Day trip: Claremont’s botanical garden and historic downtown

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont

Though it’s about 40 minutes from downtown L.A., visitors of Claremont will find a quaint college town full of beautiful historic buildings and plenty of stops for a good day trip. Check out California’s native plants at the 86-acre Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden ($8 regular admission, $6 for students & seniors), then drive south on College Avenue through a cozy neighborhood to see several late-19th century Victorian homes (see the gallery above for photos of the Sumner House). Stop for lunch just west of the Claremont Colleges at the Claremont Village, where you’ll find restaurants, art galleries and bars within the city’s old Packing House. And don’t forget to support the local record store, Rhino Records, and check out more mom-and-pop shops off Yale Avenue!

Claremont Heritage also offers walking tours of the city for $5, or visit their website for their recommended self-guided tour. The city has a few registered historical landmarks — including its train station, the Pitzer House and Scripps College for Women — and its City Hall and post office at Harvard Avenue and First Street deserve a stroll-by from historic building lovers, too. Home architecture enthusiasts might also want to drive through the Russian Village Historic District, a neighborhood of ’20s- and ’30s-built stone houses (unfortunately, we ran out of daylight and didn’t get to check them out!).

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