The Travel Dispatch

7 Things To Do in 7 Hours In Sausalito, California

This post was born 21 Aug, 2014 23 Comments
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As amazing as New York City is 99.9% of the time, there is still that tiny .1% where it just completely sucks – mainly in the summer months when there’s 100 degrees of oppressive heat outside and the sidewalks become overcrowded with hordes of tourists who forget their ability to walk properly the minute they step off the plane.

By the time August hits your mind starts toying with the idea of pushing that annoying sightseer (you know, the one who’s too busy instagramming to notice they just abruptly stopped in the middle of a walkway causing you to slam right into them) into oncoming traffic. When your mind reaches that dark place, it’s time to get out of dodge.

I was about to hit my breaking point (which would have sent me straight to jail although I’m sure even the NYPD secretly wouldn’t have blamed me) when work asked me to head to California to attend a few client events over the weekend.

Always one to take advantage of work-paid flights, I chose to take the redeye from San Francisco back to NYC on my last day so I could have some time to play. As the weekend was incredibly exhausting, all I really wanted was some quiet and relaxation so I decided to skip the city and head over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.

7 Things to do in 7 Hours in Sausalito

1. Bubble Street Gallery

Bubble Street Gallery in Sausalito

I arrived in Sausalito around noon on Monday and did what I always do in small towns (well anywhere, actually) – I shopped. I’m a sucker for boutiques that sell one of a kind goods and I love weaving in and out of these shops collecting unique Christmas gifts for friends and family year round (I’m pretty certain I was Santa Claus in another life).

Sausalito is a small waterfront town with shops picturesquely dotting Bridgeway Street along the bay with sweeping views across to San Francisco. Bubble Street Gallery was the first place I popped into and was opened in 2012 by the surrealist artist, Daniel Merriam. The gallery showcases and sells his latest works of romantically imaginative art as well as a few pieces from local artists. It’s great for browsing and they have a beautiful array of unique jewelry (my weakness) that was surprisingly well priced and didn’t break the bank.

Bubble Street Gallery
Painting by Daniel Merriam
Necklace from Bubble Street Gallery
Necklace handcrafted by a local artisan












2. Nana’s Treasures

Nana's Treasures in Sausalito CaliforniaWhen I was a little girl and started to drive my mom crazy, she would send me to my room for an hour so she could get some peace and quiet. She gave me one of two options – either take a nap or read a book. Thus my reading obsession began and books became my most prized possessions. Growing up, I would never let my mom throw them out no matter how many times I had read them and my collection steadily increased until it eventually gave birth to my library (sadly I could not pack it away to my tiny Manhattan apartment. Now my precious sits in disrepair largely being used as a storage room in what is now my brother’s house).

When I saw the books in Nana’s Treasures storefront, it was like the mothership was calling me home. All throughout the store were vintage books, clothes, and knicknacks. But man, the books! A woman named Riza works with a book dealer and hand picks all the books for the shop. Her collection dates back to the 1500’s and when she found out I was from New York, she showed me this incredible Harper’s book from the late 1800’s NYC with illustrations of residential buildings, society dames, transportation, and even the polo matches. Unfortunately the price was a little too steep for me but it was a wonderful find and part of me wishes I would have bought it even though I would of had to starve myself for a month to afford it.

 3. F3 (Fast Food Francais)

Martini's at F3 in SausalitoDespite the name, I in no way got the vibe that this was a fast food restaurant. It did not have the greasy smell of heavily fried foods or the bored employees that could care less what you want to eat. In fact it was quite the opposite experience.

I was directed to F3 by a local Sausalitoian (I think I just made that word up) who told me it’s missed by most tourists since it’s not on the main waterfront street. It was one of her favorite places so I decided to check it out.

Since it was 3pm on a Monday, it was mostly empty save two women having a business lunch so I posted up at the bar to hangout with the bartender. He immediately asked me if I liked whiskey (his psychic abilities amaze me) and then proceeded to make me the above cocktail. He had just received a new batch of Jack Daniels Honey and was trying to create a new specialty drink for the menu and I became his not-so-reluctant guinea pig (don’t judge – I was technically on vacation).

A couple (or more than a few) drinks later, I sloppy snacked on some delicious brussel sprout chips and a juicy BOS burger. F3 is known for cooking traditional American dishes and then ‘Frenching’ them up. The best part? Most menu items are $13 and under.

4. Soxalito

Soxalito in Sausalito

A store that only sells socks?! Not just any socks – seriously awesome ones. Mix crazy cool socks with strong drinks at lunch and you’ll walk out of the store $80 poorer (yes I spent that much on socks. Merry Christmas dad and Kyle).

5. Madrigal Family Winery

Madrigal Family Winery Tasting room in Sausalito

It’s a sin to be this close to Napa Valley and not try some wine. On my stroll through the city, I came across the Madrigal Family Winery tasting room (actually I was on my way to another tasting venue when I noticed that the guy working this counter was extremely hot so I scrapped my original plans). Turns out he’s from Sonoma and has worked in vineyards most of his life. He’s currently managing this venue along with the other Madrigal tasting room in Napa which is pretty impressive considering he’s only 26.

A local woman popped in after coming over on the ferry on her way home from work in San Francisco. She said her husband had told her about this new shop and it had only been open for three weeks. We all three chatted for a while and I learned a lot about the town and surrounding areas. With her stories and interaction with the proprietor of Madrigal, you could easily grasp the sense of local community in Sausalito. It was even more apparent when he gave her wine free of charge since she had to rush home to her husband who was stuck with his visiting 90 year old in-laws (I had to actually pay for my 5 flights of wine. Guess he knew I was a tourist).

6. Sausalito’s Floating Homes

Floating home in California

Floating homes in Sausalito CaliforniaAbout a 40 minute walk (or 8 minute cab ride) away from downtown, you’ll find several local communities made up of charming ‘Floating Homes’ (tip – the locals prefer this term rather than ‘houseboats’). This was the highlight of my trip to Sausalito.

I went to the Liberty Dock around 6pm when the fog was starting to roll in across the bay and I was the only one around except for the occasional resident walking their dog. It was quiet and serene and I absolutely fell in love. These individualistic homes are all connected to a series of docks which you can walk through. Their beautiful ‘front porches’ were decorated with art, benches, gardens. etc. It was well worth the trek out there. I found out later that about 90% of the people who own these homes live there year round.

Floating homes in Sausalito
Artwork outside one of the floating homes
Floating homes in Sausalito California
Front Porches

7. Blue and Gold Ferry

Alcatraz Island as seen from the Blue and Gold Ferry

All too early, it was time to take the Blue and Gold Ferry over to San Francisco to meet up with my boss and head to the airport. The ferry only takes about 30 minutes and the views are wonderful as you travel across the bay to Fisherman’s Wharf. I could even see the sun setting over Alcatraz.

What’s your favorite small town? I’d love to hear from you!

Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?

Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!

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21 Comments on "7 Things To Do in 7 Hours In Sausalito, California"

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Sandra @ Tripper

Loved this post. Made me feel like a Sausalitoian (I love made up words so let’s make this one official lol – I’m guessing reading a lot and writing makes you make up words all the time)


Sausalito was one of my favorite little towns too in California. I enjoyed it a lot just sitting around at a café close to the sea and enjoying the view.

Anne Klien

Those floating houses looks pretty, I’d love to wander around that area.

Karen Warren

I’m not a great one for shopping but I’d go just for those cocktails and the brussel sprout chips!

Bente Vold Klausen

What a cozy little town! I loved those floating homes, very creative. No I know where to go if I visit San Fransico.


A small part in a big city, so lovely to see!

Mindi @ 2foodtrippers

My favorite thing to do in Sausalito is to just walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Next time I’m there, I’ll be sure to try some of your recommendations.

Dave Cole

What a cool place! Books, experimental cocktails and wine tastings are all big draws for me. Hopefully I can make it out to Sausalito soon for a few days to take it all in.


What quirky finds! I really hope to see some of them someday. Oh and I absolutely love the name of your blog! 🙂

Jessica@ She Dreams of Travel

You accomplished quite a bit in such a short trip to Sausalito! I used to live in California but never made it to the Napa Valley. It’s a shame because I love little unique towns like this one and the Napa Valley has quite a few of those. Or at least so I’ve been told. I think my favorite part of a visit to Sausalito would definitely be checking out the floating homes.


Love the floating houses (and the socks shop too!)
And who could resist some wine tasting! It really looks like a charming little town!


Now that looks like the perfect town for some weekend r and r.

Bianca Malata (@ItsAllBee)

Haha that first paragraph had me, I always feel like that when I head to the Westend because of the sea of tourist. For their own safety I only go there if I absolutely must otherwise I have the same urge to push the tourists out of the way.

Michael Huxley

Great post! I completely understand the godlike restraint you show by not shoving those phone starers and dawdlers into the road too! Haha! My fiancee would LOVE that Nana’s treasures shop!


Wow! Love that painting and those floating homes!! Looks so neat there!

Stacey Veikalas

What a super cute place – what could be better than wine, cocktails and a water front. Those floating houses are to die for adorable! I have never been here even though I was born in Cali – hmmm there goes my bucket list getting longer again LOL thanks for sharing it looks like a wonderful place!

Margherita @The Crowded Planet

Sounds like a really good place for a short break. The floating homes look great, as does the Soxalito shop!


I remember the NY feeling well! The cocktail looks awesome!


I visited Sausalito once while I was in grade school and only remember sitting by the harbor and catching crabs – it would be nice to go back as an adult now to really enjoy what this little town has to offer. Thanks for the tips, will keep this post in mind for when I find myself back on the other side of SF.

Sumit Surai

Great list. I personally loved the book shop and the ‘Floating Homes’