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Introducing Green Lake & Phinney Ridge

Set your watch back five minutes, turn your brain setting to 'ironic' and cross the Fremont Bridge into the self-proclaimed 'People's Republic of Fremont'.

Weirder than Ballard and more self-deprecating than Capitol Hill, Fremont's essential business is its public sculpture. Most of its outlandish statues and monuments lie clustered around a few square blocks on the southern edge of the neighborhood close to the bridge, making viewing easy. Here you'll also find the bulk of the cheap eating places and Fremont's only hotel.

Fremont's a great neighborhood for getting a taste for local life, especially in summer, when festivals and regular outdoor movies send the locals positively delirious. With good bus connections and a bike-friendly intra-urban trail, it can easily be incorporated with visits to the adjacent neighborhoods of Ballard and Wallingford.

Just north of Fremont lies Green Lake, a small natural lake that’s the hub of a large park complex and a pleasant low-key neighborhood punctuated by detached craftsman-style houses. The lake is packed with crowds in summer, but it’s even better in fall, when the leaves are changing, or on a rare rain-free day in winter. Any time of the year, it’s a great spot for a walk or a run, or just to sit back on a bench and watch the rowers on the water.

Below Green Lake, Woodland Park Zoo is a must-see. And don’t neglect to head further up to Phinney Ridge, the hilltop neighborhood north of the zoo along Phinney Ave N, for some good pubs and restaurants.