We all have that one friend who is either on an epic road trip or planning an epic road trip. If you’ve also been inspired to start planning your next journey, make sure Claremont, California, is one of your destinations.
Claremont is a charming city full of history and culture. With plenty to do and see, it can be the perfect place for your next road trip. Ironically, it makes sense that Claremont is right off Route 66, the most iconic, and shall we say, EPIC road trip you can take. This long stretch of highway from Chicago to Santa Monica will be forever etched into the American culture thanks to books, songs, TV shows and movies.
So, in the words of Thelma and Louise, “Sometimes all you need is a great friend and a tank of gas.”
One of the best things about Claremont is its residential community and college-town vibes alongside an elegant downtown shopping district.
The City of Trees and Ph.Ds is home to seven colleges and a diverse population, many of whom live in charming architectural homes around the neighborhood and own local businesses. With notable restaurants, boutiques and other amenities, there are plenty of options if you’re looking for something to do and places to eat during your stay.
First things first, let’s eat!
Upon your arrival, you’ll probably be a little bit hungry from your travels. Choosing a restaurant for lunch or brunch to fit your budget and cravings will be no problem in Claremont. Find burgers at The Back Abbey, pizza at Aruffo’s, Pizza N’ Such or Eddie’s Italian Eatery and the best real pit barbeque at Gus’s BBQ.
Friendly cafes and sandwich shops abound in Claremont. Stop by a gourmet market featuring meats and seafood, freshly prepared foods, sandwiches & wine and grab delicacies to go. Relax and bask in the sunshine at one of Claremont’s casual eateries. Wolfe’s Deli, Union On Yale, The Cheese Cave and retro 50s-style The Village Grille are excellent choices.
If it’s a vacation with friends, why not splurge on a local Claremont favorite!! Restaurants like Bardot, The Meat Cellar or Tutti Mangia are beloved neighborhood eateries. They make for tasty and fun options for a delicious night out on the town. Want an unforgettable experience with friends or family? Try Walter’s Lounge, Viva Madrid or Espiau’s Restaurante Y Cantina. We love their delicious international cuisines at reasonable prices!
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are many outdoor activities available throughout the year.
Claremont is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. There are numerous hiking trails and bike paths nearby. Play a relaxing round of golf on both public and private courses nearby. Going horseback riding is also popular for residents who want to enjoy the great outdoors. Enjoy guided trail rides into the nearby canyons full of wildflowers, streams, birds and other forest life. In the spring, Claremont is the perfect base camp for observing the super blooms. Imagine a gorgeous sunny day with surrounding hills and mountains covered in yellow, purple and orange flowers. You definitely don’t want to miss this incredible natural phenomenon.
Looking for an even more active experience? Plenty of options are available, including climbing; skiing/snowshoeing; hiking/biking; kayaking/rafting; sledding–you name it, and Claremont has it!
Immerse yourself in the urban culture of Claremont for the ultimate local experience.
There’s no better way to enjoy your time in Claremont than by wandering downtown and exploring independently. Claremont is an idyllic suburb offering adventures for everyone. Plan time on your visit to check out some of the local businesses and museums. See what the culture of Claremont is all about and enjoy it! Experience just a few activities, or stay for a while and immerse yourself in the whole city. We’ve got some favorites to add to your itinerary:
- See paintings, sculptures and other works by local artists at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art.
- Look around the historic Claremont Depot and watch the Metrolink go by a few times a day.
- Witness the changing colors of the sky at the James Turrell Skyspace.
- Discover the internationally recognized collection of dinosaur artifacts at The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.
- Love music? Check out The Folk Music Center—owned by Ben Harper’s mom—and full of the coolest instruments.
- The Claremont Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market is the perfect place to get your fruits and veggies for the week. You’ll also be able to peruse some of the work from local artisans.
- Shop and walk around the historic Claremont Packing House—visit the non-profit, independent Forum Bookshop and the Lost Levels Retro Arcade and Video game Shop.
- Looking for specialty food shops? Stop by vomFass for tastings of their ridiculously delicious oils, bottles of vinegar and whiskeys.
- Learn about Fair Trade shopping and why it’s important at local businesses like Rio de Ojas, Buddhamouse and The Grove Vintage.
- The Benton Museum of Art Pomona College showcases curated nationally-recognized artists and cutting-edge student exhibitions.
- The intimate Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College boasts the nation’s longest-running exhibition of contemporary ceramics. We love seeing contemporary artists’ work and student art.
- See one of Claremont’s most charming and historic homes, Claremont Heritage’s “The Garner House,” full of beautiful furniture, art, and tales of Claremont’s history.
- Spend the afternoon beer tasting at Claremont Craft Ales or cider tasting at Ironbark Ciderworks.
- Indulge in one or all of the unique local bakeries—like Some Crust Bakery or Crème—or one of the many decadent dessert shops scattered throughout Claremont Village. Bert and Rocky’s Cream Co. has a variety of ice cream flavors and caramel apples. A Kline Chocolatier makes the most incredible chocolates. And if you like Pie, you’ll love I Like Pie Bake Shop!
Planning an extended visit to Claremont? You might want to stay at one of the four hotel options, with inviting guest rooms and other amenities.
Claremont is steps from the Metrolink Rail and just minutes from the Pomona Fairplex and Ontario International Airport. It’s an ideal stopover for a few days. We love the idea of extending an epic road trip with some exploration. That’s edu-tourism at its best!
- If you’re looking for something in the heart of Claremont Village, try Hotel Casa 425, a stylish boutique hotel and lounge opening onto a tranquil courtyard.
- The DoubleTree by Hilton Claremont, nestled in the foothills of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains between Southern California’s dynamic Inland Empire and the historic Route 66, is just blocks from the seven Claremont Colleges.
- The Claremont Lodge is a short freeway drive to all the major attractions, with an outdoor swimming pool and indoor jacuzzi suites.
- Motel 6 Claremont features one of Southern California’s finest tennis facilities available year-round, with eight lighted championship tennis courts. It’s pet-friendly, with a swimming pool and a mini market.
Each property offers a unique experience. If you’re going car-free, choose one close enough to walk around Claremont. Or you can take advantage of complimentary shuttles between some of the locations!
If you live for the nightlife, Claremont will not disappoint!
Claremont’s nightspots range from quiet wine bars and outdoor lounges with fire pits to true college hangouts with top-notch bands. Experience a Las Vegas-styled piano bar, live music and performances at many restaurants, and an assortment of sports bars. Claremont hosts several notable events throughout the year.
There are nightlife options to fit everyone’s interests in Claremont. Rest easy knowing most activities can be unplanned, random and spontaneous. Be sure to reserve tix if there is a particular live music show or theatre performance you’d love to see.
Adding Claremont to your epic road trip itinerary sounds amazing!
We think this trip sounds awesome! Who doesn’t want to get away from it all, explore a new region, and see some of the most beautiful parts of California?
Highlights of visiting Claremont, California include:
- Driving on the iconic Route 66 to get to one of the most charming cities in California
- Taking in stunning views of the San Gabriel mountains from different vantage points
- Visiting historical sites and learning about the rich history of Claremont
- Tasting some of the best foods in Southern California
If you’re looking for adventure and excitement (and let’s face it–who isn’t?), this is your chance! We recommend taking this trip any time of year and be sure to check the Discover Claremont calendar for ideas. Staying a night or two, or a few, is a great way to really experience everything Claremont offers. Book a hotel HERE!
Make your next road trip epic by stopping in Claremont and exploring all its hidden gems.