Once you arrive in Sausalito I think you’re going to want to stay longer (or come back another time), but this page will offer some choices on how to enjoy a short visit here.
We’ll assume that you’re start from the central part of Sausalito, the location of the Sausalito Ferry pier and the main downtown parking lots (see map below). If you love beautiful views, read on to the next section below. If other kinds of activities pique your interest, jump to the second section.
1 Great Hour: Sausalito Views
If you like walks and great views, take a walk along the Bridgeway Promenade, with its great views of the Bay and the San Francisco skyline. You’ll see the Sea Lion Statue, and (especially mid-days in the summer) you may see Bill Dan, the Sausalito rock balancer.
To get there: As you get off the ferry or park your car in a downtown lot, walk one block towards the hillside and you’ll reach Bridgeway, our only major street. Turn left and follow Bridgeway one to two blocks to the intersection of Bridgeway and Princess St. The Bridgeway Promenade is the sidewalk atop the rocks at the edge of the Bay, and Bill Dan practices his rock magic (when he’s in town) about 25 yards (22 meters) past Princess St. The Sea Lion Statue is the equivalent of a city block ahead of you.
If you like a glass of wine or a beer and a snack with a great view, start in the same area and stop in at Venice Gourmet Deli’s sidewalk tables and benches, or at Angelino‘s sidewalk tables next door. If you want that treat to be sweet (but not too sweet) stop at Sausalito Bakery and Cafe.
To get there from the intersection of Bridgeway & Princess St.: Cross Bridgeway at the stoplight crosswalk, immediately turn left and follow Bridgeway south (away from the ferry). You’ll pass each of the three restaurants within a block.
If you’d like wine tasting with a view, check out the Real Napa wine tasting room.
To get there: Real Napa is located in the same block with the three restaurants named above.
If you have time to grab lunch or dinner (maybe an hour and twenty minutes!) there are some great view restaurants within 3 blocks of the Sausalito Ferry and the main city-run parking lots: Our favorites include The Spinnaker (across from the ferry pier), Barrel House (at the corner of Bridgeway and Princess St.), and The Trident (on the Bridgeway Promenade) have the most spectacular views, but you can find a list of even more great Sausalito view restaurants here.
Forget Views, Just Have Fun Downtown
If you love wine tasting, we have two excellent tasting rooms in downtown Sausalito, all within walking distance of the ferry.
If you love art galleries, Sausalito has a wide variety to choose from, with many art galleries within just a few blocks of the ferry. As you walk up Anchor St. or El Portal Way from the ferry pier you’ll come to Bridgeway, Sausalito’s main street. Turn left and walk down to Princess St., and in just that one block you’ll see multiple galleries. Cross Bridgeway at Princess St. and start walking back towards the ferry on the other side of the street to see several more galleries before you reach Bay Street, in from of Poggio restaurant. If you have longer you can keep walking north to the Caledonia St. neighborhood , which has more shops and galleries.
If you love shopping and want to see some unique shops, you’ll follow a slightly longer path than the art gallery walk. When you reach Bridgeway coming from the ferry, Sausalito’s downtown street, turn left (south) and walk two to three blocks down Bridgeway to Princess St., passing shops as you go. Cross Bridgeway at Princess St. (If you have the time, turn left on Bridgeway and walk down the equivalent of about two blocks to see still more shops, then double back to the intersection of Bridgeway and Princess St.) Walk up the hill on Princess St. for one block to see this nice area of small shops, then cross the street carefully and walk back down Princess St. on the other side until you reach Bridgeway. The turn left and walk back towards the ferry on Bridgeway until you reach Bay Street, which is in from of Poggio restaurant. If you have longer you can continue your trip north to the Caledonia St. neighborhood , which has more shops aimed at local residents.
Escape to Less Visited Areas
If it’s daytime, you can visit any of three special places which are located within one to three blocks of each other about a mile north of central Sausalito on Marinship Way near Bridgeway. If you don’t have a car it’s a short Uber, Lyft or taxi ride from downtown. This cluster of interesting spots (click on any blue link for a map and more information) includes:
The Bay Model, a huge working hydraulic model of San Francisco Bay filled with a gazillion gallons of water. Admittance to the Visitor Center is free, and the facility is run by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Record Plant (across Marinship Way from the Bay Model) historic music recording studio is now a spa, but you can see the original exterior and artisan woodworking of the doors. A spa named Harmonia now occupies the building. Click here to see a list of the worldwide hit albums that were recorded here.
The Educational Tall Ship shipbuilding project (half a block north of the Bay Model on Marinship Way) is in a large tent, where you can visit and see them re-creating a full size sailing ship using traditional boatbuilding materials and methods.
Heath Ceramics Factory Tour (three blocks north and east of the Bay Model on Gate 5 Road) allows you to see how traditional high-quality ceramics are made in a famous setting in Sausalito.
If you’re planning to just stop in for lunch our dinner, click here for our list of the best restaurants in Sausalito. We also have a list of the best cafes, diners and deli’s.
We’re Just Here to See the Houseboats
The floating home community (the preferred term for houseboats aound these parts) is scattered across the shoreline of the northern half of Sausalito. One option for your visit is within walking distance of downtown, another calls for an Uber, Lyft or taxi ride:
The Taj Mahal Houseboat is located near downtown, and is the most famous houseboat in Sausalito. Walk north of Bridgeway from the ferry pier about three blocks to Johnson St. Then turn right on Johnson St. and walk towards the Bay, bearing slightly to your right so you enter the City parking lot at the foot of Johnson St., in front of the Seafood Peddler Restaurant. You’ll see a wide wooden pier leading out into the Bay in front of you, which is open to the public. You’ll see the Taj Mahal moored at the far end of the pier. It’s OK to walk down the pier, but please be considerate of other residents in the harbor. Click here for more information and a map.
The largest collection of houseboats in Sausalito is on the northern end of town, about 1.5 miles from the ferry pier, next to the on-ramp onto Highway 101. You” want to call an Uber, Lyft or taxi to reach this area. Gate 5 Road, Gate 6 Road and Gate 6 1/2 Road (yes, that’s its real name!) are all in this neighborhood. Click here for more information and directions for your visit.