Tag Archives: hostel

“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!


Review: Hotel Hotel Hostel in Seattle


Hostels are interesting places. They can be kind of hit and miss because a good hostel experience is made of a certain combination of the location, structure and decoration of the space, common areas, activities offered, amenities, and the random mix of whoever happens to be there at the time.

Hotel Hotel Hostel is a smaller international travelers’ hostel in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, and it seems like it falls on the positive end of the range of possibilities.

Because I’m a local (Washington residents aren’t allowed to stay because like all travelers’ hostels, they focus on providing space for visitors), I can’t get first-hand experience of what it’s like to stay here, but I was able to tour the place and I feel comfortable recommending it based on that experience (because if I was from out of town, I’d definitely consider staying here!).

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Travel Journal: Austin, TX – Day 2

This is a continuation of my travel journal from Austin, TX (See Day 1). I’m going to catch you up on how I recently spent 4 days in Austin, TX (okay, 3 days + 1 in San Antonio, and actually… the total trip was really only 72 hours due to flight schedules, so this theoretically could all be done in one very busy 3-day weekend):

Day 2 – Sunday – Austin, TX

I sleep in a bit to make up for going to bed way too late last night. After waking up, one of the first things I do is apologize to my dormmates for any noise I made when trying to get my stuff unpacked while they were trying to sleep! They are all so gracious and forgiving. Two of them were actually getting in the same time I did last night, and the others say they didn’t even hear us. We all introduce ourselves, and once again, I’m impressed with the friendliness of the people here in this hostel (Drifter Jack’s) compared with the one I stayed at in Boston. 🙂

For breakfast I eat with my dormmates in the hostel kitchen, which has a waffle maker and the perfect batter – they come out deliciously tasty and crispy on the outside but soft inside! There’s also fruit and a bunch of teas to choose from.

Next, I go to a college friend’s Jewish blessing ceremony (very cool, I’ve never participated in one of those before today), and then in the tradition the rabbi shared with us, we “follow good things with good food” and go grab food at Wholly Cow Burgers.

While we wait for the food, we sit on the bench painted to look like a cow, which matches the rest of the decorations in the small space. The restaurant is tucked into the side of a market that features craft beer and wine and fresh produce in a farmers market area.

We take the burgers to my friend’s apartment, enjoying the local Texas beef and hanging out. The burgers are delicious and the company is great, so it’s definitely a trip highlight!

As we’re getting ready to leave, I ask J. (the friend of my friend) how to get to Zilker Park. I know we’re nearby, and it’s in all the tourist information as a very beautiful place, so I figure I might as well see it. J. and I end up walking through the park, and we become quick friends when we find out we have so much in common. The park itself is pretty and it’s sunny, but it seems to be a park for forward-moving trail purposes only (running, taking the dog out, biking, walking, etc). Although I saw one lawn area, I think it’s for off-leash dogs more than people. Other than that lawn and a few benches placed here and there, I don’t see places to go to hang out, play frisbee, etc, which is what I think of when I think of a park.

Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin

Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin – Photo credit: Heather Cowper / HeatherOnHerTravels.com / via Flickr – Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

(Many people also recommended this park to me because you can see the bats fly out from under the bridge at dusk. I’ve seen bats spiraling out of their cave at Carlsbad Caverns National Park and it was very interesting, and if I was coming in the right time of year or staying longer, I’d probably like to see them in Austin too, but they’re less likely to show up in January, and I have such a limited time in Austin that I’m not planning on taking my chances.)

We also go to check out the new Trader Joe’s store (and go into each of the single stall bathrooms because our friend told us that the artwork on each is “a Trader Joe’s take on Austin landmarks.” We attract lots of stares as we wait in line for each bathroom to become available so we can see the walls, then go out and stand in line again. If it was a bathroom we’d already seen, we let other people go in front of us, which produces more looks from them and giggles from us.

(Have you done anything goofy like this while being a tourist?)

In the evening, B. and I go to a puzzle room called The Escape Game – SO MUCH FUN!!!! 😀 The idea is that you’re locked in a room and you have to solve a series of puzzles to collect clues, solve the mystery, and escape in under one hour. Our team escapes with 3 minutes left! I really enjoy it and it’s definitely something that I would have put on the list had I known it would be this much fun.

We follow that with dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant called Pappasito’s Cantina that has fresh tortillas. The tortillas are made by hand with the help of a tortilla machine that rolls dough, spins in circles, and is really interesting to watch.

When I return to the hostel, I meet a bunch of the other hostellers, and find out many are actually moving to Austin and staying in the hostel until their lease starts. I tell a few of them and some of my roommates that I’m going to San Antonio tomorrow and they’re all very excited for me and say it’s very nice there, because they went earlier, so I’m definitely looking forward to the day trip tomorrow! 🙂

Click here to read Day 3.