Leisure and Recreation
Fremantle offers a wide variety of dining experiences, with a strong emphasis on Italian and Asian cuisine as well as seafood. Various cafés and coffee shops are situated around Fremantle, particularly on the 'Cappuccino Strip', a section of South Terrace known for its alfresco dining culture. The Fishing Boat Harbour has become a tourist precinct, with a mixture of microbreweries, restaurants and some of Australia's largest fish and chip shops. A number of old buildings on the harbour have been renovated, including Little Creatures Brewery, which occupies a former boat shed and crocodile farm, and contains a café and art gallery. The harbour's annual Fremantle Sardine Festival on Esplanade Park attracts thousands of seafood lovers every year. Other annual events held at the harbour include Araluen's Fremantle Chilli Festival, the Fremantle Boat Show, and the traditional Italian Blessing of the Fleet ceremony.
Next to the Fishing Boat Harbour is Bathers Beach, a flat beach popular with swimmers. Fremantle is home to other beaches such as South Beach, Leighton Beach and Port Beach. Cottesloe Beach is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north, halfway between Fremantle and Perth. The city's strong afternoon sea breeze (known locally as the 'Freo Doctor') has made its beaches a prime location for wind and kite surfing. The Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club has been active since the 1930s. Fishing takes place at the many jetties and groynes surrounding Challenger, Success Boat and Fishing Boat harbours, and along Blackwall Reach at the Swan River, which is also used for canoeing, rock climbing and cliff diving. A chain of islands listed as A Class nature reserves lie within 20 km (12 mi) of Fremantle, and are accessible by ferry or private boat. The largest and most well-known island is Rottnest Island, followed by Garden Island and Carnac Island. Each island is home to endemic flora and fauna, and provide opportunities for water-based activities such as sunbathing, surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Fremantle—along with the inner suburbs of Northbridge and Leederville—is one of Perth's major nightlife hubs. It attracts people from all over the metropolitan region for its pubs, bars and nightclubs.
The city has a large arts community, with a number of small art galleries and musical venues and a community theatre company, Harbour Theatre Inc., which has been performing in the city since 1963. There is also the J Shed situated on Bathers' Beach. J Shed houses four artists studios. Old Customs House, a heritage building just across from the working Fremantle Ports, is home to a not-for-profit artists agency, Artsource, and provides 23 artist studios, and houses several other arts organisations.
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