Yee Tock Chee Park
639 Bridgeway, Sausalito CA 94965 (See Map Below)
Neighborhood: Bridgeway Promenade. Public restrooms are 2 blocks north of Yee Tock Chee Park on Bridgeway, near the Ferry pier. Limited metered street parking nearby, City lots and private lots nearby.
Yee Tock Chee Park is about the size of an elementary school classroom, but its location on a concrete abutment jutting out into the Bay gives it commanding views of San Francisco from the Bridgeway Promenade. It’s one of the most popular photo spots in Sausalito, although the day when we took the newest photo above for this page the City was swathed in late afternoon fog.
Who was Yee Tock Chee? The park was created in 1968 when the old Purity Market was converted into a restaurant and retail stores as part of a zoning variance approval deal. Yee Tock Chee was the grocer who originally opened Purity Market in 1941. The spot originally held the Sausalito Land and Ferry Co., which had bought most of William Richardson’s Mexican-era Rancho from him when he had financial troubles (spoiler alert: he lost all of the money in bad business deals). The Land and Ferry Co. then subdivided and sold land to expand the village into a town and operated a ferry service to link us to San Francisco.
Why are there stairs leading nowhere at Yee Tock Chee Park? Starting in 1868 this is where the ferry boat Princess docked when it shuttled passengers between Sausalito and San Francisco. In fact, the boat named Princess gave Princess St, which runs up the hill from this spot, its name. The concrete stairs that lead down into the Bay were used by crew members and dockhands securing the Princess and casting off its lines.
My favorite fast meal to eat when I have a little time mid-day to grab lunch and eat in Yee Tock Chee Park is to go across the street to Venice Gourmet Deli (or another restaurant on the Bridgeway Promenade) for a great sandwich and juice to enjoy in the noonday sun.
Note: A small restaurant adjacent to the Yee Tock Chee Park used to claim that the tables and chairs there were for restaurant guests’ use only. This area is part of the public shoreline and is open to anyone. What happened to the restaurant that tried to chase people away from a public park? First the local authorities posted signs in the area saying that anyone could sit there for free and that it was illegal to say they couldn’t. Then the restaurant went out of business. The moral of the story: karma applies to businesses as well as people!
Insiders Tip: To find Yee Tock Chee Park, look for the front of Barrel House Restaurant at the corner of Bridgeway and Princess St. The open space just to the right is the park.