Sausalito is a unique and picturesque community, perched on a hillside between the San Francisco Bay and the Marin Headlands. Since it's across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, it makes a great trip by bike, ferry, bus, or car, for a good meal, a visit to an art studio, and views of the city from across the bay.
Sausalito is just over the Golden Gate Bridge (US 101) from San Francisco. Just take the first exit (Alexander Avenue) after crossing the bridge and follow it into town. If coming from the north, exit at the sign marked from Sausalito, turn left, and make your way down Bridgeway into town.
Two ferry companies serve Sausalito:
- Blue & Gold Fleet, ☏ . Offers ferry service to/from Pier 41 in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. It is a 30-35 minute trip. Adults $11 one-way, children $6.75 one-way.
- Golden Gate Ferries, ☏ . Offers ferry service to/from the historic Ferry Building in San Francisco's Financial District. It is a 25 minute trip. Adults $7.85 one-way, seniors/youth $3.90 one-way.
Both companies dock at Sausalito ferry terminal, located near the city center.
- 1 Sausalito Ferry Terminal, Humboldt Avenue at Anchor Street.
A very popular activity for tourists in San Francisco is to hire a bike, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, and then down into Sausalito. Planning this the previous day will make sure you arrive in Sausalito in time for brunch. If worn out from the ride, you can catch the ferry back to San Francisco; the ferries have lots of capacity to carry bikes. A map of the route is available from most bike hire places in San Francisco.
Sausalito is served by several Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit routes, including the 17 from San Rafael and Mill Valley, the 61 from Bolinas and Stinson Beach, and the 130 from San Rafael and San Francisco.
It's also possible to walk to Sausalito from the Golden Gate Bridge (about 3 miles / 5 km), though the navigation is a bit tricky: after crossing the bridge from San Francisco, look for the staircase leading to a pedestrian underpass that goes under the bridge to the west side. From there, look for "Bay Trail" signs pointing to the Sausalito Ferry Terminal. Ignore the walking directions provided by Google Maps, which may send you to a busy road with no sidewalks.
Most of the frequently visited waterfront area can be seen on foot and are within easy walking distance from the ferry landing. Make sure to head north on your walk along Bridgeway to Caledonia Street - it's full of great stores, restaurants, cafes and art studios.
Sausalito is also an easy town to bike in. A favorite local ride is to Sam's Restaurant in Tiburon for lunch or drinks on the huge (and very entertaining!) outdoor deck. It always seems to be sunny there, so bring your hat and sunscreen. Another not to be missed ride is from Sausalito to Mill Valley (hit the Depot for a great lunch) and on up any bike trail on Mt. Tamalpais.
- Sausalito Mountain Bike Rental, 803 Bridgeway, ☏ .
- 1 Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, ☏ . Tu-F 9AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. The US Army Corps of Engineers used to use this hydraulic scale model of the San Francisco Bay and California Delta to study the hydrology of the area. Now it is open to the public. Free.
- 2 Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 McReynolds Rd, ☏ . Tu-F 9AM-4PM, Sa Su 10AM-5PM. Hands-on children's museum. $8.50/$7.70.
- Artwalk. Every 2nd Wednesday of the month you can tour art studios and galleries along Bridgeway.
- Captain Kirk's San Francisco Sailing, ☏ .
- Harbor Dive Center, 200 Harbor Dr (off Bridgeway), ☏ .
- Sausalito Art Festival. Labor Day weekend.
- Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour (Nautical History Tours and Treasure Hunts), PO Box 124, ☏ . 3. In depth insider's tour of the historic Sausalito waterfront includes historic houseboats, World War II shipyards, art studios, Wooden Boat Center. Refreshments served at the end of the tour in the boat lettering shop next to the WWII shipways. Every weekend. Call to reserve. $50.
- Butterflute Studios, 2350 Marinship Way (Arques Shipyard at the end of Road 3 off of Harbor Drive), ☏ . 9AM-5PM daily. Art studio of Victoria Colella. Visit the last artist's studio of its kind on the Sausalito waterfront and see Victoria's illustrious Folk Art Collection. By appointment only.
- Five Star Station, 33 Caledonia St, ☏ . A very eclectic shop filled with a range of historical hard to find and interesting pieces. A great place to buy great gifts or get your mind going for finding great gifts. Really fun shopping.
- ICB Artists, 480 Gate Five Rd (in the Industrial Center Building at the north end of Sausalito), ☏ , [email protected]. Visit and purchase art from one of the largest groups of talented, local artists in Northern California. Art studio tours April – December plus an annual fun, free, family friendly event on Labor Day Weekend.
- Studio 333, 333 Caledonia St, ☏ . Suite A. A hip gallery that offers a collection of work from over 25 local artists, including great furniture.
- Valhalla Signworks-Boat Lettering, Etc., 2350 Marinship Way (Arques Shipyard at end of Road 3 off Harbor Drive), ☏ . 9AM-5PM daily. Nautical sign specialist, with traditional signage on the waterfront. Carving, gilding, hand painted, custom vinyl designs available.
Sausalito is blessed with more fine restaurants than a town of 7,000 people should have. Whatever you're looking to eat, Sausalito probably has a restaurant serving it up. Beware the 'touristy' district, however. While there are a few genuinely good restaurants, there are also a fair number of establishments catering basic grub to tourists.
- Angelinos. Italian, home-made pasta.
- Arawan, 47 Caledonia St, ☏ . Serving Thai cuisine.
- Avatar's. Top-rated Indian-Mexican fusion cuisine. Sounds weird, but has a fanatical following.
- 1 Fish, 350 Harbor Dr, ☏ . Excellent, very fresh, and well-prepared seafood. Fish is best enjoyed on a sunny day, al fresco on the large deck overlooking a fishing harbor on the north side of town. Despite being off the beaten path, Fish is always crowded on nice days. Cash only.
- 2 Fred's Coffee Shop, 1917 Bridgeway, ☏ . Fred's is a Sausalito institution. Fred's has only 6 tables, each seating 4-6 people. You're most likely to be seated with others at 'your' table, which often leads to interesting conversations. One table at Fred's has a brass plaque reading "Stamtisch" which means regular's table. Anyone can sit there if a chair is free. For breakfast, the Fred's French toast is pretty amazing. For those who prefer something a little more spicy, ask for the "Coyote Special", which is a cheese omelette covered with chili.
- Lighthouse Cafe. Like Fred's, but less crazed and hectic.
- 3 Poggio Trattoria, 777 Bridgeway, ☏ . Founded by one of the creators of Il Fornaio (back when Il Fornaio was small and intimate), it is an upscale version and really special. All dishes are prepared with care and sauces have the deep, rich flavorful tastes. Menu changes a lot daily.
- Spinnaker. Fabulous bay views, seafood.
- 4 Sushi Ran, 107 Caledonia St, ☏ . One of the best sushi restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area, Sushi Ran serves up incredibly good and fresh sushi and modern Japanese cuisine. Received a Michelin star in October 2006.
- Caffe DiVino, 37 Caledonia St, ☏ . Sidewalk cafe, art shows, live jazz music, locals.
- Poggio, Bridgeway. Sidewalk fine dining, fresh pasta on a menu that changes every day; does great coffee.
- Taste of Rome (formerly Caffe Trieste), 1000 Bridgeway. Always comes to mind for great San Francisco Bay Area Coffee, this is the Sausalito branch. Classic bicycle rider destination. Internet Wi-Fi, live jazz music, art shows, sidewalk tables.
- 1 Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa, 801 Bridgeway, ☏ . On a hillside overlooking Richardson Bay and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The modern rooms are quiet, classy, comfortable and chic. The historic section of the hotel dates back to the late 1800s and has some "dream" rooms with fabulous views, and other hillside rooms, which may involve climbing many stairs. 3,000-square-foot spa and fitness center on premises.
- 2 The Gables Inn, 62 Princess St, ☏ , toll-free: . Built in 1869, this is a historic bed and breakfast, boasting nine distinctively elegant rooms - many with king beds, fireplaces, spa tubs, and skyline bay views.
- 3 Inn Above Tide, 30 El Portal, ☏ , toll-free: . This is a boutique hotel on the water with unbelievable views.
- 4 Cavallo Point Lodge, 601 Murray Circle, ☏ . Built as an Army base called Fort Baker, this late 1800s base was decommissioned, given to the National Park Service, and commissioned as a hotel. Amenities include fine dining and a spa. Great location for views, right below and to the east of the Golden Gate Bridge. Has some rooms where walking and stair-climbing are required. Room service, bar, restaurant, and a spa.
Sausalito is beautiful, but it's also quite touristy – it would be a shame to make this your only experience of Marin County. To get closer to nature, go west to the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, or hikes starting from Mill Valley. For charming but less-touristed towns, go north to Tiburon, San Rafael, or Fairfax. Further afield but well worth the trek is Point Reyes National Seashore.
- Hike to the ridge. Ask for directions to the Spencer Avenue parking lot (on 101) and start your hike at the trailhead across from the lot. It zig-zags up to a major trail where you take a right and then wind your way toward the ocean and beautiful ridge top views. From here, you can hike the Marin Headlands pretty much to anywhere along the coast, depending on your time and ability.
|Routes through Sausalito|
|Santa Rosa ← Mill Valley ←||N S||→ San Francisco → San Jose|
|Fort Bragg ← Stinson Beach ←||N S||→ San Francisco → Santa Cruz|