Super Bowl 50: 50 Hours in Sausalito
Sausalito is one of the shining jewels of the Bay Area. It is the first town you hit driving north over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and gives most visitors the feeling of entering a coastal European hamlet. Bridgeway, the city’s main drag, overlooks the Bay and is lined with art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants overflowing with eager patrons.
Here, we break down the perfect way to spend a 50-hour getaway in Sausalito.
8:00 a.m. – Wake up in your high-thread-count sheets at Inn Above The Tide, a luxury property (voted one of the best hotels in the world in 2013 by Conde Nast Traveler) directly on the Bay with 31 rooms, each one sporting unobstructed water views. Get up slowly, enjoy a cup of coffee on your balcony while watching the boats go by and take a few photos of San Francisco and Alcatraz in the distance. Once you are ready, gather up a light jacket and put on sunscreen and your most comfortable pair of sneakers. Grab your swimsuit and towel and then head to the lobby.
There is no need to spend money on breakfast; an impressive selection is waiting for you and it’s free for guests. Enjoy warm and cold food offerings before you head out.
9:30 a.m. – Drive a few minutes down the road and stop at 2100 Marinship Way. Park your car and walk over to the Bay Model Visitors Center, where you will find Sea Trek Kayak & Stand Up Paddling Center. Here, change into your swimsuit, then pick out a kayak or stand up paddleboard. Spend the next three hours exploring the area around Sausalito and take note of the rows of houseboats.
Note: kayak rental fees will run you $20 per hour for a single and $40 per hour for a double; stand up paddleboards will run you $20 per hour. Organized classes are also offered (for the very adventurous and flexy, you could even take a yoga class on a board).
12:30 p.m. – Head back to land and turn in your board/kayak. By now, you will be starving, so drive back to Inn Above The Tide, park your car and get ready to explore downtown Sausalito. First stop: Venice Gourmet, an Italian deli directly across the street from your hotel. This place is an institution; so while you wait for your sandwich, take a few minutes to look around at the random gifts on sale and old-school gum flavors sure to back childhood memories. Don’t leave without buying a couple postcards for your loved ones back home.
Sandwich in hand, walk a few blocks north along Bridgeway until you reach Vina del Mar Park on the right side of the street. This is the small park anchored by a grand fountain at its center and tall palm trees sprinkled around its hedges. Walk into the park and sit down on the well-manicured grass to eat your sandwich, picnic-style. Note the big cement elephants at the entrance of the park—these are remakes of elephants produced for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (world’s fair).
1:00 p.m. - Time for dessert, walk directly across the street and experience a Sausalito classic, Lappert's Ice Cream. Old fashioned Ice Cream that could never be mistaken for gelato or frozen yogurt, aka the good stuff. Have a seat by the water and look out onto the most beautiful city sparkling alongside the world famous San Francisco Bay.
1:30 p.m. – After lunch, it's time for some shopping. A stone's throw away from Inn Above Tide is a historic sausalito icon: Gene Hiller Menswear. Founded in 1953, Gene Hiller is located at 729 Bridgeway in Sausalito's old city hall. The building was renovated in 1992 and continues to serve its clients all around the world. With hand picked goods from the world's top designers, Gene Hiller will cater to any style and it's full time tailor shop will alter garments complimentary. Truly a must stop when visiting Sausalito.
3:00 p.m. - Now that he is dressed for success with fine italian fabrics, what about her? Luckily, Sausalito has a new designer women's shoe store in town, Shoe Stories of Sausalito. From Valentino, Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi, Stuart Weitzman and many many more, you're sure to find the perfect shoes and handbags and the girls are very helpful.
4:00 p.m. – A short walk back to Inn Above The Tide (Shoe Stories is so close it could be mistaken for the same building!) and relax for an hour or so. Relish in the incredible views just outside your window and get comfortable with a book on your balcony.
5:30 p.m. – Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, shower, change into some casual dinner clothes and shoes that you won’t mind walking in. Exit the hotel and walk a few blocks north until you get to 1250 Bridgeway. Enter Bar Bocce and ask for a table on the back patio. Just off from the main tourist area in Sausalito, this eatery is a local favorite. Once you are settled in your seat, order drinks and play a few games of bocce on the court, located between the restaurant and the water’s edge.
The views at this restaurant are incredible, so enjoy watching the boats go by while eating what is arguably the best pizza in the North Bay (don’t leave without trying the Margherita and prosciutto varieties). After dinner, move a few feet over to the bonfire and order more drinks. Stay late into the evening.
9:00 a.m. – Sleep in today, look out your window and then head downstairs for breakfast (do not forget your camera). After breakfast, drive south on Bridgeway until it turns into Alexander Avenue. Take Alexander under US-101 and make a right onto Conzelman Road. This road will take you up what will seem to be a very tall mountain—this is the Marin Headlands, a 2,100-acre plot of protected land that is home to a variety of wildlife, beaches, hiking trails, museums and art centers.
As you drive, you will notice several places to turn off. Take the time to stop at a few of them and relish in the near-aerial views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco in the distance. Then, drive down Hawk Hill (one way street; make sure you have excellent brakes); turn right at the bottom of the hill and another right onto Field Road. From there, Make a left on Bunker Road and stop at 2000, in front of The Marine Mammal Center. This is a center that takes injured mammals—many of them sea lions—and nurses them back to life. Admission is free and it is the perfect thing to do for people of all ages. Budget a few hours for this experience and consider going on a docent-led tour.
11:30 a.m. – Drive back into town and stop for lunch at Cibo, an adorable café on Bridgeway that serves strong coffee and tasty salads (try the lentil or quinoa salad). Their sandwiches are also delicious—especially the grilled cheese panini. Make this stop a quick one so you can move on to your next destination.
12:15 p.m. – Head over to 2350 Marinship Way and get there by 12:30 p.m. because that is when the Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour begins. Led by local expert Victor Colella, the highly acclaimed tour takes visitors through Sausalito’s houseboat history while also exploring art studios and WWII ship yards. The tour lasts three hours and is only available Saturdays and Sundays (call or reserve online ahead of time), but groups can also book private tours at other times of the week.
3:30 p.m. – Before going back to Inn Above the Tide, stop at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers building and check out the San Francisco Bay Model. This is a three-dimensional, 1.5-acre model of the San Francisco Bay. It details the tides and gives quite a bit of information on how the Bay was formed. Consider signing up for a guided tour.
5:30 p.m. – Drive to your hotel, relax for a little bit and then shower and change into some nicer dinner clothes. You aren’t going far tonight, so feel free to wear your stilettos.
6:30 p.m. – Walk out the hotel door and 500 feet to the south. Stop at 660 Bridgeway and enter Barrel House, a hip restaurant with great views. Ask for an outdoor seat, but if those are full (a definite possibility), fear not because pretty much every other table offers decent views. This place specializes in California cuisine and changes its menu to reflect seasonal flavors. Ask for the burrata as an appetizer and get a few oysters in the half shell for the table. From there, dig into a tasty portion of risotto or the maple brined pork chop—you really can’t go wrong.
10:00 a.m. – Be lazy this morning with your wake up time. Enjoy your coffee, sleep some more and then slowly start packing. Once you are ready, walk downstairs and out to your car. Skip the hotel’s breakfast today.
11:30 a.m. – Instead, drive a few miles north until you get to 85 Liberty Ship Way. Admittedly, the route to get here is a little strange—you will feel like you are driving into a shipyard. And, well, you are, but follow the crowds, park and then walk into the cavernous Le Garage, one of the best-kept brunch spots in Sausalito. The croque monsieur is to die for, as is the French toast with crème fraiche (sublime) and the goat cheese omelet. Regardless of what you get, order a side of fries on top of it. This is the perfect way to end a 50-hour getaway in Sausalito.