Center of the Universe Sign – Seattle, Washington - Atlas Obscura

Center of the Universe Sign

Residents of Fremont in Seattle have considered it the center of the universe since the 1970s. 


Since no one can absolutely prove that it is not, a group of scientists in a bar reasoned in 1991 that Fremont, a neighborhood of Seattle, is as good a Center of the Universe as any. A guidepost was put up that year to indicate as much, and help passersby find the rest of the area, and universe

The sign is on a traffic island at the intersection of North Fremont Avenue and North 35th Street, which residents of Fremont have considered to mark the center of the universe since the early 1970s. In 1994, the Metropolitan King County Council proclaimed it officially, in a rather poetic way.

Some of the justifications for this official proclamation include Fremont’s thriving artistic scene (one of its nicknames is “The Artistic Republic of Fremont”), the presence of a troll under one of its bridges (a sculpture), its history of community activism, the fact that the people once voted to secede from Seattle at a fair, and the fact that it has its own port, school, theatre, and outdoor cinema.

The Center of the Universe Sign helpfully directs passersby to many of the neighborhood’s colorful landmarks as well as a few faraway places. The Fremont attractions include the aforementioned bridge troll, Rapunzel (in the Fremont Bridge tower), Interurban (referring to a sculpture named “Waiting for the Interurban”), Fremont Mischief Distillery, a controversial sculpture of Lenin, and the Sunday Market.

For those in Fremont looking to travel beyond the neighborhood, the sign also points towards Taiwan, Rio de Janeiro, the Louvre, and the Guggenheim. And for the even more ambitious, there are arrows pointing in the directions of the North Pole, the Milky Way and the Lost City of Atlantis. Finally, the sign points to “Noogie,” cleverly indicated as “TOP of HEAD.”

Update as of November 2018: The sign is missing, but there are plans to replace it. 

Update as of August 2020: The sign has been replaced.

Know Before You Go

The Center of the Universe Sign is on a traffic island, and there isn't much place to stand, as there are bushes all around the sign. 

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