Ask Annie: Walking from the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito
(Ask Annie is a periodic feature sharing questions we get from readers. Names have been changed to protect the curious.)
What’s the best way to visit Sausalito from San Francisco? We would like to walk over the Bridge and then continue to Sausalito, but that may be too long a walk and it looks like the road is narrow.
Can we walk over the Bridge and then just catch a taxi or bus to town? Where would be the best spot to get a taxi and ask to be dropped off so we can walk back across the Bridge to San Francisco?
Finally, we have our teen children with us on this trip. Are there any great Sausalito restaurants that the whole family would enjoy. Thanks?
— Stepping Out in San Francisco
Dear Stepping Out,
Thanks for your note! I’m going to reply with some basic answers and add links to pages on OurSausalito.com where we cover the issue in depth.
Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is a round trip of just over 3 miles (5 km), a little longer if you go all the way to the parking lot at each end. Each one way walk is a little over 1.5 miles (2.5 km).
Walking across the Bridge and then walking from there to the Sausalito ferry pier is about a 5 mile walk (8 km), including both the Bridge and the path to Sausalito. Much of the walk from the Bridge to Sausalito is downhill. Most people elect to take one of the the Sausalito Ferries back to San Francisco rather than climb the steep hill back up to the Bridge.
A few years ago new paths were opened (discussed in this article) that removed most of the narrow walking places from the Bridge-to-Sausalito walk, but there is one block as you enter the town where pedestrian care is called for.
Yes, it’s easy to grab a taxi or a ride share after walking across the Bridge. The main parking lot at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge (the Sausalito side, in Marin County) is called Vista Point. If you call Uber, Lyft or a taxi to pick you up or drop you off at Vista Point the computer or the driver will know where to find you. The smaller parking lot at the San Francisco end of the Bridge is called Strauss Plaza, and you can call for pick-up or drop-off there as well.
Golden Gate Transit buses stop near Vista Point en route north from San Francisco, but only some of the routes serve downtown Sausalito. Others serve only a freeway park and ride stop and the Marin City transit hub just north of Sausalito. Be sure to ask the bus driver if he or she is going to downtown Sausalito before you board.
If you’re starving before you even walk across the Bridge and it’s not too late in the afternoon: stop at the Round House Cafe at the southern end of the Bridge. The view is incredible and they have fresh organic food, but it can be crowded and they sometimes run out of some menu items even before the lunch rush is over.
If you’re looking for a white tablecloth celebration lunch mid-way through your walk (and don’t mind a more expensive place), Murray Circle and Farley Bar are located inside the GGNRA between the Bridge and Sausalito. Some teens, however, might find these restaurants to be too formal, although sitting out on the big front porch feels more like a picnic.
If you want to eat the moment you reach the southern edge of Sausalito, you can have pizza and Italian dishes at Aurora, or one of the best deli sandwiches in town at Golden Gate Market Deli, If you go to the deli there are places to bring your sandwiches and sit and eat right at the edge of the Bay with fantastic views.
The map below shows the walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Sausalito Ferry. You can zoom in to see far more details. I added the Bay Area Discovery Museum to the itinerary to force Google Maps to display the best route, but it is for young kids and will not interest your teens.
In case anything strikes your fancy or interests your teens, you can also check out Fun Activities in Sausalito. I hope you have a great time!