Top 12 Free Things to Do in Fremont

Known as the “Gateway to Silicon Valley,” Fremont offers scenic beauty, historic sites, and diverse communities. With an array of museums, nature parks, and cultural attractions, visitors can stay busy exploring on a budget.

#ActivityBrief Description
1Coyote Hills Regional ParkOffers hiking trails with panoramic bay views.
2Historic Niles DistrictFeatures antique stores, restaurants, and a film museum.
3Lake ElizabethIncludes a trail, picnic areas, and pedal boat rentals.
4Don Edwards Wildlife RefugeA 30,000-acre wetland refuge for birdwatching and nature walks.
5Mission San JoséProvides free tours of a well-preserved Spanish mission.
6Central Park Disc GolfFeatures two 18-hole disc golf courses.
7Fremont Sunday MarketAn open-air bazaar with local artisans and farmers.
8ArtSpeakOffers free performances and art exhibitions.
9Patterson House MuseumA Victorian farmhouse showcasing Fremont’s history.
10Attend a FestivalVarious cultural festivals and fairs throughout the year.
11Picnic in the ParkEnjoy a picnic in scenic parks with various amenities.
12Gonsalves Winery Tasting RoomFree wine tasting of Portuguese and Mediterranean inspired wines.

Skip the pricey tourist traps and instead take advantage of these top 12 free things to do in Fremont, California.

Hike the Trails at Coyote Hills Regional Park

Name and Location: Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Part of the bay shoreline ecosystem with over 9 miles of trails through varied terrain. Offers beautiful bay views.

What to Expect: Hiking, biking, and horseback riding on trails of varying difficulty. Diverse wildlife and native plants. Interpretive programs.

Visitor Information: Open daily 8am-sunset. Entrance fee $5/vehicle. Leashed dogs permitted. Visitor Center open weekends.

For panoramic bay views and a chance to spot wildlife, spend an afternoon hiking at Coyote Hills Regional Park. The park spans nearly 1,000 acres, with over 10 miles of trails winding through wetlands, meadows and rolling hills.

Climb to the top of Kelley’s Peak for scenic vistas across San Francisco Bay. The park also features an interpretive center and a reconstructed Ohlone village site. Entry and trails are completely free.

Tour the Historic Niles District

Name and Location: Niles District in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: One of the best preserved historic downtowns in the Bay Area. Quaint shops, restaurants, and bronze sculptures along walkable main street.

What to Expect: Strolling along historic Niles Boulevard. Visiting antique and specialty shops. Dining at restaurants with international cuisine.

Visitor Information: Free self-guided tours anytime. Free public parking. Niles Canyon Railway offers train rides on weekends.

Step back in time by strolling through the historic Niles District, centered around Niles Blvd. Dating to the 19th century, this charming neighborhood now brims with antique stores, restaurants, and shops housed in historic buildings.

Be sure to see the Niles Silent Film Museum, which pays tribute to Niles’ role in cinema history, and snap a photo next to the giant bronze Charlie Chaplin statue.

Relax at Lake Elizabeth

Name and Location: Lake Elizabeth in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Lovely man-made lake completed in 1962, surrounded by landscaped municipal park. Popular spot for walks, fishing, and picnics.

What to Expect: Idyllic setting for picnics. Paved trail circling the lake perfect for walks, jogs or bikes. Lakeside fishing on weekends.

Visitor Information: Park open daily 6am-10pm. No entrance fee. Bathrooms, playgrounds, parking onsite. Electric BBQs available.

Escape the city and enjoy nature at Lake Elizabeth, located right off the 680 freeway. Walk, jog or bike along the paved trail circling the 42-acre lake. Have a picnic on the grassy banks, try your hand at fishing, or take out a pedal boat rental.

The lake is also connected to Central Park via a trail. Additional amenities include playgrounds, tennis courts, and free parking lots around the lake perimeter.

Explore the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge

Name and Location: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Marshland habitat for diverse birds, fish and mammals. Protects largest remaining wetlands along south San Francisco Bay.

What to Expect: Excellent bird watching, views of seals, otters, deer. Miles of trails and observation decks through marshes.

Visitor Information: Open daily sunrise to sunset. Free admission. Visitor Center open weekdays. Leashed dogs permitted on trails.

Birdwatchers and nature lovers shouldn’t miss this expansive 30,000 acre wetland refuge featuring open bay, marshes, and ponds.

Spot migratory birds, waterfowl, and other wildlife along the miles of trails and levee tops accessible from the refuge Visitor Center. Exhibits at the center showcase endangered species and trail maps. Entry is completely free, with trails open daily.

Take an Educational Tour at Mission San José

Name and Location: Mission San José in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Founded in 1797, it was the 14th mission in California mission system. Provides glimpse into Spanish colonial and Mexican periods.

What to Expect: Self-guided tours of historic adobe buildings. Exhibits of mission artifacts and history. Reconstructed rooms of mission life.

Visitor Information: Open daily 10am-5pm, except major holidays. $5 admission, youth under 17 free. Wheelchair accessible.

Experience California’s Spanish colonial past with a free tour of Mission San José, founded in 1797. One of the best restored Spanish missions, it includes a museum, church, living quarters, workshops and more.

Self-guided tours are available, but it’s worth joining a free docent-led tour for fascinating insights. The historic mission is located just minutes from downtown Fremont.

Play Disc Golf at Central Park

Name and Location: Disc golf course at Central Park in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Free 18-hole disc golf course opened in 1999, ADA accessible. Hosts tournaments organized by Bay Area Disc Association.

What to Expect: Bring your own discs and play, take lessons, enjoy the park setting. All skill levels welcome.

Visitor Information: Open daily, hours vary by season. Free to play, disc rentals available. Parking nearby. Bathrooms and water accessible.

Spend a relaxing afternoon playing disc golf at Central Park in Fremont, completely free. Two 18-hole disc golf courses wind through lovely park grounds, perfect for all skill levels.

Bring your own discs or rent them affordably on-site. The park also features picnic spots, playgrounds, and green space if you need a break. Scorecards can be downloaded online as well.

Browse the Vendors at the Fremont Sunday Market

Name and Location: Fremont Sunday Market in historic downtown Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Open air market since 1998 with farm-fresh produce, artisan goods, food trucks, and live music. Celebrates Fremont’s diversity.

What to Expect: Local farms selling fresh produce. Arts & crafts vendors. Ethnic food booths. Musicians performing.

Visitor Information: Sundays 8am-1pm year-round. Free admission. Public parking garages nearby. Pet friendly.

Every Sunday, head to historic downtown Fremont for the lively Fremont Sunday Market showcasing local artisans, farmers, and makers. For over 30 years, the street has transformed each weekend into an open-air bazaar.

Browse the different booths while live music and kid-friendly entertainment creates a festive vibe. Entry is free, so you only pay for any items you wish to purchase.

Catch a Show at ArtSpeak

Name and Location: ArtSpeak community theater in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Small non-profit community theater producing a variety of shows since 2010.

What to Expect: Intimate live theater productions in a small setting. Productions range from dramas to comedies.

Visitor Information: Ticket prices $15-25. Season schedule online. Located at Bedford Hall, Lincoln Park.

This community-based performing and visual arts center in Irvington offers many free events throughout the year. Performances include concerts, musicals, dance shows, speakers and author talks.

Art galleries displaying works from local artists are free to peruse. Classes are offered for fees, but the public performances and exhibits can be enjoyed at no cost during show times.

Tour Patterson House Museum

Name and Location: Patterson House Museum in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Historic house built in 1858, museum depicts pioneer family life in early Fremont. Furnished with authentic period artifacts.

What to Expect: Guided tour showcases 1860s Victorian architecture and furnishings. Feel like you’re stepping back in time.

Visitor Information: Open 1st/3rd Saturdays 11am-4pm. Admission $3-5. Located in Ardenwood Historic Farm.

History lovers shouldn’t miss this free museum located in a 19th century Victorian farmhouse. Patterson House offers a glimpse into Fremont’s past through the belongings and photographs of four generations of family members who lived on the land. Both self-guided and docent-led tours are available on the weekends.

Attend a Festival

Name and Location: Various cultural festivals in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: These festivals celebrate Fremont’s diversity with food, music, dance, and art. Popular community events.

What to Expect: Live entertainment, ethnic food vendors, arts & crafts, activities. Family-friendly cultural celebrations.

Visitor Information: Held at various parks. Check Fremont’s event calendar for upcoming festivals and details. Free admission.

Fremont hosts various cultural festivals and fairs throughout the year that are free to attend. The Fremont Festival of the Arts takes over downtown with arts, crafts, food and music.

Sabores de Fremont celebrates Latin heritage. The Cherry Festival highlights Japanese culture. Other popular community events include the Fremont Earth Day Fair, Festival of India, and Fiestas Patrias.

Picnic in the Park

Name and Location: Parks around Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Fremont has over 80 parks offering open space, play structures, and picnic areas.

What to Expect: Idyllic settings for picnicking with family and friends. Most have tables, grills, shade trees. Some have lakes.

Visitor Information: Parks open daily, hours vary seasonally. Pack food, blankets, games, and go. No alcohol allowed.

Pack a lunch or pick up takeout and enjoy a picnic in one of Fremont’s many scenic parks. Top options include Central Park, Lake Elizabeth, Aqua Adventure Park, Ardenwood Historic Farm and more.

Most have free parking lots, trails, playgrounds and other amenities to take advantage of after eating. Spread out a blanket on the grass or use a picnic table.

Go Wine Tasting at Gonsalves Winery Tasting Room

Name and Location: Gonsalves Winery tasting room in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Award-winning, family-owned winery providing wine tastings and sales since 2003.

What to Expect: Intimate wine tasting experience. Knowledgeable staff, six wine flights to sample. Wines and gifts available for purchase.

Visitor Information: Open daily 11am-6pm. Free tastings. Located at 38950 Paseo Padre Pkwy.

The Gonsalves Winery maintains a cozy tasting room in Fremont where guests can sample their award-winning wines completely free of charge.

The knowledgeable staff will take you through a flight of their Portuguese and Mediterranean inspired wines made from grapes grown in Lodi. Enjoy the rustic tasting room ambience indoors or outside in the courtyard.

Stroll the Shinn Historic Park Arboretum

Name and Location: Shinn Historic House in Fremont, CA

History and Significance: Elegant Victorian home built in 1894 showcasing life of pioneering Shinn family. Features period decor and heritage gardens.

What to Expect: Docent-led or self-guided tour of historic home. Stroll through heritage gardens. Light refreshments offered.

Visitor Information: Open Fri-Sun 12-4pm. Admission $3-5. Group tours by reservation.

Explore this free arboretum located on the grounds of the Shinn House historic mansion built in 1865. Over 60 species of trees are identified along the walking paths, some native to California.

Picnic tables are scattered throughout the arboretum, as well as antique farm equipment and informational panels about Fremont history. Open daily from 8am to 5pm.


With its scenic outdoor areas, historic sites, and lively community events, Fremont offers many options for free entertainment. Hiking nature trails, learning about the past at museums, or browsing local vendor fairs can make for full days out without emptying your wallet.

From the park arboretums to the Niles historic district to winery tastings, visitors will find that some of Fremont’s best attractions won’t cost a cent.

Leave a Comment