Why Is Sausalito Worth Visiting?
Before we go through all the things to do in Sausalito, let’s get to know it a bit. The name Sausalito means “little willow grove” in Spanish, and it has a small town feel combined with the sophistication of a much larger city. The waterfront town is situated on the San Francisco Bay, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The bridge links Sausalito to San Francisco and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. Its distinctive orange color was chosen to make it stand out against the water and fog during low visibility conditions.
The town itself is also incredibly scenic and has a lot of history behind it. It was once inhabited by the Coast Miwok people, and in the 1820s, the territory belonged to Mexico. William A. Richardson fought for ownership and developed Sausalito as a rancho. Soon, it became a vibrant community of fishermen and yachting enthusiasts.
Today, there are plenty of things to do in Sausalito, whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the water or an adventure exploring the town. Keep reading for a good start in planning your trip!
Things to Do in Sausalito – Downtown and Beyond
Downtown Sausalito is where most of the action is. This is where you’ll find the best shops, restaurants, and attractions. One of the first things you should do when in town is pop into the Sausalito visitor center. They have a lot of helpful information about the area. If you’re looking for things to do in Sausalito with kids, they have a great list of family-friendly activities.
The visitor center is also a good place to grab a map of the town. Once you have your bearings, stroll down Bridgeway and enjoy the views of the bay. This is the main street in downtown, and it’s lined with shops and restaurants. One of the first things you’ll admire is the Plaza Viña Del Mar Fountain.
From Bridgeway to Richardson Bay Marina
Follow the scenic way, and you’ll walk past Dunphy Park and arrive at the US Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model. This is a fascinating place to learn about the history of the San Francisco Bay and its ecosystem. If you have time, take a self-guided tour of the model.
Next to the Bay Model is Liberty Ship Marina, where you can watch boats come in and out or even rent a boat yourself. A few blocks down from the Bay Model is another one of the top things to do in Sausalito, the Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour. This is a great way to learn about the history of shipbuilding and the houseboat community in Sausalito.
When Bridgeway ends, you’ll be at the edge of Richardson Bay. This is a great place to watch the sunset or go for a walk along the water. Admire the countless floating homes and the stunning views from Richardson Bay Marina.
Sea Lion Sculpture by Al Sybrian
If you follow Bridgeway in the opposite direction from downtown, you’ll arrive at the Sea Lion Sculpture by Al Sybrian. This is a must-see for any animal lover, and it’s surrounded by amazing views of blue waters and San Francisco. Farther south, there’s Tiffany Park, which is a great place to relax or have a picnic lunch and enjoy the views.
Things to Do in Sausalito for Art Lovers
Would you have guessed that this small waterfront town is a great place for art lovers? There are plenty of things to do in Sausalito for those who appreciate art and culture. Here are some of the many art galleries in the city, starting from downtown and finishing at Richardson Bay Marina.
- Daniel Merriam’s Bubble Street Gallery. This gallery is known for its colorful and fanciful paintings.
- Gallery Sausalito & Working Art Studio. This is a great place to buy unique artwork, antique books, clothing and furniture.
- Galerie Elektra. This gallery specializes in modern art, and it’s also a great place to buy unique gifts.
- Studio 333. This is a working art studio, and you can often find the artists there working on their latest creations.
- Industrial Center Building. This building is home to over 100 artists’ studios, and you can pick up unique jewelry, paintings, and other kinds of art.
Apart from these, you’ll want to attend the Sausalito Art Festival. It’s held every Labor Day weekend and is one of the oldest and most prestigious outdoor art festivals in the U.S. Look through the art, enjoy the live music, and have a great time!
Active Things to Do in Sausalito – Kayaking, Rowing and More
If you’re looking for things to do in Sausalito that are more active, there are plenty of options. One of the most popular activities is to go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. You can rent a kayak from a company on Liberty Ship Marina, and they’ll provide you with all the gear you need.
Another great option is to go rowing. For example, the Open Water Rowing Center offers rowing lessons and tours, and this is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the scenic views.
Fishing is also a popular activity in Sausalito, and you can fish from the docks at Liberty Ship Marina or from a boat. There are charter companies that offer fishing tours.
Drive to the Bay Area Discovery Museum and Fort Baker
If you’re looking for things to do in Sausalito with kids, the best option is to take the short drive (or lo.ng walk) south to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. It’s located about 5 minutes by car from downtown Sausalito. It’s a hands-on museum designed for children aged 10 and under. There’s also a cafe on site, so you can grab a bite to eat while the kids play.
South of the museum, you’ll find Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point. This is a great place to take photos of the bridge and the city. There’s also a short hiking trail that leads to Fort Baker, which is worth exploring.
Enjoy the Top Attractions in Sausalito!
These are just some things to do in Sausalito. Whether you’re looking for things to do that are active or passive, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful waterfront town. If you don’t mind a short drive, we also recommend visiting the Muir Woods National Monument (20 minutes from Sausalito). Have fun!
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