The Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California

The Crystal Palace: A museum Dedicated to Buck Owens and Country Music

photo courtesy of BuckOwenscom
photo credit

Our visit to The Crystal Palace:

The Crystal Palace, in Bakersfield, California was opened in 1996. It is dedicated to it’s founder and local legend, Buck Owens and the origins of country music. It is part honky-tonk nightclub, part concert venue, part restaurant, and part museum. You can think of it as a smaller version of Graceland or Dollywood.  My daughter and I recently traveled to Bakersfield and were told by numerous insiders that the Crystal Palace was a “must see.”


The Crystal Palace

We toured the country western museum during the day and then returned at night to enjoy the house band, “The Buckaroos.” The Crystal Place is an intimate venue to enjoy great country western music often with famous headliners. Be sure and check their website if you will be in town. There is not a bad seat in the house! The Buckaroos perform most weekends and often the front man is Buddy Owens, the affable son of Buck Owens. There is a a small and lively dance floor where you can line dance or just enjoy some free style dancing to the toe-tapping sounds.

You can also enjoy a “down home” meal where chicken fried steak and country cooking being is served with very large portions!


car in bar


The centerpiece of The Crystal Palace is a vintage Pontiac mounted on the wall behind the bar. The car is tricked out with silver dollars, six-shooters as door handles and detailed leather. Legend has it that the car was won is a poker game with Elvis Presley!


buck's fancy outfit

Filled with photographs and memorabilia spanning his 40 year career, The Crystal Palace takes you on a timeline tour of the origins of country music. Many of his outlandish outfits on display would make Liberace proud!

Along with country legend Merle Haggard, Buck Owens twangy style became knows as “The Bakersfield Sound.” Buck Owens had 21 No. 1 hits on the billboard country music charts with his band the Buckaroos. Owens is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Owens died in 2006, shortly after performing at The Crystal Palace.


buck's overalls

In 1969, Buck Owens began to co-host the popular variety show Hee Haw along with fellow country singer Roy Clark. Hee-Haw became a huge hit and catapulted him to nationwide fame through his weekly TV appearances. Fans will remember that Buck Owens was often shown in the overalls pictured above.

red white and blue guitar

Inspired by Buck Owens patriotism, he and his band members performed with red, white and blue instruments. County stars influenced by Buck Owen and the Bakersfield Sound include Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, Brad Paisley, Billy F. Gibbons (ZZ Top) and John Fogarty.

If you are a country western fan, you would enjoy visiting The Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California. Who is your favorite country western artist? Can you trace their roots back to Buck Owens and The Bakersfield Sound?

buck's wall of photos


Topic: The Crystal Palace