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Visiting Sausalito

Marin County's Waterfront Art Colony is a Perfect Day Trip

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Visiting Sausalito
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Most visitors to San Francisco are so spellbound by the endless sights, entertainment and cultural delights that the city offers that they often never even think of leaving for a day. But if they do, chances are they are going to Sausalito. This is because of two things: Sausalito is a picturesque arts village with a bustling bayfront downtown and Sausalito is easy to get to by way of ferry from the San Francisco waterfront or by simply crossing the Golden Gate Bridge as it lies just north of the bridge itself.

Taking the Ferry to Sausalito

There are two different companies that run ferries to Sausalito from the San Francisco waterfront, both charge around $10 for a one way fare:
  • The Blue and Gold Fleet: The Blue and Gold Fleet is located from Pier 41 on Fisherman's Wharf and also offers ferries to Tiburon, Angel Island, ATT Park and East Bay destinations like Alameda and Oakland. www.blueandgoldfleet.com

  • The Golden Gate Ferry: Located at the historic Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco, the Golden Gate Ferry also serves Larkspur Landing and ATT Park. www.goldengateferry
Both companies offer very frequent Ferry service during the summer high season and Blue and Gold runs extended service night ferries on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Biking Across Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

Renting a bicycle and biking through the San Francisco waterfront, across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito is another popular way to visit the bayside town.

Many visitors like to bike to Sausalito, eat lunch on the bay and then take the Ferry back to the city as both ferry companies accommodate bicycles.

Things To Do in Sausalito

Besides strolling the bustling little downtown and having lunch on the water (see below), there are several sights and activities worth checking out while in Sausalito:
  • The Bay Area Discovery Museum: Located near the foot of Golden Gate Bridge, this hands on Children's science and nature museum is one of the best places in San Francisco for Kids. The 7.5 acre campus features tons of interactive exhibits, like the Imagination Playground and the Wave Workshop as well as daily workshops, classes and guided nature explorations. www.baykidsmuseum.org

  • The Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour: Sausalito is home to a huge community of hand made wooden houseboats, many of which house working artists and are in fact large works of art themselves. This walking tour is offered by Victoria Colella, a local artist and author of the book Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour. www.sausalitowoodenboattour.com

  • Dunphy Park:This waterfront park is the perfect place to have a picnic on a sunny day, rest a bit after biking across the Golden Gate Bridge or just enjoy a romantic moment with a special someone.

Art in Sausalito

Artists flocked to Sausalito in the 1960's and 70's creating one of the strongest small town art scenes in the United States. There are many galleries in the bustling little downtown area for art lovers to check out but serious buffs should make sure they hit up the the Industrial Center Building Art Studios, a historic waterfront complex that is home to Sausalito Artists, a collective of over two dozen local artists and their studios. On the second Wednesday of each month, the streets of Sausalito come alive at night for the Art Walk, where local business turn into art galleries showcasing the works of area artists.

Those that haven't had enough should add the Sausalito Arts Festival to their calendars. Every Labor Day weekend the entire Sausalito waterfront is filled with individual artists displays, over 250 at last count, and a large outdoor stage hosts live music bands all day long. A free shuttle from downtown San Francisco runs during this event.

Dining in Sausalito

Sausalito's marina is lined with waterfront restuarants, most of which offer sweeping views of the San Francisco bay and specialize in seafood. Lunch is very popular here, as the sunny weather brings out crowds for alfresco dining on the water but dinner can be just as crowded, especially on weekend nights.

Scoma's, which is featured on our list of the Best Waterfront Restaurants in San Francisco, has an outpost here and other Sausalito institution's include The Spinnaker, which has awesome panoramic views over the bay, and Fish, which specializes in locally caught seafood and organic produce.

Sausalito Tours

Sausalito can also be visited by way of specialty tour from San Francisco, and is frequently included as part of a full-day city sightseeing tour of San Francisco.

Other, more exotic options include a Helicopter Tour of the Bay with a stop for lunch in Sausalito and the Segway Tour of Sausalito, which is a guided tour of the bay-side town by electric powered two-wheel vehicle.

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