Question: How late do parking meters operate in Sausalito?
Answer: Parking meters run till 6:00 PM (including weekends), 7 days a week. Parking at meters is free after 6:00 PM, and meters start operation again at 9:00 AM.
BUT city parking lots, where you pay at a pay station instead of a meter, operate later, in most cases starting at 7:00 AM and running till 10:00 PM. Be sure to check the signs in the lot where you park!
There’s lots of parking in Sausalito, and it’s much cheaper than similar parking in San Francisco, with free 2 and 3-hour parking areas as well as public lots running from $2 to $4 per hour. Sausalito parking tickets are expensive, so please be careful on your timing! See also our page on Driving in Sausalito and our special page on Parking in the Restricted Areas Near Caledonia St.
Commuting on the bus? See our page on free Park and Ride lots in Sausalito.
Meters on Sausalito streets run 7 days a week 365 days a year 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and run later in City lots. Meters take coins (a great way to use up extra ones you get) and credit cards. Most meters have a two hour or three hour limit.
Sausalito parking rates have different rates at three different times of year:
High Season. From May 1 through September 30 the current rates are (and check the meter to see its rate, because rates can change from block to block):
- $3.00 per hour for meters in the core of the downtown area
- $2.50 per hour for meters near downtown but not in the core
- $1.50 per hour for meters that are not near downtown (and these are rare)
Off Season. From October 1 through April 30 ALL parking meters cost $1.50 per hour. What’s cool is that October and April can have some of the nicest weather of the year.
December. In recent years the City Council has made downtown parking meters (NOT parking lots) free during December to encourage holiday shoppers. Since my office is a few blocks north of downtown, I especially love it because it makes it easier to have lunch at downtown restaurants as well.
Sausalito Street Parking Tips
Parking meters and lots are checked by parking officers regularly, and Sausalito parking tickets are expensive.
Summer Street Parking Closures. During the busy travel season centered on summer vacations El Portal St., which is still shown on most maps (including the Google map below) as intersecting with Tracy Way next to the Ferry pier is a dead-end cul-de-sac. Each year during this time Tracy Way is closed and turned into a bike parking area Cars can no longer access parking lots via El Portal during the summer, and you should use Anchor St. to reach the closest downtown lots.
When visiting Sausalito, always allow yourself extra time to find parking unless it’s early in the morning. If it’s the 4th of July or Labor Day Weekend use the Ferry or bus to come, or arrive very early in the morning. The regular spaces fill up, and if you park in residential zones (always look for the signs limiting parking) you’ll discover that Sausalito parking tickets are expensive.
Insiders Tip: If you plan to come for 4th of July fireworks, you’ll need to drive, since the last ferry to San Francisco has already departed when the fireworks begin.
Street parking in residential areas that are close to Bridgeway and Caledonia St. businesses is very limited, with visitor parking prohibited or limited to two hours. Check signs carefully, because resident complaints get responses abnd these rules are enforced and the tickets are expensive.
City Parking Lots
(Scroll down for more details, a list of the individual lots and their locations; we have a map of all the lots at the bottom of the page.)
City Parking Lots now have automatic sensors in spaces, and in most cases you’ll be charged between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. Each lot has its own price structure, and parking gets cheaper in City lots block by block as you go north, farther from the Ferry pier. Walking a block or two can save significant amounts of money.
You’ll pre-pay when you park for the desired length of time, and can feed the machines with your credit card, debit card or coins. You can pay for time in any City Lot at any pay machine.
Cool feature: Unlike some cities, if you leave early after paying for more time the sensors detect it and you’re not charged for the extra time. If you arrive before 7:00 AM in a lot or 9:00 AM in a street meter, you can pay for parking but the system won’t start charging you until the lot reaches its start time. The time before that start time is free, subject to the maximum time limit.
Residential Parking Benefits, Stickers & Permits
Residents get big parking discounts in Sausalito: three hours of free parking in the downtown lots #1 and #3 before being charged, but you have to sign up for the program at the Sausalito Police Dept. at Johnson & Caledonia and get an access card (see video below). If you are a resident of Sausalito who commutes on the Ferry, you can park for as little as $4.00 per day.
Some neightborhoods require special resident stickers on your car for overnight parking. This is due to the high volume of visitor traffic, which would otherwise use up all the residential area spaces. You can register and get your sticker at the Sausalito Police Dept. at 29 Caledonia St. (corner of Johnson and Caledonia) Monday through Thursday from 8:30 AM through 1:30 PM.
List of Sausalito City Parking Lots
City parking lots are clustered downtown near the Sausalito Ferry pier, and close to most visitor destinations. See opening section on this page, and check out the video above for a great tutorial on how to use the parking machines.
— Lot #1 is located next to the Sausalito Ferry pier (the entrance is off Anchor St.), so ferry riders walk through this lot to get to Bridgeway after leaving the ferry. As of July, 2021 the price is $4.00 per hour; lots #3 and #4 are cheaper.
— Lot #2 is much smaller, and is half a block farther north, on the far side of the Bank of America. The entrance is off of Humboldt St. The price here is the same $4 an hour as at Lot #1.
— Lot #4 is between Taste of Rome and the Bay. .Parking here is $2 per hour.
— Lot #5 does not have the new parking machines, and is located at the intersection of Locust and Bridgeway about 5 blocks north of the Ferry. If you are trying to go to Sushi Ran or other Caledonia St. restaurants and the street parking is full, this lot is very convenient. Parking here is FREE for 3 hours between 6:00 AM and 2:00 AM. Just don’t stay longer than 3 hours because they do check the lot. Long term parking is not available in this lot.
Insiders Tip: Clicking on the “P” icons below will bring up information about each lot. Thanks to the City of Sausalito Dept. of Parking Services for preparing this map.