Fremont is a modern city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum celebrates Fremont as one of the centers of silent movie-making through an extensive collection of artifacts and photos.

Also in Fremont, Mission San José is a 1700s Spanish mission, one of the first missions built by the Spanish in California, which now features a reconstructed adobe church and a museum.

1. Coyote Hills Regional Park

Coyote Hills Regional Park
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Coyote Hills Regional Park was established in 1967 on the south shore of San Francisco Bay near Fremont on 978 acres of land. The fairly low hills provide magnificent views of the bay, the ocean, Oakland, San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Tamalpais, the Peninsula Range, and three bay bridges. The hills are intersected by large patches of wetlands and a whole network of wonderful hiking, horseback riding, and biking trails. Most of the trails are fire roads between the hills and marshes and are of mixed use. There are also some narrow trails that are limited to hiking. There have been significant archeological findings in the area, evidence from when the Ohlone group of Native Americans inhabited the area.

8000 Patterson Ranch Rd, Fremont, CA 94555, Phone: 510-544-3220

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2. Mission Peak Regional Preserve

Mission Peak Regional Preserve
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Mission Peak Regional Preserve is a large public park near Fremont, California, and an important symbol for Fremont – it is part of the city seal. Mission Peak is located on a mountain ridge that includes Monument Peak and Mount Allison. The park also overlooks Silicon Valley and is frequently used by folks from all over the Bay Area for hiking, biking, sightseeing, and mountain climbing. Mission Peak is one of the most popular Fremont attractions, and the "Mission Peeker" is a marker pole at the summit and a famous landmark for visitors to take photos with. There are three multi-use trails that climb the mountain’s western and northern sides, with the Hidden Valley Trail being the most popular. It is a steep and strenuous climb with the elevation gain of 2,100 feet, but the views of the entire Bay Area from the summit are breathtaking.

Fremont, CA 94539, Phone: 510-544-3246

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3. Central Park

Central Park
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Central Park is a lovely 450-acre urban park in the heart of Fremont with 80-acre Lake Elizabeth in its center, surrounded by the towering Mission Peak Hills. The park has a number of picnic sites, children’s play areas, basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, a 2-mile pedway around the lake, and Aqua Adventure Water Park. There are boat rentals and boat launches and fishing is very popular here. The park is also a favorite for family parties and gatherings and there is always some celebration going on. On the north side of the park are a golf course and driving range, while water slides and skateboarding park can be found on the southwest end of the park.

40000 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94538, Phone: 510-790-5541

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4. Washington Township Museum of Local History

Washington Township Museum of Local History
© Museum of Local History

Established in 1994, the Washington Township Museum of Local History features a range of exhibits that describe life in the Washington Township and Tri-City area from the time it was a farming and ranching community to its slow but inevitable change to a suburban community. Exhibits showcase the lives of the families who moved to the area, the kind of work they had to do, and how they managed to establish a thriving community. The collections in the Washington Township Museum of Local History come from the Mission Peak Heritage Foundation and the Washington Township Historical Society, two historical groups with a history of more than 100 years. The museum has acquired a number of other valuable collections since then, and it organizes docent-led as well as self-guided tours and field trip opportunities for local history students. Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.

Washington Township Museum of Local History, 190 Anza St, Fremont, CA 94539, Phone: 510-623-7907

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5. Things to Do in Fremont: Ardenwood Historic Farm

Things to Do in Fremont: Ardenwood Historic Farm
© Ardenwood Historic Farm

George Washington Patterson built a farmhouse he called Ardenwood in 1857 on his estate near Fremont. In 1889, he and his wife Clara added the Queen Anne Victorian addition, and in 1915 his son remodeled the old part of the house and added many modern features. The estate, which included a large forest and a working farm, was converted into the Ardenwood Historic Farm in 1985 and opened to the public. Besides the farmhouse, the estate now includes the Railroad Museum, with a narrow gauge horse-drawn railway and a large collection of railroad cars and 19th century railroad artifacts. The park is famous for hosting many popular events such as a Celtic festival, the Washington Township Railroad Fair, a Renaissance faire, and many others.

34600 Ardenwood Blvd, Fremont, CA 94555, Phone: 510-544-2797, (website link)

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6. Niles Canyon Railway

Niles Canyon Railway
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A part of the Niles Canyon Transcontinental Railroad Historic District, the Niles Canyon Railway is a historic railway that runs through Niles Canyon, between Sunol, the Niles district of Fremont and Pleasanton in the San Francisco Bay Area. The railroad, which is operated by the Pacific Locomotive Association, offers public excursions using both diesel and steam locomotives on a preserved part of the First Transcontinental Railroad. These excursions bring to life the role and experience of railways in small-town America before the 1960s. The Niles Canyon Railway also hosts part of the collection from the Golden Gate Railroad Museum in the Sunol Depot. The Niles Canyon Railway is a living history museum that stresses the importance of heritage railroads in the development of California.

6 Kilkare Rd, Sunol, CA 94586, Phone: 510-996-8420

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7. Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area

Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area
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Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area is a regional park located in Fremont, California, located in a former gravel quarry. Established in 1976, the park lies between Niles and Centerville and between the BART train tracks and Alameda Creek. The park includes the Horseshoe and Rainbow Lakes and has a nice sandy swimming beach, picnic areas on the coast of the lakes, and a large grassy area. The park is popular for fishing, picnicking, and boating and has a network of hiking and biking trails that lead around the lakes and through the surrounding area. The network of trails is connected to the Alameda Creek Regional Trail. Only non-gasoline powered boats are allowed. The area’s Natural Unit is home to the Willow Slough and Lago Los Osos lakes, which are popular for biking, hiking and dog-walking, although no swimming is allowed in those two lakes.

2100 Isherwood Way, Fremont, CA 94536, Phone: 510-544-3130

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8. Things to Do in Fremont: Old Mission San Jose

Things to Do in Fremont: Old Mission San Jose
© Old Mission San José

Mission San José is a historic Spanish mission founded in 1797 in Fremont, California, by the Franciscan order, at what was then the site of an Ohlone village. It was the 14th mission the Spanish built in California. The mission went into decline after 1833 as a result of the Mexican secularization act, but many of the original structures have since been reconstructed. The old mission church is still in use as a chapel of the Saint Joseph Catholic Church. There is a museum with a visitors center, which offers a slideshow about the mission’s history. Visitors can also see the beautiful old adobe church that was completed in 1809, destroyed in 1868 by an earthquake, and the reconstructed to almost its original appearance. The church has an old rare Spanish organ that is used for concerts. The mission cemetery is located on the north side of the church and is the resting place for many mission pioneers.

43300 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539

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9. Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and Theatre

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and Theatre
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Located in the Fremont’s historic district of Niles, once the heart of the silent movie industry, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and showing silent films and their history, with a focus on the celebrated pioneering movie companies that worked in the Bay Area. The museum is located in the Edison Theater, a historic 100-year-old nickelodeon movie theater. A half a block from the museum is the site of the famous Niles Essanay Studios, where Charlie Chaplin made movies in the 1910s and Bronco Billy filmed several cowboy movies a week in the scenic Niles Canyon.

37417 Niles Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536, Phone: 510-494-1411, (website link)

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10. Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
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Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an area of 30,000 acres of open bay, salt marsh, salt pond, mudflat, and vernal and upland pool habitats. It is located in the southern part of San Francisco Bay in California, with its headquarters and visitors center located in Fremont, next to Coyote Hills Regional Park. The refuge mostly stretches along the shore of the verdant marsh north and south of the Dumbarton Bridge. Bair Island, part of San Mateo County, is also part of the refuge. Founded in 1974, the refuge was the first urban National Wildlife Refuge in the US and it is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the habitat of wild animals, protecting threatened and endangered animals and migratory birds, and providing wonderful opportunities for nature-oriented recreation and education.

2 Marshlands Rd, Fremont, CA 94555, Phone: 510-792-0222

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11. Aqua Adventure Water Park

Aqua Adventure Water Park
© Aqua Adventure Water Park

Aqua Adventure is a popular entertainment waterpark located in Central Park in Fremont, California, opened in 2009 to provide water-oriented recreation for visitors and local residents. It occupies the former Puerto Pensaco Swim Lagoon and is strongly focused on family fun. The waterpark has two open and two enclosed slides, which twist and turn their way down from 40 feet above the pools. There is also a 700-square-foot, 3-foot-deep lazy river that runs around the complex, while a splash zone provides a range of water sprays and jets. The waterpark also features the five-lane-wide and 25-yard-long Oasis Pool, which serves as an exercise and swimming spot. There are 12 shade shelters to provide protection from the sun on hot summer days.

40500 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94538, Phone: 510-494-4426

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12. Dumbarton Bridge

Dumbarton Bridge
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Connecting San Mateo and Alameda Counties, the Dumbarton Bridge spans the narrowest part of San Francisco Bay, between Newark on the east shore and Menlo Park on the west. The existing structure is the second Dumbarton Bridge. The original, actually the first Bay bridge built for vehicles, was constructed by the Dumbarton Bridge Company in 1927, but by the 1940s it had become too congested and insufficient for the growing volumes of traffic. The new bridge was completed in 1984 and is 8,600 feet long, with a vertical clearance of 85 feet, made with steel box girder covered with pre-stressed concrete. A covered walkway over the tool booths connects the Coyote Hills Park and National Wildlife Refuge. The bridge has three lanes in each direction and a separate bike and pedestrian lane.

Newark, CA 94560

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13. Things to Do in Fremont: Museum at Coyote Hills

Things to Do in Fremont: Museum at Coyote Hills
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Located at Coyote Hills State Park, the Museum at Coyote Hills is a small natural history museum that traces the history of the Ohlone Native Americans. The museum has a nice collection of Ohlone artifacts, tools, woven baskets, and a replica reed boat. There is also an exhibition on animal and plant species that live in the Coyote Hills. On weekends, the museum offers demonstrations of food preparation and other daily practices of the Ohlone. The museum is surrounded by a beautiful garden and a park that is perfect for picnics. A hike through the park, which was once inhabited by the Ohlone, offers a glimpse into the past long gone.

Nimitz Fairway, Fremont, California

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14. SVCC Temple, Fremont, CA

SVCC Temple, Fremont, CA
© SVCC Temple

SVCC Temple Fremont, also known as Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Cultural Center, Inc., is a colorful Hindu temple in Fremont, California, that was inaugurated in 2013. The temple offers a range of religious services to the Bay Area population as well as cultural education and “contribution to worthy causes without regard to geographical boundaries.” The temple supports students or families in need, contributes to food drives at the local shelters, and participates in blood drives in collaboration with local organizations. The temple is open seven days a week, offering regular services to the Fremont and Bay Area community.

40155 Blacow Rd, Fremont, CA 94538, Phone: 510-403-4256

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15. Hayward Fault Exposed

Hayward Fault Exposed
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Californians live their entire lives with the awareness that earthquakes are inevitable. The biggest reminders are actual faults in the Earth’s crust that are visible. Just like the more famous San Andreas Fault, the Hayward Fault, located near Fremont, California, is potentially a future cause of destructive earthquakes. The Hayward Fault Zone is about 37 miles long and stretches more or less along the western hills on the San Francisco Bay’s east side. It runs through El Cerrito, San Leandro, Richmond, Hayward, Fremont, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose. It runs parallel to the San Andreas Fault and, combined with the Calaveras Fault, has already produced severe earthquakes. Across the Hayward Fault is a 40-mile-long and 8-mile deep trench called the Hayward Fault Exposed. It opened in 2006 and is today a tourist attraction, open for viewing on Saturdays and Sundays.

Central Park, Fremont, CA

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16. Vargas Plateau Regional Park

Vargas Plateau Regional Park
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Vargas Plateau Regional Park is a wonderful green area located on a 1,000-foot-high plateau in the Fremont Hills, California. The lush, pastoral landscape with open grasslands, deep ponds, and steep forested canyons offers home to rich and diverse wildlife. Visitors can spot hawks, eagles, deer, bobcats, snakes, and many other animals. The view from the plateau is breathtaking and stretches all the way to the distant horizon, letting visitors see San Francisco Bay, Niles Canyon, Fremont, Newark, and Union City. The park can be reached by car and is a popular outdoor recreation area, especially for hiking and wildlife watching.

2536 Morrison Canyon Rd, Fremont, CA 94539, Phone: 510-544-3246, (website link)

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17. Alameda Creek Trail, Fremont, CA

Alameda Creek Trail, Fremont, CA
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Alameda Creek Regional Trail is a 12-mile-long hiking trail along the banks of Alameda Creek in southern Alameda County. It runs from the mouth of Niles Canyon near Fremont, going westward to San Francisco Bay. The trail provides fairly easy access to Coyote Hills Regional Park, and an additional 3.5-mile loop trail takes hikers into and out of Coyote Hills, looping back onto the Alameda Creek Trail. The distance qualifies the trail for marathon runs. The trail can be accessed from several trailheads in Fremont, Newark, and Union City and it is very popular with nature watchers since Alameda Creek is home to a number of birds and other animals.

2250 Isherwood Way, Fremont, CA 94536, Phone: 510-544-3137

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18. Fremont Market Broiler

Fremont Market Broiler
© Fremont Market Broiler

Part of the popular local chain, Market Broiler in Fremont is located in the Pacific Commons Shopping Center. Spacious and comfortable, Market Broiler is great place for family lunches and dinners, with comfortable booths and a large menu that features fresh fish and seafood. Every day the menu offers 18 fish offerings, all on display to the customers before they make their choice. The menu also has excellent steaks, pastas, and much more. While waiting for their meals, customers are offered hot, in-house baked sourdough bread. Fresh Fish Market, located in the restaurant’s lobby, entices guests to bring some of the fresh seafood and fish home for another day. Besides fresh fish, the market also sells chowders and side dishes, all ready to serve.

43406 Christy St, Fremont, CA 94538, Phone: 510-791-8675

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19. Things to Do in Fremont: Massimo's

Things to Do in Fremont: Massimo's
© Massimo's

Massimo's is an elegant white tablecloth Italian restaurant in Fremont and a popular destination for special occasions since 1976. The menu is American with a strong Italian influence and a focus on carefully and skillfully prepared freshest seasonal ingredients. Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes are Caesar salad, prepared in front of the guests in the dining room, and decadent flaming desserts. Among Massimo’s classics is veal saltimbocca with prosciutto, Monterey Jack cheese, and fresh sage with seasonal vegetables and risotto. Massimo’s serves original cocktails and has a small but well-chosen selection of wines, Californian and imported. Massimo’s has a nice private room for special occasions.

5200 Mowry Ave, Fremont, CA 94538, Phone: 510-792-2000

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20. Things to Do in Fremont: Papillon

Things to Do in Fremont: Papillon
© Papillon

Located in the Niles area of Fremont, California, near the entrance to Niles Canyon, Papillon is an upscale French restaurant serving gourmet food to Fremont residents for the last 20 years. The very elegant, traditional decor creates the perfect atmosphere for romantic or celebratory meals. There is also a pleasant atrium with soft light and filled with ivy, just right for leisurely lunches. Their private banquet room can sit 70 guests. The chef uses fresh seasonal ingredients to prepare timeless classics such as beef Wellington, escargot, Cognac duck pâté, frog legs, or roasted rack of lamb. Papillon has a large, finely selected wine list with wines from all over the world. Their dessert offerings are mouth-watering, especially creme brulee, baked Alaska, or flambé cherries jubilee.

37296 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536-1607, Phone: 510-793-6331

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21. Niles Depot Museum

Niles Depot Museum
© Niles Depot Museum

The Niles Depot Museum is home to a railroad museum as well as 2 carefully constructed model train layouts. The model train layouts were built by the Tri-City Society of Model Engineers with great attention to detail. Not only are the track plans historically correct, the buildings and scenery are also accurately displayed to scale. The museum is always happy to receive donations of rolling stock and tracks from those who have perhaps outgrown their train room. Model train enthusiasts can join the enthusiastic team of volunteer docents who run open days at the museum. Please check their website for details of the next Open Day.

Niles Depot Museum, 37592 Niles Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536-2980, 510 797 4449

22. Made Up Theatre

Made Up Theatre
© Made Up Theatre

If you love comedy shows you are going to love the Made Up Theatre in Freemont. Specializing in improv comedy shows, the Made Up Theatre presents a wonderful line-up of comedians who are skilled in improvisation, making up their act as they go along, by responding to audience suggestion and responses. All the shows are completely unscripted and momentum builds up as more and more audience suggestions prompt these amazing comics to showcase their talents. If you think you have what it takes to become an improv comedian, the Made Up Theatre offers classes and the opportunity for wannabe stars to try out on stage.

Made Up Theatre, 4000 Bay Street, Suite B, Fremont, CA 94538, 510 573 3633

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