16 Best Things to Do in Fremont, CA

Fremont, CA skyline from hills
Uladzik Kryhin / shutterstock.com

We have all watched Hollywood flicks time and again.

If you are a movie buff and want to learn more about the history of filmmaking, then Fremont in California is the place to visit.

Niles, a small town in Fremont, is considered the first community in California to shoot and produce movies; some even call it the "first Hollywood."

Located in the scenic Alameda County, Fremont is also near the San Francisco Bay area.

It's home to the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, which ferries people to and from San Francisco.

On top of that, Fremont also is known for its rich culture, interesting history, and stunning tourist attractions.

To make the most out of your trip to the city, here's a list of the best things to do in Fremont, California:


Enjoy Scenic Views at the Mission Peak Regional Preserve

Scenic view of  Mission Peak Regional Preserve
yhelfman / Shutterstock.com

Visit this wonderful and spacious public park for a great outdoor trip.

It is spread over 3,000 acres and is located over a mountain ridge that also includes Monument Peak and Mount Allison.

Hike on the trailheads starting from Ohlone College or the parking area on Stanford Avenue.

The trail is a difficult one and includes continuous hiking for at least three or four miles.

But the view from atop Mission Peak is spectacular and worth the climb.

Cattles rearing at Mission Peak Regional Preserve
salilbhatt / Shutterstock.com

The Hidden Valley trail is also very popular.

All the residents of the Silicon Valley love coming to this Bay Area for various other sports like biking and mountain climbing.

Make sure you enjoy these delights, too.

A Raven stairing at its prey at Mission Peak Regional Preserve
salilbhatt / Shutterstock.com


Experience the Silent Films Era at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and Theater

Fremont is considered one of the pioneers of the silent films era, and this theater stands as a proud testimony to this.

The museum is present inside the famous Edison Theater, which was established way back in 1913.

Exterior of Mission Peak Regional Preserve
Pedro Xing, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

It showcases many historically significant film memorabilia and beautiful antiques like cameras and movie posters.

The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum also served as a filming location for various movies featuring famous movie stars.

The great comedian Charlie Chaplin filmed movies here, along with other famous stars like Bronco Billy, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardie, and Lilian Gish.

Go Birdwatching at Coyote Hills Regional Park

Scenic view of  Coyote Hills Regional Park
Lynn Yeh / Shutterstock.com

The park is set in low-lying hills, providing great views of mountains like the Cruz Mountains and Mount Tamalpais.

It also has a fabulous view of the ocean alongside the cities of Oakland and San Francisco.

The best part about these hills is the intersecting wetland patches making for a great adventurous experience.

A narrow dusty trail at Coyote Hills Regional Park
salilbhatt / Shutterstock.com

Hiking and biking on these trails is a lot of fun.

You can also gallop through the marshes on horses.

Owing to this unique ecosystem, various birds also love visiting this park.

Enjoy some birdwatching and spotting some rare bird species.

A hiker walking through the grasses and flowers at Coyote Hills Regional Park
salilbhatt / Shutterstock.com

The park is also an essential part of American history; according to archaeological findings, this area once belonged to the Ohlone group of Native Americans.

You can actually take a special guided tour of the recreated Tuibun Ohlone Village Site.

Coyote Hills Regional Park is also located close to the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, which houses many animal species.


Take Your Pick of Outdoor Activities at Central Park

Scenic view of  Central Park
Dragan Jovanovic / Shutterstock.com

This hugely popular city park is located around the 80-acre Lake Elizabeth.

This makes it very popular for boating activities.

Boat rentals are available along with fishing gear, so go on take your pick.

People enjoying at a party at Central Park
Dragan Jovanovic / Shutterstock.com

The park has a fun vibe, and most locals love organizing family picnics and gatherings on its premises.

There are various play areas for kids like basketball courts, tennis courts, and skateboarding parks.

For adults, there's also a golf rink and golf course.

Picturesque view of the grasses and mountains from Central Park
Iv-olga / Shutterstock.com

In the summer, the Aqua Adventure Water Park opens to the public and showcases enjoyable water slides.

There is also the Dog Park, where dogs and their owners come for refreshing walks.


Say a Prayer at the Old Mission Church at Old Mission San Jose

Front view of Old Mission San Jose
Jack N. Mohr / Shutterstock.com

This Spanish Mission dates back to 1797 and is said to have been constructed on the site of an indigenous Ohlone Village.

This then ran into ruins during the 1800s due to various secularization changes and even suffered from an earthquake.

The beautiful church was then restored to its former glory in the 1980s by community workers; today, the chapel has a beautiful rustic, antique look.

There is also a cemetery situated on the North where many mission pioneers rest in peace.

The museum's visitor center also showcases various historical artifacts and exhibits.


Experience Life in a Ranch from the 1800s at Ardenwood Historic Farm

Scenic view of Ardenwood Historic Farm
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Experience a proper introduction to the workings of an 1800s farm and ranch at the beautiful Ardenwood Historic Farm.

Their staff dresses up in outfits from the classical times and takes visitors on tour through the vast country estate.

The central Victorian mansion was built by the great George Washington Patterson in 1857.

His son then refurbished a part of the house in 1915 to give it all the modern facilities and features.

This huge estate later opened to the public in 1985, allowing people to learn about how a farm works and experience the locals' daily life.

The farmyard even houses animals alongside the appealingly beautiful Victorian-themed garden.

There’s also an in-house Farmyard café that serves traditional delicacies prepared with fresh organic farm produce.

In addition, the farm also houses the Railroad Museum, which showcases models of 19th-century railroad cars and a narrow-gauge horse-drawn railway.


Venture on a Heritage Train Ride at Niles Canyon Railway

Scenic view of Niles Canyon Railway
Austin Castrucci / Shutterstock.com

Take a ride on an antique railway carriage along the Niles Canyon Transcontinental Railroad Historic District.

The guides are dressed in cute costumes and offer a great tour through the Niles Canyon, Fremont district, and San Francisco Bay area.

They offer specialty rides, such as “Romance on the Rails" and "Moonlight Train Rides.”

If you happen to visit Fremont in December, the Train of Lights offers a particularly spectacular experience.

This living and breathing history museum is significant and showcases the history of railroads and their role in California's evolution.


Gaze at Wildlife at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located close to the Coyote Hills Regional Park.

It stretches through the verdant marsh shore in the North and on the south of the Dumbarton Bridge.

As its name suggests, this 30,000-acre refuge was constructed to preserve the area's endemic and rare species.

It's home to many thriving ecosystems, owing to various geographical features like marshes, salt ponds, open bays, mudflats, and upland pool habitats.

Thus, it has become a safe space for a lot of animals.

You can also enjoy fishing, birdwatching, and photography at this scenic location.


Have a Family Picnic at the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area

Aerial view of Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

The Family Park was established in 1976 is a great spot for a nice quiet family picnic.

The recreational area was built in a former gravel quarry, hence its name.

It is located between the Niles and Centerville area and between the BART train tracks and Alameda creek.

The shallow restricted area set aside for swimming is great for all age groups, so you can have some fun splashing in the water with your kids.

There are also two giant lakes on the premises, namely the Horseshoe and Rainbow Lakes.

These make for great boating and fishing spots.

To preserve the beauty of the environment and the life in the ponds, only non-gasoline-powered boats are allowed here.

The extensive lawns and grasses around the lakes can also be used for setting up a feast after a refreshing swim.


Go Brisk Walking on the Alameda Creek Regional Trail

You'll find this pedestrian trail near the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.

It is a favorite spot among fitness enthusiasts.

But other than walking and running, it is also a well-loved tourist attraction, owing to its sheer opulence and natural beauty.

It is the connecting link for the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area and Coyote Hills Regional Park.

So, make sure you cover all these spots on the same day if possible to save time and energy.


Visit the Botanical Garden at Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum

Scenic view of Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum
JeffBond824 / Shutterstock.com

If you love nature and the environment, then this beautiful park is the gem you need to visit.

It is located in the North of Fremont and houses plant species from all over the world.

Designed with a Bavarian theme, this Victorian farmhouse stands tall today, even after a series of unfortunate natural disasters like earthquakes.

The house can only be visited twice a month through a guided tour sponsored by Mission Peak Heritage Foundation.

The 4.5-acre property houses a variety of types of gardens, including Japanese gardens.

It has a plethora of species growing in abundance.

Do visit this hidden green gem on your tour.


Witness an Exposed Fault at Hayward Fault Zone

We have all seen the faults in mega movies like 2012.

Faults are the deep lines that appear during earthquakes and spread through the entire area.

Since California is prone to earthquakes, it is home to an exposed fault called the Hayward fault.

It's a 37-mile long fault that stretches along the western hills of the eastern San Francisco Bay site.

It runs through many areas, including El Cerrito, San Leandro, Richmond, Hayward, Fremont, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose.

The Hayward Fault, along with its counterpart, the Calaveras Fault, is responsible for many severe earthquakes in these areas.


Cross the Dumbarton Bridge and Take in Scenic Bay Views

Scenic view of Dumbarton Bridge
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

The Dumbarton Bridge is the shortest bridge that stretches across the mighty San Francisco Bay and was completed in 1984.

It connects Fremont to Menlo Park.

You should definitely experience going over this 85-foot bridge while looking out at the beautiful bay on both sides.

Besides that, you can even walk on the special pedestrian lane.

You can also rent a bike to cycle through the special biking lane.

Learn History at the Museum of Local History

Southern Alameda County has a rich history that is worth learning about.

The Museum of Local History preserves the area's rich history, allowing visitors to learn more about local artifacts, structures, and documents from the past.

The museum covers everything from all the way back to the Mission and Rancho eras before moving into how the small-town communities were established as suburban townships where families flourished till its incorporation.

They offer two different styles for tours: intern-guided or self-led.

They also offer class excursions specifically aimed at 3rd and 4th-grade students, who may be studying state and local history in school.

You will discover many aspects of this history, including how our communities came to be!

Take a Hike at Vargas Plateau Regional Park

Sitting on a plateau and established over 1,000 feet in the Fremont Hills, Vargas Plateau Regional Park offers a great overview of the Niles Canyon, San Francisco Bay, Newark, Fremont, and Union City.

It's just a few minutes away from popular parks, such as Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, Garin Regional Park, Sunol Regional Wilderness, and Mission Peak Regional Preserve.

The Vargas Plateau Regional Park provides the perfect opportunity for hikers, bikers, and equestrians to get up close and personal with nature.

A day stroll through its meadows offers visitors a chance to explore seasonal wetlands, grassland, stock ponds, northern coastal scrublands, oak woodlands, and perennial and ephemeral drainages.

Hiking through these beautiful lands will allow for observation of various birds and other animals.

Indulge in Fresh Fish and Seafood at Fremont Market Broiler

Located in the Pacific Commons Shopping Center, Market Broiler is a popular local chain offering banquet-style family-friendly dining.

People shopping at the nearby mall will notice that this is a newly built structure complete with modern facilities.

The spacious interior enables them to seat numerous clients, despite being adjacent to the mall.

Their menu features a wide selection of fresh fish and seafood, ensuring flavorsome meals for each diner regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences.

You have to try their delicious lobster-crab sliders, sizzling sea bass, and bacon-wrapped prawns.

The atmosphere, the service, and the ambiance are what make this place special.

When you visit Fremont Market Broiler, you will find that it is very easy to reach, being just off the freeway.

Final Thoughts

Fremont offers the perfect mix of historical heritage and modern town facilities.

There's so much to do around this city, from basking in the beauty of nature to soaking up its rich history.

For a trip that's equal parts exciting and rejuvenating, look no further than this captivating city.

Go on and plan your visit, and be sure to refer to this list of the best things to do in Fremont!

More California

Best Things to Do in San Francisco

Best Things to Do in Los Angeles

Best Things to Do in San Diego

Best Things to Do in San Jose

Best Things to Do in Malibu

Best Things to Do in San Clemente

Best Things to Do in Eureka

Best Things to Do in Capitola

Best Things to Do in Pismo Beach

Best Things to Do in Sausalito

Best Things to Do in Crescent City

Best Things to Do in Solvang

Best Things to Do in Pacific Grove

Best Things to Do in Healdsburg

Best Things To Do In Oxnard

Best Things to Do in Lancaster

Best Things to Do in Walnut Creek

Best Things to Do in Manhattan Beach

Best Things to Do in Dana Point

Best Things to Do in Davis

Best Things to Do in Santa Ana