The Fremont neighborhood is home to a chocolate factory, one-of-a-kind small shops and restaurants, and a lively nightlife scene.
With a massive sculpture of a troll under the Aurora Bridge, an imposing statue of Vladimir Lenin, and a slogan declaring Fremont “The Center of the Universe” (with a directional sign to prove it), this is a fun-loving, quirky neighborhood about a 10-minute drive (or 15-minute bus ride) north of downtown. It’s home to a chocolate factory, one-of-a-kind small shops and restaurants, and a lively nightlife scene. There’s also a year-round Sunday street market and, every June, a wacky annual Solstice Parade (locally famous for its naked bicyclists).
The Theo chocolate factory and retail store offers free samples and a popular factory tour ($6, reserve in advance). It bills itself as the first organic and fair-trade chocolate maker in the U.S. Take home some chocolates, including a kit to pair chocolates with beers or wines. 3400 Phinney Ave. N.; 206-632-5100, theochocolate.com
Les Amis is a high-end women’s clothing store housed in what looks like a rustic French countryside cottage, with a wisteria vine and flowers at its front door. 3420 Evanston Ave. N.; 206-632-2877.
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Portage Bay Goods is reminiscent of an old five-and-dime store, although the merchandise is funkier. Find greeting cards, personal journals, jewelry, cards, crafts, toys and games. 621 N. 35th St.; 206-547-5221, portagebaygoods.com
Wine Tea Chocolate, a relative newcomer to Fremont, is a combination wine bar, tea house, coffee shop and chocolate cafe. Small plates include breakfast items, soups, salads, wraps and pastries. Try the signature grilled white-cheddar cheese and fig sandwich on sourdough bread and served with fig jam. 3417 Evanston Ave. N., No. 102. 206-402-5492, wineteachocolate.com
— Jackie Smith