Traveling with my family to Claremont, CA, to watch my niece play collegiate volleyball, we decided to spend a few more days checking out the sites. This humble suburb is about 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles. The city has charming tree-lined streets filled with magnificent historic architecture, endless pubs and restaurants to enjoy, and several places to hike and bike.
I probably would have never picked this place as a destination, but after seeing what this unique city offers, I highly recommend visiting.
Here are a few of the many things to do in Claremont:
The Claremont Colleges
The Claremont Colleges include Pomona College, Claremont Graduate University, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, and Keck Graduate Institute. These colleges were founded between 1887 and 1997, all well-known for quality and ranked among the best colleges in the nation.
My niece’s volleyball matches took place at Claremont McKenna College, one of the seven undergraduate schools in Claremont. These campuses are near one another, having the most beautiful grounds, lush landscapes, and a mix of modern and Spanish-style buildings.
Claremont Packing House
The Claremont Packing House once served as the largest co-op packing house for the College Heights Orange and Lemon Association, built-in 1922. It was one of Claremont’s biggest employers and the city’s economic force for years.
Over time the expansion of freeways and urban development changed the area, and in 1972 the College Heights Orange and Lemon Packing House closed. The City of Claremont purchased the building and restored today’s award-winning Claremont Packing House.
Many historic features were preserved throughout the structure, such as the three-story sawtooth skylights. Inside, you can see displays that tell the story and history of College Heights Orange and Lemon Packing House. Today, you will find a vibrant mix of lofts, offices, coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and entertainment venues.
California Botanic Garden
As we enjoyed a beautiful day walking about the city, we took an uber over to the California Botanic Gardens. Nestled on the San Gabriel Mountains slopes are 86 lush acres of California native plants.
Established in 1927, it is home to more than 2,000 kinds of native plants that grow in southern California. The garden is divided into three distinct areas: Indian Hill Mesa, East Alluvial Gardens, and Plant Communities. Because of the season, most plants were going into their dormant stage. Nevertheless, I am sure it is a colorful place to walk in the spring.
- Hours: Tue. – Sun. 8:00 – 17:00
- Admission: Adult $10
Claremont Museum of Art
Inside a 1927 Spanish Colonial Revival depot is the Claremont Museum of Art, celebrating the community’s rich artistic works and promoting the region’s cultural vitality. Showcased are paintings, sculptures, and other works by local artists.
- Hours: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 12:00 – 16:00
- Admission: Free on Friday, Adult $5
Historic Claremont Village
In the heart of Claremont is the Historic Downtown Village. This European-style village has over 150 shops, restaurants, bakeries, galleries, spas, parks, hotels, and more. The village comprises 12 blocks filled with little vintage, eclectic styles and Spanish-style vibes!
Historic Route 66
Foothill Boulevard, the main east-west thoroughfare through Claremont, once was the Historic Route 66. The Claremont Colleges, California Botanic Gardens, Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater, and The Old School House are interesting places along this historic highway.
Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology
For those dinosaur lovers, this attraction is filled with artifacts of ancient giants! Raymond M. Alf Museum is the only nationally accredited museum located on a high school campus in the United States. The museum has two exhibit areas that cover 4,000 square feet. The fossil track and trackway collection are one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
- Hours: Wed. -Sat. 10:00 – 16:00, Sun., Mon., Tue. – Closed
- Admission: Adult $12
The Russian Village District
During the Great Depression, 15 folk architecture-style houses were built by Konstanty Stys, a Polish immigrant. The area is called ‘Russian Village’ because the people from the area believed that Stys was Russian. Because times were tough, the homes were built of local field stones from the alluvial plains around Claremont and salvaged and recycled materials such as sides from railroad cars, telephone poles, chunks of pavement, and other odds and ends.
Claremont Farmer & Artisan Market
Here you will find some of the freshest organic seasonal produce grown in the rich soil of California. All the farmers are certified by the state and meet the guidelines to be called organic farmers. The market is held every Sunday from 8 AM to 1 PM in the Historic Downtown Claremont Village. In addition, to produce, you can also find a collection of hand-made home furnishings, jewelry, and ornaments created by the artisans of Claremont.
Other places to visit to see:
- Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater
- Claremont Hills Wilderness Park
- Folk Music Center
- Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery
- The Garner House
Where to Eat
- The Meat Cellar is great for high-quality meat and a great dinner. You get to select your cut of meat from the butcher prepared for you. Inside they have beautiful wooden décor and a fully stocked bar.
- The Back Abbey is in a charming historic Mission building with a rustic décor and a large outdoor patio. It has felt like a traditional German-style beer garden, offering you over 110 brews on the menu. The menu also includes to-die-for burgers.
- Pizza N Such is in the landmark “Verbal Building,” dating back to 1912. Nestled within the historic downtown Claremont, it is great for lunch or dinner. The hand-tossed, freshly-made pizza is delicious, and the service is excellent!
- Elvira’s Grill is located in Upland serving excellent Mexican dishes. We visited this restaurant with a large group, and they did a fantastic job serving us. The atmosphere is designed in the beautiful Spanish décor with a full-service bar.
- Iron & Kin is a cute coffee shop inside the Claremont Packing House. This place is popular among locals as many are engaged in conversation or working on their computer, sipping a latte. Fresh pastries, teas, and bagged coffee beans are available for purchase.