Tag Archives: attractions

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


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!

See the list!


10 free things to do in Seattle

Seattle can be expensive! Looking for something interesting to do in the city, without spending too much money?

Here’s a list of 10 of the many things this city has to offer.

Gas Works Park


Photo Credit: Scooter Lowrimore via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Gas Works Park is a park converted from an old industrial plant that was used to convert coal to gas. It has many interesting indoor and outdoor structures, picnic areas, and a great view of Lake Union. This is an especially popular spot during fireworks shows.

Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll, Seattle

Photo Credit: Sue via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

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.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka Ballard Locks)

Boats in the lock

Photo Credit: jc.winkler via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This is a great place to watch boats come and go from the higher elevation fresh water lake to the lower elevation salt water of the Puget Sound. There is also a fish ladder with a viewing area to watch fish like salmon go upstream, visitor center, and the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden to wander through.

Burke-Gilman Trail

Burke Gilman Trail

Photo Credit: Gene Bisbee via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This 18.8 mile trail from Seattle to Bothell takes you through several Seattle neighborhoods and close to many parks and waterfronts, the University of Washington, and other connecting trails. It is used by many cyclists, runners, and walkers for exercise, commuting, and fun.

University of Washington campus

White pink Cherry Tree and Collegiate Gothic Art Tower, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Photo Credit: Wonderlane via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

The UW (say it like a local: “U-Dub”) is known for picturesque cherry blossom trees at least 80 years old. They usually bloom in mid- to late March, but that is dependent on the weather, as is the amount of time the petals stay on the trees. Even if you miss these blooming beauties, there are other landmarks to see on campus (like the Drumheller Fountain), or you can take a free walking tour led by students.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Photo Credit: Travis Wise via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

A classic tourist destination featured on movies, but still popular with locals, the Market has attractions from the weird to the historic. The gum wall in Post Alley is a favorite, as is visiting the original Starbucks, watching fish being thrown, and watching buskers perform. You can also take self-guided tours or explore your own path. (Say it like a local: “The Market” or “Pike Place,” after the name of the street it’s on, never “Pike’s”)

Frye Art Museum

Frye Museum Entry Pool

Photo Credit: Joe Wolf via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY-ND 2.0 license

Other Seattle museums have free days but this one is always free – admission, parking, and hour-long tour included. The Frye Founding Collection alone has 232 paintings, which are joined by additional artwork in the Museum Collection and a variety of changing exhibitions.

Seattle Center


Photo Credit: Hourann Bosci via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The Seattle Center is home to many festivals, events, and landmarks like the Experience Music Project (EMP) and the Space Needle. Neither of these are free, but there are plenty of free activities and opportunities year-round, like running (or dancing) through the water of the International Fountain (be sure to watch one of its five water programs synchronized to music), watching outdoor movies, or taking a self-guided tour of the many things the Center has to offer.

Klondike Gold Rush – Seattle Unit, National Historic Park

Klondike Gold Rush NHP

Photo Credit: Bart E via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This completely indoor park is free, consisting essentially of only a visitor center/museum, but is well worth a visit. The self-guided exhibits are highly interactive, and engage visitors of any age. The park also offers showings of educational videos, walking tours of the Pioneer Square Historical District, and demonstrations of mining techniques used during the gold rush (program schedule and offerings may vary throughout the year).

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Mummy II

Photo Credit: Michael Scheltgen via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

In existence for more than 100 years, this shop (which is more like a museum) contains collections of shrunken heads, fleas in dresses (plugas vestidas), two mummies, taxidermy specimens of creatures with extra limbs or heads, dollar bill origami, and many more oddities.

Have you been to any of these places? Do you have other free or must-see attractions in Seattle?

Additional reading:
Read about Taylor’s experience (and see her amazing pictures) from her Seattle visit when we went to Gas Works Park, the UW campus, the Fremont Troll, and Woodland Park Zoo.

Want more posts like this? Leave a comment and let me know which places you would like to see featured, and be sure to sign up to stay updated on all the latest posts!

Top 4 Vegas Entertainment Suggestions

Looking for some ideas of what to do in Las Vegas? Here are four entertainment options (three shows and one museum) that I went to see during my trip in March. (Bonus: They’re family friendly.)
Please leave a comment and let me know your top Vegas entertainment suggestions.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Titanic Exhibition Store, Luxor

Gift shop replicas of artifacts recovered from the Titanic (photos aren’t allowed in the museum itself) – Photo credit: InSapphoWeTrust on Flickr – Used unmodified under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

You’ll feel really close to this tragic event when viewing artifacts from the Titanic, stories of the ship and the people on board, and exploring the museum structure, which is a walk-through simulation of parts of the Titanic. Each admission ticket comes with a boarding pass with the name and class of one real-life passenger, so as you go through the museum you can see the type of room they would have stayed in and then at the end, you reach a board with the names of survivors and victims so you can tell if your passenger survived or not. This was a really interesting museum, and takes about two hours to go through if you read everything. For those who loved the movie, you will love the museum. For those who hated the movie: fear not – the museum is strictly about the real-life events, no Leo DiCaprio pictures present.
At the Luxor, open 10am to 10pm daily (last admit at 9pm). Pricing available online, discounts available for seniors, children, and locals. Discounted tickets also available from third-party sellers.

V – The Ultimate Variety Show

This was filled with comedy and amazing talent. I remember seeing a YouTube video of Wally Eastwood a long time ago, so it was fun to see him perform live as he hosted the show. A rotating cast makes this show different each time you see it. Highly recommend!
At Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile, shows nightly at 7pm and 8:30pm. Pricing available online. Discounted tickets also available from third-party sellers.

Jeff Civillico Comedy in Action

Juggling comedian, with plenty of physical humor, stunts, balancing tricks, and audience participation. A super entertaining and very funny performance from one of the youngest headliners on the Vegas strip.
At the Paris Las Vegas, shows at 7pm Wednesdays. Pricing available online. Discounted tickets also available from third-party sellers.

KA by Cirque du Soleil

Two royal twin siblings get separated when the rival fire nation attacks. KA is the story of the difficulties the twins face as they fight their way back to each other and take back control of their kingdom. You can expect acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, tumbling clowns, pyrotechnics, and great music.
At the MGM Grand, shows Saturday through Wednesday at 7pm and 9:30pm (some exceptions, see site for details). Prices available online, children under 5 not allowed. Discounted tickets also available from third-party sellers.

What do you think of these suggestions? Got any of your own? Leave a comment and let me know.