Sausalito, located across San Francisco Bay from the San Francisco, is a small arty community, with a world-class view of the city across the bay. At the tip of Marin County, Sausalito is an ideal base for turning nearby Muir Woods and Sonoma and Napa Valley wine districts. The city also makes a fun day-trip from San Francisco, for lunch, shopping, and a look at the view.
Along the Waterfront
Sausalito has one of the few public marinas in the Bay area. The town, named for the Spanish word for the willow trees that still grace the area, has several yacht clubs and marinas along the city's waterfront. A paved promenade lines that shore and give visitors a chance to take in the beautiful view of San Francisco as well as the fabulous boats and yachts.
Sausalito is known for its luxury houseboat community. The area, on the north side of town, was a major shipbuilding center during World War II, known as Marinship. After the war, the area attracted artists, writers, and craftspeople. Many of the one-of-a kind floating homes they built are still moored there today.
Sausalito is known for its unique shops and art galleries. It is also home of the Sausalito Arts Festival, a three-day event held each Labor Day weekend, that draws over 50,000 visitors. Throughout the rest of the year, visitors can see local art and artists at the number of galleries that line the streets leading from the waterfront. One particularly interesting gallery is the Artist Open Studios, located in the ICM Building. It's the largest and most complete gallery in town.
Sausalito is easily reached via ferry from Fisherman's Wharf or by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. In addition to shopping and strolling the waterfront, visitors can view the Bay Model Visitors Center, a 1.5-acre three-dimensional, working replica of the San Francisco Bay, used by scientists and geologists to study the area's tides, inflows, and currents.
The city offers a number of delightful accommodations. Among the best are:
- Hotel Sausalito - 16 El Portal (at Bridgeway);(415) 332-0700;(888) 442-0700 - This elegant, 15-room Mediterranean-style hotel is located just across from Waterfront Park. The luxuriously appointed rooms feature furnishings and artwork by local craftspeople and artists.
- Casa Madrona - 801 Bridgeway; 800 288-0502 - This 65-room luxury hotel was built in 1885 as the private mansion of industrialist, William Barrett. The house, which sits nestled in the face of the cliff overlooking San Francisco Bay, had a long and colorful history. It was scheduled to be destroyed in 1976 before it was saved by resident businessman, John Hays, are restored to be a hotel, spa, and restaurant. Today, the unique guest rooms and cottages offer eclectic, yet luxurious accommodations, many with private balconies and views of the city. The hotel's romantic restaurant is noted for its excellent California cuisine and popular Sunday brunch.
Sausalito offers a varied collection of ethnic, fine dining, and seafood restaurants. One of the best, romantic restaurants is the Casa Madrona mentioned above. In addition, the waterfront is home to a variety of seafood restaurants. A couple of the best are:
- Scomas - 588 Bridgeway, 415-332-9551 - Fresh fish and seafood combined with a lovely waterfront view.
- The Spinnaker - 100 Spinnaker Dr.; 415-332-1500 - Known for their grilled lobster and sweeping waterfront views, this fine eatery serves something for everyone -- steaks, seafood, chicken, and vegetarian entrees.
- Electric Tour Company - Reservations and Info 415-474-3130
Taking a Segway tour is the most sensational way to see this bayside gem. An experience you will not forget. A high tech Segway glide combined with a narrated tour of the hidden treasures of this small town. You will discover the many parks, harbors and fascinating houseboat communities in Sausalito. Enjoy the area's beautiful bike paths and bayside estuaries. Visit the fascinating bay model, with a scale model of the entire bay, complete with changing tides. Departure Times: Year round 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. Advance Reservations required.
After a 35 to 45 minute training on how to safely operate the Segway, you'll explore the waterfront with a fully narrated tour. Fees are $70 per person and reservations are required.