Tour tech's best neighborhoods: Creating tech culture in the People’s Republic of Fremont

You’ll notice quickly that Fremont bristles with monuments. Even before tech superpowers and startups such as Adobe, Google, and Tableau landed in this Seattle neighborhood (also known as the Center of the Universe), Fremont took an expansive view of the value of public and private self-expression. Signs of Fremont’s cultural ambitions are everywhere, but you can divine their presence efficiently from the signpost at the intersection of N. 35th Street and Fremont Avenue N. You can also smell chocolate most of the workday thanks to Theo Chocolate Factory. By most accounts, Fremont’s strong flavor persists despite gentrification and pleases its large cadre of new tech tenants.

In practical geographic terms, Fremont sits on Lake Union and the Fremont Cut (part of Seattle’s Ship Canal) to the north of downtown Seattle and Amazon’s territory, South Lake Union neighborhood. Like one of its most familiar landmarks, the Fremont Troll, it lives under the Aurora Bridge and next to the Fremont Bridge, a drawbridge that rises for boats traveling to and from Puget Sound, on the other side of the locks, and lowers again for the road traffic (much of it on bicycles) waiting to get in and out of Fremont. From workers at Tableau, you can hear admiring or exasperated evaluations of various bridge tenders’ style and competence: “No, no! The warning horn should sound like [this]!”

As is the case with most of Seattle’s major districts, people live and work in Fremont. In this neighborhood, people are up early, but they might be rowing or running or biking or doing yoga before they settle down to work. They’re inclined to take meetings later in the day in walks along the canal path, during which they exercise a finely tuned watchfulness to avoid collisions with constant cyclists.

These photos begin about 7 a.m. of a September workday and continue through an evening 12 or 13 hours later. We hope you enjoy your time in Fremont.

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