Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Montclair, CA

  • Published 2023/04/04

Montclair, California, is a small idyllic city in San Bernardino’s southwest area.

It features a diverse community that offers various possibilities.

The city lies in Pomona Valley, with a mostly Hispanic population.

The area was formerly known as Monte Vista, thriving with citrus orchards, which experienced substantial progress after World War I.

Monte Vista was incorporated in 1956.

Later it was changed to Montclair because of its former name’s similarity with the name of a community in Northern California.

However, there’s nothing quite like Montclair and its surrounding areas as it’s teeming with museums, public parks, and local attractions you can visit.

Here are the best things to do in Montclair, CA:

Enjoy the Afternoon at Alma Hofman Park

Unwind and spend an afternoon at Alma Hofman Park in downtown Montclair.

You can enjoy hanging out in the grassy and shaded areas or sitting on the park bench or the gazebo for fresh air.

The public park also provides paved walking paths to stroll, two tennis courts, and a full basketball court for visitors.

Little ones can have a fun time at the playground and skate park.

The park also has ample parking spaces and restroom facilities available.

Connect with Nature at the Chino Basin Water Conservation District

Head to the Chino Basin Water Conservation District for incredible landscape views.

Take an educational tour and learn more about garden techniques and horticulture.

This attraction features a Demonstration Garden providing displays of home landscapes and model gardens guests can adopt for their homes.

You’ll see model gardens like the Southwest Garden, Mediterranean Garden, and a Woodland Garden with turf demonstrations and signages with plant descriptions.

Take a relaxing stroll along the Wilderness Park and beautiful arboretum, which features native California plants.

Walk along the meandering pathways, relax on the benches to enjoy the view, or have a picnic during your visit.

You can bring your four-legged buddy to the park and use the waste and doggy stations.

The preserve park is open to the public seven days a week.

Discover History at the African-American Museum of Beginnings

You’ll discover fascinating African and African American history, art, and culture at the African American Museum of Beginnings.

Khalif and Victoria Rasshan opened the museum in 2011.

The self-funded museum aims to inspire and educate the community through exhibits and programs.

View the exhibit on the life of Bridget “Biddy” Mason, who became an influential Los Angeles landowner and philanthropist.

You’ll find an exciting display of Ma’at, an ancient Egyptian symbol and goddess representing truth, order, law, morality, and justice.

The museum also hosts an exhibit of the Kemet people, the native Africans of Egypt, their ancient writings, and historical events depicting the African people’s struggles.

You’ll also see featured contemporary art expressions, inventions, and contributions of local African Americans in their various fields.

Enroll your kids in the Chess Academy, where they can learn and spark their interest in the sport and meet new friends.

Enter the World of Colors at Lucky Art Crayonology

Let your little ones bring out their artistic side at Lucky Art Crayonology.

This colorful attraction is an indoor art facility created and decorated for the budding artist.

Kids aged three and up can learn about making crayons and markers at the Factory Show.

They can practice their art skills with the DIY activities at Draw A Way and make their own markers at Marker Creation.

You can also create multi-colored crayons with your kids and enjoy face and body painting activities together.

Dress up your little ones in superhero or character costumes at the Superstar Runway and Costume Zone and have their pictures taken.

After those fun activities, you can have yummy snacks and refreshing drinks at the snack bar or drop by the gift shop for some personalized souvenirs and art materials.

Bring Your Little Ones to Kids Empire

Another kid-friendly attraction in downtown Montclair, Kids Empire, offers hours of playtime.

Your kids can let out all their energy at the colorful Maze as they climb and jump around the obstacles, bridges, and balance beams.

Get them to use their creative imagination and build structures at the block arena.

Kids Empire offers rides, fun slides, a kiddie soccer arena, and a dance floor.

Have some treats at the snack bar with a special Kids Menu for your little ones.

Enjoy Bowling Night at Bowlium

If you want a great night of classic bowling at the alley, go with your family and friends to Bowlium.

They offer daily specials to give you hours of fun bowling games like their Monday Madness and two-hour Wednesday Unlimited bowling.

Have a blast on the weekend at the Cosmic Bowling Nights every Friday and Saturday.

With the lights down and the music up, you’ll indeed have a good time.

Grab a couple of beers on tap or your choice of favorite cocktails at the Split Lounge.

Enjoy a selection of pizzas, burgers, chicken wings, salads, platters, and loads of tasty options at the Diner at Bowlium.

Play Sports at Saratoga Park

Saratoga Park is one of the city’s public parks where you can enjoy some outdoor sports.

Enjoy practicing pitches on the baseball diamonds or shooting hoops on the basketball court.

The local park also has playground equipment for kids and picnic tables and benches where you can sit back to unwind throughout the day.

Get some fresh air and stroll along the paved pathways with trees and grass.

Parking lots are also available at Kingsley Street and Vernon Avenue.

Check Out RC Racing at Revelation Raceway

If you’re into RC cars, the best spot to watch a race and browse its eclectic hobby shop is Revelation Raceway

It features on and off-road race tracks and one for road cars, where racing events happen hosted by the shop itself.

The hobby shop is also fully stocked with RC cars and trucks, as well as parts and accessories, and an amazing variety of nitro and electric RC car parts.

So if you have your own RC car or planning to get one, don’t miss out on visiting this quaint hobby shop in Montclair.

It’s located off West State Street.

Hang Out at That 80’s Bar

After a long day of getting around Montclair, take your family and friends to That 80’s Bar to have some drinks and listen to music.

What makes this bar stand out is its 1980s theme surrounding the entire bar with live bands and DJs playing 80s music.

Choose from its wide selection of tasty drinks and specialty cocktails such as its popular Madonna And Isla Bonita Margarita!

Also, if you’re up for dancing, don’t hesitate to explore the bar’s dance floor and have fun!

You can find That 80’s Bar at South Mills Avenue.

Watch a Movie at AMC Dine-in Montclair Place 12

If you’ve been anticipating a newly-released movie while you’re in Montclair, go to AMC Dine-in Montclair Place 12.

The theater is where you can both do two things: watch and eat.

It features high-definition screens, premium sound quality, and comfortable reclining seats, which give you an enjoyable time for the movie you’ve been waiting for.

And a great experience here is that you can order your food ahead and have it delivered to your seat.

How cool is that though?

AMC DINE-IN Montclair Place 12 is located on North Montclair Plaza Lane.

Read a Book at Montclair Public Library

There’s no need to pause your reading sessions while in the city because Montclair Public Library is at your service!

You’ll love that it keeps a great selection of books to read, as well as many helpful resources for reading, studying, and research.

Lots of book genres are available at the library for kids, teens, and adults, and these are available for reading at the library’s comfortable reading nooks.

The library also hosts many programs and events for all ages, including Reading Clubs and Storytime.

Montclair Public Library is a branch of the San Bernardino County Library System.

It’s located at Fremont Avenue.

Grab Some Unique Gifts and Souvenirs at Things Remembered

Don’t head back home empty-handed!

Browse unique personalized items at Things Remembered as a gift or souvenir for yourself and your loved ones.

This charming gift shop offers customized engraved and monogrammed items for home decor, jewelry, collectibles, keepsakes, and many more.

Anything you buy here—big or small is perfect for any occasion.

Things Remembered is the go-to place for many locals for its eclectic and huge selection of unique items for everyone.

You can find the gift shop in Montclair Place on North Montclair Plaza Lane.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Shop, Eat, and Unwind at the Claremont Packing House

Exterior of Claremont Packing House

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The area’s largest historic building and famous attraction is in the village of Claremont, five minutes from Montclair.

The place has excellent shops, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and galleries to shop, dine and have fun with the family.

The location was formerly a packing house used to process oranges and lemons until it closed in 1972.

A small billboard featuring Claremont Packing House's restaurants

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The city government acquired and restored it as a shopping and dining center.

You can try the Southern barbecue flavors of Gus’s BBQ, the tasty burgers, and artisan meals of Eureka!

Try the premier wine selections and gourmet dishes at Packing House Wines.

Exterior of Eureka! restaurant at Claremont Packing House

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Sip some flavorful curated coffee at Iron and Kin, or try a healthy serving of fruits and juices at Nékter Juice Bar.

Don’t forget to buy fresh fruit arrangements at Edible Arrangements, buy boutique items at the Giving, and find incredible vintage apparel and accessories at Replay Vintage.

Then, buy books at the Claremont Forum.

You can also find needle art supplies at Phebie’s Needle Art, candles, and fragrances at Smell House prepped at ILO Collective salon.

View of Claremont Packing House from the sidewalk

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View Art Collections at Benton Museum of Art

The Benton Museum of Art, also known as Benton, is located at Pomona College, Claremont, California.

Just six minutes from Montclair, the museum is home to almost 15,000 artworks, including Italian Renaissance paintings, Native American artifacts, and American and European art pieces and photographs.

The museum exhibits promise to engage and delight a range of audiences, from visitors to art lovers.

Completed in 2020, the 33,000-square-foot museum facility is free to the public.

The museum building is eye-catching and is already an exhibit in itself.

Inside, you’ll see and appreciate fascinating displays of contemporary and historical works.

Enjoy a Bike Ride at the Pacific Electric Bike Trail

Located in nearby Upland, California, five minutes from Montclair, the Pacific Electric Bike Trail is a free rail trail.

The trail sits at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, offering a lovely scenic view.

Enjoy walking, sightseeing, or speeding up on a bike on this 21-mile paved and gravel pathway.

You can also visit the old Pacific Electric Railway, where abandoned corridors and rail lines are now part of the city’s history.

The trail is managed by the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail.

This non-profit community organization aims to promote the path, encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, and organize community events.

Appreciate Works of Art at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art

The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art hosts permanent collections at Claremont Depot that feature Claremont’s artistic heritage and culture.

You can find it in Claremont, six minutes from Montclair.

The institution emerged from an idea by Marion and Albert Stewart to showcase the works of local artists.

With the support of the local government and an opportunity to set up the museum at the historic College Heights Lemon Packing House, it was finally incorporated in 2004 and opened in 2006.

The museum is open from Friday to Sunday.

You’ll see the works of Claremont artists like Jean Ames, Bennett Bean, Karl Benjamin, and Barbara Beretich, among others.

There is a small admission fee, but you can enjoy free admission every Friday or catch the Art Walk on the first Saturday and Family Day on the first Sunday of the month.

Enjoy Axe Throwing at Axe Lair

Just seven minutes from Montclair, you can find Axe Lair in Upland.

It’s a different kind of attraction you can check out with your friends.

This family-owned establishment is the first ax-throwing venue in the area.

You can join exciting ax-throwing competitions, celebrate events with family and friends, or have a great time to relieve some stress.

Stay at the Lounge for some drinks, sodas, beer, and chips.

You can also buy tokens like cool shirts, hoodies, and souvenir axes at the Souvenir Shop.

Relax at the Local Sunset Park

You can spend a day just sitting back and relaxing at Sunset Park.

This public park is found on Orchard Street with park benches you can stay while having that coffee or ice cream.

Visit the community garden and enjoy the city and park view with rows of lush trees and carpets of grass.

Drop by the fruit park, and you might get to pick fruit in season or enjoy a slow time strolling down the walking paths.

Play a game of pickleball on the court while you can let your kids have some playful fun at the playground.

See More Art Works at Clark Humanities Museum

One of the places in the area where you’ll enjoy viewing original art is the Clark Humanities Museum.

The museum opened in 1970.

It was established as a teaching gallery for students to engage in original arts and artifacts.

The institution hosts staged exhibitions featuring Japanese prints, 16th-century book illustrations, and 18th-century French garden designs to contemporary books.

The students here help curate and organize these exhibitions for public viewing.

You’ll see various art pieces or catch unique featured and themed exhibits throughout the year.

Bring Your Fur Buddy to Baldy View Dog Park

If you’re bringing your dog and you don’t want them to miss the fun, Baldy View Dog Park is a place you can take them.

This five-acre fenced park lets your pet run free and play off-leash.

You don’t need to worry about them getting lost.

There is also a separate fenced area to accommodate smaller and more timid pets.

The park is not reservable but available for visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You can enjoy a barbeque picnic with your family with tables and grills provided, while kids can also enjoy the playground.

Restrooms are available in the parking area.

Final Thoughts

As small as this city may seem, Montclair does have great attractions that your family can enjoy.

The city and its surrounding area have plenty of art locations, museums, and parks that offer a more laid-back trip.

However, it also offers excellent local shops, establishments, and kid-friendly spots to make your stay unique and enjoyable.

Check out the exciting sites in Montclair, CA.

Best Hotels in Montclair

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