The city of Claremont offers the unique contrast of being both a quiet, quaint, antique-friendly community as well as a Bohemian college town. Home to the Claremont Colleges, Los Angeles day-trippers will find no shortage of fun, exciting entertainment here with everything from botanic gardens to independent theater to fill up a one-tank trip here.
Just a 35-mile drive east on the 10 Freeway, take the Indian Hill exit and follow it north toward the San Bernardino Mountains until you meet 1st Street. Here, you’ll find the Claremont Village, with its charming Spanish feel and plenty to explore.
Find street parking and get lost between 1st and 2nd streets from Indian Hill to College. Boutiques here are mostly family owned and feature jewelry, artistic clothing, pottery and arts and crafts workshops, as well as specialty shops sure to please any souvenir seeker. Drop in for a massage or facial at Aromatique, an all-natural organic skin care salon at 319 1st St., or snag an old-fashioned shave at The Barber Shop at 268 2nd St. The whole family may indulge at A. Kline Chocolatiers on 210 2nd St. Popular places to catch a bite to eat include Heroes and Legends at 131 Yale Ave. for casual American cuisine. For a more formal dining experience, the award-winning Tutti Mangia at 102 Harvard Ave. is locally famous for its Italian menu.
Laemmle Cinema 5
450 W 2nd St
The Laemmle Theater is the place for independent film in the Inland Empire. Its five screens often offer at least one high-grossing blockbuster, but you may find those Cannes-worthy artistic films that aren’t widely distributed here as well. The theater is located just across the street from the Claremont Village, so you can shop nearby, or choose from among the more commercial foodstops on this side of Indian Hill.
Hip Kitty Jazz & Fondue
502 W. First St
Claremont, CA 91711
Hipsters will love this cozy, retro jazz lounge nestled just behind the Laemmle Cinema. Hip Kitty functions as a moderately priced fondue bar and restauraunt, but whether you’re a jazz fan or not, live music nightly from 8 p.m. until closing time provides a draw. Local talent rotates through for nightly performances. Enjoy five-course meals including salad, appetizers, cheese fondue, meat fondue, chocolate fondue and desserts.
Honnold Mudd Library
800 N. Dartmouth Ave.
The gorgeous campuses of Pitzer, Harvey Mudd, Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Scripts and the Claremont graduate school cover about one square mile of the city adjacent to the Claremont Village. During the summer months, the conditions are perfect for picnicking, visiting the free museums and stopping by the Honnold Library. This collectively managed library is the third most extensive private library in California, only outshined by USC and Stanford.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 N. College Ave
Claremont, California 91711
Price: $8 adults; $6 seniors and students; $4 children 3-12
This garden is unique because it only features plants that are native to California. An affiliate of the Botany Department of Claremont Graduate School, the gardens here sprawl more than 86 acres of land. Family events such as botany classes, wildflower shows and amateur bird-watching expeditions are available year round.
Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater
455 W. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, California 91711
This intimate dinner theater is the perfect place for loved ones to spend hours of quality time together. Tucked behind the Claremont Double Tree on Foothill and Indian Hill, this hidden treasure offers gourmet meals for any age in its cozy 299-seat ballroom theater. This venue features traditional Broadway shows, local talent and tribute bands. No matter where you are seated, you are sure to have a clear view of the stage and to be treated like royalty by the staff. With all the talent and acumen of large-scale productions, audiences are rarely disappointed by the vocal and dance performances here.