You can drive from San Francisco to Sausalito, but the ferry ride can actually be faster and the cost of the round trip ticket is about the same as gas and toll. Two different ferries link San Francisco to Sausalito. Visit our complete guide to the Sausalito Ferries.
You may also enjoy our videos of trips to the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf Pier 41 on the Sausalito Ferry.
Walking Distance from the Ferry
We describe several potential culinary highlights of your trip below. You can also check out our longer list of great restaurants within walking distance of the Ferry.
Here's all you need to know to never get lost in Sausalito: We're sandwiched between the cliffs of the Marin Headlands and the shore of San Francisco Bay. If the Bay is on your left you're facing south; if it's on your right you're facing north. Bridgeway is the main street, and almost every restaurant in town is on Bridgeway or within a block on either side.
If you're heading to the Spinnaker, go to the right along the shore of the Bay after you disembark. You'll see the restaurant to your right, atop a pier jutting into the Bay.
If you're eating elsewhere in downtown Sausalito or just exploring, walk one block towards the hill as you disembark and you'll be standing on the corner of Bridgeway and El Portal (Point A on the map below) or Bridgeway and Anchor (Point B). You're now in the heart of Sausalito, with the park's fountain splashing nearby.
Lunch in Downtown Sausalito
There are many excellent restaurants, from casual to elegant, in downtown Sausalito. The prices aren't cheap, but you came from San Francisco, so you're already used to that! A few places offer routine food and inattentive service, but several are real gems.
A few of our close-to-the-ferry favorites, running north to south:
• Poggio Trattoria, 777 Bridgeway - One block north on the far side of the street from the ferry, on the first floor of the Casa Madrona Hotel. Listed in Michael Bauer's Top 100 Bay Area restaurants, the beautiful dining room co-mingles the casual and the elegant. One of the few places where the Manager visits your table, asks about your meal, and then actually listens to what you say.
At lunch try the sidewalk tables, which are the closest thing I've experienced to Italy on this side of the Atlantic. The hand-made pizzas start at only $10, have thin crust and fresh toppings, and are semi-oval instead of perfectly round. They bring back memories of Florence. (Note: Poggio is a sponsor of this website.)
• Spinnaker, 100 Spinnaker Drive - You’ll see it to your right as your ferry pulls into the landing in Sausalito, built on top of a pier above the Bay. It has fabulous views, great seafood, and a more formal experience than many other places in town, with tasty, crisp Caesar salad made in a big bowl at your table.
If you're looking for casual and laid back, save Spinnaker for the next time your parents visit or it's your anniversary. It's one of our family's "go-to" places for out of town guests, but it is more staid and formal than the other places in town. Even if the guy next to you is wearing shorts and flip-flops to dinner on Saturday night!
• Hamburgers, 737 Bridgeway - Across from the Ferry landing. Don't be fooled by other places that may have "Hamburgers" on their marquee or window. There is only one legendary Hamburgers in Sausalito, and it occupies a little space on Bridgeway, only about eight feet wide. Their rotating fire grill is right in the front window, and after you choose your burger or chicken or sausage, you can watch (and smell) as the flames lick it into juicy goodness.
There are just three little tables inside, but the locals take their meals to one of the parks near the ferry pier (or anywhere along the shore) to eat al fresco by the water. At $6.60 for the burger, it's one of the best deals in town. You can also order a Hamburgers meal (for a few extra bucks) at the elegant restaurant next door at:
• Venice Gourmet Deli, 625 Bridgeway - On the far side of the street, a long block down to your left as you reach Bridgeway. Meaty, tasty sandwiches, and all the temptations of an interesting wine shop. My personal favorite deli in town for the quality of their meats.
All I can say about the rest of what they offer here is that it's an eclectic mix that ranges from the wonderful to the bizarre. Barbecue skewers with a kangaroo handle? That's where I bought mine! Another great spot to score a lunch and then go sit on a bench at the edge of the Bay and enjoy.
• Angelino, 621 Bridgeway - Two doors past Venice Gourmet Deli. As you walk this way you'll see the view across the Bay to San Francisco open up in a stunning panorama. Angelino is another excellent Italian restaurant with homemade pasta and authentic flavors, and a place where you can order in Italian and be understood. The tables by the front windows have great views - as long as the Fed Ex guy doesn't park his truck in front!
• Scoma's Sausalito, 588 Bridgeway - On a pier above the Bay, visible to the left of the ferry as it pulls into Sausalito. If you've been to the Scoma's in Fisherman's Wharf, I'd pick a different place here for the sake of variety. This is fine seafood at premium prices. The building was used by a ferry company back in the 19th century, and is a Victorian gingerbread architectural treat. If you're here for the views, only a few inside tables have big vistas here, and either Spinnaker or Horizons may better meet your expectations.
• Trident (formerly Horizons, formerly Trident), 558 Bridgeway - TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR REMODELING FOR RETURN TO TRIDENT NAME. Next to Scoma's, it's a piece of cultural history. Occupying this space that used to house the legendary Trident Restaurant (a center of San Francisco Rock culture during the 60's and 70's), Horizons has a fabulous deck in back that is suspended over the Bay. You’ll find great views of San Francisco, and the best "outdoor seating with a million-dollar-view" in town. They have American food with salads, sandwiches, and a variety of main dishes.
Extra Credit: If you have time: there are also four wine tasting rooms within walking distance of the ferry pier.
Use the comments box below to let us know how your day in Sausalito went. We'll see you on the ferry!