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Part farming supply area and part commuter neighborhood, Southgate surrounds the sprawling Kern County Fairgrounds just south of downtown Bakersfield. Rents and home prices dip below the city average in this largely unplanned district, home to working-class families and students who enjoy the proximity to the city center.

Exploring Southgate always reveals a few surprises such as unique hidden restaurants and relics from Bakersfield's oil and agriculture history. A suburban-urban mashup of bungalows, wide boulevards and windy back roads, Southgate welcomes fairgoers and never quite loses touch with its agricultural roots.


Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Bakersfield, CA is $555 for a studio, $564 for one bedroom, and $793 for two bedrooms. Apartment rent in Bakersfield has increased by 1.2% in the past year.

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59 Walk Score® Somewhat Walkable
40 Transit Score® Some Transit
56 Bike Score® Bikeable



Southgate's ethnic diversity results in some interesting and varied cuisine. From Latin American to historic Basque and classic fast food, the choices make life interesting.

The unassuming neighborhood favorite Cuban Café skirts the edge of Southgate. This little gem layers flavors in surprisingly sublime complexity, from traditional Cuban sandwiches to pan con lechon. The humble face of the restaurant's interior, clean and brightly lit, hides zesty palate flavors that can be detected with one whiff once you step inside. Locals rave about the bistec encebollado, marinated steak served with sweet onions.

Jolly Kone Drive-in may not be much to look at, a faded symbol of the bygone days of burgerdom along South Chester Avenue. However, one bite of the double cheeseburger gives you a time ticket back to the glory days of 1950s American burger joints. Fresh, juicy burgers with classic American cheese, thousand island dressing and crisp lettuce, tasty ice cream cones, crispy crinkle-cut fries and a delightfully bizarre menu of Mexican and Italian specialties make it worth a stop.

Friendly neighborhood Los Tucanes brings authentic Mexican street fare to the east side, with house-made green chili, classic tacos, burritos and tortas and cold soft drinks. Locals insist that Los Tucanes makes the best carne asada on the east side. Use cash to avoid the 50-cent card charge.

For drinks head to Golden West Casino on the east side which fits right in with the incongruous mish-mash of Southgate. For many locals, the emotional roller coaster of the casino floor simply provides a backdrop for the Blackjack Lounge, where drink deals flow like coins from a jackpot and the food continues to be the main draw. The pork chops remain a favorite, thick sliced and seared, and then slowly braised to perfection. The Blackjack keeps its doors open 24/7 for hungry (and thirsty) gamblers and non-gamblers alike.


Bakersfield carries the torch for California's agricultural heritage, hosting the Kern County Fair, popular statewide. The event's increasing popularity accounts for the initial growth of Southgate since the 1950s.

Bakersfield's main event, the fair attracts visitors from all over California. This perennial two-week extravaganza showcases livestock and horticulture and engages visitors with displays from local artists and photographers, live concerts, local foods, rides and merchandise. Other events take place here throughout the year, from swap meets and market days to rodeos, vehicle and home and garden shows.

Southgate affords its residents an easy commute to adjacent downtown, where Bakersfield's art and history blend into a vibrant cultural milieu. Surrounding the Buena Vista Natural History Museum, the First Friday Art Walk brightens the night with gallery openings, street vendors and live music. Historic highlights include the historic Fox Theater and the Bakersfield Museum of Art.


Southgate commuters reach the Interstate 5 superhighway by hopping on state Highway 58 at the northern border of the neighborhood, and connecting to Highway 99. The 58 also extends eastward over the Tehachapi Mountains and into Mojave.

The Golden Empire transit district operates 18 bus routes throughout the city, three of which service the Southgate area. To reach Bakersfield college, take number 44, which makes stops throughout the eastern neighborhoods and also connects west to Stockdale. For the downtown transit center, pick up number 22 along South Chester Avenue. The straight shot to downtown takes about 7 minutes.

Most Southgate streets allow parking without posted limits. Some streets have undeveloped curbs where unrestricted yet not specifically designated parking exists. Narrow shoulders mean cyclists must use caution as no designated bike lanes populate the area.

Cabs prove simple to hail along Ming and Chester Avenues, and Uber shuttles riders from Southgate throughout the city. Walking or biking the neighborhood introduces residents to an eclectic mix of auto repair shops, stock feed and farm supply stores and funky restaurants.


Low rental prices prevail in Southgate, keeping the cost of living around 50 percent less than the city average. A round-trip bus ride into downtown costs $3.50 and regular bus riders can save some green by purchasing an economic monthly daytime pass at $36. Gas prices hover 12 percent above the national average. Happy hour slashes beer prices to an average of around $4 a pint.


Hispanic culture continues to be a prominent influence in Southgate, and Latin American supermarket chain Vallarta Market provides Southgate residents with fresh meats and produce, home necessities and standard supermarket items. Stop by the in-house Ranch Market to pick up fresh, made-to-order Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, soups and sandwiches.

For other supermarket options, neighborhood dwellers travel to the west side, where a cluster of supermarket chains, including Trader Joe's and Vons, dot the Stockdale highway. The closest farmers market pops up on Saturdays on the west side, providing baked goods, produce, fresh meats and local artisan products. Little in the way of specialty shops resides in this primarily residential neighborhood with rural pockets. Instead, shoppers head downtown where history meets design. Along 19th, a row of antique shops entices locals and out-of-towners with finds from around the state and the world. Roger Upton Design remains a Bakersfield favorite. Local designer Roger Upton, noted for historic renovations, costume and theater design, stocks a blend of original creations and antiques, providing unique gifts impossible to find elsewhere. Skateboarding gets a lot of attention in Bakersfield from photographers, musicians and sports enthusiasts, not to mention a bevy of local skaters. The Bakersfield Skate Company, affectionately known as "Bako Skate Co," provides enthusiasts with the latest decks and accessories, and also doubles as a hangout for skaters and groupies. A full line of T-shirts, hats and shoes keeps locals in style. The Valley Plaza Mall along Ming Avenue attracts shoppers with anchor stores such as Macy's, JCPenney and Target, along with fashion staples that include Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, Forever 21 and Hollister. Unsatisfied shopaholics head to the sprawling Outlets at Tejon along Highway 99 for more brand-name options.


Parks don't get much grander than the Kern County Fairgrounds, located in the heart of Southgate between Belle Terrace and Ming Avenue. The drawback is the neighborhood's largest open space only caters specific events, so bringing softball gear or pets is hardly de rigueur. Luckily, Wayside Park sits right next door, providing a respite for fairgoers and local picnickers. A softball diamond, basketball and tennis courts keep kids and adults of all ages busy.

Truthfully, more superior outdoor options lie a bit further afield, such as the picturesque Kern River Parkway. This meandering green space features 30 miles of riverside trails, parks, lakes and bike paths. South of the neighborhood adjacent to Rexland Acres, skaters meet ballers at Planz Park. Planz features a popular concrete skate park, basketball court, ball field and a spray park open in the summertime. All parks provide limited free parking.


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Southgate Apartments for Rent

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K Street Apartments
2320 S K St, Bakersfield, CA 93304
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915 S H St
Bakersfield, CA 93304
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Apartments for Rent in Southgate, Bakersfield, CA

Part farming supply area and part commuter neighborhood, Southgate surrounds the sprawling Kern County Fairgrounds just south of downtown Bakersfield. Rents and home prices dip below the city average in this largely unplanned district, home to working-class families and students who enjoy the proximity to the city center.

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