and Fresh & Easy. Albertsons skirts the outside of East Bakersfield, once an independent town annexed in the mid-20th century. Locals head to Baker Street, the epicenter of Old Town Kern, where shops and restaurants recall the area's early settlement history. Since 1904, Snider's Cyclery has supplied Bakersfield residents with bicycles, accessories and service. Cycling proves a popular hobby in Outlying East Bakersfield communities, and being in business for over a century means plenty of loyal Snider's customers. Locals rely on this family owned business, which has weathered Bakersfield's economic ups and downs through the 20th century as a monument to small-business entrepreneurs. Another century-old treasure, Luigi's Italian grocery remains the hidden hotspot that locals introduce to their out-of-town visitors. Since 1910 when Joe Lemucchi opened his small Italian grocery, Luigi's has provided Bakersfield with imported Italian specialties from olive oil, prosciutto and mozzarella to Chianti, pasta and antipasto delicacies. The restaurant serves up classic Italian dishes, and locals recommend the prosciutto sandwich, a luxurious and slightly spicy treat. Bakersfield retains ties to its historic agricultural legacy, so finding a farmers market here often amounts to simply stopping by a roadside stand. Murray Family Farms off highway 58 on General Beale Road may appeal to highway travelers, but locals enjoy it, too. With pig races, a petting zoo, a café and deli, the place hops on weekends. The real draw, however, remains the fresh produce from surrounding orchards and groves. Along F street closer to downtown Bakersfield, shoppers find a more modern farmers market with street booths and a glorious variety of meats, cheeses and produce.


For golfers choosing not to join Rio Bravo Country Club, a public golf course northwest of Tuscany welcomes all players. The Kern River Golf Course connects to the 1000-acre Kern River County Park. This expansive space actually encompasses a collection of smaller parks linked by a bike path that passes through scrub forests and waterways skirting the mighty Kern River. Toward the park's southern tip, locals and townies enjoy fishing and boating at Lake Ming, a popular man-made lake stocked with large mouthed bass, catfish and rainbow trout. At the park's southern end, the California Living Museum draws locals and townies alike with humane exhibits of live animals native to the region. The CALM's annual Holiday Lights Festival lights up the park on winter nights, with a carousel, train rides, and hot winter drinks and snacks. The outskirts of the giant Sequoia National Forest lie just north of Outlying East Bakersfield, and a lovely mountain drive follows the winding Kern to picturesque Lake Isabella, about 1.5 hours north. East Bakersfield locals head to Lake Isabella for white-water rafting, delta and lake fishing, camping and a variety of water sports. The lake also hosts Kernville's annual Whiskey Flat Days. This family friendly event celebrates the days of the gold prospectors with carnival rides, staged gunfights, gold panning and all manner of wild-west activities. Locals recommend getting tickets early as Whiskey Flat Days always sells out.
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