California style and a Midwestern college-town vibe converge in Claremont, a suburb of Los Angeles that sits on the eastern edge of the San Gabriel Valley. Home to the Claremont Colleges consortium and Western University, Claremont pulses with a youthful energy during the school year and transforms into a sleepy small town in the summer. Unlike surrounding suburbs, Claremont maintains a distinct feeling of community fostered by the university and the walkable downtown area.
Located 32 miles east of Los Angeles and just a few minutes from the San Gabriel Mountains, Claremont effortlessly balances outdoor and urban lifestyles. If they desire, residents can ski and swim in the same day; the Mt. Baldy ski area sits less than 20 miles away, while the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean lie 40 miles south.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Claremont ranks as a foodie's paradise, with restaurants that cater to almost every taste. Given the city's status as a college town, many eateries fall into the low-priced or mid-priced range. You can find most restaurants in and around the Claremont Village, better known by locals as "the Village."
Health-conscious Claremont residents love Dr. Grubb's, where diners can mix and match proteins, sauces and sides to create a custom meal. Alternatively, choose from a limited selection of soups and salads. Eat in the tiny dining area or take your meal to go.
Go continental at the Euro Cafe, which specializes in Italian and Portuguese foods. Locals can't get enough of the bread pudding, the hearty breakfast panini and the linguica sausage. Stop in for brunch on the weekend, but be prepared to wait; local hikers and cyclists love this cafe.
If you're an adventurous eater, don't miss the unusual fusion dishes created by the multicultural chefs at The Junction. Try the popular Korean BBQ Tacos, which come with the restaurant's special house salsa, or opt for the indulgent Kimchi Super Fries.
Thanks to its large population of college students, Claremont houses varied and fun nightlife options. Check out the rising stars of improv at Flappers Comedy Club & Restaurant, or listen to live music at The Press Restaurant. For a quiet evening, sip a Moscow Mule by the outdoor fire pit at Hotel Casa 425 Lounge and Bar. At Piano Piano, you can listen to dueling pianos or participate in the weekly karaoke night.
History & Culture
The first settlers of the Claremont area, the Serrano Indians, occupied the land until Spanish explorers arrived in 1771. As the Spanish forced the Serrano into laboring positions, the population diminished slowly until 1883. The development of Pomona College secured the town's future as a center for education and commerce. Claremont was incorporated in 1907 and grew into one of California's important citrus-growing centers.
As of 2014, Claremont Colleges form the center of the city's cultural scene. The consortium's campuses house the Clark Humanities Museum, the Pomona College Museum of Art and the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery. At the Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater and the Seeley G. Mudd Theater, locals enjoy a full schedule of musicals and plays. Each year, the city hosts events such as the Claremont Folk Festival and the Holiday Promenade.
Getting around Claremont on foot can be difficult — the city has a walk score of just 40 — so many residents choose to drive or take public transportation. To get around town, take one of the many Foothills Transit bus lines that run through the neighborhood. The San Bernadino line of the Metrolink train service stops in Claremont, connecting residents to downtown Los Angeles.
Cabs can be difficult to hail from the street, so you should call in advance. Uber does not provide service to Claremont. Get around safely on your bike by following the on-street arrows that guide you to the safest part of the road, or stick to the bike priority zones in the Village and Claremont Colleges.
If you drive, street parking spots are readily available in residential areas. Keep in mind that local laws prohibit overnight parking on any of Claremont's streets. Park for up to three hours in the lots around Claremont Village or on the surrounding streets for up to two hours. Highway 210 and Interstate 10 run through the northern and southern sections of Claremont, respectively, so you can get out of town easily.
The cost of living in Claremont comes in higher than the Los Angeles citywide average. Expect to pay more for goods and services across the board, with the exception of utilities. Housing costs, in particular, drive up living expenses; the average rental rate in Claremont sits at $1,279.40.
During a night out in Claremont, you pay an average of $6 for a bottle of domestic beer and $11 for a pint of craft beer. A one-way Metrolink ride to Union Station in Los Angeles costs $9.25. Drivers in Claremont pay gas prices that sit about 12 percent higher than the national average.
Most of the commercial outlets in Claremont cluster in Claremont Village. This cozy collection of stores has something for shoppers of all ages, though most shops gear inventory toward mid-range and low-end budgets. Claremont does not provide much in the way of high-end shopping.
Comic book fans and newbies alike love A Shop Called Quest, a compact store that carries graphic novels, comics and a wide selection of geek-chic collectibles. Feel free to ask for recommendations — the friendly and unpretentious staff members have years of experience between them.
Pick up trendy, youthful wardrobe staples at Nectar, a women's clothing boutique on 1st Street. If you want to stand out from the college crowd in Claremont, look out for the unique line of Nectar clothing. The store also sells a limited range of artisan jewelry and home decor pieces.
When you're in the market for a gift, look no further than Heirloom. From independently published books to crafts by local artisans, the store overflows with unique items. Stop in to check out the selection of vintage clothing and handmade cards.
A number of grocery stores serve Claremont, including Trader Joe's and Super King. Pick up your bulk goods and fresh produce at the Sprouts Farmers Market store, or request a special cut of meat at the Wolfe's Market meat counter. Sip on a coffee from the in-store Starbucks while you shop at Vons, a favorite with residents of North Claremont. On Saturdays, join the locals at the Claremont Village Farmers & Artisans Market to pick up certified organic produce, artistic decor items and household plants.
With more than 20 parks to choose from, Claremont locals have no excuse to stay indoors. Enjoy the brilliant California sun year-round at Cahuilla Park, which features ball fields, a basketball court and a skate park. An extensive system of fire roads attracts fitness buffs to Claremont Hills Wilderness Park for walking, biking and hiking. In the summer, bring the kids to the wading pool at El Barrio Park or the steam train playground at Higginbotham Park.
Memorial Park, one of Claremont's most popular, hosts an annual Fourth of July celebration and a regular summer concert series. Pet owners can let their dogs run free in the off-leash area at Rancho San Jose Park. Residents enjoy all of Claremont's parks free of charge.