Sitting just a mile (or about 1.5 kilometers) downhill from the Golden Gate Bridge is a quiet Mediterranean-esque town with unbeatable views of Alcatraz and the San Francisco skyline. Spending an afternoon in Sausalito has become a quintessential part of the San Francisco experience for travelers. Over the years most Muir Woods tours have evolved into a Muir Woods and Sausalito tour — something we’re guilty of here at Dylan’s Tours!
One of the best parts about our Muir Woods tours from San Francisco is enjoying a scenic lunch break along the waterfront of Sausalito. All of our San Francisco Muir Woods tours enjoy long stops in Sausalito.
If you’re traveling on A Day in the Bay Tour, our Alcatraz and San Francisco city tour — you’ll have almost an hour and a half to explore everything Sausalito has to offer. Or, if you’re on the Famous Tour, our most popular San Francisco Muir Woods tour — you’ll enjoy almost an hour along the waterfront. One of our newest tours, Bike the Bridge and Muir Woods Shuttle, a combination bike and minibus Muir Woods tour from San Francisco, offers you the most time to discover Sausalito since you can bike across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito at your own pace before hopping on our shuttle to Muir Woods National Monument!
Sausalito is a pretty popular spot for San Francisco tours. Which means one thing during lunch — long, long, looong lines at sit-down restaurants. Luckily, as locals, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve for avoiding lines and maximizing your lunch stop!
Any way you slice it, if you’re visiting Sausalito — whether it’s on on a Muir Woods tour or if you’re biking/ferrying/Ubering on your own — you’ll want to check out our definitive guide to enjoying a quick lunch in Sausalito.
FAMOUS TOUR ADVANTAGE
For anyone who took our Famous Tour prior to 2016 will remember a very different lunch spot on our Muir Woods tour from San Francisco. We used to enjoy a 30 minute break in the Haight-Ashbury at an INCREDIBLE family run grocery store — Gus’s Market aka Haight Street Market. We’ve since nearly doubled our time for lunch and moved the break to the Sausalito’s waterfront. BUT we still suggest grabbing lunch from this beloved local market for anyone looking to maximize as much leisure time in Sausalito as possible!
Gus’s has phenomenal pre-made sandwiches, salads, deli sides and even fresh sushi. We know, normally grocery store sushi is something you try to avoid. Except Gus’s actually has a dedicated sushi chef turning out super fresh rolls all day long!
The market itself has been around since the 80s and always has plenty of fresh, seasonal and affordable fruits and veggies that are perfect for putting together a picnic to unpack in Sausalito before continuing on with the Muir Woods tour.
Finding a quick and delicious lunch in Sausalito proper isn’t a problem at all if you head straight to Venice Gourmet Deli or Venice Pizzeria. We’re not quite sure how, but there’s rarely a line for the deli. And when there is, it moves quick! Their pizzeria next door serves up both pizza slices and whole pizza pies, great for anyone traveling in a bigger group.
This unassuming deli has been a Sausalito favorite since 1969. You can even taste a little San Francisco flavor with their Italian House Special. This classic Italian sub/hoagie/grinder/po’boy features dry salami from Molinari’s — San Francisco’s oldest Italian deli!
Best part about Venice Gourmet Deli & Venice Pizzeria? Seating spills out onto the sidewalk, overlooking incredible views of the San Francisco Bay! If you can’t snag any sidewalk seating we always suggest bringing your makeshift picic over to our favorite picnic spot, next to where our San Francisco Muir Woods tours meet.
BEST PICNIC SPOT IN SAUSALITO
The best picnic spot in Sausalito just so happens to be around the corner from where our Muir Woods tours from San Francisco meet (and the only public restrooms in Sausalito). Gabrielson Park sits along the waterfront, looking out onto Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.
There’s about 5 picnic tables nestled under some trees and benches are dotted along the walking trial. There’s even some big stone steps that lead down towards the water that are a perfect reprieve from the sometimes bustling park. Where ever you got lunch from, find a perfect spot here to unwind before the tour continues along on your San Francisco Muir Woods tour!
There’s a fairly well known ice cream shop that originated in Sausalito. But the line is usually out of the door. Instead, we head over to the hidden cafe that serves up San Francisco based ice cream Double Rainbow. Sure, as San Franciscans we are a little biased since we always love our hometown heroes (this pint sized company took Hagan-Dagz to court — who doesn’t love an underdog??).
But Double Rainbow ice cream has been scooping pints since 1976. That’s when the founders, Michael and Steve, saw a double rainbow appear in the sky after they signed the papers for their first shop in the Castro, San Francisco’s infamous LGBTQ neighborhood. We’re all for support San Francisco business on a San Francisco tour!
To taste some truly San Franciscan ice cream you’ll need to visit Cafe Tutti. This little cafe by the landing dock for the ferry and is tucked away off the main road. Cafe Tutti is only a two minute walk from where our minibus meets for the Muir Woods tours. Making this the perfect stop right before heading back onto the bus!
Don’t forget to grab some edible souvenirs over at Pick Me Up Chocolate! Artisanal truffles are made on site by these chocolatiers of Sausalito. You’ll also find plenty of other local pastries, artisanal chocolate makers and chocolatiers like Dandelion Chocolate and Charles Chocolate from Sausalito. These all make for great souvenirs to bring back home — if you don’t eat them all by the time you make it back to your hotel!