Seattle's Fremont district, which bills itself as "The Center of the Universe", is known for its quirky atmosphere (although the recent arrival of several major corporate tenants, including Adobe Systems, has somewhat undercut its bohemian image).
To the east of Fremont is Wallingford, a "small town in a big city" with numerous local shops and craftsman bungalows.
Interstate 5 runs along the eastern side of the area; exit at NE 85th St or 7th Ave NE. If coming from Downtown or North Seattle, take Aurora Avenue N (State Route 99), from the University District or Ballard take NE 45th Street, and from Queen Anne take Fremont Ave N.
Bus routes 5, 62, and 40 all directly service Fremont from Downtown — additionally, the RapidRide E Line is an express service between Downtown and North Seattle that stops at Aurora Ave/N 46th St, in the northern part of the Fremont area. Route 44 goes east-west along N 45th St between Ballard and the University District, while routes 31 and 32 run east-west directly through Fremont, connecting to the University District to the east and running along the south side of the canal to the west. If coming from the east, take route 62. Route 26 also gets you here from South Lake Union and Northgate Transit Center.
- 1 Gas Works Park, 2101 N Northlake Way, ☎ . 4AM-11:30PM daily. Gas Works Park, or "Gasworks", as locals call it, is Wallingford's oddly endearing refuge along the north part of Lake Union — prominently featuring the rusting, hulking remains of the city's old gasworks piping and machinery. More conventionally, a solitary bump of a hill offers the ideal spot for kite flying and views across the lake of sailboats, float planes landing, and downtown Seattle at sunset. Generally quiet but exceptionally crowded during the 4th of July for firework shows. Free.
- 2 Woodland Park Zoo, 5500 Phinney Ave N, ☎ . May–September 9:30AM-6PM; October–April 9:30AM-4PM. The zoo hosts 1,100 animals from 300 different species, each housed in nice, naturalistic exhibits. You can feed a giraffe or an elephant by yourself for $5, or enter the aviary where the birds fly overhead and show off talents with the aid of a zookeeper. For the kids, the zoomazium is an additional place to visit for slides and a century-old carousel. Allow at least 3 hours of your time to fully explore the zoo. May–September $18.75 per adult, $11.75 per child; October–May $11.75 per adult, $8.75 per child. Discounts for using public transit or on a rainy day!.
"The Artists' Republic of Fremont" — another of the neighborhood's self-proclaimed titles — has some of the most distinctive public art of any neighborhood in the U.S.
- 3 Waiting for the Interurban, N. 34th St. at Fremont Ave., at the north approach to the Fremont Bridge. A statue of five people (and a dog) waiting for the trolley that has not existed since the 1930s. The statue is frequently clothed by local residents. There was a time when this work was considered offbeat (imagine that!).
- 4 Fremont Rocket. A 53' Cold War rocket, improved with neon space blasters and a smoke generator in the engine bay, towers over the corner of N. 35th Street and Evanston Avenue.
- 5 Fremont Troll (on 36th Street under the Aurora Bridge). Strikingly large (photos generally don't do it justice), the Troll is a concrete statue under the Aurora Bridge clutching a full size Volkswagen Bug in its grip. The statue is notable enough to even gets its own street name - just off of N. 36th Street on Troll Avenue.
- 6 Statue of Lenin, N. 36th St. and Evanston Ave. This bronze statue peers out over the street below, oblivious to the continuing controversy over its display. It was salvaged and brought over from Slovakia and was re-erected in 1995 in a Fremont parking lot that at the time hosted a weekly market before being moved a few years later to its current site.
- Can you find the shoes of the wicked witch? Clue: look near a big rock!
- Fremont Fair. If you happen to be in Seattle around the Summer Solstice, Fremont hosts one of the city's best street fairs on the weekend closest to the solstice. The highlight event is the truly great Solstice Parade on the Saturday afternoon of the fair, an arts-only parade held by the Fremont Art's Council with hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of elaborately costumed participants, no signage (strongly discouraging commercial participation), and only human-powered floats. A contingent of nude and painted bicyclists traditionally show up and ride before the parade begins. Delilah's "Billion Belly March" contingent annually brings over a hundred belly dancers and drummers to the parade.
- The neighborhood also hosts outdoor movies on Friday and Saturday evenings in the summer.
- There is a Sunday crafts market that is usually outdoors in the summer and in a covered parking lot in the winter.
- There is an excellent outdoor market on Sundays.
- 1 Theo Chocolate factory tours, 3400 Phinney Ave N, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa-Su 11AM, 1PM, 3PM, M-F 1PM, 3PM. Theo Chocolate is a local producer of organically-grown, fair-trade, and exquisitely delicious chocolate. During the two-hour factory tour you learn about making of chocolate and get to see their factory at work, all the while munching on free samples. Private factory tours are available, although at a $100 minimum charge. $5 for 5 and older.
- Fremont Oktoberfest, ☎ . An annual microbrew tasting event that takes place the third week of September and features the Texas Chainsaw Pumpkin Carving Contest, live music, three beer gardens, a dog day event, the Brew HA-HA 5K, a comedy show, and the Miss Buxom Contest. From $15 if purchased in advance, $20 same day.
- 2 Tai Chi at Meridian Park, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. On most Sunday mornings, groups of people practice tai chi or assorted other martial arts in the southeast quadrant of Meridian Park.
- 3 Tuning The Air, 4272 Fremont Ave N, ☎ . A unique performance project employing a live 'surround sound' configuration with musicians encircling the audience. Rather than touring in pursuit of an audience, Seattle Circle is based on the concept of a location-based performance team. $10.
- 4 History House, 790 N 34th, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F Noon-5PM. Neighborhood museum with part of the Berlin Wall, a sculpture garden and accurate ship replicas. $1.
- 1 Dusty Strings, 3406 Fremont Ave N, ☎ , toll-free: . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Lots of acoustic, and mostly stringed, musical instruments. Go on in and try out a hammer dulcimer. Ask Olivia to try out a harp!
- 2 Wide World Books & Maps, 4411 Wallingford Ave N, ☎ , toll-free: . M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Possibly the best travel bookstore in the Pacific Northwest, and in fact the first store of its kind in the U.S. With frequent lectures and book readings, they also run tours. Here's hoping they'll carry a paper edition Wikivoyage someday.
- 1 Dick's Hamburgers, 111 NE 45th St, ☎ . Daily 10:30AM-2AM. This is a local legend of a drive-in/drive-out burger joint which has served the dual purpose of providing a gathering place for high school and UW students before and after sporting events. You can't beat $1.50 cheeseburgers! $1-3 (cash only).
- 2 Rancho Bravo, 211 NE 45th St. This taco truck in the parking lot between Winchell's Donuts and Golden Oldies Records on 45th St is the best no longer kept secret for locals and UW students alike. Try the Rancho Bravo Steak Burrito (add guacamole).
- 3 Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai, 1718 N 45th St, ☎ . M-F 11AM-10 PM, Sa-Su noon-10PM. As the name suggests, all the food is made without reliance on meat of any kind. Truly delicious recipes with four levels (one to four stars) of heat to cater to any palate. Lunch $10, dinner up to $15.
- 4 The Dish, 4358 Leary Way NW, ☎ . Tu-Su 7AM-1:30PM. New American cuisine. Home of the Slacker Special: scrambled eggs or tofu, cheese, tortilla chips, enchilada sauce and sour cream served with potatoes and toast. Although you might see a line outside, it never takes long to be seated and it's worth the wait. $6-$11.
- 5 Blue C, 3411 Fremont Ave N, ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F 11:30AM-10PM, Sa noon-10PM, Su noon-9PM. Good sushi on a conveyor belt. Hip place to have lunch.
- 6 Chiso, 3520 Fremont Ave N, ☎ . Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2PM; Dinner:M-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-10:30PM, Su 4PM-9:30PM. Minimally designed sushi bar. Non-sushi options include bento for lunch, chirashi, and dinner set, which is reasonably cheap. No reservation on Fridays and Saturday nights. Rolls from $5, chirashi and dinner from $12.
- 7 Musashi's, 1400 N 45th St. Lunch Tu-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Dinner Tu-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-9:30PM. A small hole-in-the-wall Japanese eatery that attracts crowds of patrons waiting for a bowl of sushi rice with assorted sashimi (called chirashi), which is not listed on the menu. Opens for lunch and dinner only. Cheap for its portion sizes. Chirashi $15.
- 8 Paseo Caribbean Restaurant, 4225 Fremont Ave N (in the small red building on west side of road, no sign, look for line of hungry people), ☎ . Tu-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 11AM-8PM. A tiny Cuban restaurant with amazing sandwiches ($6-9) like a crunchy baguette slathered with a secret aioli and filled with your choice of protein (the most popular is the roasted pork shoulder), fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños, lettuce and delicious caramelized onions. A local favorite, its best to call ahead and place your order. Expect to settle for takeout; the 3 tables are usually full but there are several nearby parks you can stroll to, as well as the main section of Fremont. They do run out of sandwiches late in the day, but other wonderful entrees are served. $7-15.
- 9 Art of the Table, 1054 N 39th St, ☎ . W-Su 5PM-close. High end place with small portions. Space is small and fills up quickly, so come early and enjoy the artistic culinary excellence.
- 10 Ivar's Salmon House, 401 NE Northlake Way, ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-9:30PM, Su 9:30AM-2PM and 3:30PM-9:30PM. On the north Lake Union waterfront, in the shadow of the I-5 bridge. Various seafood entrees served in a neo-longhouse replete with totem poles and various other carved cedar adornments. Ivar's has an excellent and affordable happy hour menu (7 days a week 3:30PM-6:30PM and 9PM-close) that many locals and University of Washington staff and faculty enjoy regularly. In case it's not clear, the thing to get is salmon smoked to order over the big wood fire in the northwest style. $25 entrees.
- 1 Brouwer's Cafe, 400 N. 35th St. Belgian restaurant and bar most noted for their huge draught beer selection (menu printed daily). The food is reasonably good but the main reason to visit is the beer selection.
- 2 Elysian Brewers Tangletown, 2106 N 55th St, ☎ . 3 locations across Seattle, brews can be found in local bars and sold in individual bars at local grocery stores including this one in Tangletown.
- 3 George and Dragon, 206 N. 36th St, ☎ . British style pub with pretty standard dark wood interior. Great for watching soccer games.
- 4 Hale's Brewery and Pub, 4301 Leary Way NW, ☎ . Established in 1983 and is one of the pioneer microbreweries in the nation. The brewery operations are in open view of the comfortable pub. Available throughout the Northwest.
- 5 Murphy's Pub, 1928 N 45th St, ☎ . Irish pub with a good selection of drinks, fair pub food. Attracts a young and educated crowd. Trivia on Tuesday evenings.
- 6 Red Door, 3401 Evanston Avenue N, ☎ . Good beer and cocktail selection as well as very good food. The mussels are great. Food is served until 11PM when they the switch over to a happy hour bar menu.
- 7 Seamonster Lounge, 2202 N 45th St. Decent selection of beer, cocktails, and wine. Fresh sushi made onsite with sake. Free live music every night.
- 8 Zoka, 2200 N 56th St, ☎ . In what is variously known as the Meridian District or Tangletown, between Wallingford and Green Lake. Hip students, professionals, and soccer moms meet here. Great desserts and whole grain scones. Roasts their own coffee, supplying to cafes across the U.S. and at Zoka's two cafes in Japan. There is also one north of the U-Village shopping complex on Blakely.
- 1 Chelsea Station Inn B&B, 4915 Linden Ave N, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bed and breakfast. Four rooms available. $159+.
- 2 Hotel Hotel, 3515 Fremont Ave N, ☎ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. European style hotel/hostel in the heart of Fremont. Dorms $26-30, privates $79-99.