Families who love bicycling and avid road cyclists alike should plan a weekend in Claremont to enjoy dozens of bicycle-friendly and scenic routes with varying degree of challenges, the city’s unique village atmosphere, and a wide range of hotels, restaurants, spas and nightlife.
For families and casual riders, Claremont is easily navigated on bicycle at just 14 square miles, and the city takes great pride in being a leader in providing bicycle-friendly initiatives for visitors. The League of American Bicyclists has acclaimed Claremont as a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Community, noting Claremont’s funding of bike lanes, road diets (reducing the number of vehicle lanes), and intersection improvement. The Claremont Wilderness Park has an additional 10 miles of mountain bike trails and five miles of shared use pathways.
For riders seeking longer, more challenging rides, Claremont is well-known as a starting and finishing spot for a strenuous road circuit along the Glendora Ridge Road through the San Gabriel Mountains. Gaining in popularity is the ride up to Mount Baldy: Claremont hosted Stage 7 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, a nearly 100-mile ride from city’s historic train depot that climbed close to 10,000 vertical feet in elevation and finished at the base of the Mount Baldy ski resort. Amateur cyclists seeking to experience the same road course as the professionals will find Claremont to be an ideal wake-up-and-ride starting point or an evening dine-and-stay experience. Local cyclists often complete the circuit by riding down Mt. Baldy Road directly into Claremont.
Claremont’s ever-growing bicyclist population has created many clubs willing to offer tips. Ranging from college groups to baby boomers, these groups regularly announce events, trips and other useful information. Local bicycle shops include Jax Bicycle Center near the Claremont Depot.
Getting to Claremont is easy. Metrolink’s bicycle-friendly San Bernardino line stops in Claremont, a short train ride from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles or other neighboring cities. Claremont’s historic train depot is located in the heart of the Claremont Village, a quick ride away from the Claremont Colleges and shopping along Historic Route 66 California.
Claremont’s five hotel choices range from economy to upscale. Options include the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont on Historic Route 66, and the Hotel Claremont & Tennis Club near Interstate 10. The budget-minded cyclist will appreciate the Claremont Lodge or Howard Johnson Express Inn Claremont south of downtown, while the boutique Hotel Casa 425 offers upscale accommodations in the heart of the Claremont Village. Casa 425 also offers bicycle rentals to its guests. More than a dozen day spas and salons can also help sooth sore muscles and freshen wind-worn skin after a day of riding.
Located just 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, the City of Claremont prides itself on being a Southern California showcase community. Its tree-lined streets, Village shopping district, five distinctive hotels, and stately college campuses have made it a destination for tourists and locals alike. More information about dining and staying in Claremont can be found at http://www.discoverclaremont.com.
As students return to the Claremont Colleges each school year, the City of Claremont’s five hotel properties welcome parents and other campus visitors to stick around and enjoy a relaxing getaway in the “City of Trees.”
From economy to boutique, Claremont’s 449 hotel rooms provide guests with inviting rooms and peaceful nights. Staying in Claremont puts you in walking or bicycling distance to the city’s day spas and salons, locally owned boutiques, galleries and public works of art, and more than 80 pubs, grills, sandwich shops, bakeries, and fine dining restaurants.
Claremont’s attractions include the 86-acre Rancho Santa Fe Botanic Garden, the largest botanic garden dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants; and the world-renowned Folk Music Center museum and store, which is owned by musician Ben Harper’s family. The city’s nighttime entertainment boasts classical, jazz, comedy, dueling pianos, a vibrant college music scene, and performing arts at the colleges and Candlelight Pavilion.
At the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont ($149-$350), elegant, contemporary guest rooms and suites offer comfort and convenience with luxurious Sweet Dreams® beds, 32-inch flat screen LCD televisions, in-room safes, refrigerators, and high-speed Internet access. Relax with friends, alumni or business associates in its lush courtyard, enjoy a cocktail or meal by the waterfall, and dine in casual elegance at The Orchard Restaurant, serving a wide selection of California Mediterranean Fusion influenced dishes. Piano Piano’s high-energy, all-request show keeps guests singing laughing into the night!
Hotel Casa 425 ($195-$400) is a stylish boutique hotel and lounge opening onto a tranquil courtyard in the heart of historic Claremont Village. The only sophisticated boutique hotel in Southern California’s Inland Empire, Casa 425 merges California mission architecture with contemporary styling and features 28 sophisticated guest rooms, an onsite lounge and full bar, a beautiful outdoor living room featuring water fountains and fire pits, meeting and event space, and more.
Claremont Lodge ($49-$80) offers unbeatable accommodations with comfortable stylish rooms, including available jacuzzi suites. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi.
Motel 6 Claremont ($69-$129) features one of Southern California’s finest tennis facilities available year-round with eight championship tennis courts. Guest amenities include free local shuttle and free use of its championship tennis courts; group and private tennis lessons are available for an additional fee.
Knights Inn Claremont ($55-$85) provides free Rise & Dine continental breakfast and an outdoor pool. Features include free Wi-Fi, available laundry services, and parking for vehicles of any size.
Visitor information and a complete listing of restaurants, hotels, boutiques, day spas, events and more can be found at www.discoverclaremont.com.
Claremont Village. “Discover the charm, explore the change.” A European-styled village spanning 12 city blocks with more than 150 unique restaurants, shops, bakeries, day spas, art galleries, entertainment venues, hotels, lounges and more. Walking these streets will immediately make you feel you’re no longer in Southern California.
Local dining. American, Afghan, Argentinean, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Persian, Thai and more. There are more than 80 eateries to sample in Claremont, most with local operators, and some with regionally renowned chefs and owners, including Stephen Rudicel (The Press Restaurant), Jose Ruiz (Tutti Mangia) and John Solana (The Back Abbey, Union on Yale). The variety and abundance makes this a weekend trip you want to make several times a year.
College Heights Lemon Packing House. Originally built in 1909, the Packing House has been recently renovated to include shops, galleries, dining and night clubs. Home to Flappers Comedy Club, it also features vintage clothing stores, a cooking academy, and a nationally famous bookstore, Thoreau’s Bookshop, that provides donated books to inmates.
A boutiquing paradise. Claremont is the home to dozens of locally owned boutiques featuring hand-selected merchandise, chic fashions, kitschy collectibles and antiques, gifts from unique corners of the world, and Fair Trade-sourced materials. Children’s clothing shop Tattle Tails, the tea boutique Bamboo Tea House, and upcycled finds at Heirloom and The Green Gypsies are among dozens of unique gift stores and merchants that give Claremont its unique vibe. The Packing House and Old School House also feature additional galleries and artisan shops.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. The largest botanic garden dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants, the Garden displays about 2,000 taxa of California plants spread across 86 acres, including plants native to the California Floristic Province as a whole – from southern Oregon to Baja California. In addition to featuring a world-class botanical library and graduate-level education program, the Garden offers horticulture and community education programs to the public to encourage the use of California native plants in home landscapes.
Local baked goods and sweets. From sweets at the Some Crust Bakery and morning treats at the Last Drop Café to bagels made fresh all day long at 42nd Street Bagel Café, Claremont Village is a Sweet Tooth’s delight. Local chocolatier Kline’s candy shop is filled with hand-dipped treats, and creamery Bert and Rocky’s features more than 31 unique, homemade ice cream and sherbet flavors.
Wine and cheese. The Packing House Wine Merchants wine bar and shop is located on the western end of the Packing House, offering a world of wines by the glass, varietals from growing regions all over the globe, and small plates and dinners from its executive chef. The Cheese Cave, a busy cheese shop on Yale Ave., offers dozens of cheeses from around the world, their own hand-pressed olive oils, and a selection of unique foods.
Bike-friendly streets. Honored as Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, Claremont’s streets are ideal for bicycling. For families, Claremont’s tree-lined streets offer majestic views of historic homes and the town’s college campuses, and easy rides to the Claremont Village to find an ideal eatery. Experienced cyclists can tackle the same route as the 2011 Amgen Tour of California from Claremont to Mount Baldy.
Pubs and grub. Befitting a college town, Claremont features several unique pubs that feature good food, live music and televised sports. The Lounge at Casa 425 features small plates and a signature margarita. And from the Back Abbey’s “Best in L.A.” pub burgers and dark ales to Walter’s “secret bar” and the nightly live bands that play The Press Restaurant’s stage, Claremont has a after-dark scene that’s all its own.
Dinner Theater and Historic Route 66. The Foothill Blvd. corridor includes the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont and the Candlelight Pavilion dinner theater that is housed within the gymnasium of the Old School House, Claremont’s original 1911 school building. DoubleTree’s popular dueling piano bar, Piano Piano, comes alive nightly with acts straight from the Las Vegas Strip.
Seven world-class colleges. A consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate schools of higher education all within walking distance. Internationally recognized for producing leaders in business, government and the professions. Check their calendar at http://www.collegescalendar.org/ for stimulating presentations, musical productions and other events.
Public Plaza Village Square. Newly built in 2007, the Village Square is surrounded by shops, restaurants and the boutique hotel and lounge Hotel Casa 425, and is home to the Laemmle 5 Claremont A modern public art fountain meanders through the square, providing both soothing water sounds as well as space for outdoor picnicking and music.
The great outdoors. In Claremont’s backyard are hikes at Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, skiing at Mount Baldy, and other adventures in the majestic San Gabriel Mountains.
Free parking. Indeed, there is one place in Los Angeles County where you can keep your quarters and credit cards in your pocket: Claremont offers free parking throughout the city.