Seattle is packed full of quirky, artsy and wonderfully unique neighborhoods that will have you packing up the moving van and heading for the Pacific Northwest.
Here are just a few.
If you love artsy and eclectic then you’ll love Fremont. This wonderful neighborhood in Seattle has a vibrant community of artists and free thinkers, so if you are looking for unique experiences then you’re in the right place.
The Fremont Troll
Where else can you find an 18 foot tall, 13,000 pound, Volkswagen Bug crushing Troll living under a bridge?
On Troll Avenue, of course! The Fremont Troll is located on the corner of 36th and Troll Ave. N., Seattle, WA to be exact.
The Fremont Troll was sculpted in 1990 and was based on “Billy Goats Gruff” a Scandinavian Folktale of a troll that lives under a bridge. Go figure. In 1989 the Fremont Arts Council was asked to launch an art competition in hopes of rehabilitating the area under the ‘George Washington Memorial Bridge”, also known as the “Aurora Bridge”. The area had become a dumping ground and a haven for drug dealers. Obviously the Troll concept was a clear winner and this giant sculpture made of rebar, wire and concrete was created for all to enjoy. The Fremont Troll attracts visitors from all over the world.
You are allowed to climb onto the troll for a cool photo op or just stand in front and take a selfie, like Neal. There are usually a lot of people around so getting a pic that doesn’t involve strangers is a little tricky, but with a little patience it’s doable.
The Center of the Universe
Do you know the exact location of the center of the universe? Well… the residents of this quirky, artsy neighborhood in Seattle do. The Fremont Neighborhood has proclaimed this spot as the Center since the 1970’s.
A meeting was held in 1991 by a group of scientists (while sitting in a bar) to determine if this could be the center of it all. Since nobody could prove absolutely, without a doubt, that it’s not, the declaration was made that this was as good a place as any for the center of the universe and so it was. A guidepost was created and erected shortly after.
The Center of the Universe sign (and quite possibly the center of the universe itself….maybe) is located on a traffic island at the intersection of North Fremont Avenue and North 35th St.
The historical landmark was stolen in November of 2018 but was quickly rebuilt and replaced.
The Fremont neighborhood is home to Google, Adobe Systems and Getty Images. Your friendly neighborhood businesses.
Maybe you’ve heard of them.
This vibrant, artsy community is full of eclectic restaurants and nightlife and the coolest little Indie shops around.
Where else can you find a bubble truck like this.
Get your art fix at Art Fx Gallery located at 420 N. 35th St.
The Fremont Sunday Market
Take a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory, visit the Fremont Brewing Company and make sure to check out the Fremont Sunday Market.
The Fremont Sunday Market has food trucks, art and antiques. There’s even a food truck for your furry family members.
Don’t miss the “nude bike ride” during the Solstice Parade and Festival in June, or better yet, let it all hang out and join in.
You will definitely want to visit this one of a kind, Bohemian neighborhood of Fremont.
For all things Fremont go to fremont.com
Ballard, one of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods, was once a Scandinavian fishing and railroad town. It is located against Shilshole Bay to the west and Salmon Bay to the south.
Take a drive by the “Up House”
The “Edith Macefield House” otherwise known as the “Up House” is located in the Ballard neighborhood at 1438 N.W. 46th St.
Edith Macefield became somewhat of a folk hero and gained worldwide attention in 2006 when she famously turned down a one million dollar offer, from a commercial developer, to buy her house. The construction inevitably continued and the five story development was built around her. Even after her death in 2008 at age 86, the house remains standing.
Today the 108 year old farmhouse stands surrounded by a Trader Joe’s, LA Fitness and a Ross Dress for Less…. kind of sad really. There are no current plans to destroy or remove the little house from its longtime location.
The Ballard Sunday Market
The Ballard Sunday Market is a year-round greenmarket that has over one hundred vendors and is known for it’s locally grown and handmade goods.
Since opening in 2000, the market has operated along this historic street in the Ballard neighborhood.
You will find the most fun and unique items here.
Both sides of the street are lined with cute little shops and restaurants surrounding the market.
The Ballard Sunday Market was the first year-round market that sold produce exclusively from Washington state farmers.
This lovely farmers market is located at 22nd Ave. and N.W. Market St. and is open every Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. Learn more at sfmamarkets.com
Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop
Visit Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop at 5445 Ballard Ave. N.W. Seattle and see for yourself
because some things can’t be explained with words.
Break out the credit cards because this two headed calf wearing a red hat won’t stay on the shelf for long…. or will it. If that’s not your thing, you can purchase Bob’s Big Boy for around $2000.
This curious little shop is worth taking a walk through just to get your fill of weird. Who knows, you may find something that you just can’t live without.
Visit the shops, parks, restaurants and the largest number of breweries of any neighborhood in the Northwest. Visit myballard.com
#3 Pioneer Square
On the southwest corner of Downtown Seattle lies three acres of history in Seattle’s original neighborhood.
Seattle’s founders settled this neighborhood in 1852. The original wooden buildings, built by the settlers, burned to the ground in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, leaving nothing behind but ash.
By the end of 1890, beautiful Romanesque Revival style, brick and stone buildings, were being constructed to take the place of the wooden dwellings that were lost.
What a beautiful, charming little neighborhood.
Today the area is filled with trendy bars, art galleries, vintage stores and coffee shops.
The park hosts public art and concerts and there’s even a comedy club across the street.
To learn more about this quaint little neighborhood visit pioneersquare.org
Belltown is located just north of downtown Seattle and is home to many trendy shops and nightclubs. Belltown has a “hoppin” live music scene and many award winning restaurants.
Which equates to “expensive” in my book.
Belltown is also home to the Olympic Sculpture Park.
The sculpture park is owned and operated by the Seattle Art Museum. The nine acre park is free and open to the public year-round.
Besides admiring the unique sculptures, the park also has breathtaking views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and the iconic Space Needle.
My sister Stacy and I stayed at an AirBnb in Belltown at the end of our awesome three day road trip from St. Louis to Seattle. It ran around $250 a night which is about average for the area.
Super nice place with garage parking and a balcony with a view. You can see the cruise ships from here. Out of curiosity we researched the condo building to see what the rent would be for a long term stay. A condo like this could be all yours for a mere 3 to 4 thousand a month. That doesn’t include utilities by the way. Just a tad (by that I mean a lot) out of my price range but it was a nice two night stay anyway.
To learn more about Belltown visit belltowninseattle.com
#5 Downtown Seattle Waterfront
I’m not even sure where to begin. The Seattle Waterfront has so much to offer and millions of tourists know it. Expect large crowds of people pretty much anytime of year. Don’t let that stop you though because it’s definitely worth it.
Let’s start with the seafood.
Delicious, fresh seafood is a staple on the waterfront. The piers are loaded with seafood restaurants from fine dining to take out. Sit outside, overlook Elliot Bay, and watch the boats and seagulls while you enjoy some oysters, clams and crab legs. Watch out for the seagulls though, they like seafood too.
There’s no end to the deliciousness and with so many places to choose from the task can be daunting. I can personally recommend “The Crab Pot”, “Ivar’s Fish Bar” and “The Fisherman’s”. I doubt you can go wrong anywhere along the pier.
The Gum Wall
Look but don’t touch. The Market Theater Gum Wall, now Unexpected Productions, is covered in used chewing gum. The gum wall is a located in Post Alley under Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle and is a local landmark.
The gum wall started in the 1990’s, I can’t tell you why, but it did. It made it until 2015 before the city decided to clean it up, apparently it was several inches thick. It took them 130 hours to remove the 2,350 lbs of used chewing gum off of the wall. And you thought your job was bad. It wasn’t long before visitors began making the wall bubblicious again.
This 50 foot long wall, covered in used chewing gum, in a dirty, dark alley under the market is a huge fan favorite. Why wouldn’t it be?! Be sure to check out the most germy piece of art around, it’s actually kinda pretty in a weird kinda way. Be sure to add your own artwork while you’re there.
There is no denying that Seattle has one of the most beautiful waterfronts. With heavenly views of Elliot Bay, Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountain Range, you’ll never want to leave.
Really experience the views from “The Seattle Great Wheel”. Located at Pier 57, this 175 ft. tall Ferris wheel will take you high above it all for the most magnificent views on the West Coast.
“The Great Wheel” sits directly behind “Miner’s Landing” on pier 57.
“Miner’s Landing” is a huge tourist destination, with souvenir shops, restaurants and attractions galore.
If you are looking for a vast variety of lovely shops, art galleries, coffee shops and/or restaurants that set your food on fire, Downtown Seattle has you covered.
Pike Place Market
The most famous farmers market in the world is Pike Place, you for sure do not want to miss it. This nine acre market opened in 1907 and has been drawing visitors from around the world since. For good reason.
You can buy everything from fresh produce, seafood, crafts, art and clothing to magic tricks from the magic shop. The market doesn’t fall short of restaurants either. Have a strawberries and cream crepe from Crepe De France, you won’t regret it.
Pike Place is also home to the first Starbucks store.
The original Starbucks logo is displayed over the entrance in the photo above, and the photo below is the line of people waiting to get into the famous little coffee shop.
I have to admit, I’ve waited in this line a couple of times. It actually goes faster than you might think. They have definitely got their system figured out.
After grabbing a crepe and a coffee, head over to the Seattle Waterfront Park and enjoy your surroundings.
The Seattle Waterfront also hosts the Seattle Aquarium and the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal.
If you love Seattle be sure to read more posts below, from Heytherefromhere.com.