Our eastward location has given us the gifts of a true Southern California lifestyle without the hustle and bustle of Downtown Los Angeles. Being 30 Miles East, our region still gives us the attributes of Los Angeles living all while maintaining a robust culture of our own. Speaking of culture, we are incredibly fortunate that many of the small towns we (okay, I) call home have bred top-ranked institutions of higher learning. From Glendora to Claremont, we invariably own a collegiate culture all of our own. Claremont is home to some of the most prestigious Colleges in the country. Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College have consistently ranked among the top 10 schools in the nation. La Verne is also home to one of the best colleges in the country while proudly holding the distinction as a top-ranked Hispanic Serving Institution. Cal Poly Pomona and Azusa Pacific University also contribute to the intellectual nobility of our region. Evidently, the term “College Town” is incredibly applicable to our eastward realm.
So, what exactly is a “College Town”? The common definition of a “College Town” is a community that is dominated by its university population. Cities such as Claremont, La Verne, and Pomona are more than able to provide their populace with the “College Town” community and atmosphere. These cities have cultivated the perfect stage for accommodating college student lifestyles and those whom wish to reside in these excellent neighborhoods.
So, lets take a closer look at some of the cities whom proudly hold the College Town title. Shall we begin with the most obvious? Claremont, aptly tagged as “The City of Trees and PhDs” epitomizes college culture. The people, places and fabric of the city set it apart from any other town. Claremont really has an identity all of its own. Feeling collegiate yet? If not, it is good to know that Claremont is home to seven Colleges residing within one Consortium (5 undergraduate and 2 graduate). The prestigious Claremont Colleges are typically open spaces that give visitors the opportunity to stroll through any of the five undergraduate campuses. A few minutes away from the colleges, you will find the lively downtown Village. The Village is home to some of the best bars and eateries in Southern California. Looking for an amazing unique beer and burger? You’re covered. The rival eateries, the Back Abbey and Eureka Burger, are some of the favored bars in the area. Up for a movie? The Laemmle has independent and mainstream film offerings in an intimate theater setting. It’s no wonder why Claremont McKenna College was named one of the happiest schools in the nation by The Daily Beast.
Downtown Pomona has become quite the underground scene for emerging artists and musicians. Second Saturday is a monthly event in the Arts Colony and features open art galleries, music and many festivities that embrace the arts. College students and locals can be found here en masse on Second Saturdays enjoying the Downtown Pomona nightlife. My personal favorite spot in Downtown Pomona is DBA256 Wine Bar/Gallery. I have been here for art shows while sipping on local wines. What could be better?
Lastly, and certainly not least, The University of La Verne (featured image and my alma mater!) is a small, yet tight knit institution that has one of the most diverse campuses in the nation. Residential and Commuter students alike share common ground in finding an outlet after hours of endless studying. If you take a small stroll down D Street in La Verne, you will hit some of the legendary spots that have given La Verne its identity. For most La Verne students, their night begins at Warehouse Pizza. This place is an institution. College students and families alike have been flooding this eatery for years. How good is this place? Really good. Never mind that the owner knows me by name. Hell, he probably knows most La Verne-ians by name. Kenny Schonfeld has owned Warehouse Pizza since 1972 and his pizza remains the favorite in the city to this day. Across the way, you will find Lordsburg Tap House (formerly T-Phillips). You can catch many students and University of La Verne alumni here on any given night. You may even catch a professor enjoying a cold beer here. In short, La Verne is the town where everyone knows your name and your favorite beer (and if you ditched class the day before).
As you can see, life 30 Miles East of LA can be as just as incredible as it is Downtown or in Hollywood. Our College Towns are encapsulating a positive, progressive identity. It is my hope to share our culture with the greater universe. It really is a great experience!
Do you have any favorite places within these college towns? Share them with me! Maybe I’ll see you at one of the local bars or art shows! Cheers!