“Center of the Universe”: 50+ ways to spend a weekend in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle

troll

Fremont Troll under the bridge – Photo Credit: Sue via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

The self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe,” the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is a great place to spend some time, whether you’re just visiting or exploring the city you live in. There’s enough going on that you could even make a weekend trip for this neighborhood alone.

Fremont is known for its eclectic, artsy feel and its many festivals and events. It’s located north of downtown, and is easily accessible by public transportation, car, or walking, so there’s no excuse not to stop by.

There’s a ton of interesting things to see and places to visit in this neighborhood, so I’m sure I overlooked something. Several people helped me with this list, and you can be one of them: if you think of something that I’ve left off and should include in the next round, leave a note in the comments!

Who and what’s included:
I came up with a list of places I recommend checking out (indicated by an asterisk). Then I contacted several of those places and asked anyone working there if they had additional recommendations (you’ll see their ideas in each category below). These are the businesses I talked with:

  • Jill at Ophelia’s Books
  • Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato
  • Lauren at Portage Bay Goods
  • Nancy who owns Hotel Hotel Hostel
  • Hal who owns the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse
  • Josh at Uneeda Burger

Our recommendations include food and drink, services and shopping, activities and sightseeing, and accommodations. (Click to jump to your favorite section or read them all!)

Note: If I didn’t put an asterisk next to the recommendation, it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s probably just that I haven’t been there yet to personally recommend it. There’s so much to see and do that I haven’t been to all of these!

Food and Drink:

Fremont (like the rest of Seattle) is home to many places to grab a tasty bite to eat, whether you’re in the mood for a drink, snack, meal, or sweet treat.

*Paseo Caribbean Restaurant
Known mainly for their Carribean-style sandwiches, they also offer sides and entrees with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Open daily lunch through dinner.
Also recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato, Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse, Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel, and Josh at Uneeda Burger

*Uneeda Burger
A casual burger shack with locally-sourced beef burgers, served in an indoor-outdoor space (separated by garage doors). They also offer delicious sides, chicken and vegetarian options, and wine and craft beers. Open daily lunch through dinner.
Also recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato

*Homegrown
The sustainable sandwich shop’s flagship store is smallish but filled with friendly people and customers enjoying the delicious sandwiches made from seasonal and local ingredients. Open daily breakfast through dinner, and offers vegetarian and gluten free options.

Cafe Turko
Authentic Turkish meals, coffee, and tea, including a Turkish breakfast available all day, which you can enjoy on the outdoor patio. Many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available, as well as some Turkish groceries and gifts. Open daily, mid-morning to evening.
Recommended by Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse

Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar
Russian-style beef or potato dumplings, plus specialty dumplings and salad. Look for the alley entrance. There are plans to turn the flagship Fremont location into a cafe and juice bar when the new expansion is completed, which will feature a larger restaurant and bar. Open lunch through late-night.
Recommended by Josh at Uneeda Burger

Roxy’s Diner
Hal recommends this spot for a good diner breakfast (served all day). Specializing in “Real Eastcoast on the Westcoast,” they offer a huge menu for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner, plus “virtual restaurants” that exist only online (for delivery from morning through evening).
Recommended by Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse

Norm’s Eatery & Ale House
This dog-friendly casual American-style restaurant and bar also features trivia nights (Thursday). Open daily, lunch through evening (including happy hour), plus extended hours on weekends, including breakfast.
Recommended by Josh at Uneeda Burger

El Camino
The traditional flavors of Oaxaca and southern Mexico come together with organic and local ingredients (whenever possible). Enjoy the enclosed patio in any weather with glass-paneled garage doors that are open in the summer and closed with a fireplace when it’s cold out. Open daily for brunch/lunch, happy hour, and dinner.
Recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel and Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

Tacos Guaymas
Deliciously filling and made with fresh ingredients, this place is great for snacks with drinks or full meals. Open daily mid-morning to late night.
Recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

Red Star Taco Bar
With good prices and fresh, house-made corn tortillas holding many meat and veggie filling options, this is definitely a place to check out when craving tacos. They also have trivia and movie nights. Open daily for lunch through late night, including happy hour (daily happy hour plus additional late night happy hour Sunday through Thursday).
Recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

*PCC Natural Markets
Featuring a salad bar, smoothie and espresso bar, fresh hot food line, and specialty groceries, this is an especially good place for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. They also have weekly wine tastings and free underground parking. Open daily, morning to evening.
Also recomended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

Le Petit Cochon
Reservations are recommended at this small gastropub, featuring “nose to tail, farm to table” food that leaves nothing to waste. Open Tuesday through Saturday for happy hour and dinner.
Recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

*RockCreek Seafood & Spirits
A seafood restaurant with “urban-industrial two-story ‘fishing lodge'” styling, and outdoor patio in addition to their indoor bar and dining areas. Open daily for dinner plus weekends for brunch. Twice daily happy hour available at the bar.
Also recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

Pomerol
Small French restaurant with outside patio and daily specials. Open daily for happy hour and dinner.
Recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

*Chiso
Quality sushi and small Japanese appetizers (“ippin”) offered in a small space. Vegetarian options available. Happy hour is a good deal, with food and drink specials (on full-size offerings) with complete dinner menu available also. Open daily for lunch, happy hour, and dinner.

*Revel
This trendy (and noisy) restaurant offers art, music, and Korean-style street and comfort food. In the summer, they wood-fire grill sustainably raised meat on outdoor patio. Open daily for happy hour (in the adjacent bar) and dinner, plus weekdays for lunch and weekends for brunch.
Also recommended by Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse and Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

The Whale Wins
Features wood-fired dishes of meat and fish, with plenty of seasonal vegetables. Open daily for dinner, plus happy hour Monday through Thursday.
Recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

Fremont Coffee Company
Enjoy artisan-roasted, fair trade, and organic coffee with pastries, sandwiches, and salads in the cafe or buy a bag of whole beans to drink at home. Open daily.
Recommended by Jill at Ophelia’s Books and Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse

Caffe Vita
This local, small chain coffee company imports beans directly from farms dedicated to sustainable practices, and then roasts them on site. Open daily.
Recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato

ETG Coffee and Bakery
A tiny coffee roaster/shop and bakery that was the first in the neighborhood to serve espresso. They use single origin, fair trade, organic, and Rainforest Alliance Certified beans. Open daily.
Recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

Flying Apron
This gluten-free and vegan bakery makes sweet and savory creations to help people with diet restrictions feel like they’re not missing out, and to entice those without restrictions to try something new. Open daily.
Recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato and Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

*Pie
Handmade sweet and savory single-serving pies with a constantly changing menu offering breakfast, meat, vegetarian, and dessert pies. If you can’t grab one of the few seats, it’s okay, the pies are easy to carry out. Open daily, morning to evening.

*Fainting Goat Gelato
With intense flavors and dense texture typical of the Italian dessert, this gelato is made with local organic milk and seasonal fruits (they were the first Seattle gelato shop to use organic milk and sugar). With gelato flavors like Biscotti, Guinness, Mastic, Honey Lavender, and many more in both gelato and the dairy-free sorbetto, there’s something for everyone. Open daily, noon to evening.

Blue Bird Ice Cream
Smooth, house-made artisan ice creams and craft soda, plus some gifts. Open Wednesday through Sunday, afternoon to evening.
Recommended by Josh at Uneeda Burger

Schilling Cider House
This place has 32 rotating hard ciders on tap plus more offerings bottled and canned, all with local, non-GMO ingredients and no added sugar. They only sell drinks, no food or snacks, but outside food is welcomed and encouraged. They also have a cider making class that includes cider tasting and snacks. Open daily, noon through evening.
Recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato

Nectar Lounge
This indoor/outdoor music venue invites you to eat, drink, and enjoy music from all genres and parts of the world. Choose from the free (no cover) “Mo Jam Monday” events (every Monday) or many other concerts and events throughout the week. Usually 21+ but they occasionally have an all-ages event. Open daily, evening to late night.
Recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

The High Dive
The 21+ concert venue and bar showcases a variety of talent and “music experiences” – think free karaoke on Monday, monthly Nerd Nite, and Marmalade (“a collective of over 12 musicians whose diverse stylings […] will MAKE YOU DANCE”) on Thursday.  Open daily, evening to late night.
Recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

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Shopping and Services:

Need to shop for… anything? Fremont’s got you covered with plenty of boutiques and shops.

*Fremont Vintage Mall
A large vintage shop with multiple collections and displays with furntiture, antiques, vinyl records, art, clothes and accessories, and more. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’s fun to look around. Open daily.
Also recommended by Jill at Ophelia’s Books, Lauren at Portage Bay Goods, Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel, and Josh at Uneeda Burger

Atlas Vintage Clothing
The sister store to the Fremont Vintage Mall, featuring clothing and accessories from the 1940’s through the early 1990’s.Open daily.
Recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

*Ophelia’s Books
On the outside, it seems like a tiny bookstore, but it actually has a few floors (and a few cats). Come inside to browse the large collection of used books (or linger outside looking at the bargain shelf). Open daily.
Also recommended by Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

Book Larder
A community cookbook store offering classes and other events, that invites you to “linger over titles that catch your fancy, and make yourself at home around our big kitchen counter.” Open daily.
Recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato

*Portage Bay Goods
A quirky shop that calls itself “The Gift Shop for the Thoughtful Procrastinator,” offers gifts and cards by Northwest artists and companies. Open daily.
Also recommended by Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse

Fremont Sunday Market
This year-round European street market is one of many in Seattle with over 100 local vendors offering food, crafts, vintage and antique finds, art, and music. Open almost every Sunday rain or shine.
Recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato

Show Pony
A women’s boutique selling clothing, accessories, and gifts. They feature mostly American-made and designed goods, eco-friendly fashion, and select European and Canadian designs. Open daily.
Recommended by Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato

Essenza
A boutique offering perfume, skin care, gifts, and jewelry with lots of personal assistance (you can sign up for a consultation). Open daily.
Recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

Pipe and Row
A unique clothing shop with items “curated from near, far and wide – Seattle to LA to Australia to Denmark.” Open daily.
Recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

Jive Time Records
New and used vinyl record store also buying and selling CDs, DVDs, and cassettes. If you want a wearable souvenier, they also have T-shirts and tote bags. Also check out their Clearance Annex located in the Fremont Vintage Mall. Open daily.
Recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods and Nancy from Hotel Hotel Hostel

Wright Brothers Cycle Shop
This bike shop sells parts and repairs, and also offers co-op workshop space and bike repair classes. Open Tuesday through Saturday.
Recommended by Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse

Sound Guitar Repair
Described as the “no-kill shelter for vintage guitars,” Cat offers set-up, maintenance, and repairs for even the most destroyed guitars (and other instruments).
Recommended by Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse

Sweet Spot
This was Seattle’s first sugaring studio. They offer hair removal and other services, all with a heart for their customers, employees, and many non-profit causes. Open Monday through Saturday.
Recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

Eyes on Fremont
An independent eyewear shop that works directly with frame designers and vendors. They offer eye exams, lifetime maintenance and adjustments of glasses, and many other services. Open Monday through Saturday.
Recommended by Hal from the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse

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Sightseeing and Activities:

There are so many things to do and see in Fremont!

*Theo Chocolate
Go on a factory tour and taste many samples of their organic and fair trade chocolates, take a hands-on class, or just shop their retail store featuring more samples and items you can’t get anywhere else. For kids younger than 8 years old, they offer a kid-friendly tour and story time. Open daily.
Also recommended by Lauren at Portage Bay Goods

*Fremont Canal Park
Walk along the trail or just sit and enjoy the scenery with a picnic lunch, people watching, and a good book.
Also recommended by Jill at Ophelia’s Books

*Waiting for the Interurban statue
The statue features people (plus one dog with a creepy human face) waiting for the light rail train, and is often dressed up or temporarily decorated by community members.

*Add-a-Ball arcade
A 21+ arcade and bar with a variety of vintage and modern games (especially pinball). Open daily.

Fremont Art Walk
From 6-9pm on the first Friday of every month, shops, galleries, and restaurants display their art (many have changing displays). It’s also a good time to see the permanent outdoor art like the Fremont Troll and Lenin Statue. Enjoy live performances, samples of food and drink from participating businesses, and tasty offerings from your favorite food trucks.

*Statue of Lenin
Great for photo ops (selfie with Lenin anyone?) and art/history buffs. This 7+ ton bronze sculpture was commissioned by the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia in the 1980’s, but the Fremont.com website says the artist took a risk with the final design: “We believe it is the only representation portraying Lenin surrounded by guns and flames instead of holding a book or waving his hat. The sculptor […] express[es] his vision of Lenin as a violent revolutionary; not just an intellectual and theoretician.”
Recommended by Josh at Uneeda Burger

*Fremont Troll
Clutching a real Volkswagen Beetle, the Troll monitors the activity under the bridge with his never-blinking metal hubcap eye. It’s acceptable to climb on and around the sculpture.

*History House
Full of interesting things and photos from Fremont and other Seattle neighborhoods, the museum encourages residents of those neighborhoods to contribute to the exhibit and tell their story. (Currently closed until the new location opens in 2017, but definitely worth a visit when it reopens)

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Accommodations:

There’s so much here, and it’s got such a unique feel, you really should stay in the neighborhood! Here are two options that feel very “Fremont.”

*Teeny Tiny Guesthouse
A super cute 68 square foot tiny house. I highly recommend staying here! See the video below and read my review (interested in a discount? Keep reading below the video for info). Hal also has a second rental called The Pad, which he built in the attic of an old millworkers house near the tiny guesthouse. While I haven’t stayed in The Pad, I’ve taken a tour and it’s pretty cool, but I still prefer the tiny guesthouse for its combination of creative functionality and cuteness!

(If you decide you want to stay in this or other AirBnB listings, you can use my referral link to get a travel credit (a discount), valid for new accounts only. It also lets you share the love and gives me a travel credit too. If you don’t want to get a discount, or if you don’t want to start a new account, you can just use the direct link to Hal’s Teeny Tiny Guesthouse on Airbnb.)

*The Hotel Hotel Hostel
A small international travelers’ hostel with a focus on hospitality, art, and community. There’s a mix of private rooms and dorms, with free breakfast, lockers (bring a lock or rent for $2), and wifi. Bring a towel or rent one for $2. Read my review based on my tour of the place (it’s not open to people from Washington state because it’s a travelers’ hostel, so I haven’t stayed here myself, but based on the tour, I’d definitely consider it if I was from out of town.)

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A note about the Woodland Park Zoo: Even though you may see it on other lists about the neighborhood — and it’s one of my favorite Seattle places — it’s technically not in Fremont so I left it off this list. I recommend a visit if you’re coming to Seattle for a visit, though!

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What did I leave off? What Fremont locations do you recommend?

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One thought on ““Center of the Universe”: 50+ ways to spend a weekend in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle

  1. Suz

    Shelly this post makes me miss Fremont so, so much! I’m hoping to come and visit next year at some point, and maybe we can have another Fremont day-date!

    I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award (http://www.mcvagabonds.com/2016/12/21/liebster-award/) because you’ve had such an influence on my own blogging. No worries if you can’t accept it – I know it’s a super busy time of year. I just wanted to share your blog with anyone who stumbles across my little blog!

    Merry Christmas to you, and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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