Claremont is one of the most interesting cities in Southern California, full of cultural treasures. The college town has seven reputable colleges and a thriving music scene. You can find unique museums, pervasive public art, and an impressive collection of native Californian flora within the city limits.
If you want to connect with other creatives, Claremont is your place. You’ll get immersed in a culture of excellence, creativity and mindfulness.
Founded in 1979, the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology is the only nationally accredited museum located on a high school campus in the nation. The museum has 6,000 square feet of display space and features two circular exhibit areas that showcase ancient giants. Their fossil track and trackway collection are among the nation’s largest of its kind.
Museums in Claremont offer a range of exhibits for you to enjoy. For art enthusiasts, the Claremont Museum of Art features local artists and exhibitions. The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College showcases groundbreaking artists and houses a growing permanent collection with everything from Native American art to Renaissance paintings. Featured artists include Karl Benjamin, Rico Lebrun, and Jose Clemente Orozco.
The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery in Scripps College serves as a teaching instrument and visual resource in the education of Scripps women. There are four exhibitions annually, two of the Gallery’s four yearly shows being the Senior Exhibition and the Ceramic Annual, the longest-running show of contemporary ceramics in the United States and one of the oldest worldwide.
The California Botanic Garden is a one-of-a-kind place where you can stroll amid incredible flowers and plants, explore the intimate space of a Japanese rock garden, and wander down tranquil trails. With over 2,000 taxa of California native plants on display, this lush outdoor park is perfect for those interested in learning more about their state’s natural landscapes.
Located within the Scripps College campus, the Margaret Fowler Garden is a magnificent place recently featured in Westways magazine. This small, walled—but not so secret—Medieval-style cloister garden contains olive and orange trees and one interior arcade covered by an enchanting wisteria vine.
Whether you’re on campus or wandering Claremont Village, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the many galleries, including Square i Gallery, Bunny Gunner, Ahmad Shariff and Studio Claremont.
There’s also world-class public art that’s worth checking out on your next visit:
- One of the most unique pieces of college campus architecture can be found at Claremont McKenna College. The Kravis Center, designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, is a five-level, 162,000 sqft academic and administrative facility. The most iconic space in the center is the “The Kube,” also known as the Living Room. The open design and all-glass exterior of “The Kube” is suspended above a black granite reflecting pool and offers unbeatable panoramas of the campus.
- The Venus Statue and Fountain by Italian Renaissance sculptor Giovanni da Bologna (1529-1608) at Harvey Mudd College is a peaceful place to behold such perfection.
- One significant pathway you must walk near connects the W.M. Keck Science Center to the east side of the Scripps campus, near the President’s House, known as Revelle House. This treasured pathway is affectionately known as the “Inscription Walk”. Stroll and read quotes from famous and admired women in the Arts, Letters and Sciences.
- In 1946, Mexican Muralist Alfredo Ramos Martinez was commissioned to create “The Flower Vendors.” a composition entirely sketched on plaster wall panels over 100 feet long for the Margaret Fowler Garden at Scripps College. Sadly, he passed away, leaving the mural unfinished. It’s still awe-inspiring to visit.
- Be sure to visit Pomona College for The James Turrell Skyspace “Dividing the Light,” a free light show that is held 10 minutes before sunset and one hour before sunrise (please note: the show lasts for ten minutes only).
- Along with these special exhibits on campus and in town, join locals for the First Saturday Art Walk events, which take place every first Saturday of the month from 6 pm to 9 pm.
The Dueling Piano Piano Show in Claremont features dueling pianos and cleverly named cocktails to make your night out unique. If you’re 21 and over, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy quality American food paired with cleverly named cocktails and adult humor that make for a perfect evening out on the town!
Everyone loves free concerts, don’t they? Bridges Hall of Music at Pomona College offers a wide variety of free concerts, including classical, jazz, folk and Western music. Recent performances have included pianist Boris Berman and Kronos Quartet. Every season there’s a range of performers, from classical musicians to jazz artists to non-Western musicians from around the world.
The Folk Music Center Museum, which has been in Grammy-winner Ben Harper’s family since 1958, is a museum and store featuring hundreds of instruments from around the world that you can actually play. The Folk Music Center also features a line-up of performances with international and local musicians and an Open Mic on the last Sunday of every month!
Unique Cultural Offerings
There aren’t many local bookstores these days that let you explore the store in person. But if you’re looking for an awesome bookstore, try The Claremont Forum Bookshop & Gallery. The Claremont Forum is a non-profit community organization that donates books to prisoners. Their bookstore is the perfect place to relax and browse through various original pieces of artwork and books.
If you love watching movies on the big screen, the Laemmle 5 Claremont Theatre is a great place to check out the latest independent, foreign, and art films. If you’re in Claremont in May, you’ll definitely want to attend the L.A. Shorts International Film Festival hosted by the theater.
Claremont is also home to the Midsummer Shakespeare Festival at the beautiful outdoor Sontag Greek Theatre at Pomona College. Attendees are welcome to BYOB and enjoy a picnic and show under the stars.