Seattle’s funky artsy Fremont neighborhood is evolving with high tech injections in an already high tech city. The community has about 14,000 residents and for its annual Solstice Parade welcomes about 100,000 visitors.
It was a blue-collar neighborhood in the 1940s and 50s, artsy-bohemian in the 1960s through 80s, and high-tech hipster from the 1990s to today. This walk traverses a quiet residential neighborhood as well as a vibrant commercial district, and includes a long and moderately steep hill. You will enjoy abundant eye candy at photogenic sites such as full-size topiary dinosaurs, a monumental metal statue of Vladimir Lenin from Czechoslovakia, sweeping vistas (clear weather required), high tech corporate office buildings (Google, Amazon, Adobe, Tableau, Getty Images, and Impinj), Seattle’s oldest continuously operating public school, a tree-lined “silicon” canal, and the most frequently opened drawbridge in the U.S.
One of the most popular new innovations in Fremont is a collection of craft breweries and distilleries. Even locals take the walking/drinking tours! Along the way are designated City landmark buildings, an organic chocolate factory, public art with interesting backstories, and a historic biker bar turned Cajun restaurant. Fremont is also a popular location for mainstream and independent film makers so you will see locations used for 2013’s “Lucky Them” starring Toni Collette, and 1999’s “10 Things I Hate About You” starring Heath Ledger. You will also see Fremont Studios–home of the Seattle Erotic Film Festival, many trade shows and exhibitions, and Jeff Bezos’ recent premier of Amazon’s 3-D Fire smartphone.
Fremont is also famous as a neighborhood where costumed players unexpectedly cavort in the streets. Thousands of zombies regularly challenge the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest entrail dragging crowd. Hundreds of Santas conduct an annual holiday pub crawl, and the 5k Briefcase Relay draws crowds to watch runners wearing business attire. You will walk by Fremont’s internationally famous Troll, a sculpture beneath Seattle’s Aurora Bridge, which is the site of costumed “Trolloween” revelry every October 31st.
For a neighborhood that was a dense Douglas Fir forest as recently as 1886, Fremont has come a long way. No matter when you take this walk, you will see Fremont’s colorful mixture of artists, role players, free spirits, and nerds along with historic architecture, public art, commercial entrepreneurs, and natural scenery.