Fremont, the southern tip of the (510), has always been a city of diversity. It was formed in 1956 as the consolidation of five smaller communities, and is now part of the Tri-City area of Fremont, Union City and Newark (The FUN Mother's Club, the largest moms’ group in the area, comprises members from those cities).
Where to play inside with kids in Fremont
Children’s Natural History Museum @ 4074 Eggers Drive
The Children’s Natural History Museum in North Fremont is currently open Tues and Thurs 2 pm – 5 pm, first and third Saturdays (1 pm – 5 pm) so you might want to double-check that. Many exhibits are interactive and children are encouraged to touch and explore the exhibits that are marked for “activity.” The best days to visit the museum are the event days, with an ever-changing set of activities.
Giant play space: KidTopia @ 4620 Auto Mall Pkwy | (510) 438-9125
KidTopia is one of the Bay Area’s largest, soft play indoor recreation and party event center for children, age 0 to 12. Think HUGE with massive crawling structures and tiny nooks for hiding. They offer sensory-friendly Tuesdays to accommodate children with special needs. Learn more about KidTopia.
Small play space: Play Date @ 4938 Paseo Padre Parkway
With 2,000 square feet of play structures, role playing activities, and a light-up dance floor, this space is wonderful for the smallest children up to about age four. Learn all about Play Date Redefined.
Fremont Main Library @ 2450 Stevenson Blvd. | (510) 745-1500
Fremont Main Library offers many kid-friendly classes and parent-friendly storytimes. Check out the calendar to keep up with which activities require registration or just a free hour. As a member of the amazing Discover & Go program, the library can also unlock the greater Bay Area to you by loaning out free and deeply discounted museum day passes.
Amazing Parks and Playgrounds in Fremont
Central Park @ 40000 Paseo Padre Parkway
Lake Elizabeth is a huge lake in the middle of Fremont’s Central Park that is flanked by four different playgrounds. All are fun and have their own selling points. Three are within a few feet of the lake but our favorite is the one on the northern border of Central Park: Always Dream Play Park. Kristi Yamaguchi, a Fremont native, opened the park early in 2010. The play area is designed for children of all abilities and allows for physical as well as mental development through a diversity of play experiences. Our friends' kids LOVE the rope structure merry-go-round and the [clean] sand box. It is really crowded on the weekends. [All about Central Park in Fremont]
Aqua Adventure @ 40500 Paseo Padre Parkway
We love Aqua Adventure Waterpark in the summertime. It is big but not too big and has play areas for toddlers and young children as well as a lazy river and pool that everyone can enjoy. Older kids can go down the super fast water slide. It’s geared for younger children and families, which I really appreciate.
Ardenwood Historic Farm @ 34600 Ardenwood Blvd.
There's always something different happening at Ardenwood. If your kids want to visit an actual working farm, Ardenwood Historic Farm located near the northern border of Fremont off Route 84 is the perfect place to visit. They have special events throughout the year including the pumpkin patch during Halloween and Christmas events in December. During certain weekends in December you can take a train ride through the Monarch Butterfly grove, take a tour of the Patterson House all dressed up for the holidays, visit with Father Christmas, make holiday crafts, and visit with the farm animals. The train ride and the crafts during these special event days are magical. During the rest of the year, look for Toddler Time, featuring different animals each week.
Kid-friendly restaurants in Fremont
Fremont’s diversity is displayed through the abundance of authentic ethnic restaurants. If you like Indian food, there are so many options, you could try a different one every week and not run out of new places for a couple of years. There are buffets, vegetarian restaurants, cafeterias, snack “sandwich” shops and bakeries. Our favorite buffet is Taste of India located on Mowry right off the 880, the best kid-friendly value we’ve found. If you want Indian and your kids want pizza, you can try Pizza and Curry located on Blacow Road between Fremont Blvd & Roberts Ave. Indian style pizza for you and Italian style pizza for the kids–win-win. And if you sometimes just need a naan fix, drop by Shalimar, the cafeteria-style restaurant in Central Fremont.
Adventures in Fremont
Niles and the Niles Canyon Railway
The Niles area of Fremont is a town within a town. Its main street has several antique shops, a tea room, and other stores you might imagine when you think of small town America. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon walking around, browsing, and eating. I’m looking forward to taking my friend for high tea on her birthday at Tyme For Tea! From Thanksgiving to New Years, Niles is also the starting point for the Train of Lights on the Niles Canyon Railway that runs nightly between Niles and Sunol. The train is covered with lights, making the journey on the historic train all the more memorable. The rest of the year the train makes the one hour run on Sundays only.
See our day trip to Niles Canyon Railway.
Hiking Mission Peak
Mission Peak @ East end of Stanford Avenue, off Mission Blvd
A great place to go hiking with kids and adults of all ages is Mission Peak. The trails climb about 2000 feet from the trailhead, in less than 3 miles. Fit hikers should have no problem with this 6 mile hike, and beginners in reasonable shape may find the ascent tough, but manageable, with proper pacing and plenty of water. Of course, if you are here for a casual hike, you will probably only make it part way and turn around, but the views are still worth the hike — on clear days you can see clear across the Bay! There is a small parking lot at the base of the trail but ample street parking in the surrounding neighborhoods if that parking lot is full.
[Additional reporting by Eunice Choi, Sarah Lee, and Jessica Manrique. All photos used with permission]