Generally when people come to visit Southern California, they choose to spend their time in Los Angeles or San Diego. And for obvious reasons: these are two of the main cultural hubs of our beloved state. But hear me out….what if I told you about a hidden gem just 45 minutes East of DTLA that is just as worth your time as the big cities (but without all of the traffic, litter, and parallel parking)?
About a year ago, I made the move to the beautiful city of Claremont, and I have loved every minute spent here. I chose to make the move here because of the charm and the cleanliness, yet it still being close enough to LA for those moments when I crave the Big City feels. While it is a safe and quaint area perfect for families, there are several beautiful colleges here that add to the flair and youthfulness of the city. Whether you live in Southern California, or are coming from out of state, making a stop in Claremont for a day is so necessary if you want to get a taste of a beautiful and close-knit community. I have lined up some of my Claremont “Must Visits” for you to fully maximize your day spent in The City of Trees.
Morning Bikram at Hot Yoga Claremont
Claremont Hot Yoga is one of my favorite studios I’ve been to because of how approachable the teachers are and how clean the space is. The vibes are always high and supportive, and the studio is always creating monthly challenges for Yogis to get involved in to deepen their practice. The teachers do an amazing job at encouraging students of all skill levels, and make it a point to remember each Yogi’s name. Keep in mind the studio specializes in Bikram, so you won’t be doing much flowing, but you will be getting a fabulous workout.
Brunch at Bardot
This restaurant truly changes the brunch game, friends. Everything on their menu is to die for- cocktails included. Trust me when I say your life is not complete until you try one of their luscious espresso martinis. If you’re more of a mimosa girl then go that route: they serve ’em up in glasses as big as your head for only $8. (Or pull a Mia and do both, because life is short.) So back to the food: before you order any entrees- the goat cheese lollipops are a MUST. Breaded, honey-drizzled, goat cheese goodness…what more could you want? Well, nothing…besides the divine and gluttonous Croque Madame. Thank me later.
Accessorize with Ronnie M Layering Bar
Ronnie M is a Claremont powerhouse who elevates the community in so many ways just by being Her. Her shop, Ronnie M Layering Bar, is tucked away right next to Bardot, so make this your first stop after your boozy brunch. You can feel the love in all of her creations, from her cheeky t-shirts to her beautiful handcrafted sage bundles. Whenever a boy does me really wrong, I make sure to burn my “Sage Yo Ex” palo santo bundle I bought from her to get alllll that bad juju outta my life. The foundation of Ronnie’s business, though, are her beautiful intentional beaded jewelry pieces. Each bracelet or mala is handcrafted with beautiful semi-precious stones and most importantly- LOVE, so you feel like a true goddess wearing her creations.
Perhaps one of the most innovative businesses in the Claremont Village, Tina G Cosmetics is a necessary stop for any woman needing some quality pampering. Tina has been in the cosmetics industry for 25 years, so she knows her stuff. Her studio is multi-faceted and and a one-stop shop for anything makeup related. If you need custom makeup, she will sit down and work with you to give you EXACTLY what you need. Whether you need your foundation to be dewy or matte, color-correcting or hydrating, she can do it all. I’ve also had the opportunity to get a makeup lesson from Tina (another one of her amazing offerings), and she helped me understand all of the basics of makeup application that I’ve never understood before. She is patient, kind, and passionate and treats everyone like a friend rather than a customer.
While the Tina G experience is best experienced in-person at her studio, her online shop (click here to visit) is a great place to check out some of her products. A few of my makeup bag staples: Kissy Lips Custom Gloss in shade Audrey (So fun and flirty and lasts FOREVER) and the gel set eyeliner in Jet Black (so pigmented and again, lasts ALL DAY LONG).
And it’s your lucky day: Tina has been awesome enough to give you guys 15% off all online and in-person purchases until July 31, 2019 with code MIA15.
Shop Til Ya Drop at The Grove
Let me just say, Claremont has the boutique game down to a science. So, it is CRUCIAL to set a budget for yourself before going out because things can get a little out of hand. My favorite store is The Grove Vintage located in the Claremont Village. The store is woman-owned (yay), and is consistently bringing in unique (quality) pieces that you just won’t find at Forever 21. Each piece is offered in limited quantities, too- so you don’t have to fret about showing up to a party wearing the same outfit as someone else. Right next door is their sister store, The Grove Home, that has all of the boho decor, tarot decks, and spiritual readings your heart could possibly desire.
Afternoon Hike at the Claremont Wilderness Park
Claremont officially won me over when I found out there was a beautiful wilderness park a short 10 minute drive from my house. The trail is fairly easy, but you do face some elevation that will give your lungs and booty a good workout. So yes- bring plenty of water. The trail is free to use, but you do have to pay a small fee for parking. It is all worth it to be able to see the fabulous views and bask in gratitude for the place we get to call Home.
Happy Hour at Claremont Craft Ales
My favorite way to end a day is with a beer (or two) from Claremont Craft Ales. The brewery is open and modern, making it a really fun, non-stuffy environment to socialize with friends in. And perhaps the most important part: dogs are welcome. While the brewery itself doesn’t serve food, they are always bringing in some of the best food trucks in the area to complement their brews. If you are an IPA fan- then this is absolutely the brewery for you. But, if you are like me and don’t indulge in the bitterness, I highly recommend their Norman Cream Ale.
If you live in Claremont, or have visited, I would LOVE to hear some of your fave spots! I find myself discovering something new about this city every single day, and am so lucky to have found myself here for a stop on my journey.