The Waterfront Town of Sausalito
Are you visiting San Francisco? Be sure to also pay a visit to Sausalito, an absolute must-see! Keep on reading and we’ll tell you all you need to know about this charming waterfront town – including tips, events and more!
Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll find Sausalito, a picturesque town located in a small harbor in Richardson Bay, named after the founder of Sausalito. Boutique shops, trendy restaurants, and charming hotels make the main street of the city as it stretches along the coastline, dominated by a beautiful panorama view of the Bay Area and San Francisco’s skyline.
After World War II, artists, writers, actors, hippies, and musicians took refuge in Sausalito because of its striking beauty, bringing their culture and free-thinking to the city. Those who came created a bohemian vibe that is still noticeable today.
After the passenger ferries returned in 1970, Sausalito became a popular destination for mainstream visitors of the Bay Area. To this day, Sausalito is a top-rated tourist destination. Last year, in 2019, over a million people visited the waterfront town.
Looking for a tour of Sausalito? Our Dylan’s Famous Tour with Muir Woods is a great way to get out and see Sausalito and enjoy a great lunch – along with seeing the other great parts of San Francisco!
- How to explore Sausalito
- What to expect when visiting Sausalito
- What to visit while exploring Sausalito
- How to get to Sausalito
- Events in Sausalito
How to explore Sausalito
If you are going to San Francisco to experience the Bay Area’s vibe and scene, a day trip to Sausalito should be on your itinerary. Once you arrived in this small waterfront town, you can walk everywhere.
The boardwalk is probably one of the most scenic spots of the entire town. On the boardwalk, you’ll find many shops and restaurants, as well as a stunning view over San Francisco’s skyline and the Bay.
To get the full Bay experience, you could take the ferry from or to San Francisco and back. Or enjoy a nice picnic at one of the parks located on the waterfront.
If you want to know more about the history and get all the best local insights and recommendations about Sausalito, we’d suggest you hop on a guided tour! Dylan’s Tours offers guided minibus tours to Sausalito and much more. After exploring some cool neighborhoods in San Francisco, Dylan’s Tours will take you across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and, depending on the tour you choose, Muir Woods National Monument. You can also choose to do an Alcatraz add on if you want the full San Francisco Bay Area experience!
What to expect when visiting Sausalito
One of the best things about Sausalito – the town is known for always being sunny! Even if it is a foggy day in San Francisco, the chances are that the sun is out in Sausalito.
You will find that Sausalito is mostly not crazily crowded. The summer months are, understandably, busier than the winter months, but strolling around town will still give you a calming and serene feeling.
What to visit while exploring Sausalito
- Cost: free
- Hours: 10am – 4pm daily
The Marine Mammal Center advances global ocean conservation. Different marine mammals that are injured, ill, or abandoned are rescued, rehabilitated, and released every year. Besides being very educational, it is entertaining to spend the day here and watch sea animals!
Sausalito House Boats
- Cost: free
- Hours: all day, every day
Sausalito is famous for its houseboats, so checking them out while visiting Sausalito is a definite must-do! The dock at Richardson Bay, with its blue and green mosaic serpents and cottages covered with flowers, really is an eclectic, colorful sight to see.
- Cost: free
- Hours: all day, every day
The crown jewel of the Golden Gate National Parks, called Marin Headlands, is only a 10-minute drive from Sausalito. It is a place of natural wonder and beauty full of history. It also offers fantastic views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge (from up-close!), and San Francisco’s skyline.
- Cost: $15 (excluding parking)
- Hours: Every from 8:00 am till sunset
Another just-out-of-town trip you should consider is visiting Muir Woods National Forest! Muir Woods is one of our favorite places in the Bay Area and is home to ancient groves of towering redwood trees, spectacular views, and diverse wildlife. Walking around in this redwood forest will make you feel like a little human being. Check out our post for more information on how to get to Muir Woods!
How to get to Sausalito
Before you can explore Sausalito, you first have to get there. Here are a couple of options for you to get you to Sausalito:
- Dylan’s Tours – An enjoyable and informative way to get to Sausalito is joining Dylan’s Tours on the Famous Tour or the ‘Almost’ Famous Tour. Not only will our minibus take you to Sausalito, but you will also see and learn a lot about San Francisco and Muir Woods! You can even choose for an Alcatraz add-on during your booking process to get the full San Francisco experience.
- Ferry – One of the most beautiful and touristic ways to get to Sausalito is by taking a ferry. Multiple ferry companies depart regularly from the Ferry Building, as well as pier 41, from 9 am-5 pm. This 25-minute trip will offer you stunning views over the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco.
- Public bus – Taking the bus across the Golden Gate Bridge is a very affordable way to get to the town. Depending on your departing point, it will take you roughly over an hour to get there. Be sure to check your bus options via SFMTA’s website.
- Dylan’s Tours bike rentals – Renting a bike to explore Sausalito is a perfect option if you want to explore at your own pace. You can rent a 7-speed bike or an electric bike at Dylan’s Tours’ bike shop, which is only a 15-minute bike ride from the Golden Gate Bridge. The roads to the bridge are mostly bike lanes, but once you’ve crossed the bridge, you will have to bike on the streets. Check out the website for more information on renting bikes in San Franciso!
- By foot – Though it might sound crazy, you can also walk to Sausalito. It will take approximately 3 hours to get there, but the walk across the bridge is magnificent and worth it! You could always choose to take public transport back to San Francisco if your feet are tired.
- By car – Driving to Sausalito will take approximately 25 minutes. You have to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and take Hwy 101 to Sausalito/Marin County. Finding parking in Sausalito is also relatively easy, though the prices of parking lots may vary.
Events in Sausalito
Jazz and Blues by the Bay
The summer Jazz and Blues by the Bay concerts are held each Friday from the end of May through the end of August at Gabrielson Park in downtown Sausalito. These concerts have become a legendary local favorite. A great time with good music, views, and food with your friends and family is guaranteed!
The chili cook-off, held in September, has been an annual Sausalito tradition for over 40 years. Every year, Different teams cook at least 15 gallons of chili and can compete in three different competitions. You can taste all of the chili you can eat for just $15! Note: the chili cook-off always has a (dress-up) theme!
Arias in the Afternoon Concert
This free program has been a fixture in the late summer calendar in Sausalito for many years. Every year, singers from the Golden Gate Opera serenade fans of all ages in Gabrielson Park in downtown Sausalito. It is free sitting on the lawn, but you could also reserve a table for you and your friends!
For all more information about Sausalito’s events, be sure to visit their website!
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do in Sausalito?
There is so much to do in Sausalito! But be sure to have lunch along the waterfront and enjoy the wonderful views. Also be sure to check out the houseboats, Marin Headlands, and the Marine Mammal Center.
Want to explore Sausalito and more?
Let’s explore the city together! Our tours are 100% local, and we’ll show you the city in a unique way.