The neighborhood of Fremont is an eclectic product of its earthy, hippie roots and the current tide of 21st century urban development. Likewise, the art, fashion, and cuisine resulting from these developing trends continues to set Fremont apart as the perfect marriage of quirky and high-end shopping. Looking for a man-sized statue of a mustard-covered hot dog? Imported French lingerie? An antique suitcase? A pair of classy leather boots designed for the discriminating urban cyclist? Spend just a couple of hours in the “Center of the Universe” and you’ll find it all right here.
A rare occurrence for a Seattle neighborhood, fashion-focused boutiques are more plentiful in Fremont than coffee shops. Dream, Bliss, Bitters and Company, and the famed Bellefleure Lingerie boutique offer mainly women’s wear, shoes, and accessories with that trademark Seattle style of comfy-chic. Kitschy variety shops such as Burnt Sugar—just look for the wall-mounted rocket ship—also peddle clothing, shoes, cosmetics, and fun, locally-made goodies and gifts.
Many Seattleites travel to Fremont for interior decorating needs. You can find everything from fun antiques to one-of-a-kind local artist creations within these few short blocks. Frank and Dunya offer locally-made and imported collections of beautiful, unique gifts and works of art, from brass monkeys to lamps to switch plates decorated with photos of nude women.The Fremont Antique Mall and Deluxe Junk are havens for collectors of absurd relics, vintage clothing, and tangible tokens of days gone by.
No Seattle neighborhood would be complete without a few independent bookshops, and Fremont offers some of the oldest and best-loved vendors in the city proper . The Fremont Place Book Company offers book clubs, detailed staff reviews, independent press selections, and local author spotlights. If you want to get lost in a used bookstore for a few hours, Ophelia’s Books is a perfect rainy day hideout, complete with two floors of cheap reads.
Though too numerous to list here, Fremont’s unique collection of businesses are home to worlds of quality products. Hub and Bespoke will outfit you in the hippest urban cycling fashions; Habitude Spa and Salon will dry out your soggiest Seattle winter blues; The George and Dragon English Pub draws crowds hungry for football matches, hearty pints and comfort food; the Flying Apron and Silence-Heart-Nest restaurants concoct vegetarian delicacies worthy of national recognition. Visit the websites listed below for more exhaustive lists of Fremont stores, restaurants and services, or take a stroll and discover your favorite destinations by instinct.
For first-timers, the geography of Fremont’s urban area can be a tad confusing. The shopping district is centered on the intersection of Fremont Avenue and 36th Avenue North, just one block north of the ship canal. There are five streets that jut off at this point, and it’s hard to get lost just by wandering. A jaunt around almost every block will lead you back to a major thoroughfare, so don’t be afraid to explore.
Getting There: The Metro bus #s 5, 16 and 26 will take you to the heart of Fremont. Drivers coming from the south will take the 1st exit off of Highway 99; Drivers from the north take the exit for the Woodland Park Zoo and turn left at Fremont Avenue. Parking is typical for Seattle neighbourhoods: main streets are metered or have limited hours and many side streets require zone passes, so watch the street signs; meter maids are not afraid to ticket offenders.