Superb natural setting and a spectacular history
Beside a sheltered portion of San Francisco Bay and rising sharply across a hillside, Sausalito enjoys a superb natural setting, wonderful views and a spectacular history. A 19thC whaling port, the town became a Prohibition-era site of saloons and brothels, and in the 1940s acquired a shipbuilding industry that split the community between the scruffy bay side “Wharf rats” and the “hill snobs” living in the smart houses above. Along the way, the town also gained a reputation as a stamping ground of artists and non-conformists, elements still present today and evinced by numerous art galleries, although it soon becomes clear that Sausalito is a popular excursion from San Francisco (regular ferries cross from the city’s Fisherman’s Wharf).
Spend a night here, however, mingling with the locals who pass their evenings in the bay side bars and restaurants after the day-trippers have departed, and a calmer, deliciously seductive, Sausalito emerges. However long you stay in Sausalito, try to find time for the San Francisco Bay and Delta Model, 2100 Bridgeway, housed in a huge hangar a mile or so north of the town centre. An extraordinary creation covering an area as big as an American football field, the model was built to study the effects of tides and water-flow patterns in the Bay Area; a short film and a set of interactive exhibits help explain its workings. For spectacular views of San Franciso Bay, Seaplane Tours have daily departures (http://www.seaplane.com) from Sausalito and Pier 39.