It’s unclear exactly when Fremont was deemed “the center of the universe”—after all, the neighborhood has long been recognized as a Seattle hub for art and counterculture. Case in point: Fremont’s unofficial motto is “Freedom to be peculiar.” During the holidays, the gigantic, eight-ton statue of Lenin at the center of the neighborhood is illuminated—its permanence meant to remind us that art outlives politics. Wandering the streets of this quirky destination, locals and out-of-towners will find a mecca for hidden treasures and cozy treats.
The Fremont Sunday Market (3401 Evanston Ave. N., 781-6776) is the neighborhood’s long-running weekly street-fair—an excellent place to support local artists and indie designers selling their wares. You’ll find everything from screen-printed T-shirts and ceramic tableware to locally sourced honey and a range of food-truck fare.
The sign for Portage Bay Goods (621 N. 35th St., 547-5221) reads “A gift shop for the thoughtful procrastinator,” but all are welcome here. The store offers an assortment of children’s toys, adult coloring books, made-in-Seattle art prints, and a huge selection of small-batch greeting cards. Next, step into Fremont Vintage Mall (3419 Fremont Pl. N., 329-4460) and prepare to lose track of time as you search for one-of-a-kind collectibles, funky flannels, and whimsical oddities.
For a break and hot beverage, head over to ETG Coffee & Bakery (3512 Fremont Pl. N., 633-3685). The tiny storefront’s festive decor and housemade chai are not to be missed. And be sure to grab a bag of single-origin, whole-bean coffee—ETG has been perfecting its roasts and blends for more than three decades. On the other side of Fremont Avenue, an adorable English bulldog will welcome you to Show Pony (702 N. 35th St., 706-4188), a beautifully curated boutique full of contemporary clothing, jewelry, and fragrances.
Order a holiday wreath from Juniper Flowers (459 N. 36th St., 285-2700) and grab a sweet or savory snack from Pie (3515 Fremont Ave. N., 436-8590) before heading up the hill to Daybreak Records (4308 Fremont Ave. N., 268-0702), the newest addition to the neighborhood. The record store’s eclectic playlist is sure to get you moving as you flip through crates of high-quality used vinyl. Afterward, stop by Book Larder (4252 Fremont Ave. N., 397-4271), an epic cookbook shop and great gift spot for all the foodies on your list.
As the light grows long and your feet grow weary, it’s finally time to slow down and reflect on Seattle’s bounty and beauty at Fremont Peak Park (4357 Palatine Ave. N.) as you catch a glimpse of the sunset over the Olympic Mountain range.