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).
Surrounding neighborhoods, with Seattle's characteristically nebulous borders, include quietly upscale Greenlake to the north around Green Lake (the spellings are largely interchangeable), and the "small town in a big city" local shops and Craftsman bungalows of Wallingford to the east.
By car, take Aurora Avenue north from downtown.
Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park, 2101 N Northlake Way, ☎ +1 206 684-4075, . 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.Free.
"The Artists' Republic of Fremont" — another of the neighborhood's self-proclaimed titles — has some of the most distinctive public art of any city in the U.S.
Waiting for the Interurban is 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! N. 34th St. at Fremont Ave., at the north approach to the Fremont Bridge.
The 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 St. and Evanston Ave.
The Fremont Troll (under the Aurora Bridge, officially called the "George Washington Memorial Bridge" but no one will know what you're talking about if you call it that.) The Troll is a concrete statue eating a full size Volkswagen Bug. It even gets its own street name - just off of N. 36th St. on Troll Ave.
The bronze statue of Lenin peers out over the street below, oblivious to the continuing controversy over its display. It was salvaged and brought over from Slovakia, and went up in 1995 at N. 36th St. and Evanston Ave.
Can you find the shoes of the wicked witch .. clue: look near a big rock!
Solstice Parade, . If you happen to be in Seattle around the Summer Solstice, on the weekend closest to the solstice, Fremont has one of the city's best street fairs and (Saturday, around noon) a truly great parade, with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of elaborately costumed participants, with no signage (strongly discouraging commercial participation), and with only human-powered floats. The Fremont Art's Council just celebrated its 20th year of hosting this arts-only parade. 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 100 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.
Theo Chocolate factory tours, 3400 Phinney Ave N, ☎ +1 206 632-5100 (email@example.com), . 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, ☎ +1 206 633-0422, . An annual microbrew tasting event 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.
Tai Chi at Meridian Park, 4649 Sunnyside Ave., . On most Sunday mornings, groups of people practice tai chi or assorted other martial arts in the southeast quadrant of Meridian Park.
Tuning The Air, 4272 Fremont Ave, ☎ +1 206 701-9270, . 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 bringing the concept of the location based performance team to Seattle. Join us for another year of music with the audience at the heart of every performance.$10.
Dusty Strings, 3406 Fremont Ave N, ☎ +1 206 634-1662 (toll free: +1 866 634-1662), . 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!
Emerald City Gardens, 4001 Leary Way NW, ☎ +1 206 789-1314, . 10AM-6PM daily (closed Tu Oct 1-Mar 1). Great plants and garden supplies, without the flying monkeys. There's a yellow brick road going out the back door and a little shack that sure enough looks like it fell on a witch, but Dorothy has moved on - now you can shop in peace, without fear, and endure surprisingly few Wizard of Oz references while you're here.
Wide World Books & Maps, 4411 Wallingford Ave N, ☎ +1 206 634-3453 (toll free: +1 888 534-3453), . 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 Wikitravel some day.
35th Street Bistro, . European Bistro serving fresh, seasonal cuisine, lovely hand-picked wines and a full bar.
Art of the Table, 1054 N 39th St, ☎ +1 206 282-0942, . M 5PM-10PM. , small plates, space is small and fills up quickly! Come early and enjoy the artistic culinary excellence!High End.
Asteroid Cafe, . Italian institution moved from Wallingford. Great food and wine list.
Beth's Cafe, 7311 Aurora Ave N, . Open 24 hours a day. A Seattle institution. One of the last true 'greasy spoon' diners, it is open and serves breakfast 24-hours a day, 364 days a year (it is closed the day after Thanksgiving for cleaning). Frequented by an eclectic mix of goths, punks, stoners, workers and yuppies, the appeal is as much people-watching as the food - go with friends when you have a couple of hours to spare. Their specialties are omelettes, available in 6 or 12 egg varieties, with bottomless plates of hash browns. Ask for crayons and paper and you can hang your artistic creations on the wall when done. Note that Beth's is very popular and long lines can form for tables around rushes, which tend to be in the early evenings and around midnight.
Blue C, 3411 Fremont Ave N, ☎ +1 206 633-3411, . 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.
Carmelita, 7314 Greenwood Ave N, . Where one might go to celebrate a special event or impress a date: exquisite vegetarian fare with excellent service in an elegant yet unpretentious atmosphere. The popular chef is back after a few years away, with a menu that changes more often than the seasonal menu they had been following. It's enough of a top-notch eating experience that you can even take meat eaters there to have a wonderful meal.
Chiso, 3520 Fremont Ave N. Extremely good but costly sushi.
Dick's Hamburgers. 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.
Gordito's Healthy Mexican Food, 213 N 85th St, ☎ +1 206 706-9352. Huge servings, a fast, but sometimes long line, way-cheap prices, amazingly tasty burritos that most folks can't finish in one sitting, lots of homemade salsas (on the salsa bar), and outdoor patio. If you ask most people in Seattle where the good Mexican food is, they'll say Gordito's or the Taco Bus that drives around town (but good luck finding it).
Ivar's Salmon House, 401 NE Northlake Way, ☎ +1 206 632-0767, . 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.Spendy $25 entrees.
Jai Thai, 3423 Fremont Ave N.
Jhanjay Vegeterian Thai. 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.
Rancho Bravo. 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 Racho Bravo Steak Burrito (add guacamole).
Rosita's Mexican Restaurant, 7210 Woodlawn Ave NE, ☎ +1 206 523-3031, . Some of the best margaritas in town, as well as good Happy Hour eats. Nachos are great!
The Rusty Pelican. Local catch all restaurant. Serving a large variety of Italian dishes, seafood, and contintental dishes. While the quality level is fairly good, their breakfast preparations are their best asset. Always get the biscuit. Breakfast menu all day. Full bar. Scenes from the film "World's Greatest Dad" starring Robin Williams were filmed here.
Taco del Mar. In Lenin's shadow.
Tawon Thai, 3410 Fremont Ave N, ☎ +1 206 633-4545 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 206 632-3046), . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-10:30PM. One of the best of the many Thai restaurants in the neighborhood. A favorite of software developers down the street. Offers a wide range of $10 lunch specials, and most of the dishes have a vegetarian option.$10-$15.
Brouwer's Cafe, . 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.
Dad Watson's. McMenamins  food, beer and hospitality.
Elysian Brewers, 2106 N 55th St, +1 206 547-5929, 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.
Geneve Cafe and P.S.C., 4459 Fremont Ave N, +1 206 547-0570. Scaled down and relocated (from former location in Geneva). Graciously serving Bünderfleisch Panini and fine Swiss wine. Serves high end imported Attibassi traditional espresso. Very small and cozy. Free WiFi. Rumored that they will still accept Swiss Francs. Swisscom is obviously no longer necessary.
Hale's Brewery and Pub, , 4301 Leary Way, +1 206 706-1544. 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.
Murphy's Pub, Irish Pub located on NE 45th Ave. Good selection of drinks, fair pub food. Attracts a young and educated crowd. Trivia on Tuesday evenings.
Red Door, . Good beer and cocktail selection as well as very good food. The mussels are great.
Zoka, 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.