Freemont Like a Local
Check out the neighborhood's website (www.fremont.com) for more information.
Wacky Public Art
Kick-start your tour under the north end of the Aurora Bridge at N. 36th Street, where you'll find the Fremont Troll (N. 36th St. at Troll Ave.), a two-ton, 18-foot-tall concrete troll clutching a real Volkswagen beetle in his massive hand. The troll appeared in 1991, commissioned by the Fremont Arts Council. Pose for a shot atop his head or pretending to pull his beard.
Next, head west down the hill to the statue of Lenin (N. 36th St. at Fremont Place and Evanston Ave. N). Constructed by Bulgarian sculptor Emil Venkov for the Soviets in 1988, the 16-foot, 7-ton statue was removed shortly after the Velvet Revolution and eventually made its way to Seattle. Visitors here during Gay Pride Week might catch a glimpse of him in drag.
A few blocks away you'll find the Fremont Rocket ( N. 35th St. and Evanston Ave. N), a 53-foot Cold War–era rocket nonchalantly strapped to the side of a retail store—which just may mark the official "center of the universe." This Seattle landmark was rescued from a surplus store in 1991 and successfully erected on its current locale in '94, when neon lights were added, along with the crest "De Libertas Quirkas," meaning "Freedom to Be Peculiar."
Walk along the water toward the Fremont Bridge, past the offices of Adobe, Getty Images, and Google (among others) to visit the cast-aluminum sculpture Waiting for the Interurban (N. 34th St. and Fremont Ave. N). Artist Richard Beyer created this depiction of six people and a dog waiting for a trolley in 1979. Observe that the dog's face is actually that of a man—story goes this is the face of recycling pioneer (and onetime honorary mayor of Fremont) Armen Stepanian, who may have made disparaging remarks about the statue. It's been a long local tradition to "vandalize" the sculpture with anything from brightly colored umbrellas to signs congratulating newlyweds.
Thai Food and Chocolates and T-Shirts, Oh My!
If the comrades are hungry, opt for Thai food. On sunny days, choose Kaosamai (404 N. 36th St. 206/925-4657 www.kaosamai.com), a crowd-pleasing eatery with a large deck. On rainy days, you might prefer cozy Kwanjai Thai (469 N. 36th St. 206/632-3656) across the street, where you can dive into home-style Thai curries in a cramped blue house.
After you've had your fill of spicy food, peruse nearby Destee-Nation (3412 Evanston Ave. N 888/332-6437 www.desteenation.com), a fun little shop that sells vintage-looking T-shirts from independent restaurants and establishments across Seattle and the country.
Next stop is Theo Chocolate Factory (3400 Phinney Ave. N 206/632-5100 www.theochocolate.com), an organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory offering tours through its redbrick factory. You'll learn all about the chocolate-making process and get to sample some of Theo's favorites. Be sure to try the Coconut Curry bar!
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