Sausalito, CA. Photo by Nathan Barteau

Sausalito, The Most Idyllic Town Of The Bay Area

Sausalito has a unique personality that’s hard to describe in words, but let’s give it a try. This seaside community is the most famous city in Marin County, located on the southernmost tip of the Marin peninsula, overlooking San Francisco Bay. Sausalito has some of the most amazing views of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Tucked on the shores of Richardson Bay, Sausalito’s picturesque appearance resembles a quaint Mediterranean coastal town.

Sausalito Yacht Harbor. By David Klein

Sausalito is “old money” with most residents benefiting from generations of wealth. The city boasts some of the most valuable real estate on the west coast with a median home price of nearly two million dollars, but mingling with the inhabitants never exudes a sense of entitlement or pretentiousness from these Sausalito natives.

Sausalito actually holds up one side of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, located only a few minutes from downtown. There are plenty of other wonderful activities and sights in the area, highlighted by the neighboring Marin Headlands. Sausalito is home to the historic Richardson Bay houseboat community that berths over 500 houseboats of all shapes and sizes built after WWII by artists and other eccentric free spirits.

Getting to Sausalito

There are different ways to get to Sausalito. Of course, you can drive from San Francisco by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge or travel south through Marin on scenic Highway 101. But, you may prefer to take in an extraordinary view of the bay on the 30-minute ferry ride from San Francisco. For energetic tourists, biking from San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge is an option, but expect the Sausalito streets to be flooded with other bike-riding tourists.

If it’s late afternoon or early evening, remember the unwritten rule for the region — wear layers! The late afternoon breeze that blows off the bay is something to be taken very seriously.

Bridgeway Promenade

The Bridgeway Promenade runs along the water and is the best way to explore the heart of Sausalito while catching the most spectacular views of Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, and San Francisco. Bridgeway is easy to access whether you prefer to drive into town or take the ferry. Sausalito is famous for its waterfront dining, and cafés are no exception. Start your journey with a cup of coffee and a danish from the Lighthouse Café.

Waterfront shopping is a draw on its own — tourist shops, high-end clothing stores, leather goods, and art galleries line the streets. Maybe wine is your thing. Enjoy sampling wines from nearby Napa Valley at the Real Napa tasting room. If art galleries are what you love, you won’t be disappointed here. There are so many, most notably Studio 333, the bay area’s largest local artist co-op.

Waterfront Dining

You’ve spent your afternoon on the Promenade, perusing art galleries, doing some marathon shopping, and perhaps enjoying a few sips of wine, not to mention absorbing some of the world’s most amazing views. Now it’s time to eat!

The Bridgeway Promenade is where you will find fine dining with unforgettable views of the bay and San Francisco. Fresh seafood is always available, and several of Sausalito’s most famous restaurants are within walking distance of the ferry landing.                  

Copita Tequileria y Comida is a modern Mexican restaurant featuring fried pork belly tacos on homemade corn tortillas, and of course…Tequila! Create your own margaritas from over 100 varieties of tequila found at the in-house tequila bar and then enjoy some people-watching on the outdoor patio. 

Scoma’s Of Sausalito is a waterfront restaurant that is Sausalito’s oldest seafood house and has its own boat at Pier 47 for a fresh catch. Count on superb meals, exceptional service, and a wonderful setting, but it can be an expensive place to eat. A window table with a romantic view is worth the wait for date night.     

Courtesy of Scoma’s Sausalito

The Trident is the southernmost of the waterfront restaurants. Heated outdoor decks provide a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy the highly regarded Cioppino and impressive views of San Francisco — especially in the evenings. It’s famous for being a laid-back gathering place for celebs in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Janis Joplin, Clint Eastwood, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and many others.

Most people come to Sausalito for its epic scenic views, fresh seafood, and a chance to stroll the streets on the waterfront, but they go away with so much more. The charm and intimacy of the Sausalito experience will leave a lasting impression on you, and will always hold a special place in your heart, calling you back to revisit and rediscover this idyllic town over and over again.