Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation or a quiet weekend getaway, Claremont is the perfect destination for families.
Widely known for its wellness spas, wine bars, and gourmet eats, parents who visit Claremont sans kiddos love the relaxing weekend respite. However, we all know that family time is everything, and Claremont is the perfect place to bring the whole gang—there’s something for everyone.
Kids—big and small—will be entertained by the incredibly fun museums, nature experiences, and an abundance of sweet treats. This family-friendly and charming college community, about an hour outside of LA, combines outdoor adventures, kid-friendly activities, and community-oriented, family-centric escapes making for a well-rounded vacation every menage will look forward to again and again.
Kid-Friendly Museums, Shops, and Art
One place children of all ages (and grown-ups) will enjoy is the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. The museum has a vast assortment of fossils, including more footprints than any other in the U.S. Kids can learn about an entire ancient world full of dinosaurs by walking through the circular museum, observing the artifacts, timelines and life-size skeletal remains of prehistoric dinosaurs.
The Folk Music Center is a kid-friendly shop in Claremont Village with hundreds of instruments. Grammy-winner Ben Harper’s family owns it, and your fam can check out rare and antique musical instruments on display. In addition, you can enjoy a family-friendly day filled with great music at the Folk Music Festival every May.
The Lost Levels Arcade at the Claremont Packing House is one of the coolest shops in town. This retro arcade has classic games like Mario Bros., Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Centipede. Other favorites include Guitar Hero, Pole Position, Mortal Kombat, and NBA JAM!
It’s easy to shop til you drop when out for the weekend, and Boon Companion Toys is a destination for both the young and the young at heart looking for a unique blend of toys, games, books and gifts to inspire, educate and entertain. Tattle Tails has adorable, high-quality clothing for babies and young children. Older tweens and teens will love the art and a bit of pop culture at A Shop Called Quest. It’s a great place to find a curated collection of comic books, graphic novels, gaming, apparel and collectibles.
Little art enthusiasts will enjoy ARTStation, at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art, where children can experience fun art exhibits while engaging with local culture. Studio Claremont, located in the historic Packing House, is where kids get to create artworks in various mediums such as painting, drawing and sculpture.
One of the coolest activities for you and your little ones to do while visiting Claremont is to see an impressive public art display. James Turrell’s art installation, known as Skyspace “Dividing the Light,” is designed to increase awareness of our natural environment. Blow your child’s mind as they watch the magical light program that bathes the canopy in changing colors, altering our perception of the sky. The show happens every day about 30 minutes before sunset and about 40 minutes before sunrise. The best part is it’s free!
Outdoor Kid-Approved Fun For The Fam
One of the first stops of your outdoor family adventures should be the California Botanic Garden, the largest botanic garden dedicated exclusively to California native plants. The kids will have so much fun running along the different trails and finding little critters while soaking up the natural beauty. Make sure to visit early on hot days and leave plenty of time to explore. Also, don’t forget to pick up the kid’s guide, which doubles as an entertaining scavenger hunt.
If visiting the garden in the Fall, you’ll want to attend Things that Go Bump in the Night, where kids learn about nighttime nature. The Acorn Festival is another exciting event celebrating the connection between native peoples and plants.
Kids can roam through fruit orchards, mulched pathways, and a 162-square-foot greenhouse at the Organic Farm at Pomona College. Find eggs in the chicken coop, learn about composting and don’t miss the Earth dome. Inspired by green architecture and community design, the farm students created a “super adobe” that looks like something out of Dr. Suess.
Just north of the city, Marshall Canyon Equestrian Center offers guided horseback riding trail rides as well as pony rides for youngsters.
Parks & Trails
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park has hiking and biking trails with views stretching to Downtown L.A., Catalina Island, and the Inland Empire basin. The many walkable trails and the views will render your little ones speechless—savor the moment.
Claremont has cute parks and playgrounds, such as Higginbotham Park and Memorial Park. Yes, bring your dogs to Claremont too. Claremont is one of the most pet-friendly cities in Southern California.
A quick drive away is Mt. Baldy, where there’s fun in the snow for the whole family! If you’ve never been to the snow, it’s the perfect day trip from Claremont to experience all-day snow play at 7,800 feet! Slide down snowy hills on tubes (provided). If skiing or snowboarding is your thing—or you want it to be—there are 4 Chair Lifts to more than 4000 acres of terrain, and Mt. Baldy accommodates all skill levels. Warm up after your snow day with decadent Hot Cocoa Bombs from Bert & Rocky’s Cream Co. while you cozy up by the fire pits at your hotel.
Claremont is home to colleges and universities, five nationally renowned liberal arts colleges and two graduate schools. These colleges, collectively known as The Claremont Colleges, offer a variety of cultural and educational opportunities for families. Exploring the campuses could include looking at the architecture, sculptures, gardens or the many art installations and museums. So whether you have a toddler or a high schooler on a college tour, there is something to impress all ages.
Awesome Family-Centric Restaurants in Claremont
Claremont offers a wide variety of restaurants to fit any family’s budget and taste. From casual cafes to upscale bistros, there’s something for everyone in Claremont.
Here are a few of our family-friendly favorites:
Crème Bakery is an excellent spot for breakfast. Choose from loaves of bread and baguettes that are suitable accompaniments for any meal to a full range of croissants, scones, biscuits, muffins, and cookies, along with seasonal cakes, tarts, pies, and a unique menu of sandwiches. Kids will love the Granola Parfait, and the best part is you can take it all to go if you’re going on adventures.
Claremont has great food and kid-approved eats to please even the pickiest eater. Restaurants like Pizza N’ Such and Eddie’s Italian Eatery. Other perfect options include local favorites like Gus’s BBQ, Dog Haus Biergarten, and HoneyBird.
For a more upscale option, the patio at Union on Yale allows room for your kiddos to get up and shake their wiggles out while you leisurely sip on a glass of wine or a favorite specialty-crafted unique cocktail. Then, after a lovely locally sourced meal, which might include some delicious wood-fired pizzas, a big plate of pasta, seasonal salads or fried chicken, the family can play a bocce ball round on the restaurant’s bocce ball court.
The fun 50’s style atmosphere of The Village Grille will make you nostalgic, a bygone era to share with the kids over burgers. You’ll love the black-and-white checkered floor and red vinyl booths, serving up malts, shakes, clubs, melts and hot beef sandwiches, plus so many retro favorites in a kid-friendly atmosphere. This traditional old-fashioned diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner family favorites.
The Meat Cellar makes exceptional burgers, as does The Back Abbey, which pairs theirs with Belgian brews. Kids like the creative burger sliders at Eureka! Add an order of lollipop corndogs with a cheesy dipping sauce to share.
Picky eaters will love the 42nd Street Bagel Cafe. No kid could resist a multi-colored cinnamon raisin, blueberry or chocolate chip bagel with 11 different whipped cream cheeses and a large assortment of toppings to create your bagel masterpiece…YUM!
You can’t come to Claremont without trying some of the sweet treats that abound. The kids will go ga-ga over the pastries, scones, muffins, pies, cream puffs, cupcakes and cookies at Some Crust Bakery. With over 200 flavors of ice cream, decadent fudge and homemade Caramel Candied Apples at Bert and Rocky’s Ice Cream Co., you might have to go back again and again. The smorgasbord of sweet and savory pies at I Like Pie makes the perfect mid-day snacks. Be sure to take some to-go too! A box of delicious chocolates from A-Kline Chocolatier makes the ideal gift for friends when you return home or save them for those days when you want something sweet to nibble on, and they’ll remind you of your favorite Claremont memories.
How To Choose the Perfect Place To Stay With Your Family
Claremont has many accommodation options, from hotels and motels to vacation rentals. Several offer suites or connecting rooms for families traveling with children.
With rollaway beds available in most rooms, a kid-friendly courtyard, and a continental breakfast, Hotel Casa 425 is a good choice for a family stay. The centrally-located hotel courtyard connects to a family-friendly shopping area with a pie shop, cafes, restaurants, clothing stores, and a comic book shop. In addition, there’s a fun fountain in the center all the kiddos flock to while the parents relax.
At Doubletree by Hilton, you and your kids will begin your stay with a warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. There’s also a large outdoor pool, perfect for cannonballs. While a full bar means margaritas for the grown-ups, the breakfast buffet offers kid-favorite cereals that will thrill and delight.
Bring your family pet and tennis rackets to Motel 6 Claremont. This kid-friendly, pet-friendly hotel has a grassy area to play on and championship tennis courts. They also have a swimming pool and shuttle to and from Claremont Village. Refrigerators and a mini market/food court on the property can leave stress and mini-meltdowns at home.
The Claremont Lodge is the most budget-friendly of the options but comes with a lot of bang for the buck. Besides being in the perfect location of Claremont, it’s also a good home base for many local Southern California attractions. Every room has a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, laundry service and free parking. Clean and modern rooms are perfect for small and large families. There’s a pool to relax in, and if you book an in-room jacuzzi suite, you’ll have your own personal resort.
Family Holiday Fun
Visiting Claremont in December? The Nutcracker from the critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet is a treasured holiday tradition that’ll delight the whole family.
During Luminaria Nights, over two thousand hanging lanterns are placed along the trails at California Botanic Garden, dappling the night with winter wonderland magic. With music from local musicians, complimentary hot cider, a food truck, and a bar, it’s a swell way to welcome the holiday season together.
Claremont All Year Long!
There’s always super cool stuff in Claremont for little ones to discover throughout the seasons. So if you have kids, bring them to Claremont to explore and learn. Whether attending a great museum or exploring beautiful neighborhoods, experiencing new places is one of the best ways for kids to learn more about the world.
Families looking for a fun and affordable vacation destination will find that Claremont has everything they need. No matter what time of year, there’s always something happening in Claremont that is family and kid-friendly.