While I was on my trip out to Claremont, California, I kept being struck that this beautiful, diverse city is not somewhere far away: It is literally under an hour for me to travel on back! With so many great places to pick from for a mini getaway in Los Angeles, Claremont might easily win my vote for THE best quick road trip/vacation, you could even head on out for the day, yet who would want to leave?! While they have just wrapped up the annual (& delicious) Restaurant Week, read on for some great options I highly recommend you check out in Claremont.
Having spent an overnight at The DoubleTree by Hilton on Foothill Blvd, I can tell you that this is a gorgeous place to call home while you’re in Claremont. I had a great balcony, which came in handy to relax on & rev up for my day while sipping my Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Morning Blend coffee that came in my room. They also boast a full breakfast buffet, with ALL breakfast food prepared daily on premises.
Another handy option, especially if you want to be in The Claremont Village when you open your door as well as have a very trendy, posh experience, is Hotel Casa 425, in the heart of their Packing District. In 2007, the city went through a major makeover with their packing buildings as they were renovated to become what is now the well-loved Packing District of Claremont. This is where you will find The Junction Restaurant, Packing House Wines & many other world-class shops. I especially loved this part of town after seeing all to be seen in The Village, which has a very old world charm to it, while The Packing District is all about bringing the modern to this college city. You cannot go wrong at either hotel!
No visit to Claremont is complete without a stop at their Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, just off Foothill Blvd & well over 80 acres of natural beauty to be seen. It brought to mind The Huntington Library, with the gorgeous koi ponds, Joshua trees & hike trails. They currently have a real treat for all to check out: The Butterfly Pavillion. Guests young & old will love seeing the caterpillars (touch them, too!) before entering the pavilion filled with monarch butterflies, fluttering in all their majestic glory!
If you love music, Claremont is the place for you: On one side of Yale Avenue, get your fix of vinyl & used CDs at Rhino Records, while just across the street is The Folk Music Center. A Claremont staple, owned by world-loved musician, Ben Harper, & his family, The Folk Music Center has been selling beautiful instruments, offering lessons & open mic nights in town, since 1958. The moment you walk into this shop, you can feel its history & the love everyone who comes in has for this gorgeous center & store.
Anxious to have a few drinks & hear a great, interactive show? Look no further than Piano Piano, conveniently next door to The DoubleTree! Piano PIano is one of the best dueling piano bars in Los Angeles, but, warning! They can get very adult with their language, & this is definitely for a mature, grown up night out! 😉 I know I speak for us all from IFWTWA when I say we had a hilarious, great time.
As if I didn’t have enough to sample from Restaurant Week, I actually have more wonderful recommendations on where to dine! Check out Some Crust Cafe which has adorable, home-like decor & delicious pastries & breakfast items, as well as really good house coffee. I had the pleasure of trying their gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, which were soft, gooey perfection.
One of my favorite morning stops was 42nd Street Bagel. It reminded me of some adorable eateries in Times Square as 42nd St Bagel is all about bringing a slice of New York’s Big Apple to Claremont with bagels to rival those you find in Manhattan & the walls are adorned with Broadway theatre posters like The Lion King, Wicked & my personal favorite…The Bagel Man 😉 (Have you seen it? A bit like The Music Man, hehe). While they do not have a gluten-free bagel, they have many other dishes, like eggs or morning fruit, to be enjoyed.
If you are gluten-free & need a bagel fix, I was so excited to see that our next stop, The Last Drop Cafe, is extremely gluten-free friendly, & even has a bagel! Their staff couldn’t have been sweeter, & I got to try their Vegan Out Sandwich on gluten-free toast. Verdict? The presentation was gorgeous, with big slices of avocado to make your mouth water, but, I will have them hold the french onion dressing next time.
With so much to see, eat & do, I hope you will consider Claremont the next time you need to get out-of-town for a bit! For more information, visit them HERE at Discover Claremont. xo
(Disclosure: I was apart of a wonderful sponsored press trip to Claremont, CA, with fellow members of IFWTWA. All opinions are my own & Claremont is absolutely wonderful.)