"Ask Annie" Archives: Shopping
"Ask Annie" is our page where readers ask questions about Sausalito. We archive the questions here by category so that they form an FAQ for all things Sausalito.
Q: We'll be visiting Sausalito this summer, and It looks to me like shopping on Bridgeway is very different from Caledonia Street. Is it worth going both places?
A: Yes, Bridgeway and Caledonia are incredibly different, but if you have the time both are well worth a long, leisurely stroll. Bridgeway is actually a very long street that runs all the way through Sausalito from north to south… and is the ONLY way to get most places. Fortunately, most places visitors go are within a block or two on either side of Bridgeway. It's a lot like being in Hawaii, where all activity is squeezed into a narrow band between mountains and ocean… but in our case it's the cliffs of the Marin Headlands and San Francisco Bay.
Downtown on Bridgeway is what most people think of when they picture Sausalito, with the art galleries, shops, the ferry pier and the great views of Angel Island and San Francisco. If you are walking around town that's the place to go, where you'll see the view from the postcards and find the restaurants like Horizons, Scoma's and The Spinnaker that sit out on piers over the Bay.
But to the south Bridgeway leads to Fort Baker, now part of a national park and home to Cavallo Point Lodge and Murray Circle Restaurant. And to the north it stretches about 2 miles north of downtown through an area that feels more like a typical Bay Area town, with office buildings on one side and shops and condos on the other. There are fewer good shopping destinations for visitors, however, once you reach the part of northern Sausalito where the road has two lanes in each direction.
For walking, downtown Sausalito is "the" Sausalito and there's a reason so many people come here. It is beautiful, the food and the people are great, and on a summer day I've heard visitors say it's as nice or nicer than the Riviera. Yes, there are some cheap souvenir places that aren't worth your time. But there are a lot of classy, unique shops that are a lot of fun to wander through.
Caledonia…. ah, now that's a completely different matter. Located just north of Downtown, it's only six blocks long, one block over from Bridgeway as you face away from the Bay, looking toward the hills. Mostly it's frequented by locals, although Sushi Ran Restaurant draws people from all over the Bay Area. It's the home of our movie theatre; even if it has been subdivided into three screens, we don't have to go to a mall to see a movie. At one time the City took Caledonia St. off of the free maps they give visitors to try to preserve it for residents, but after a few years the merchants got them to put it back on the handouts.
Everything on Caledonia is slower, usually cheaper, often funkier. And there are a lot fewer people because the tour buses don't stop there and the people who came in on the ferry and stay for an hour don't quite have time to go that far north. There's a great little hardware store with a carved statue of an old prospector next to a bench out front (we're going to do a feature on them), one of the best little gift shops in Sausalito (Pinestreet Papery), a barber shop that's a time machine that'll take you back to any decade since the 60's, the same bar with pool tables that seems to be in every small town, and an art gallery with (as of now) a four-foot-tall wooden fireplace bellows for sale out front.
Like Bridgeway, Caledonia also has nice art galleries, jewelry shops, clothing stores, a deli, a food store, a dry cleaner and a bunch of restaurants. So if you have time I absolutely think it's worth a visit.
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