- For other places with the same name, see Fremont (disambiguation).
Fremont is a suburban city in the southern part of the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area; it is the 4th largest city in the Bay Area by population. Fremont is in the southern part of Alameda County, California, between Union City to the north, Sunol and the hills to the east, Milpitas and Santa Clara County to the south, and the San Francisco Bay to the west. The city of Newark, near the edge of the Bay, is surrounded by the city of Fremont.
Fremont industry is not particularly large relative to other parts of the Bay Area, but neither is it a bedroom community. Many people in Fremont work locally in the electronics and high-tech industry, while many others commute to Silicon Valley or San Francisco locations for work. Fremont, however, is growing again and attracting more and larger businesses; for example, Tesla Motors has taken over the former NUMMI factory owned by Toyota and General Motors.
The city is home to one of California's original "Hollywoods", the Niles district where many of Charlie Chaplin and other silent movie era stars established their careers. It is also home to one of California's missions, and many other interesting destinations.
The City of Fremont is named after Civil War general John C. Fremont, who prior to the war in the mid-1840s had mapped a trail through Mission Pass to provide access for American settlers into the southeastern San Francisco Bay Area. John Fremont was one of California's first senators and went on to be the first U.S. presidential candidate for the Republican Party.
Unlike most sprawling suburbs, Fremont was planned and designed to be the way it is. In the 1950s, fearing that they would be annexed by the growing city of Hayward to the north, eight very small towns decided to unite to avoid annexation. Two towns (Alvarado and Decoto) closest to Hayward quickly incorporated into Union City. The six remaining towns got together and extensively planned how things would be. Space was allocated for industry and for homes. Space for roads large enough to support the massive traffic flows was set aside. One of the small towns (Newark) dropped out of the coalition because it was slated to become an industrial zone. The five remaining towns -- Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs, from north to south -- annexed all the surrounding land to form the City of Fremont in 1956.
The oldest of the small towns was Mission San José, named for a Spanish mission founded in 1797. When this Mission was founded it was named "La Mision del Gloriosisimo Patriarch San José" in honor of St. Joseph. It is sometimes incorrectly called the Mission San José de Guadalupe, after "El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe" founded (1777) 20 miles south near the Guadalupe River, which became the present day city of San Jose.
Fremont has been multicultural since its inception, and is home to dozens of immigrant communities and a broad range of ethnicities. Today's visitor is likely to hear half a dozen languages spoken even during a fleeting trip through the city. It is said that the largest population of Afghanis outside Afghanistan live in Fremont, and it also has a large and growing south Asian community as well. Fremont also has a large Deaf community, due to the California School for the Deaf being located there.
Because of their entangled history and their present sprawl that makes them blend into one another, the three cities—Fremont, Newark, and Union City—are sometimes called the Tri-Cities.
- Oakland Airport (OAK IATA) is about 20–40 minutes away by car via I-880 depending on the time of day. Rush hour traffic will almost certainly take 30–40 minutes, but most other times it is a very quick 15-20 minute drive. You can also take BART—the Bay Area's rapid transit system—which runs directly to Fremont.
- San Jose Airport (SJC IATA) is about half an hour away via I-880 or I-680. During commute hours the traffic can be horrific along 880, but 680 is often faster. You can also take a bus directly to the Milpitas BART station, and then go from there to Fremont.
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA) is about 45–60 minutes away via US101 and SR84 (the Dumbarton Bridge; $7 as of 2022), or via 101 to 84 to US92 (the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge; $7 as of 2022) to 880. This is the most difficult airport to get to and is also has more flight delays than other airports in the area. However, it is one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, so there are likely to be more airlines and more flight options going into and out of SFO. Avoid SFO if you can get a flight direct to Oakland or San Jose instead. There is a BART station in SFO which can take you to Fremont in about an hour and a half.
- From Oakland and Berkeley, take I-880 south
- From San Jose, take I-880 or I-680 north
- From San Francisco and Palo Alto, take US-101 to either US-92 or SR-84 (the Dumbarton Bridge; preferred)
- From more eastern parts of the region or the central valley, get to I-680 and head south
- 1 BART, 2000 BART Way (BART Fremont Station: off Civic Center Drive between Mowry and Walnut). Bay Area regional train service with its southernmost stop in Berryessa/North San Jose, opened June 2020, 14 miles south of the Fremont station. From Warm Springs/South Fremont there are trains north through Oakland, with the Daly City line serving the station before 6PM on weekdays and the Richmond line serving the station after 6PM on weekdays and all day on weekend. By changing trains it is also possible to go inland all the way to Dublin/Pleasanton (changing at Bay Fair station), continue beyond Daly City to Millbrae, passing San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on the way, go to the Oakland Airport (OAK), and to destinations on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line. The second phase of the Silicon Valley extension will serve downtown San Jose and Santa Clara when complete. Note that the Union City and Warm Springs/South Fremont BART stations may be better for traveling to destinations in northern and southern Fremont, respectively.
- 2 Amtrak Capitol Corridor, 37260 Fremont Blvd (Amtrak station FMT at Fremont - Centerville). The Capitol Corridor is an Amtrak route from downtown Sacramento to downtown San Jose passing through Fremont's Centerville district. From this line, you can transfer to BART at the Oakland Colliseum, or connect to long distance trains at the Emeryville depot. There are also bus links to the western outskirts of Oakland and Berkeley, and a short bus ride to downtown San Jose.
- Altamont Commuter Express (ACE), 37260 Fremont Blvd. The ACE train connects towns east of Fremont (Stockton, Tracy, Livermore, Pleasanton) with the Silicon Valley (Santa Clara, San Jose). This train runs only from the east four times a day during the morning commute and back to the east four times a day during the afternoon/evening commute.
- Valley Transit Authority. Line 180/181 bus runs from downtown San Jose to Fremont BART station, including service on weekends and holidays.
- AC Transit. The U line runs from Stanford University to the Fremont BART station, and the Dumbarton Express (DB line) runs from Palo Alto through Ardenwood to the Union City BART station, but only during weekday commute hours.
The geography of city of Fremont and its street system is defined by the bay to the west and the hills to the east. Mission Blvd runs along the hills and most streets more or less perpendicular to it have address numbers increasing as you move away from Mission Blvd. Most streets running more or less parallel to the hills have address numbers in the five digits in Fremont, increasing as you move further south (e.g., 40000 is near Stevenson Blvd and represents roughly the 400th block from Lake Merritt, Oakland). Locals call streets running parallel to I-880 north-south streets, although they are more like northwest-southeast.
Fremont Blvd is the main street running more of less parallel to the hills, cutting straight through the middle of the city of Fremont, making a turn at Irvington. In the middle part of city of Fremont, the major streets are on a grid, with Fremont Blvd and Blacow Rd one mile apart. Perpendicular to them, Central Ave, Mowry Ave, and Stevenson Blvd are also one mile apart, on the bay side of Fremont Blvd.
Driving is the preferred method for getting around. Fremont streets are usually easy to navigate as difficult intersections were re-engineered for efficiency several decades ago, though some corridors such as Mission Blvd remain moderately congested.
The major freeways through Fremont are the bayside Nimitz (I-880) and the inland I-680. Although the two freeways are only a mile apart in Fremont-Warm Springs, they do not intersect. Motorists will find travel to be very slow during commute hours in the unfavorable direction; especially so on I-880.
Mission Blvd crosses I-680 twice at Exits 16 and 12. Locals sometimes refer to Exit 16 as "North Mission" and Exit 12 as "South Mission." Fremont Blvd crosses I-880 twice at Exit 22 and Exit 13. The locals call Exit 22 "North Fremont" and Exit 13 "South Fremont." So if someone tells you to take the "Fremont Blvd" exit or the "Mission Blvd" exit, make sure you know which one they're talking about. The exit number increases as you move north.
Bike lanes are present on many major roads in Fremont. Many of Fremont's bike lanes are protected with barrier posts, so they should be very safe. For maximum safety, avoid the large roads that lead to the freeway since they are the most congested, and your bike isn't going to go on the freeway anyway, is it?
The city of Fremont publishes information for bicyclists including a detailed map. Print copies of the map are available at various bicycle shops.
The AC Transit bus system serves the city of Fremont as well as other cities in the East Bay. Bus routes and schedules are designed for the daily commuter, not the casual traveler. In the middle of the day, buses may run as infrequently as once per hour, so be sure you have an up-to-date bus schedule and know when your bus is coming. The Fremont BART station serves as a bus terminal for transferring between the various bus routes.
Taxis are not common in Fremont, and you will not be able to 'flag one down' while making your way about town. The only taxi stand of note is the one at the Fremont BART Station, where typically several taxis are lined up in a queue. There are many taxi companies that service the area, however you will not find many driving the streets all day. If you need to travel by taxi, plan ahead of time and schedule a taxi with one of the companies serving the area.
- 1 Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd. Tu-Su 10AM-4PM. Ardenwood is a 200-acre working farm founded in 19th century and was the home of gold miner and sharecropper George Patterson. On Thursdays through Sundays, park staff and volunteers dress in Victorian costumes and demonstrate farm chores. Visitors can help with the crops, visit the farm animals, ride a hay wagon or horse-drawn train, and observe a blacksmith at work. Tu W Sa Adults $2, Children $1; Th F Su Adults $5, Children $4.
- 2 Fremont Central Park and Lake Elizabeth, 40000 Paseo Padre Parkway, ☏ . Huge park south of the Fremont BART station (bounded by Paseo Padre Pkwy, Stevenson Blvd, and the Union Pacific Railroad) with paved trails around Lake Elizabeth and with Mission Peak as backdrop. Great for a picnic, kite-flying or exercise. Aqua Adventure water park anchors the south side of the park (off Paseo Padre near Grimmer). Moving north on Paseo Padre, one finds the Community, Senior, and Visitor Centers, respectively. Boat rentals available at the Boathouse near the Visitor Center. Along the Stevenson Blvd edge of the park are the Fremont Main Library and Police Department. The north side of the park supports 6 softball fields, 10 soccer/football fields, and 18 tennis courts.
- 3 Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Take SR84 west toward the Dumbarton Bridge. Go south at the Thornton Exit. After a quarter mile, turn right onto Marshlands Rd.), ☏ . The baylands around the south end of the San Francisco Bay have been turned into a federally-regulated Wildlife Refuge. A new small visitor center at the Fremont headquarters on Marshlands Road provides information about and maps of the Refuge bayland trails and hilltop lookout. These marshlands are also home to Drawbridge, California, a long-abandoned ghost town along the railroad lines into the area, however current safety regulations imposed by the refuge prohibit entering the area.
- 4 Mission San Jose and Museum, 43300 Mission Blvd (I-680 exits 12, 15, or 16; public transit: AC Transit buses #210 or #217), ☏ . Museum open daily 10AM-5PM; Mass weekdays 8AM. This mission founded in 1797 by Fermin Lasuen as the 14th California mission. The original 1809 adobe church (which served as a saloon and general store during secularization) was destroyed by an 1868 earthquake along the Hayward fault. The current mission building underwent a four-year reconstruction project to produce a modern replica of the 1809 adobe church with 4'-5' steel-reinforced walls and was dedicated in 1985 for daily Mass and tours. The only surviving building from the Spanish period is a monastery, which serves as a small museum of seven rooms that houses a collection of artifacts, vestments, and memorabilia. The small cemetery holds the graves of many prominent Spanish and American settlers. $3, Students $2.
- 5 Sunol Water Temple (outside of Fremont proper, east on SR84, the Niles Canyon Road, near Pleasanton). M-F 9AM-3PM. All tourists will want to see some of California's infamous waterworks and the surprisingly attractive Water Temple is the closest exemplar.
- 6 Big Cinemas Fremont 7 (Ciné Lounge), 39160 Paseo Padre Parkway, ☏ . Shows Bollywood films produced on the other side of the globe, most with English subtitles. The concession offers good-quality snacks like pakoras and samosas.
- 7 Niles Silent Film Museum, 37395 Niles Blvd, ☏ . Sa noon-4PM. Showcases silent films, many which were produced locally and are now shown with their original accuracy. Films are shown Friday and Saturday nights for a small fee, and fine homemade snacks are served. The theater also has an attached museum exhibiting the Niles district's deep roots in California's burgeoning film industry of the early to mid 1900s.
- 1 Alameda Creek Trail (Niles Staging Area on Old Canyon Road). 5AM-10PM. 12 mile long bike trail follows the Alameda Creek flood-control channel from the hills to the bay. The paved trail is entirely car-free thanks to underpasses beneath each cross-street. About two miles from the bay, you can optionally go to Coyote Hills for a good view. From there, you can proceed south to the Don Edwards Wildlife refuge, and then west to the bike lane over the Dumbarton Bridge. Starting from the easternmost point on the trail (at the Niles Staging Area on Old Canyon Road) means that you will generally go downwind last when you are most tired.
- 2 Aqua Adventure Water Park, 40500 Paseo Padre Pkwy (north of Grimmer in Fremont Central Park), ☏ .
- 3 Coyote Hills Regional Park, 8000 Patterson Ranch Rd. Apr-Oct 8AM-8PM, Oct-Apr 8AM-6PM. Good place for hiking, biking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Isolated small hill near the bay with a great view of San Francisco on a clear day. $6 per motor vehicle.
- 4 Mission Peak. A great place for a challenging hike where you are rewarded with a very nice view of the Bay Area. The peak overlooks the Santa Clara valley and the Bay. To the east you can see Livermore and on a clear day, the Sierra Nevada. Bring a coat in the Fall and Winter. From Mission Peak, the Ohlone Regional Wilderness Trail leads through Sunol Wilderness and Ohlone Wilderness to Del Valle Regional Park and the Livermore area.
- 5 Niles Canyon Railway, 37001 Mission Blvd. On the first and third Sunday of each month you can take a train ride on what was known as the Historic Transcontinental Gateway to the San Francisco Bay. The railway offers scenic one-hour locomotive excursions through the very canyon where Charlie Chaplin's "The Tramp" was filmed. As of Dec. 2021, boarding is only available at Sunol, not at Niles. The Sunol location is not reachable by public transit. $15-30 depending on train type and fare category.
- 6 Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area, 2100 Isherwood Way (off Paseo Padre Pkwy). Named for the quarries that once supplied gravel for the construction of the western section of the transcontinental railroad, this water-oriented recreation area offers picnicking, boating, swimming and fishing in the lakes that now fill the old quarry pits, but also has room for hiking and wildlife viewing.
- 7 Solar4America Ice at Fremont, 44388 Old Warm Springs Blvd (off Fremont Blvd south of Auto Mall Pkwy), ☏ . A pleasant place to ice skate; has public hours nearly every day.
Strip malls are ubiquitous in pretty much every part of Fremont.
- Asian supermarkets. The cheapest way for Americans to travel to the Pacific Rim is to visit one of these stores, which are full of exotica but also a great place to buy Asian cookware or pick up healthy take-out food.
- 1 99 Ranch Market (大華超級市場), 34444 Fremont Blvd (at Paseo Padre Pkwy in North Fremont), ☏ . Daily 9AM-9PM. One of the first 99 Ranch in the East Bay (opened in 1995) with a great hot deli takeout.
- 2 Maiwand Market, 37235 Fremont Blvd (near Peralta Blvd in Centerville), ☏ . Afghan grocery store, bakery, and butcher shop.
- Irvington's Farmers Market, Bay Street and Trimboli Way (near the US Post Office). Sundays 9AM-2PM. Fremont's largest Farmers Market, about three blocks of stalls, located in the heart of Irvington right by the Post Office. Open rain or shine.
- 3 Niles district, Niles Blvd. An old fashioned Main Street with lots of antique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
- 4 Fremont Hub (at the intersection of Fremont Blvd and Mowry Ave). An open-air shopping center in downtown Fremont.
- 5 Pacific Commons (off of Auto Mall Pkwy to the west of I-880). Originally a hub for car dealerships, it is now a large shopping center with stores, restauratns, and a movie theater.
Many restaurants cater to Fremont's large immigrant community. Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, and Afghani food are very common.
The local blog: Fremont foodie reports on the city's gastronomic offerings.
- 1 Asian Pearl, 43635 Boscell Rd (Auto Mall Pkwy to Boscell Rd on the western edge of the Pacific Commons complex), ☏ . Large restaurant quite popular for expensive (from $300 to over $1000 per table) Chinese banquets. Serves also wide array of Chinese dishes and great dim sum. Suitable for special occasions. Moderate.
- 2 Chaat Cafe - Fremont, 3954 Mowry Ave (in the Fremont Plaza.), ☏ . A good cheap bay area Indian "fast-food" chain that serves wraps, kebobs and curries.
- 3 Country Way, 5325 Mowry Ave (Between Farwell and I-880. Enter from Farwell.), ☏ . This restaurant is of notoriety for Fremont residents. Ask anybody and they will tell you that this place has the best, most filling meals. Especially for breakfast.
- 4 De Afghanan, 37405 Fremont Blvd (Centerville), ☏ . Across the street from the former Salang Pass (which has closed), and not quite as good.
- 5 Dino's Family Restaurant, 36930 Fremont Blvd (just north of Thornton Ave.), ☏ . Be sure not to confuse this with Dina's Family Restaurant on 40800 Fremont Blvd. Dino's is a charming "mom & pop" American food diner: complete with friendly staff, plentiful portions, and very reasonable prices. Don't be surprised when you're called "dear" or "sweetheart," here.
- 6 Fu Lam Moon, 40460 Albrae St (west on Stevenson exit from I-880), ☏ . M-F 11AM-2:30 5PM-midnight, Sa-Su 10AM-3PM 5PM-midnight. A fine place for dim sum on weekends from about 10AM-2PM. Not recommended for regular meals.
- 7 Ho Chow Restaurant, 47966 Warm Springs Blvd (in the Gallerie), ☏ . Su-Th:11:30AM-9PM, F Sa 11:30AM-9:30PM. Szechuan and Mandarin cuisine in a very stylish contemporary setting. Ho Chow uses fresh ingredients and no added monosodium glutamate. The wine list has fine wines from California and France. Lunch entrees are inexpensive. Dinner entrees are carefully planned and spiced creations. Check their website for menus. Moderate.
- 8 King Noodle, 39226 Argonaut Way (between Mowry and Walnut, in the Fremont Hub), ☏ . Daily 9AM-9PM. The best cheap fast and filling Asian noodle dishes in town. Order at table and pay at the cashier by giving the table number. Inexpensive; cash only.
- 9 New Yong Kang Seafood Restaurant, 40900 Fremont Blvd (just north of 24 Fitness near Chapel Way, in Irvington), ☏ . Tu-Su 10:30AM-9:30PM. Surprisingly, Fremont is home to an award winning restaurant: the New Yong Kang. The Chinese food here is probably one of the best in town, although the atmosphere is not. Order three large dishes for $22.50. Inexpensive; cash only.
- 10 Sala Thai 1, 3247 Walnut Ave (near Paseo Padre Pkwy), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9:30PM; F Sa 11AM-10PM; Su noon-9PM. Good Thai food in a nice setting. Special lunch menu M-F 11AM-3PM is good value. Moderate.
- 11 Shalimar, 3325 Walnut Ave (in Walnut Plaza), ☏ . Great Indian/Pakistani food. Always filled with Indian people which is a good sign! Order at the counter. But you might want to get it take-out if you don't want to have to wait for a table.
- 12 Shanghai Noodle House, 40575 Fremont Blvd (near Grimmer Blvd (Irvington) in the Fremont Shopping Center), ☏ . Th-Tu 10:30AM-2:30PM, 5-9PM. Small popular noodle house. Get there early on weekends. Inexpensive, cash only.
- 13 Yuki Japanese Restaurant, 1932 Driscoll Rd (in strip mall north of Paseo Padre Pkwy), ☏ . M-Sa 11:30-2PM lunch, 5-9PM dinner; closed Sunday lunch. Outstanding sushi and traditional Japanese dishes prepared with flare. Quite possibly Fremont's finest Japanese restaurant. Be prepared to wait during peak hours. Lunch, inexpensive; dinner, moderate.
Bars are few and far between in Fremont, and nightlife is practically nonexistent. However, there is a large number of coffee and bubble tea shops in Fremont.
The City of Fremont provides useful maps on their website, including a downloadable Hotels Map in pdf.
- 1 Courtyard Fremont Silicon Valley, 47000 Lakeview Blvd, ☏ , fax: . $139–199.
- 2 Days Inn Fremont, 46101 Warm Springs Blvd, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM.
- 3 Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley, 46100 Landing Parkway, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. This hotel has indoor pool and 24 hour fitness center. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- 4 Hampton Inn, 6500 Landing Parkway, ☏ .
- 5 Hyatt Place Fremont/Silicon Valley, 3101 West Warren Ave (Exit no. 12 off of I-880), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Free breakfast, 24/7 Gallery Market, and free wifi.
- 6 La Quinta Inn and Suites, 46200 Landing Parkway, ☏ . Good free breakfast, free high-speed internet in some rooms, but call the local number to make sure you are really getting one of the right rooms--don't rely on the description when booking on the web.
- 7 Lord Bradley's Inn, 43344 Mission Blvd, ☏ , fax: .
- 8 Motel 6 Fremont North, 34047 Fremont Blvd, ☏ , fax: . This chain is a great cheap place to stay when you're out in the middle of nowhere on a highway. And usually terrible in major cities. Fremont resembles the latter.
- 9 Residence Inn Fremont Silicon Valley, 5400 Farwell Pl, ☏ , fax: .
Fremont has a very low crime rate, and the crime that does happen is pretty much spread evenly throughout the city. Theft of valuables from cars is the most common crime in Fremont, and the incidence of this is highest at shopping centers like the Hub and Pacific Commons, so make sure that your car is always locked whenever you're not in it.
- Get touristy by going to San Francisco via BART. Ride the cable cars from the Powell Street BART Station to Fisherman's Wharf, thereby accomplishing two of the most touristy things on the West Coast.
- The Oakland Museum of California in Oakland is the best museum about California history. Take BART to the Lake Merritt station in Oakland. Exit the station to 9th Street and walk down Oak Street with the one-way flow of traffic. The entrance to the museum will be on the right side of Oak Street midway between 10th and 12th Streets.
- Ride the Rails to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Take Amtrak's Capitol Corridor train to Sacramento. From the Sacramento station, walk across the parking lot (under the overpasses) west about a block. The museum has one of the largest collections of antique trains in the United States. On summer weekends you can also catch a short steam-train ride. The museum is in Old Sacramento which provides touristy shops and food. Be careful when reading the train schedule: buses are used for some segments at certain hours, so make sure the schedule says you get a train and not a bus.
- See the ocean by going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey. It's about one and a half hours by car. A great place to both see and learn about the local ocean. After the museum, grab a seafood dinner at the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf or Cannery Row. If you have an uncontrollable desire to swim in the freezing Pacific water, the beach in Carmel (just south of Monterey) is the place to try it.
- Yosemite or the Sierra Nevada in general.
- Los Angeles
- The Shasta Cascades region is on the way to Portland and Seattle, and includes several volcanic parks.
- Route 50 past the Sierras to Great Basin National Park and Utah's famous collection of national parks..
|Routes through Fremont|
|Concord ← Pleasanton ←||N S||→ Milpitas → San Jose|
|Oakland ← Newark ←||N S||→ Milpitas → San Jose|
|Oakland ← Hayward ←||N S||→ Santa Clara → San Jose|