Inland Empire Community | Explore Claremont
Written by: Marissa Scheerer | Photos by: Jordan Cinnamon
Excitement and relaxation, young, old and hip —the “City of Trees” seriously has it all. It doesn’t matter who you are, Claremont, the meeting point of LA County and the IE, is a unique and vibrant town with a whole lot of eats, shopping and exploring you don’t want to miss. When Discover Claremont offered IEShineOn.com a free stay at the Doubletree Hilton, plus $100 in gift cards to use around local stores and restaurants, I was eager to jump at the opportunity to explore.
The Baldy mountains are a blue backdrop to Claremont’s usually warm weather and busy streets. My mind was rolling through all the things I wanted to see as I checked in at the Doubletree. I was already convined that one weekend’s stay wouldn’t be enough to see it all: botanical gardens, one-of-a-kind boutiques, amazing food, beer, wine, music, museums, the colleges. My stomach was grumbling after check-in, and straight away my attempts at planning were happily interrupted by a warm, free cookie from the Doubletree.
Thank you Doubletree for the delicious hospitality! Smooth sailing at check in, and I was ready to head to the Village to check out some serious eats. Claremont offers almost too many dining options: outdoor cafes, gourmet bakeries and award winning restaurants. Italian, Greek, Afghan, Portuguese, Peruvian, New American—Claremont knows how to eat. I made my way to The Press, a restaurant known for locally sourced dishes, featured musicians and a happy hour that’s hard to beat.
Lots of local veggies, an eggplant burger, salad and house-made dressing later, I paced the Village streets to find an inviting patio at Union on Yale. The drinks at Union on Yale were incredible and thoughtfully crafted. Fresh herb garnishes, creative flavor combinations and friendly staff invite me to stay. Time pressed me on to to continue wandering, window shopping, and inevitably I made my way to the newer part of the Village—Village West—and find one of Claremont’s hottest attractions, the Claremont Packing House.
The Packing House is a large historic building spruced with wine tasting, fine dining, live music, stand-up comedy, popular boutiques, art classes and more. I sifted through Replay’s vintage clothing and a used book store; ran into live music at Auggie’s—a new and delicious coffee shop and an on-the-spot-made ice cream shop (they use nitrogen to make it right then and there). Finally, I enjoyed some mandatory tastes at Packing House Wine Merchant’s wine bar, where there’s a full menu, great price range and ridiculously good cheese.
At the crossroads of the IE suburbs and LA’s big city life, the Claremont Village is a seriously distinctive main street experience. Spread over 12 blocks, it has over 150 boutiques, spas, bakeries, restaurants and more. If you’re looking for fashion you’ve got everything from women's fashion boutiques Amelie, Nectar Clothing and Maple Boutique, to the known national brands like American Apparel and Chico’s.
For laughs, you'll want to check out Flapper’s Comedy Club, but before you head there enjoy some drinks at Packing House Wine Merchants or The Back Abbey. And for some unique gifts head to VOM FASS.
Antiques and vintage up your alley? Claremont Village Treasures, Replay Vintage, Green Gypsie and Heirloom have great finds. Looking for crafts, gifts and fun souvenirs? On a Mission, The Bath Workshop and A Shop Called Quest have something for you. You can stay active and take a class at Claremont Yoga Studio or Pilates Studio M. You can also check out the many nearby parks and hiking trails. Continue your shopping and browsing over at the Folk Music Center (museum and store) owned by none other than Ben Harper and family. The Village is overall a dynamic place with laid-back and fun, eclectic and familiar family, youth, hipster, quaint and college town vibes.
I was in a fight against time to see all that Claremont had to offer. But by the end of the day, I was grateful to be back in my room at the Doubletree—such a convenient distance from the Village, well rounded with a friendly staff, a breakfast buffet in the morning and incredibly (and much needed) comfortable beds.
Before I left Claremont, I topped the trip off with a lovely visit to the largest botanic garden dedicated to California’s native plants: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. The eighty-six decorated acres and largest U.S. herbarium are a must see. I will undoubtedly be back to experience more of this gem of a town. I cannot wait for future finds and memorable times the next time I have the chance to explore Claremont.
Disclaimer: DoubleTree by Hilton generously provided a stay and Discover Claremont provided local gift cards to use during our stay. All opinions are 100% our own.