Sausalito. The pretty town on the bay across from San Francisco is worth considering as an alternative to staying in the city itself.
Having been to San Francisco a few times in the last few years, and again just 5 months ago for work, I was concerned that coming back fro a vacation would end up feeling like it was another work trip. So I decided to stay across the Golden Gate Bridge in the town of Sausalito.
I am very pleased we did, as not only are the views spectacular but Sausalito is a small and buzzy town with great places to eat and diverse galleries and art shops.
Sausalito is across the bay from the city and looks back across the stretch of water, across the famous Alcatraz prison island to the city. It is a stunning view, especially in the morning when the fog clings to the bridge and over the city.
- It is very easy to get to by ferry from either Fisherman Wharf or Ferry Station. It is a popular commuter ferry as Sausalito is a beautiful alternative to living in the city. The ferry in the daytime, especially in summer, is full of tourists with bikes as the bike hire shops encourage you to cycle over the bridge, free wheel down into the town and get the ferry back.
- The ferry to and from San Francisco to Sausalito leaves from the Ferry Building. This is worth a visit even if you don’t go on the ferry.A very beautiful and imposing building that has been restored and is full of interesting and varied shop stalls. They mostly sell food and range from cheese shops, bread shops through to ice cream and coffee shops. The ferry building is buzzing and vibrant.You can get to and from the ferry building around town on the very old Muni cable cars. These are from the 1940s and restored. They are rattling and creaking but fun, frequent and popular. They cost $2 a ride.
- There is also a bus service, that takes about 40 minutes to the very centre of the city.
- Then of course you can drive over the bridge. There is no toll heading out of the city, but a $6 one per car heading in.
Where to stay
While there are a number of hotels in Sausalito in the town near the water, we are staying literally at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge itself. The hotel is called Cavallo Point and used to be an army base with a long history. The hotel has not been open that long. A fuller review of the hotel will follow in another posting.
The hotels in town look great and are close to the marina and all the shops.
There is a long main road that is full of coffee shops, restaurants, tourist souvenir shops and then art galleries. There are also some quirky sea related shops selling model ships and the like.
- The marina has many small sailing boats and then the odd large “wow” yachts costing huge wads of cash. Houses and apartments cling all the way up the steel hill behind the main street with twisting roads. The houses are pretty and varied giving the place a sense of style.
- Overall the town has a slightly hippy feel but with a monied and sophisticated spin – if that makes sense.
- There is a feeling of restfulness and is a great alternative to staying in the city as it has charm and is easy to relax. And it is really easy and fast into the city.
Things to do
- Eat. Stroll. Relax. Look at the view!
- You could also go out sailing or skiing on the bay.
- And cycling is popular. Though you need strong legs with all the hills.