Did you know that Money Magazine’s #5 best place to live is located here in the Inland Empire? The charming city of Claremont is known for its top notch universities, as well as its small town charm.
For locals and non-locals alike, The Claremont Village is the the heart of the city. Many argue that this cluster of walkable shops and restaurants form the best college town in inland Southern California (though Redlands and Riverside are certainly in the running). Chains are clearly unwelcome in this district as the area contains a marked retro feel, as if this Village was somehow cheerfully oblivious to the previous five decades that have witnessed the rise of the mega mall and fast food restaurant.
One can get a glimpse of the entire Village from the Chamber of Commerce‘s map. However, the locals tell me that two places that are by far the most beloved and longest running are Some Crust Bakery & Cafe, an adorable bakery with a crowded adjoined cafe, and Walters, a hamburger joint from 1957 that was converted to a much lauded Afghan restaurant in 1973.
Music lovers should not pass up the opportunity to check out Rhino Records, an independent record store with an amazing collection of hard-to-find LP’s as well as mainstream CD’s. [Fun fact: The Mad Platter, the used CD store specializing in punk and hip hop at the University Village near U.C. Riverside, is in fact Rhino Record's sister store.]
Claremont boasts that they are in fact in Los Angeles County, though maps will clearly indicate that Claremont is at the edge, adjacent to San Bernardino County. For those without cars, or those trying to be more green, it is an easy stop conveniently located adjacent to Claremont’s Metrolink stop.
The area is definitely more crowded during the school year when students and professors from the seven Claremont colleges return to flock the pedestrian areas. Indeed, the college theme pervades this town, with each street named after one of the nation’s finest universities. Events throughout the summer (and year round) include free concerts and movies are offered in the evenings, as well as other forms of inexpensive (and often free) entertainment.
The Claremont Village is a great day trip for anyone in the Inland Empire looking for a quaint way to spend an unoccupied afternoon!