In Praise of Sausalito – A Guide

Dawson Turner
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I wanted to write this piece weeks ago, but only wanted to do so after I had visited myself on a day trip. It was always so easy too, always within reach. And I mean this literally. The ferry that departs for Sausalito leaves from Embarcadero, a short 10-minute walk east from Pacific Tradewinds International Hostel. The schedule can be found here.

Ever since watching Agnes Varda’s short film UNCLE YANCO,¬†Sausalito in the sun is a scene I have long-desired to visit. The film is a documentary following Agnes on a visit to her estranged Greek uncle, Uncle Yanco, in Sausalito. I charted my visit down the same path.

Of course this isn’t the only thing that drew me to the beautiful city across the Golden Gate, but it was certainly my first impression above all else.

The Ferry ride over itself leading to Sausalito is gorgeous. Views of the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and the entirety of the city itself. Ferry fair is $14 each way for adults (18-65).

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I don’t have to say it, but Sausalito has just stunning waterfront views. The initial and most accessible view of the Bay, East Bay Bridge, and skyline is remarkable. The city’s marinas are filled with sailboats, luxury yachts, a layer cake of colored textures. ¬†Strolling along the waterfront promenade, I enjoyed, relished, breathtaking vistas of the bay.

Ascending from the waterfront views, the city itself is abundant in the bright green of its mountain hills. Running up and down them are vibrant houses, I cannot even imagine the cost. At night their lights glow and can be seen in their glimmer throughout the night.

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In recent decades, Sausalito has evolved into a vibrant tourist destination and a sought-after residential area. Its Mediterranean climate, stunning waterfront views, and charming downtown area make it a popular spot for visitors and locals alike.

The city is known for its thriving art scene, boutique shops, galleries, and waterfront restaurants. The annual Sausalito Art Festival, held every Labor Day weekend, attracts artists from around the world.

It’s no surprise that Sausalito has become a popular tourist attraction, to say the least.

Sausalito’s downtown area is a hub of activity, lined with any abundance of little boutique shops, cafes, upscale restaurants. Especially the seafood. I was scared to stop and look at the menus. Anticipating the tourist prices, the smart traveler I am, I ate before and then packed a lunch for later in the afternoon. You won’t catch me paying $12 for a mid sandwich, no sir.

Weekend or weekday the streets of downtown are filled. From trendy fashion boutiques to artisanal craft stores, the shopping scene in Sausalito offers a mix of modern and bohemian experiences.

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Another obvious observation; the city isn’t what it used to be. I found more tourists than locals, and naturally everyones exploring at will. This doesn’t mean peaceful solitude (with a view) can’t be found.

It just takes a little bit of patience, and direction. On direction, it should be observed that there’s no real point in walking far north in Sausalito. The closer you get to Marin City the less there “is to see.” I spent an hour round trip making this discovery, LOL.

Once I found mine I sat there with the view and my thoughts for at least an hour.

Two great sights a little of the way but worth it.

  1. Take the 130 bus a few stops from downtown Sausalito to Fort Baker and you’re set up for a great vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  2. Take the 130 south to Battery Spencer where a view close below the Golden Gate is unbeatable in my view, with far less activity than Vista Point

And I haven’t even talked about the way back. The ferry ride coming back from Sausalito itself was the most gorgeous thing I’ve set eyes on in all of my time in California. Not even leaving the port, sitting duck on the Ferry alone. We had a stark view. Eyes on the Marin Peninsula with the textured green of the mountain, with the fog of the bay pouring over into it, crumbling into a mist as it makes its continuous descent. Obviously I’m attaching a picture, not that any could do it justice. My god.

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By the time the ferry across the bay was ten minutes into its journey, the fog consumed us. The Golden Gate never escaped it, no matter how sunny the other side seemed.

In the fog emerged Alcatraz Island, passing just to the right (I’m talking not even a football field) from our Ferry. One for the books. Don’t miss it!

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THANKS FOR READING, SAFE TRAVELS!

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