10 things I love about Fremont, California
Being the fourth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fremont has quite a diverse mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Having been a resident of this city for the last 20 years, there are obviously much more than 10 things to love about Fremont. But, to borrow a line from the classic Sound of Music song, these are a few of my favorite things:
1. It’s BART’s first station en route to San Francisco.
If you’re going to San Francisco, the Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART is the most sensible means of transportation to take. For who drives to the city these days, especially during rush hour, when 40 minutes on BART gets you to your destination, free of stress and (more often than not) on schedule. When you’re coming from the southern end of the Bay, hop on the train at the Fremont Station, it’s where the line begins. It’s called the Fremont line, and rightfully so.
2. Charlie Chaplin was here!Fremont’s Niles district was at the center of it all when the golden age of “silent movies” occurred. It was in these rustic streets of Niles where the most famous silent films of all time were made, including Charlie Chapin’s The Tramp. Much of the glory of its movie making years has been preserved by way of the silent film museum on Niles Boulevard. Historic Niles is also famous for its antique shops, craft galleries, and the Niles Canyon Railway train depot. There is much to explore on this side of Fremont!
3. Fremont is home to TESLA, pioneer in clean car technology.
When you see a Tesla electric car on the road, there’s a great chance it was manufactured and assembled in the Tesla Factory located in Fremont. It’s actually the former NUMMI plant, which General Motors and Toyota jointly operated for a good 26 years, and which Tesla acquired in 2010 for its Model S production. Tesla currently employs about 6,000 workers in the Fremont plant, making it the city’s top employer. And expansion plans are still under way that would add thousands more workers in order to meet the growing production demand for Tesla.
4. Silicon Valley may very well start here.
Fremont was an important beneficiary of the high-tech boom that occurred in the 1990s. Among the many hundreds of technology companies that have sprung up in Fremont, most notable is the Apple factory that manufactured Apple’s first Mac computer. Yup, in Fremont! Today, Fremont boasts of prominent high-tech & semiconductor companies, like Lam Research, Seagate, Western Digital, and so on and so forth.
5. Facebook is 10 minutes away.Although located in Menlo Park, Facebook is only a bridge away from Fremont. The Dumbarton Bridge provides a 10-minute drive or less to Facebook HQ from the Fremont end to the foot of the bridge over at the Menlo Park side. You won’t miss it on your right, One Hacker Drive. Tourists and locals alike take turns taking pictures, selfies at the thumbs up sign. It’s a shame if you miss this one!
6. One out of two Fremont residents is Asian.
Recent census stats shows Asians comprise 50% of the Fremont population. Being Asian myself, I love it that there is a whole array of Asian food selections at my disposal – sushi, pho, pad thai, noodles, lumpia, and even milk tea! There are Asian grocery stores scattered across Fremont – 99 Ranch, Marina, Island Pacific, Seafood City, Manna Oriental Market, Siddhartha International. Even hair salons are dominated by Asian hair stylists!
7. Take a hike at Mission Peak.As a proud hiker who has been to the top after 3 attempts, I was already in my 50s when the momentous achievement was finally realized. It took all of 3 hours, just to go up the peak, and slightly faster heading down. For the younger, more fit hiker, your 6-mile loop should be an easy 4 hour trek. You know you’ve reached the top when you see the iconic pole and you are immediately rewarded with the most amazing view of the East Bay, and on a clear day, even the San Francisco skyline. Don’t forget to take those selfies; it’s the only proof you’ll take with you and grants you bragging rights to your friends!
8. Lake Elizabeth – a walk in the park.From walking, jogging, biking, and roller blading, Lake Elizabeth park offers a 2-mile paved trail around the lake, set against a spectacular backdrop of rolling hills. I have attended many birthday parties in the park, and there is no shortage of fun activities for the whole family. It also serves as habitat for ducks, geese and birds and home to a variety of plants and flowers. Best of all, the park is dog friendly and my three pups get to chase the ducks when they catch them lazily crossing the trail.
9. Kristi Yamaguchi grew up here.
Photos courtesy of kristiyamaguchi.com and fremont.gov
U.S. figure skater and Olympic gold medalist, Kristi Yamaguchi, called Fremont her home most of her childhood and teenage years. She went to school and graduated at Fremont’s Mission San Jose High School, which by the way, is one of the top ranking schools not only in the city, but the whole state of California. Since she became a world famous celebrity, Kristi has not forgotten to give back to the community. Her Always Dream Foundation has sponsored a playground right in Fremont’s Central Park which was built to allow all children to play, including those with disabilities.
10. Home ownership remains a sensible investment.
Now this is where my REALTOR® experience comes into play. Fremont has proven to be a better place to invest in real estate; home values have consistently posted increases year-to-year since the market has recovered from the infamous housing meltdown in 2009. Home sales in 2016 posted a median price of $850,000, an increase of 7.6% over the previous year’s median. It’s a good performance all by itself, but even better when I tell you that Fremont outperforms not only the County averages, but even the State’s as well.