In the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area lies a modern city known as Fremont. For a long time, it’s been known as one of the most influential cities across the US in the development of Hollywood and American film.
Fremont, CA is where Hollywood was first established. It’s where Charlie Chaplin was made popular and where the silent film was created. It’s home to the Coyote Hills, Lake Elizabeth and the Train of Light.
As one of the first founding cities of the area, you can find some great adventurous things to do in Fremont. So, get your notepad ready, and prepare your walking shoes, because we’re about to give you a bunch of popular and unique things to do in Fremont.
Top Things to Do in Fremont
The Bay Area offers some great outdoor activities, perfect for the whole family. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Fremont.
1. Go Hiking at Mission Peak
The Bay Area is known for many things, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge chief among them. However, walking the Alameda countryside is one of the most popular things to do in Fremont.
Mission Peak Regional Preserve is Fremont’s most frequented hiking and outdoor spots. Symbolically, it’s what the city’s people chose to represent them on their flag. Thus, it’s a pretty notorious spot.
With views of Silicon Valley, Mount Tamalpais, and the San Francisco Peninsula, there aren’t many better spots to get the lay of the land.
2. Delve into Fremont’s Silent Film History
In the lower district of Niles, in Fremont, CA, is the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. You may be wondering why this place deserves such a high spot on this list.
Consider the fact that this was where Hollywood was created! Consider also the fact that this was where Charlie Chaplin made a name for himself. It’s one of the historical centers of the city.
Here, in Niles, was the birthplace of silent film, and where the likes of Chaplin, Keaton, and Broncho Billy plied their trades, and grew in popularity. This site is iconic to film!
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3. See the Mission San Jose Church
When it comes to local history, one of the more unmissable things to do in Fremont would be a visit to Mission San José.
During the 1700s it was built to house Spanish Franciscan priests on missionary duties in the area. After being subsumed into the greater city, it lost a lot of its notoriety and influence. Due to this, as well as earthquake damage, the church fell into disrepair.
It was only thanks to the efforts of a local committee and the Catholic Diocese, that the church has been restored. It’s worth a visit if you’d like to see an authentic replica of the original church.
4. Get Wet at the Aqua Adventure Water Park
In Central Park, in the middle of Fremont City, is the Aqua Adventure Water Park. Completed in 2009, the “Water Park” has been delivering family fun to both locals and visitors alike.
There are currently two major slides and a 25-yard long pool for you to enjoy. With shade structures flanking the pool to ensure you and your family are protected from the sun.
Be warned, you aren’t allowed to bring food into the park, but you can make use of the many food trucks on offer here. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!
5. Learn About Alameda County’s History
In 1853, Washington Township stood where the city of Fremont is today. It existed as the central hub of all activity in Alameda County and was made up of famous towns such as Niles and Union City.
Today, the Washington Township Museum of Local History stands in memorial to that legacy. For many visitors, as well as the locals, it’s important to learn the town’s heritage.
The museum gives you that opportunity. It gives you the chance of learning through the museum’s exhibits as well as taking a walk through the city itself. Just to see where Washington Township once stood.
6. Pay a Visit to Ardenwood Farm
Like Mission Peak, Ardenwood Farm is one of this area’s most prominent historical landmarks, and one of its iconic symbols. When it comes to what to do in Fremont, this is usually not far from one’s list.
A visit here would include stops at the farm itself, called Patterson House, and the surrounding forest. It’s to this day a fully functioning grain and vegetable farm and has been since the 1850s.
The iconic white colonial house is open to independent exploration, as are the grounds. So, you might as well take the opportunity to go for a tranquil stroll in the forest, amongst the indigenous Alameda trees.
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Unusual Things to Do in Fremont
Sometimes, we’re looking for something more unique to do when visiting a new place. Make use of some of these things to do in Fremont off the beaten track.
7. Walk the Marshes at the National Wildlife Reserve
The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge can be located on the southern shores of San Francisco Bay. Where this side of the Bay Area is known for its outdoor activities, here is one of its more unique attractions.
Wooden bridges, flat marshy landscapes, and wildlife are in abundance here. Founded in 1974, this refuge is the first-ever urban reserve ever established in the US.
Time here can be spent exploring your diverse surroundings. Make a day of it and visit Bair Island and the nearby Dumbarton Bridge as well. They both fall within the reserve’s jurisdiction and are worth a look-see.
8. Head to One of the Local Farmer’s Markets
The city of Fremont is located close to some fruitful farmlands, so it’s unsurprising that it boasts some pretty impressive farmer’s markets!
If you have time on a weekend, take a stroll along Fremont Boulevard. Here, you’ll find an awesome assortment of markets and fresh produce. If you can, start your journey at Irvington’s and make your way to Khorasan Market, stopping along the way.
You’ll see some local foodstuffs as well as a wide selection of international wares. You could spend your entire morning scanning the stalls!
9. Get Creative at Olive Hyde Art Gallery
One of the more artsy things to do in Fremont would undoubtedly be a trip to the Olive Hyde Art Center. A non-profit organization, this city-owned institute relies on volunteers for its exhibitions and activities.
In saying this, however, it’s well supported! Every year, the center boasts a large selection of pieces and hosts at least nine exhibits. It’s also one of Fremont’s avid sponsors for art education and development in schools.
If you can, try to catch one of their shows! With the local talent on display, you won’t be disappointed.
Safety in Fremont
In a recent study, Fremont made it onto the list of the top ten safest cities in America. At number seven on this list, you can be assured that a walk through the city would be fairly uneventful. More than just having crimeless streets, the city also boasts careful drivers and cleaner air.
In saying this, Fremont is still a major city, and it would always be worth your while to maintain wariness. It’s not uncommon in the city to come across drunkards and drug abusers, so stay alert, just in case!
Read our tips for traveling safely before you fly and always get travel insurance. Check out our roundup of the best travel insurance.
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Things to Do in Fremont at Night
The Bay Area has a well-known nightlife scene that can go well into the early morning and Alameda County is no exception. Here are some essential things to do in Fremont after dark.
10. Go for a Ride on the ‘Train of Lights’
The Niles Canyon Railway takes you on an hour-long journey through the Niles Canyon itself. Commonly known as the “Train of Lights”, it boasts a wide variety of carriages covered from head to toe in fluorescents!
Departing every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Niles Railway has two areas of departure: Niles and Sunol. If you want to catch the late dusk skies setting over the canyon, we’d suggest you depart from Niles on the 4:30 pm train.
Whether you’re sitting in First Class or in coach, you can be assured of an authentic and memorable train ride, lit up by its beautiful lights!
11. See Fremont’s Festive Side at the Plaza
Another of the fun things to do in downtown Fremont, California, would be a visit to Town Fair Plaza. It’s great for getting a sense of the Fremont community!
The plaza was designed to facilitate an environment perfect for the hosting of public events. Some nights it’s all about beer tasting, others more about cuisine. Sometimes it’s live entertainment! Either way, the Plaza is a great place for socializing!
The events you attend will all be determined by what time of year you’re there. Book ahead, and you’re bound to have a fun time, whether you’re alone, a couple, or with your family!
Where to Stay in Fremont – Ardenwood
Ardenwood is one of Fremont’s nearest neighborhoods to San Francisco Bay. It’s also one of the busiest and attractive neighborhoods in the area! Some nearby things to do include:
- Coyote Hills Regional Park
- Ardenwood Historic Farm
- Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Best Airbnb in Ardenwood – Cozy Room at the Independence Villa
This perfectly snug 1 bedroom at Fremont’s Independence Villa will suit all your needs. It boasts free WiFi, a spacious room, a double bed, a fully-equipped kitchen. As well as washing essentials, parking on-premises, and a convenient location.
With the bay nearby and many of the local attractions only a couple minutes’ walk down the road, this a good blend of quality, affordability, and accessibility.
Best Hotel in Ardenwood – Motel 6 Fremont North
This motel has one of the best locations in the area, especially for the price. This area is more commonly associated with higher bracket accommodation. However, at the Motel 6 Fremont North, you get location and a good price!
You’ll also get WiFi, accesses to the outdoor pool, cable, and air-conditioned rooms. The Bay Area can get hot, so it pays to be somewhere where you can cool off!
Romantic Things to Do in Fremont
With views of San Francisco Bay and rolling hills, Alameda County offers a lot to the romantics. Here are some fun things to do in Fremont for couples.
12. Have a Picnic at Central Park
Although this doesn’t compare to the Central Park found in Manhattan, it’s definitely one of the more romantic things to do in Fremont for couples!
With Lake Elizabeth washing its banks and 450 acres of lush landscape surrounding you, finding the perfect picnic spot has never been easier. Honestly, you could set up anywhere and you’d have the perfect site.
Just picture some fresh snacks, a soft blanket underneath you and your loved one alongside. All this while the birds chirp overhead and the water washes gently onto the shore. Stunning!
13. Catch a Sunset Over San Francisco Bay
On the banks of the East Bay sits the Coyote Hills Regional Park. Spanning over 950 acres, the park hosts the Coyote Hills. Although not the tallest around, these hills afford you a stunning view of the Bay area.
The park is situated in close proximity to Fremont itself so it’s not hard to get to. We’d suggest taking a short drive to one of the viewing points, or making use of one of its many trails, to try and catch the sunset.
Due to the nature of the landscape and its vegetation, the sun will turn the hills bronze and the water gold as it goes down. You won’t find many places better for viewing a sunset with your loved one!
Always Be Insured
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Best Free Things to Do in Fremont
A visit to the Bay Area shouldn’t be restricted by a lack of funds! See below a few things to do in Fremont on a budget.
14. Find the Exposed Hayward Fault
In downtown Fremont, running through the city is the Hayward Fault Line. As many of the locals can tell you, there’s something surreal about walking along with the cracked asphalt and maneuvered sidewalks.
The San Andreas Fault is one of the most famous and active fault lines in the world. As one of its branches, it’s unsurprising that the Hayward Fault remains ever-present in the lives of the Fremont locals.
It really is an eye-opener walking along the cracks. It’ll give you some serious perspective into our place on this shifting rock. It’ll also allow you to walk the city and see its streets!
15. Take Some Pictures at Shinn Park
As non-touristy things to do in Fremont go, this is one of the best. Especially if you want to take your Instagram to the next level!
The Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum is one of the prime wedding venues in the area. Why? Because it’s one of Fremont’s best-kept and most scenic secrets! The nearly 120-year-old Shinn House, with its plot of land, feels like a different world to that of the surrounding city.
The Arboretum is filled with spots perfect for photos you’d think a professional took. Try spending an afternoon here enjoying the site and its sounds. It’s a true step out of time!
Books to Read in Fremont
The Backpacker Bible – Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building an online income.
Sometimes a Great Notion – A tale of a hardheaded Oregonian logging family that goes on strike, leading the town to drama and tragedy. Written by PNW legend, Ken Kesey.
Walden – The transcendental masterpiece by Henry David Thoreau that helped modern Americans rediscover nature and her beauty.
To Have and To Have Not – A family man gets involved with the drug smuggling business in the Key West and ends up in a strange affair. Written by the great Ernest Hemingway.
Things to Do with Kids in Fremont
The local area is great for children, with its rolling hills and big centers. Here are a few fun and unique things to do in Fremont for you and your kids!
16. Have Fun at East Bay’s Largest Play Center
Kidtopia is the largest indoor play center in the East Bay and is one of the best things to do in Fremont with kids. It’s filled with lots of fun activities in its giant play space. Perfect for getting their bodies and imaginations running.
The center emphasizes cleanliness and hygiene on all its playgrounds. As most parents know, public spaces can be terrible for kids when it comes to attracting germs. You’ll smell the clean as you walk in.
With age-separated zones, you can be sure that irrespective of your child’s age, they’ll find a space well-suited for their enjoyment. There’s so much here to enjoy!
17. Ride a GoKart at LeMans’
In downtown Fremont, there’s one of the East Bay’s most frequented and high-octane activities: LeMans Karting Arena!
It’s undoubtedly catered to older kids but regardless, if high octane Go Karting is your family’s thing, you won’t be disappointed! With its giant indoor-outdoor course and age-appropriate races, it’s well worth the effort.
As a suggestion, you’d be best-served booking in advance to avoid the queues. Otherwise, thanks to the professional expertise of the crew, you can expect a great day out with the whole family.
Day Trips From Fremont
If you’ve got the time, the greater Bay Area has tons to offer those looking for an adventure. Below we offer some of the best day trips from Fremont!
Yosemite National Park
As day trips from Fremont go, there are none more necessary than visiting Yosemite National Park. The 3.5-hour drive getting there is only the beginning, being exposed to the California landscape.
But, what makes Yosemite so special? Aside from the fact that there are 1,200 miles of unobstructed wonder and beauty, filled with gorges, waterfalls, and glaciers. Or being able to camp in beautiful pine forests and swim in crystal clear water.
Other than being a part of all this, Yosemite just has something awe-inspiring about it. There’s a reason people say its a monument to the fortitude of nature. The High Sierra is definitely one for the scrapbook!
In the Southern Bay region, across the water from Fremont, lies the well-known Silicon Valley. In short, this is the hub for all forms of technological advancements, innovation, and social media distribution.
Not many people will visit the San Francisco area and not stop by Silicon Valley. There are tours available for all the major hubs here. You can take a stroll around Apple Park or see the famous Googleplex. You may also see the homes of Facebook, Tesla, Intel, Netflix, and Yahoo!
Put it this way, if you’re into social media and/or tech, Silicon Valley is a must. There aren’t many places in the world as up-and-coming as this one!
3 Day Fremont Itinerary
You’ve seen all the great things you could do in the local area, but perhaps you’re looking for a planned stay when here. Below you can find a neat 3-day itinerary, perfect for a prolonged stay.
Day 1 – See the Bay
Day one in Fremont is based entirely on seeing its natural beauty on offer. Start by taking a short drive to Mission Peak Regional Preserve, on the outskirts of the city. Ranked as one of the most popular things to do in Fremont, this should most definitely be number one on your list.
The no. 232 bus will take you right to the foot of the preserve. From there, you can enjoy a brisk morning’s expedition to the peak itself, where you’ll get your first viewing the entire Bay Area!
Catch the no. 239 bus back into town and make your way to the waterfront. We’d first suggest a stop at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. There are some beautiful bridges and birds to see.
Then, for a memorable sunset, take a quick walk across the Dumbarton Bridge, to Coyote Hills Regional Park. Enjoy the view!
Day 2 – Get to Know Fremont’s Amazing History
On the second day of your adventures in Fremont, you’d be well advised to check out a couple of the city’s local heritage sites. The Mission San Jose is one of the best spots to start your day.
You’ll get a rundown in the area’s Spanish and American history, as well as an introduction into some awesome local initiatives. From here, you’ll catch the no. 217 bus along Mission Boulevard. Your next stop? Niles and the original home of Hollywood!
In Niles, explore the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, where Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton became popular. There’s also Niles Community Park and the Alameda Creek nearby, should you want to slow down for a bit.
Finally, you’ll close out the day by booking a ticket on the nearby Train of Lights, and marvel at the sunset over Fremont and the light show onboard as well!
Day 3 – Fun in the Sun
Your final day in Fremont should be spent with the people who call this area home. The Bay Area people are a charismatic and passionate community. The Children’s Natural History Museum is a great first stop to see this.
In this area of San Francisco Bay, nature and family-themed outings are in abundance. The Children’s Museum captures both these experiences better than most other activities.
Nearby, you’ll also find the Town Fair Plaza. As community sites go, this spot is always busy! You can grab a late breakfast or lunch here, depending on your exploring. Then, for the afternoon, we’d recommend you spend it at Fremont’s Central Park, on Lake Elizabeth.
Not only is it perfect for those wanting to take it easy, maybe enjoy a picnic or gradual walk through the park itself. But, there’s also the Aqua Adventure Water Park here as well. So if you’re looking to finish your trip on a high, consider stopping by.
San Francisco Bay is well known for the Golden Gate Bridge and Silicon Valley. However, on its eastern shores, in the city of Fremont, you may find some more unique and quirky things to do.
Where the rest of the bay is generally modern and up-and-coming, Fremont boasts an incredible arrangement of nature and history-based activities. The community is all about conservation and education, and, through its legacy, it’ll teach you a lot!
It’s so much more than just another “city on the bay” and we hope you can see that. So, get your boots laced up and your picnic basket ready. Fremont is waiting!
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