Just 32 miles from Los Angeles, Claremont manages to stay a relaxed, laid-back jewel of a town, with a wonderful combination of the liveliness of a student town and the elegance and stateliness of a historic landmark. Charming tree-lined streets are filled with magnificent historic architecture. There are more than 80 pubs and restaurants, seven colleges, endless numbers of hiking and biking trails, wild parks and the biggest botanic garden in Southern California. Plan a fun weekend getaway to Claremont today.

1. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
© Igor/stock.adobe.com

Snuggled at the lower slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains on 86 verdant, lush acres, less than 35 miles from Los Angeles, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is the largest California native botanic garden. Established in 1927, it is home to more than 2,000 kinds of native plants that grow in southern California, southern Oregon, western Nevada and Baja California, Mexico. The Garden is divided into three distinct areas: Indian Hill Mesa, with lilacs and manzanitas; the East Alluvial Gardens with desert and coastal dune plants; and Plant Communities, with impressive displays of boojum trees, Four-needled Pinyon, and California Flannel Bushes. The Gardens also have a magnificent butterfly garden and more than a hundred kinds of birds that roam the garden freely. Besides enjoying the serene, lush environment, visitors can also listen to the occasional concert, take part in docent-guided tour or a guided bird-watching walk. Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.

1500 N College Ave, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-625-8767

2. Claremont Museum of Art

Claremont Museum of Art
© Claremont Museum of Art

Claremont has an active community of artists – serving as a hub of homes and studios to those attracted by the Claremont Colleges. The Claremont Museum of Art was incorporated in 2004 and was known mostly as “the museum without walls” as exhibitions moved to borrowed spaces throughout the years. Now housed in the Claremont Depot, the space welcomes visitors to come and explore the significant art collection that can be found there, as well as the numerous events and programs that are held throughout the year – including the annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta. The museum will open by the end of 2016 at its new location in the Depot.

P.O. Box 1136, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-621-3200

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3. Claremont Packing House

Claremont Packing House
© Claremont Packing House

The Claremont Packing House is an integral part of the Claremont community. Located in the downtown neighborhood, Claremont Village, the Packing House is comprised of over 40 eateries and cafes, 50 boutique stores, and over a dozen art galleries in the large historic building. Though the Claremont Packing House is animated in the daytime, it comes alive at night with its various nightspots such as Hip Kitty Jazz, and the Fondue Lounge. There are events throughout the year including musical concerts, comedy tours, art classes and walks, as well as various festivals. Visitors of the Packing House can continue exploring Claremont with the many museums, theaters, and academic events at the surrounding colleges.

532 W 1st St, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-623-0535

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4. Claremont Hills Wilderness Park

Claremont Hills Wilderness Park
© Courtesy of goodmanphoto - Fotolia.com

The Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is a popular hiking area located at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, in the Angeles National Forest. Established in 1996, this 1,620 acre park stretches between the Marshall Canyon, Angeles National Forest and San Bernardino County line. The area was originally home to the nomadic Serrano Indians. The park is mostly a wilderness preserve with rough, rugged terrain with a few hiking and biking trails and some fire roads. Hiking, biking and horse riding is great, with magnificent vistas and fields covered in wild flowers. Although challenging at the beginning, the trail can get crowded at times. There are no facilities for visitors, so it is wise to plan ahead.

4031 N Mills Ave, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-399-5490

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5. Claremont Farmers & Artisans Market

Claremont Farmers & Artisans Market
© Courtesy of Leslie - Fotolia.com

Founded in 1996, the Claremont Farmers and Artisans Market was created to connect artisans and California farmers to the Claremont community. Here, visitors will find some of the freshest organic seasonal produce grown on rich California soil by certified farmers that abide by the state agricultural guidelines. The market is held weekly and visitors will find not only produce but a collection of hand-made home furnishings, jewelry, and ornaments created by the artisans of Claremont; there are also a range of delicious fresh-baked goods to snack on. There are over 100 farmers, growers, and craftspeople that come together at the market to share their goods and services – all of which is a guaranteed good time for all those who visit.

Claremont Forum 2nd St At Indian Hill Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-626-3066, (website link)

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6. Things to Do in Claremont: Folk Music Center

Things to Do in Claremont: Folk Music Center
© Folk Music Center

It all started in 1958 when two interesting characters, Charles and Dorothy Chase, opened their Folk Music Center in Claremont in back of Boots Beer’s Real Estate Office. The whole operation quickly grew into the popular Golden Ring, one of the first southern California folk music venues. Golden Ring brought such revered names in folk music as Gary Davis, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and Doc Watson. At the time, Dorothy was giving music lessons, and Charles was repairing instruments and teaching the trade to others. In 1976, they opened The Folk Music Center Museum which now contains a number of antique and rare musical instruments and cultural artifacts from all over the world. The Center aims to promote and preserve folk music of all kinds, traditional instruments and folk culture in general. It loans instruments to teachers, schools and museums, runs field trips for local kids and organizes the annual Claremont Folk Festival.

220 Yale Ave, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-624-2928

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7. PianoPiano

© PianoPiano

A community landmark, PianoPiano is the hot spot to be at when visiting Claremont, California. For just $5, guests can enjoy the amazing music, low-priced drinks, and fun atmosphere that will ensure everyone has a good time. There are live shows scheduled throughout the week such as karaoke nights on Sunday and Monday, events for St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, New Year’s Eve, and other holidays, and so much more. Be sure to check out the schedule on their website before you go, and take advantage of specials like $1 tacos on Taco Tuesday’s, and no cover as well as half off food and drinks on Karaoke Mondays.

Doubletree Hotel, 555 W Foothill Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-547-4266

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8. Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology
© Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

Located on the campus of The Webb Schools, The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology welcomes over 20,000 visitors a year who are fascinated with fossils. The entire family will enjoy exploring the Hall of Footprints, which has one of the largest and most unique fossil track and trackway collections in the United States, and the Hall of Life, a showcase of the Earth’s 4.6 billion year old history. Named after the man who started the journey as a hobby, the Alf Museum is an environment not only for visitors who are interested in paleontology but also students who want to participate in unique research programs.

1175 West Baseline Road, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-624-2798, (website link)

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9. Cheese Cave

Cheese Cave
© Cheese Cave

Tucked among bistros and antique stores in downtown Claremont, Cheese Cave is a cheese lovers’ delight. Unique décor and mountains of cheese from all over the world keep clients browsing, sniffing and tasting. Cheese Cave offers cut-to-order cheeses, cheese platters for parties and everything that goes with cheese such as fine wines, local craft beer, artisan salamis, olives, crackers, chocolate and much more. They also sell home-made soups, salads and sandwiches, but come early, they go quickly. The owners, sisters Marnie and Lydia Clarke, are passionate and knowledgeable about cheese, so feel free to ask any questions you may have, as cheese is one of their favorite subjects.

325 Yale Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-625-7560

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10. Things to Do in Claremont: The Garner House

Things to Do in Claremont: The Garner House
© The Garner House

The center of Claremont’s heritage and history programs, the Garner House is a 1926 Spanish Colonial Revival house that was home to one of Claremont’s leading families for many years. It has been many things since then, including the city’s Human Services department, before it became the location for Claremont Heritage in 2001. Designed by LA architect Arthur Munson, visitors can still see many of the main bedrooms, guestrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms, some of which retain much of the original furnishings. Many of the second floor wings are mostly used as offices, archives, and storage for historical items. Visitors can get an in-depth understanding of Claremont’s history by exploring the Garner House and the surrounding Memorial Park.

Garner House at Memorial Park, 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd, Claremont, CA, Phone: 909-621-0848

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11. Russian Village District

Russian Village District
© Wikipedia

The fifteen houses on South Mills Avenue which comprise the Russian Village District are a collection of homes constructed and designed by untrained laborers and poor immigrant workers who built the houses with whatever materials they had available during the Great Depression; this includes telephone poles, chunks of pavement, and other odds and ends they had scavenged. Though they were looked down on at that time, they are now a source of pride to Claremont and the district was enlisted in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The houses are now occupied but visitors are still urged to come visit, explore, and appreciate the dedication and hard work that went into constructing these homes.

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12. Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery
© Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is a part of the nationally-recognized liberal arts college, Scripps College, which was founded in 1926. Visitors will enjoy spending a day browsing through the extensive collection of paintings, ceramics, and other art pieces that have been collected over the years. Exhibitions to look out for include Fred and Estelle Marer’s international collection of contemporary ceramics from America, Mexico, Britain, Korea, and Japan, and over seventy 19th and 20th century art pieces from artists including Mary Cassatt and Winslow Homer. The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery boasts the second largest collection of Chinese paintings in Los Angeles, many of which date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

251 E 11th St, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-607-4690, (website link)

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13. Claremont Craft Ales

Claremont Craft Ales
© Claremont Craft Ales

Having started in 2012, the family-owned Claremont Craft Ales brewery started off as a small production of 100 barrels a year with a tiny three-barrel brewing system; they now produce over 3,000 barrels a year. Claremont Craft Ales focuses on bringing refreshing quality-craft beer in a pub-like tasting room to Claremont’s locals and visitors. A lot of the beer menu is dominated by West Coast-style hoppy beers that appeal to both novices as well as craft beer experts. The award-winning brewery offers refreshing light and blonde ales, barrel-aged stouts, and seasonal porters, stouts, and wheat ales among others. Visitors can visit the brewery’s tasting room directly or taste the beers in a number of bars and restaurants across Los Angeles.

1420 N Claremont Blvd, Suite 204C, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-625-5350

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14. Things to Do in Claremont: The Back Abbey

Things to Do in Claremont: The Back Abbey
© The Back Abbey

Located in a charming historic Mission building in Claremont Village Square, The Back Abbey is a popular, lively gastropub with rustic décor, an enormous bar and a wonderful, large outdoor patio. It has the distinct feel of a Bavarian beer garden, especially when you see the choice of their 110 brews, with new ones always being added. Out of these, 28 of them are available on tap. They also have a respectable wine selection, and the food is created to go with your brew. Their burgers are to die for, the chefs have redefined the term ‘gourmet burgers.” Everything else is delicious, cooked to perfection and ample.

128 North Oberlin Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-625-2642

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15. Packing House Wines

Packing House Wines
© Packing House Wines

Located in the 1916 former orange packing house, skillfully renovated and adapted, Packing House Wines is a wine store first and foremost, and then a restaurant and bar. It is spacious and comfortable, with a cozy lounge corner for wine tasting in style. Wine is all around you – there are 1,400 different wines and new ones are always coming. Don’t feel intimidated, the staff is knowledgeable and ready to answer questions. Many wines are available by glass, and you can also ask them to open one of their bottles to go with your meal. The food is delicious and healthy, Executive Chef Noah Lutz uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create an imaginative take on American favorites.

540 W 1st St, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 909-445-9463

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16. Laemmle's Claremont 5

Laemmle's Claremont 5
© Laemmle's Claremont 5

Laemmle's Claremont 5 is a 70 year old movie house. Since 1938, Claremont residents have been going to Laemmle to see independent, art house and foreign movies. With the goal of showing high quality films regardless of their provenance or genre, Laemmle has been using its seven locations to show great movies to more than a million patrons. Laemmle’s Claremont has five theatres all over town. Besides showing great movies, Laemmle also offers one-night screenings, premieres, special events, and even Academy qualifications. The popular ‘Sneaks Club’ shows movies before their official release, helping to promote films that are high on artistry but not getting as big of a marketing boost as some of the more major Hollywood releases.

450 West 2nd Street, Claremont, CA 91711, Phone: 310-478-3836

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17. Studio Claremont

Studio Claremont
© Studio Claremont

Studio Claremont is owned and directed by Gabrielle Heide, who holds degrees in art and teaching from Cal State Long Beach and Cal Poly Pomona. Using her credentials and her love for art, she opened Studio Claremont – a place for locals and visitors to study, appreciate, and share their love for art no matter their age or artistic style. The environment is set to explore, be creative, and have fun and welcomes students of all ages from pre-school and elementary school to senior citizens – also catering to the home-schooled or physically and developmentally disabled. There are a range of one-time, ongoing, and special classes and programs to choose from, most of which include fun activities such as field trips and gallery exhibitions. Whether visiting Claremont for a short while or for an extended period, Studio Claremont welcomes all art lovers to come and be inspired.

522 W. First Street, Claremont, CA 91711

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