Long known as Seattle’s quirkiest neighborhood, the "Republic of Fremont" has its own troll and a Lenin monument, plus an official motto that proclaims the "Freedom to be Peculiar." Several of the offbeat businesses that most epitomized this quirkiness have folded, but Fremont is still a delightful place to spend an afternoon. The best way to reach the neighborhood is across the Fremont Drawbridge, the world’s most active drawbridge according to the Guinness Book. Be ready to wait; on busy summer weekends it often opens every 10 minutes or so.
Once you cross the bridge, you'll meet one of Seattle’s most famous pieces of public art, Richard Beyer’s life-size group of commuters and a dog, Waiting for the Interurban. They are often decked out in used hats, balloons, or umbrellas contributed by passersby.
Head one block east and turn up the road beneath the Aurora Bridge that towers above you. Two blocks uphill you'll meet the locally famous Aurora Bridge Troll in the act of devouring a VW bug.
From here, walk to the official "Center of the Universe" at the corner of N. 35th Street and Evanston Avenue, where a 53-foot-high Russian rocket prepares to blast off from one building. Nearby stands Lenin in heroic pose. This statue originally stood in Slovakia until the 1989 revolution, when it was toppled and sold to capitalists. Lenin is now available to the first person with $150,000 to spend.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition