I’m probably the only person in this area who hasn’t done this adventure, but I decided to play tourist this week and spend some time in Fremont. To be honest I’ve never stopped in Fremont. I found that the easiest place to park to see it all is in the Brooks parking garage. It was competitively priced, easy to access, and they have free electric car charging. If your an electric car driver this is a big score. The electric parking is right at the entrance, so premium parking spots. Everything I wanted to see was within a one mile radius from this parking location. You can also park at Gas Works Park or their is also some street parking if you look hard enough. Another option, if you want a workout, is bike in from Bothell on the Burke-Gilman.
Another advantage of parking here is that there are a ton of rental bikes parked in front of Brooks Headquarters. If you’re not familiar with Seattle’s rental bikes. There are a couple of companies that rent bikes in Seattle for $1 an hour through an App. Just find a bike on the street scan it and ride away. When you’re done, leave it at your destination and someone else will come along and rent it. Bring your helmet. Some of them even have coffee holders (it is Seattle). I saw both OFO and Lime Bikes in the area.
I did not rent a bike on my adventure. From the parking garage I walked over to see the Freemont Troll. The Aurora bridge itself was built in 1932. Over the years their were reports and supposed sightings of trolls over the years. In 1989 the area was plagued by litter and the community wished to revitalize the area. Artist Steve Badanes used this folklore in his art to create a troll crawling from under the bridge crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in his mighty hand. The Freemont Troll feels like a fairy tale place, despite the fact that your under a bridge. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Fun Fact: The Beetle originally contained a time capsule, but it was vandalized.
From there you can walk over to see the controversial Lenin statue. The sixteen foot tall Lenin Statue was created by Emil Yenkov. It was toppled during the Czechoslovakian Revolution in the 1990s and was then brought to Seattle. The statue is surrounded by flames to represent the violence associated with Vladimir Lenin.
If you are a Patches Pal walk over to Freemont Avenue. You stop and see the quarky “Center of the Universe” street sign on your way. At the bottom of the hill take a left on 34th Street and you can take a selfie with J.P. Patches and his girlfriend, Gertrude.
If you walk towards Lake Union you will find the Burke-Gilman Trail that runs from Bothell to Seattle, a 29.2 mile route. It’s very popular with bicyclists, runners, and people just strolling along. Their are some great views of house boats, tug boats, fishing boats, big iron ships, yachts, sail boats, and other water craft. You will also find the Fremont Bridge, a brightly colored double-leaf bascule bridge. Hopefully you can catch the bridge raising to let a ship through. This a site the kids will love.
You will also find Gas Works Park off the Burke-Gilman Trail. This 19.1 acre park is the former site of Seattle Gas Light Company. This gas works generated synthetic gas, not to be mistaken as natural gas. Synthetic gas is man made from coal. Seattle Gas Light Company and it’s synthetic gas was the primary power source for Seattle in the early 1900s, but gave way to hydro-electric in the 1930s.
The remains of this gas works give the park a unique industrial feel. The graffiti on these iron mammoths make it even more interesting. Below you will find a photo of Seattle Gas Light Company next to the current picture of Gas Works Park. What a great way to clean up a site and bring it from eye sore to picturesque park.
The park has some breathe taking views of Lake Union with the back drop of the Seattle skyline. Watch the float planes come in out from the tours, landing and taking off from the lake.
These are a great many treasures that you can find in Fremont. So many little shops, coffee spots, vintage stores, breweries, graffiti art, and lunch spots. All very pedestrian and bike friendly. This makes a great date outing. It’s also a great adventure for the kids.