10 Things To Do When Visiting Pomona

Photo by Alexa Miller

By Sam Kelly ’17 and Feather Flores ’17

We like to think students choose to come to Pomona for the top-tier liberal arts education. It also doesn’t hurt that we are in Southern California, just 35 miles from Los Angeles and near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Pomona students have access to a wide variety of recreational activities. From outdoor exploits to urban adventures, here are 10 things you should do when you visit to get a feel for what Pomona can offer beyond the classroom.

Starting with the local, you don’t need to go far from campus to experience these:

1. Grab a Bite to Eat

With so many towns in the vicinity and the Claremont Village just down the street, there’s no shortage of restaurants where students can get a great meal without breaking the bank. For lunch, walk over to Podge’s in the Village for healthy, delicious sandwiches, soups, and a truly impressive array of fruit smoothies, and make sure to visit the Back Abbey at dinnertime for one of its signature burgers. Alternatively, hop in the car for a quick drive to Lily’s Tacos in the neighboring town of Pomona, where you can get authentic Mexican food that simply can’t be beat. The Village is also full of coffee shops and cafes that provide the perfect place to study or hide away from the world, including student favorite Some Crust Bakery.

2. Hike the Claremont Wilderness Trail

If you want a taste of the great outdoors without leaving Claremont, visit the Claremont Wilderness Park at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. With a five-mile walking trail and an abundance of flora and fauna, the Claremont Wilderness Park is a fabulous place to get a breath of fresh air, right in our own backyard. Or, for a less strenuous but equally stunning walk, the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is a mere five-minute drive north (or 15-minute walk) from campus and provides the perfect opportunity to see more of California’s native plant environment.

3. Catch a Movie at the Claremont Laemmle

The Claremont Laemmle is an independent movie theatre that offers everything from Hollywood’s hottest blockbusters to small-budget indie movies you’ve never heard of but end up loving. The Laemmle is located in the village, just a five-minute walk from campus, and it’s surrounded by restaurants and cafes if you decide you want a bite to eat before or after your movie. Plus, if you decide to continue your academic career at Pomona, students can buy tickets at half-price at the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) Office!

4. Visit an Art Museum

Whether you want to stay local or venture farther out, Pomona is perfectly situated to give you an art-viewing experience you won’t soon forget. The Pomona College Museum of Art and the Claremont Museum of Art provide small, up-close-and-personal viewing experiences of their impressive collections. About 45 minutes west of campus, you’ll find larger venues such as  San Marino’s Huntington Library and the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena (also worth checking out for its central location in the city’s beautiful downtown). If you make your way into Los Angeles, you can also spend time at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and visit the iconic lampposts sculpted by Chris Burden ’69, or devote a day to seeing the expansive collections at The Getty Museum or The Broad.

5. Visit Mount Baldy

During the “winter” months at Pomona, there’s nothing better than looking north on a sunny day and seeing Mount Baldy capped with snow. Only a 15-minute drive from campus, Mount Baldy offers beautiful vistas, a variety of hikes, and even skiing.


Have an extra day and a car? Check out these experiences in the surrounding areas.

6. Go Camping

One of Southern California’s strongest calling cards is the diversity of landscapes it has to offer, and no one knows this better than Pomona students. Drive two hours to the east and you’ll find yourself in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, surrounded by incredible rock formations and the unique twisting Joshua trees. Drive an hour and a half west to Malibu State Park and you’re camping in a mountainous forest right on the Pacific Coast. For access to the outdoors, Pomona can’t be beat.

7. See a Concert

With Los Angeles being the most populated city on the West Coast and just 35 miles away—chances are you could go to a concert every night if you wanted. However, with all the local venues in the vicinity, you don’t have to go all the way to L.A. just to see a show. Catch your favorite band playing at The Glass House in downtown Pomona, or drive an hour south to see a show at The Observatory in Santa Ana or the House of Blues in Downtown Disney (yes, Disneyland is less than an hour and a half away).

8. Attend a Sports Game

Living next to one of the biggest sports markets in the world makes it easy for any fan to find a game to see. The Los Angeles area boasts two professional baseball teams (the Dodgers and the Angels), three basketball teams (the Lakers, Clippers and Sparks), two hockey team (the Kings and the Ducks), a soccer team (the Galaxy), and two football teams (the Chargers and the Rams). Catch Chris Paul throwing alley-oops to Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan at the Staples Center or watch Corey Seager hit ball after ball out of Dodger Stadium.

9. Visit Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles is a vibrant place where you can find good eats, sights and sounds. Take a selfie at the historic Angels Flight, grab some coffee or lunch at Grand Central Market, or head over to historic Olvera Street, a vibrant hub of Mexican culture with an unparalleled offering of art, food and music. This is all just outside the Los Angeles Union Station (or a some blocks away). Just take the Metrolink, the train system connecting Los Angeles to the rest of the Inland Empire via Union Station; your entire commute will be about an hour.

10. Hit the Beach

The closest beaches are all about an hour away by car, so why not spend an afternoon soaking up the sun at quiet, stunning Laguna Beach? Or surf sports, such as Newport, Huntington or San Clemente? If you’re less into the sand than the pier, Santa Monica is the way to go with its iconic Ferris wheel and arcades, or Venice Beach if you’re willing to brave the crowds (after all, there really is nowhere better to go for beachside shopping). And if you want to spend a leisurely afternoon strolling the boardwalk, picnicking beneath the lighthouse, and perhaps dropping by the Aquarium of the Pacific to see one of its famous sea lion shows, Long Beach is the place for you.