At a relatively small school like the 5Cs, it’s not surprising when students start looking for places to hang out off-campus. Those who own cars often frequent the beach, Los Angeles, and even San Francisco— some seven or eight hours away. But without a car, many find themselves limited to the same restaurants and stores in the Claremont Village.
Fortunately, Claremont houses its share of secret gems. In this article, I will cover three events or places relevant to this month, with plans for a follow-up in the subsequent, and final issue, of The Scripps Voice. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions and ideas.
1) The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden: Located across the street from the 5Cs, the botanic garden offers free admission every first Sunday of the month, September through June. The rest of the year, students can pay a discounted price of $6 for a one-day pass. I’ve enjoyed going alone, as well as with friends or family. I usually bring fruit, trail mix, or some other snack to munch on while I walk around — and water, of course. This is a great choice if you enjoy nature or just need some peace and quiet.
Although minimal, the botanic garden does present a number of downsides. First, it’s only open regular business hours (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.), which doesn’t allow for nighttime plans.
(Occasionally, the gardens host nightly events.) Second, the garden charges an admittance fee, which may deter some visitors. Last, it’s easy to get lost in the gardens. This sounds silly, but will make sense if you visit and try to make it back to your car before the gate closes at 5 p.m.
2) Open Mic Night at the Folk Music Center: Guests are invited to perform for up to five minutes or watch the show for a $2 entrance fee. Shows are held every last Sunday of the month; sign-ups begin at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. I recommend eating dinner beforehand, as the intermission does not provide ample time to chow down. Because this event is limited in seating, it’s best for small groups. The event is generally family-friendly, and often includes people from within the Claremont community, with visitors from surrounding cities. You can buy professional recordings of every performance at the store a few weeks after the show. Personally, I’ve been disappointed to find these offered as DVDs, rather than as CDs, as the former are not compatible with my car nor my laptop.
Like any open mic event, the line-up varies every single time. This means you may have to sit through performances you don’t quite enjoy. Luckily, each performance is only five minutes long, max. As well, you might see other Claremont people you know, either from school or within the community. Whether or not this is pleasurable may depend on the person. And as a final note... This might just be me, but the seats seem extremely uncomfortable: cold and hard. I really should bring my own chair.
3) Art Mart and First Friday ArtWalk: Both Art Mart and Friday ArtWalk take place every Friday evening from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. in the Packing House. For those unfamiliar, the Packing House lives next door to 21 Choices, and houses Eureka! Burger and ZPizza, to name a few. Vendors set up their tables inside the Packing House, down the middle of the downstairs walkway. Even so, there’s plenty of room to meander around and the place is generally not too crowded. The atmosphere feels casual, yet animated — loud enough, but not too noisy. The event can be fun on one’s own or with a group of friends. The main difference between these two events lies in the fact that the ArtWalk occurs only monthly, and features live music and tends to draw a larger crowd.
For those who have been to either the Art Mart or the First Friday ArtWalk, you already know that the events run quite similarly, and often exhibit the same vendors. In addition, the place tends to draw older adults out on date-night or family night. Wine and cheese make their appearance every time, so take advantage of that if you’re over 21. After a few visits, the excitement wears off. I recommend spacing your visits with several months in between, for the best chance of finding new vendors and products for sale. Enjoy!