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Top 9 Fun Things to do in Claremont California with Teens

Pomona College. College Shopping in Southern California. what to do in Claremont California with teens
Stroll through the Claremont College campuses while visiting Claremont, California, like Pomona College. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

In Southern California, this Los Angeles suburb offers some of the top colleges in the U.S. Chances are you are going on college tours with one of your teens. Make it a weekend and get a feel for the area and what it offers. During a recent getaway, I toured the colleges with my student. We started with a morning campus tour followed by lunch then spent the afternoon exploring.  For your trip, here are the top fun things to do in Claremont

Top 9 Fun Things to Do in Claremont

  • Take a College Tour
  • Explore Claremont Village 
  • Head to Claremont Lewis Museum of Art
  • Cruise Down Route 66
  • Claremont Hills Wilderness Park 
  • Stroll Through the California Botanic Garden
  • Hike at Mt Baldy 
  • Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology
  • Dine at one of  Claremont’s Restaurants
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what to do in Claremont California with teens College Shopping in Southern California.
Claremont-McKenna attracts students studying economics and government affairs. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Claremont Colleges

For families with teens in the car, you might be in Claremont for a college tour. Get a feel for the area when on tour and do all the fun things to do in Claremont.

The highly ranked Claremont Colleges are about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. On my last visit, I toured several of the campuses.

Pomona College
Claremont-McKenna College
Harvey Mudd College
Pitzer College
Scripps College

Forming a consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate liberal arts colleges, the Claremont College campuses adjoin each other and cover approximately one square mile in central Claremont, a Los Angeles suburb. Students can easily walk between campuses, and we did during our campus tours.

With 2,000 courses offered across all the colleges, students can take classes at any of the five campuses. In total, there are 7,700 undergraduate students and 3,600 faculty and staff.

Most undergraduate students live on campus all four years with 2/3 of the students from outside of California. The students can also use any of the seven dining halls located across the five campuses, and most do.

Several clubs are open to all Claremont College students, and the intermural teams enjoy a good-natured rivalry. The Claremont Colleges don’t offer Greek Life organizations, though they host lots of organizations and school-led outings.

The Claremont Colleges also pooled their resources for a central library and bookstore. The schedules for each college are aligned, and their systems are connected.

Each college offers its own tour and information session. Self-guided tours are always available as well. Guided tour reservations are recommended.

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Explore Claremont Village

To get a real feel for Claremont, we headed to Claremont Village, a charming shopping and dining district in the center of town. I found lots of parking along the streets so we strolled by foot. It is one of the top fun things to do in Claremont.

Near the intersection of W. First St. and N. College Ave, I found Claremont’s MetroLink station, southern California’s commuter rail system.

My daughter and I window-shopped in the Claremont Village as well. Finding lots of locally-owned shops, we browsed through The Hens’ Kitchen Shoppe, located at 141 N. Yale. Then we visited The Claremont Forum Bookstore for used books, located at 586 W. First St.

The Claremont Village even hosts a farmers market on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors will find lots of seasonal festivities, like Halloween fun and a Holiday tree lighting too.

Claremont’s Chamber of Commerce offers gift cards, honored at local restaurants and retail shops across Claremont Village.

Claremont Lewis Museum of Art

With its location inside the Claremont Depot, this museum is dedicated to the art and artists of the area. It offers a permanent exhibit along with visiting exhibitions.

Located in the Claremont Depot at 200 W. 1st St. Adult admission is $5  and free for kids under 18. It is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Cruise down Route 66. Best Colleges in Southern California. what to do in Claremont California with teens
A drive down Route 66 is a must while visiting Claremont. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Cruise down Route 66

After pulling into Claremont, I saw the familiar sign. Route 66, or the Main Street of America. It runs through Claremont on its way to its terminus in Santa Monica. Since Route 66 is also known as Foothill Blvd., a major thoroughfare in Claremont, it’s hard not to cruise down Route 66 at least once. It is one of the top fun things to do in Claremont.

Claremont Hills Wilderness Park 

Visitors can enjoy the vast chaparral landscape at the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles National Forest. This area offers 5 miles of trails for hiking along with viewpoints.

Located at 1700 Danbury Rd. Open from sunrise to sunset. Parking is located at Mills Avenue and Mt Baldy Rd. Parking permit required.

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Visit Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Best Colleges in Southern California.
A walk through the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden showcases plants that thrive in Southern California. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

California Botanic Garden

Next to the San Gabriel foothills, I explored one of the best gardens in California. Known for its collection of California native plants, the California Botanic Garden offers 86 acres to stroll along with an events area and a gift shop. It is one of the top fun things to do in Claremont.

Located at 1500 N. College Ave. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adults admission is $10, students are $6 and kids over 3 are $4.

Mt. Baldy

During one of the college tours, the student tour guide mentioned how students head up to Mt. Baldy to relax during the weekend. As she pointed to the mountain in the background, she mentioned it’s just 15 miles from the Claremont Colleges. It is one of the top fun things to do in Claremont.

Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, offers year-round fun. With wintertime skiing at a 10,000-foot peak with a resort with lifts and lessons. Mt. Baldy Resort also offers scenic chair lift rides as well as tubing and sledding.

Summertime fun includes hiking and mountain biking along with a scenic chair lift.

Located at 8401 Mt. Baldy Rd.

Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology 

This museum is located on the Webb High School campus, the only nationally accredited museum on a high school campus in the U.S. Mr. Alf was a paleontologist and educator who was passionate about taking students fossil hunting on breaks.

The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology offers 4,000 square feet and two display areas: the Hall of Footprints and the Hall of Life.

Located at 1175 W. Baseline Rd., Claremont. Open Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Adult admission is $12 and kids (5 -18) enter for $9. Visitors will have to check in with The Webb Schools security kiosk and possess a valid ID.

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Walk down the downtown streets of Claremont and stop for a burger at Eureka. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Where to Eat in Claremont

Looking to sample some local restaurants, we tried several during our visit. It is one of the top fun things to do in Claremont.

Eureka Burger

It features burgers, salads and craft cocktails. Eureka Burger boasts lots of outdoor seating as well. Located at 580 W. First St,

Some Crust Bakery

This bakery is a must for cookie lovers. We stopped for an afternoon snack and a coffee to-go. Located at 119 Yale Ave,

I like Pie Bake Shop

A must for pie lovers. I got a mini pie, just the right size to pop into my mouth. Yum. Located at 175 N. Indian Hill Blvd,

Saca’s Mediterranean Restaurant

It serves up a massive salad and features outdoor seating. Located at 248 Second St,

Village Grille

Serving up diner classics since 1949, it offers an original diner with friendly waitresses and counter service. Located at 148 Yale Ave

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Where to Stay in Claremont

For my stay in Claremont, I enjoyed a large room overlooking the pool, outfitted with two double beds dressed in white cotton linens at the DoubleTree Claremont Hotel. My room featured a work desk with a charging station along with task lighting and an ergonomic chair. In the corner of the room, an upholstered chair with an ottoman and a reading lamp provided a place to read.

During my stay, I dined at The Orchard each morning for the full breakfast buffet. With an omelette bar, assorted French pastries, a Belgian waffle bar, and hot breakfast staples like French toast and scrambled eggs, along with sausage and applewood bacon, I can’t imagine anyone leaving hungry.

Disclosure: I was hosted by Visit Claremont during my stay. Though I attended general information sessions at the colleges and took the standard college tours.

Know Before You Go:

  • If touring the colleges during the school year, a parking pass will be required. However, during the summer, the colleges are empty.
  • I found the signage at the colleges lacking and the admissions buildings hard to find so give yourself extra time.

Tour the Claremont Colleges in Southern California and discover a charming community 30 miles east of Los Angeles. Find a pedestrian-friendly downtown and mountain recreation just minutes away. Also find gardens, shopping and dining along with lodging. Top Things to do in Claremont California with teens #Claremont #California

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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