The San Francisco Bay area has much more to do and see than just the city of San Francisco itself. Your first thought may be Oakland or nearby San Jose, but there are also many other cities, towns and communities chock full of fun activities. The city of Fremont is among the best when it comes to family-friendly fun.
To say the city has come a long way would be putting it mildly. It began as an agricultural town in early 1956 with the merger of Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose and Warm Springs. Nestled in the southeast corner of the Bay Area, Fremont is now the largest suburb in the metro area and the fourth-most populous city in the region.
Are you looking for some things to do around Fremont CA? Here is a look at some of the best family-friendly things to do around Fremont, CA, including some hidden gems even locals may overlook.
- Museums to Visit in Fremont California
- Nature and Parks in Fremont, CA
- Family Friendly Restaurants in Fremont
- Amusement Parks
- Fun Events and Activities for Families in Fremont
- Activites Off the Beaten Path in Fremont, California
Museums to Visit in Fremont
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum
Located in the Edison Theater, an old Nickelodeon theater that’s more than 100 years old, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum is just half a block from a site where legends such as Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson made films. The museum aims to be more than just a collection of old memorabilia by looking at all aspects of silent filmmaking, from planning to production to presentation.
There is a lot to take in during a tour of the museum, and on Saturdays and Sundays it screens classic silent films such as “Tumbleweeds,” “Clash of the Wolves,” “Dirty Work” and “Call of the Cuckoo.” As the name of the museum indicates, it touches on the history of Essanay Studios, which became known for its Chaplin comedies in 1915 and in the 1920s was absorbed into what is now Warner Brothers. If you’re looking to host a larger-scale event, the theater can be rented and can even screen your own DVDs or film reels.
Museum of Local History
The Washington Township Museum of Local History looks at life in the Tri-City Area, which includes nearby Newark and Union City, in addition to Fremont. The goal of the museum is to preserve memories, documents, artifacts and other historical items from Southern Alameda County and share them with generations to come. The Museum of Local History boasts a wide variety of permanent exhibits, such as:
- One that looks at the early days of Washington Township
- One that explores various modes of transportation and how they have changed over the years
- Another on what it was like to attend school in the early 20th century
In addition, the museum welcomes a number of special exhibits throughout the year, including a recent one that looked at Teddy Ruxpin, the popular 1980s toy that got its start in Fremont. Another fun exhibit is called “The Touchable Then & Now.” It features hands-on items from past and present that visitors can actually touch and play with, such as adding machines, old-style telephones and view masters. The exhibit rotates items in and out throughout the year.
Niles Depot Model Railroads and Museum
Niles Depot Model Railroads and Museum offers a fun way to look at the history of early railroads, with an emphasis on the Niles District in Fremont. The museum owns:
- Old equipment and photos
- Old railroad signals that actually operate
- A Western Pacific Railroad caboose
- Classic telegraph and railroad communications equipment
Most interesting to kids or kids at heart, Niles Depot is home to a number of model train layouts meant to mimic historical layouts of the area’s railroad systems. Anyone with even a passing interest in trains should give Niles Depot a look — it’s one of the best things to do in Fremont with kids.
Children’s Natural History Museum
Natural history may not sound like the most exciting subject, but the Children’s Natural History Museum is a fun way to get kids — and yourself — learning. One of those is the museum’s Miller Stardome and “Walk Through Time Exhibit,” which gives you an idea of how Earth has evolved over the past 4.5 billion years.
There is also the Wesley Gordon Fossil Hall, a nature hall that has specimens more than a century old, and a mineral and rock hall. If you’d like to check out the museum, be sure to plan ahead as its hours are sporadic. The museum is open on Tuesdays and Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m., and the first and third Saturdays of each month from 1 to 5 p.m.
Nature and Parks in Fremont, CA
Coyote Hills Regional Park
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, Coyote Hills Regional Park is made up of nearly 978 acres. The vast area, which includes some marshland, has an abundance of space for outdoor activities, such as:
- Bird watching
- General nature exploration
You can also take a guided tour of a Tuibun Ohlone Village Site — formerly Native American Archaeological Sites — or visit a bird and butterfly nectar garden next to the park’s visitor center. The trails alone could keep you and the kids active for hours, or you could spend time relaxing with a family picnic.
The centerpiece of Fremont’s Central Park is beautiful Lake Elizabeth, an 80-acre lake surrounded by a two-mile walking path. This is another good spot for a family picnic and also features many of the other activities you’d expect from a park, including play areas for kids, basketball and tennis courts, and a skate park.
You can even do a bit of fishing on Lake Elizabeth or visit the park’s seasonal water park. Boat rentals are available seven days a week from mid-June through at least mid-August, and the Fremont Sailing Club also allows guests on members’ boats when there is space available.
Always Dream Play Park
The Always Dream Play Park is technically part of Central Park, but it’s unique and fun enough to warrant its own entry. Financed by the foundation of former Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, the park is meant to help kids develop both mentally and physically through diverse and unique play experiences. The park is visually stimulating as well, with lots of bright colors on its play equipment and sculptures. Standard swings and picnic tables are on hand, as are a sand play area, drums, and water play equipment.
Mission Peak Regional Preserve
The Mission Peak Regional Preserve is best known for its challenging hiking, which can be a fun family pursuit provided the kids aren’t too young. Even if a serious hike isn’t in the cards, the park is a great place for other activities, such as biking, dog walking and horseback riding. Also, the local hang gliding club, Wings of Rogallo, has a launch site at the preserve, and their activities can be fun to watch for the family. If you’re feeling really daring, the club offers training to experience various forms of free flight.
Family-Friendly Restaurants in Fremont
Le Moose Crepe Cafe
Le Moose Crepe Cafe is perfect for families because it has something for both kids and adults. The kids will love the dessert crepes — who wouldn’t? — which come in a wide variety of flavors. The basic option is a crepe with brown sugar and butter, while the Strawberry Delight has Nutella, raspberry sauce and strawberries. For the adventurous, try the Gargantuan, which has three scoops of ice cream on a Nutella crepe with bananas, strawberries and chocolate sauce.
Meanwhile, adults who appreciate spice will like Le Moose’s food menu, which features traditional Thai, curry and fried rice dishes. After all, variety can be key when trying to keep the entire family entertained.
Spending time with the family doesn’t always lead to the healthiest of meal decisions, but that’s not the case at Yalla Mediterranean. We use a farm-to-table approach to help ensure only the healthiest ingredients that are up to our standards hit your plate. We source them from local farms.
The food at Yalla Mediterranean is healthy, but, just as importantly, it’s tasty — protein options include:
- Grilled chicken
- Steak or chicken shawarma
- Kefta, a Turkish spiced ground lamb and beef
Paired with some of our delightful sides, including Greek potato salad, baba ganoush and tabouli, your meal promises to please the entire family while also keeping them healthy. Also, if you come for the food, stay for the dessert. We feature house-made Greek frozen yogurt, as well as baklava and chocolate pita cookies.
Learning about the history of Spin-A-Yarn Steakhouse is just about as fun as it is to eat there. First, the family-friendly bit — the restaurant features an all-you-can-eat brunch each Sunday for just $15. The regular menu is also very accessible for families. There are staples kids will enjoy, such as chicken strips or hamburgers, and there are also more upscale options for adults, such as lamb chops, filet mignon and prime rib.
As for the history, Spin-A-Yarn got its start in the 1950s as a place local farmers and their families could meet and share the latest news of the week. Locals went there to hear stories from old timers about the Old West or gold and silver mining, which is why it took on the name “Spin-A-Yarn.” When looking for fun things to do in Fremont, be sure to include this on your list of dining options.
Amusement Parks in Fremont
Aqua Adventure Waterpark
One of the best things to do in Fremont with kids, particularly on a hot summer day, is to head to Aqua Adventure Waterpark, located on the grounds of Central Park. The park features:
- A number of different water slides
- A roundabout river for a relaxing and soothing water ride
- An oasis pool
- “Avirida’s Beach” and “Bucket Bay” theme areas
There is also a mini pool for smaller kids, an on-site grill where you can enjoy lunch, and a number of cabanas and huts where you and the family can take a break from the sun. Ticket pricing is reasonable, $19.99 for adult non-residents and $14.99 for juniors. There is also a $13.99-per-person group rate for those with 15 or more in their group.
LeMans Karting is a go-karting facility in Fremont featuring an indoor track, as well as an indoor-outdoor “Mega Track.” The venue is open for private parties or league racing, and there are youth driving programs as well. You should know before you go that all guests are required to provide a government-issued driver’s license before they can race, or else they must go through the LeMans driver training program.
If not everyone in the family is interested in driving, the facility also has a soccer pool table for kids and families to play on. Soccer pool is just what it sounds like — it’s a giant pool “table” you can walk on. Instead of hitting pool balls with cues, players hit soccer balls with their feet.
Fun Events for Families in Fremont
Fremont Festival of the Arts
Set in downtown Fremont, the Fremont Festival of the Arts is a two-day event in August featuring a slew of art, wine and music. The event is free to attend and has two music stages, as well as a “Kid City” area that includes carnival rides, games, arts and crafts, demonstrations and performances.
You will find an abundance of food booths that benefit the Fremont Community Foundation, as well as food trucks with more culinary options. For adults, there are more than 20 wines and a dozen beers to choose from, along with regular and strawberry margaritas. And kids can enjoy water, soda or flavored slushie drinks served in collectable cups.
Kids ‘n’ Kites Festival
The Kids ‘n’ Kites Festival is an annual event hosted by the City of Fremont Recreation Services Division at Central Park, next to Aqua Adventure Waterpark. The free May event features:
- Live entertainment on a main stage
- Interactive booths focusing on summer activities
- A play area for kids
- A wide variety of food vendors
The event lasts just five hours, but during that time more than 4,000 free kites are distributed to kids. Not only will your kids receive a free kite, but they’ll also have plenty of room to fly them around sprawling Central Park.
Fremont Street Eats
Launched in 2011, Freemont Street Eats is a weekly gathering in downtown Fremont on Capitol Avenue between Liberty and State Streets. The event takes place on Friday nights from the first weekend in May through the last weekend in October.
Each week features new food trucks to choose from, and there are also new beer and wine selections each month. Live entertainment performs every week, including a band on the last Friday of each month. You have to eat, after all, so when searching Fremont for things to do, why not spend time with the family dining outdoors while enjoying some live music? You may also win something in the process — the event features weekly drawings and prizes for those in attendance.
Activities Off the Beaten Path in Fremont
Ardenwood Historic Farm
The original owners of Ardenwood Historic Farm, George and Clara Patterson, lived there in the 1850s. Fremont acquired the property in 1978, and since 1985 the city has operated it as a landmark turn-of-the-last-century farm. The idea is to give you an idea of what it was like to live the farm life in mid-19th century California. To this day, the farm produces the same kind of crops it has for the past 100-plus years.
When you visit, the farm’s staff truly attempts to take you back in time, wearing Victorian clothing and demonstrating farm chores of the era. Ardenwood Historic Farm is a great place to visit more than once — since it’s a working farm, the daily activities vary by season, meaning a new experience each time you visit. Also, there is plenty of access. The farm is open Tuesday through Sunday year round, the only exceptions being Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Niles Canyon Railway
Niles Canyon Railway is a museum by name, but it’s really much more than that. The purpose is to preserve the historic aspects of Pacific Coast railroading that occurred from 1910 to 1960. However, this is done by more than just looking — visitors can enjoy a ride on one of these historic vessels. There are also a number of themed rides for you and the family to take part in, such as:
- Mother’s Day Tea ride
- Wine tasting rides
- Beer on the Rails event
It also features an education train that teaches kids about how the historic railroad line helped shape the Bay Area and the entire West Coast, from development to railroad safety.
One of Niles Canyon Railway’s most popular events is the Train of Lights, a nighttime ride during the holidays with antique coaches and open cars featuring holiday lights and decorations both inside and out. If you’re planning to do this, prepare to book quickly — last year the entire load of 20,000 available seats nearly sold out in just two days.
The Peak of Fremont
The Peak of Fremont is an indoor rock-climbing facility that caters to all experience levels. For those who know what they’re doing, a basic day pass costs $20, which includes a climbing harness. There are also classes available for climbers of all levels, including kids and beginners all the way up to advanced training and a lead climbing class.
Don’t be afraid of excluding the kids — The Peak of Fremont has youth programs and climbing teams for kids ages 5 to 18. For those who may not be into climbing, the facility also features eight world-class bocce courts, along with a full-service restaurant and bar.
J.E. Perry Farms
A working farm in Fremont, J.E. Perry Farms provides delicious produce year-round that your family will want to dig into. But it’s particularly well-known for the Perry Family Pumpkin Patch, which opens in October. Children can pick their own Halloween pumpkins from the patch, as well as enjoy a variety of kid-focused activities, such as:
- Climbing the hay pyramid
- Posing for photos with character cut-outs around the patch
- Winding through the kids maze
The farm has a picnic area where families can gather for lunch or a nice snack — perhaps consisting of some of the bounty found on the farm. You can feel good about eating it, too, since the farm has been certified organic since 1990.
Find Your Own Family Fun in Fremont
Since opening our location in Fremont, Yalla Mediterranean has been impressed with the fun spirit of this town and all the things there are for local residents and tourists alike to enjoy. Whether your family enjoys becoming one with nature outside, learning about natural history, eating huge desserts or seeing a functioning farm from the 1850s, you can find something you’ll enjoy in Fremont.
There are fun things to do all around, which is no surprise considering the city’s history and beautiful geographic setting. The activities listed here alone could keep you and the family busy for weeks.